This isn't meant to be my life story, and I don't know if anyone will find this interesting. Basically, this is just a light overview of my professional career. If you're just wondering what I've done, in the simplest format, I do have a resume online.
I've been writing software since I was in grade school, around age 12, BASIC for Apple IIe's. I wasn't hooked right away, it took a couple years. I started doing LOGO for one of my classes, and then did a little more BASIC, and ended up with a Tandy Pocket Computer (a PC-4 and then a PC-8). With only around 2K of memory, I quickly taught myself to convert programs that were much larger in the BASIC games books.
I spent most of my free time in high school learning how to write code in BASIC, then Pascal and C. I won the computer science portion of my high school's science fair when I was a junior. I participated in ACSL, and had one of my programs published my senior year in their newsletter (only 5 other people had even submitted a working program for that round, opposed to the hundreds they usually received). I scored 39 out of a possible 40 points in the ACSL competition my senior year of high school. I had my first exposure to graphic design and hypertext in high school, working with the Macintosh SE/30's the school lab had.
I attended Fitchburg State College with a Presidential Scholarship. My course work focused on embedded systems, I learned more about Assembly, and took a lot of electrical classes. This is where I was first exposed to the Internet, with Telnet, FTP and Gopher. When I first saw Lynx, I thought it was a little kludgy compared to the more elegant layout of Gopher. Of course when I got to see Mosaic during my last year of college (fall of 1994) I found the web was far more interesting than Gopher!
My first job after college, was for Racal-Datacom. I got to do some interesting work on networking equipment, writing code in C. I also got to create a small demo website for a new product the company was trying to sell to the telephone companies, a precursor to ASDL. Unfortunately the company didn't think there was a big enough market for it (yikes!) and soon after, the division I worked for experienced a large layoff, and the company begun closing various divisions. The demo website was enough to motivate me into setting up a personal website of my own.
I went to work for a company in Waltham, writing code for a medical laser, used for treating Myopia (Laser Vision Correction Surgery). It was an embedded 80186 with a simple one line display. It was a company that had moved past it's start up roots, but was still very busy for an engineer. Deadlines were tight, and the software team was small (two developers and two SQA engineers). I got to work on some neat little side projects in the company, like a small box that converted I2C to RS-232, and then write a Visual Basic program to display information from the serial port. I also continued to work on my website in my spare time, which had grown from a dozen pages to about 100. I had been mentioned in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and some radio stations.
I left Summit after a year and half for what I thought would be a more interesting position at SierraCom. It turned out to be less than ideal, and I didn't really get to learn much. I spent a lot of time trying to get a modem board debugged, and never really got to do much coding for it in the long run. Meanwhile, I began writing PERL code for my websites, and increasing the size of the websites.
The next job didn't last long, but for more positive reasons. I began accepting banners for my websites, and it turns out with the amount of traffic I was getting, could make almost enough money that I didn't need to work a full time job. Since this was the height of the dot com boom, I figured I'd leave my job and focus on developing my own websites. I branched out, and created a few more websites (70s and 90s sites to complement my 80s site, and amiright to house my ever growing misheard lyrics collection). After a few months of working at home, I began to realize I was less interested in working by myself than I had thought, and decided it was time to return to the work force.
I worked for a company called onExchange which develops financial software for trading exchanges. I was assigned to work on the end user GUI, and given free reign to shape it how I felt it should look. I gathered feedback from members of the executive staff who knew how futures and commodities exchanges worked, so I wasn't working in a vacuum. Meanwhile, the dot com bubble had burst, and my websites became a hobby once again. As the company grew, I began to focus more on the implementation details of the system, and less on the design, that task was handed over to a usability expert. Though I still got to have interesting discussions on how things worked in the system. I was laid off from onExchange in the spring of 2003. I spent about six months looking for a new job.