Programmer's Mindset

How I Got Started Programming

Ok, so I somehow I came across a post by Joe Stump from Digg and I have found this “chain letter” type post. I want to participate, so here goes. 🙂

How I got started programming:

  1. How old were you when you started programming? I had a real interest (unexplainably) in computers when I was around the age of 7 even though I had only used one a couple of times. My mom dated a guy when I was about 9 whom had a computer and he had King’s Quest 3 (I fell in love with computers).
  2. How did you get started in programming? My mother met her current husband and he had a Tandy Cocoa Color III.
    He taught me BASIC and I used a reference book that I still have
    today. It had every command on a separate page with a description of
    what it did. I went through the book trying most of the commands.
  3. What was your first language? My first language was BASIC, however I also did quite a bit on the TI-85. I create a Space Invaders type game on the TI-85.
  4. What was the first real program you wrote? My first program was a simple quiz game for my youngest sister, it taught her our address, phone number, etc… I also did some db work in a program called “Q&A” for the company my mom worked for “Connery Concrete”.
  5. What languages have you used since you started programming? I started in BASIC, in high school I became a Pascal user, after college I moved to Perl as I became a “web guy”, and have since changed to PHP. I have dabbled in others, but very limited.
  6. What was your first professional programming gig? My first paid job was for Connery Concrete doing some DB work. They did not store their information in a convenient way to make use of it. I also did similar work for a travel company. Before I started they entered all of their customer data into “Q&A” and then hand wrote all of the information onto forms. What a complete waste of time that was.
  7. If there is one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new developers, what would it be? Think outside the box. I can’t tell you how many things I have been able to do because I have thought about the problem and solution a little differently than any of my colleagues. “There is more than one way to skin a cat” is something my mom used to say all the time.
  8. What’s the most fun you’ve ever had programming? I have to say what I am doing now is. I am part of a team that cares where our project is going. Ecommerce is such a competitive field, and selling bowling balls is tricky. Trying to be on the cutting edge and know that you are doing it before the competition can blink is a GREAT feeling. Having a boss that doesn’t just settle on a store bought solution because it may be cheaper makes me feel very appreciated. I have really grown to love the sport and the nuances that go into it. And to be able to spend my day working in this industry is just plain awesome.

I had to follow suit when I saw this post from Joe Stump. I can’t imaging working with such cutting edge technology persona’s as Kevin Rose, and the old crew from the Tech TV era.

I wish I had people to tag. The only other programmer that I knew and respected was the best man in my wedding, but he has pretty much cut me out of his life. 🙁 Long story, but I miss his friendship. The long talks we could have. Working together on programming projects. Makes me sad when I think about it.

Oh well. He knows who he is and if he wants to carry on this type of post, I would be honored.

8 replies on “How I Got Started Programming”

I guess someone has to comment on your ramblings. Things were different then, the future a bit brighter, the path more clear. I am not proud of most of what has happened since then, especially against you personally. I wish I could make sense of it all, but if I wallow in the mistakes of the past, I could easily drown in them.

I do tend to ramble sometimes, that's for damn sure. I appreciate getting a response from you. I see that you knew who I was referring to.

I don't hate you for the choices that you made. I was disappointed, but I can understand (a little) what you were feeling.

I started to write a lot more, but it was rambling and I am sure this isn't the right place to air things out. Thank you for commenting.

I am interested in reading what you have written about so far. It looks like you have moved on to Ruby on Rails. I have considered trying that, but never have grown the balls to try it. Kind of stick with PHP and Perl now.

I hope to hear from you again. Take care.

I personally read the line as you having a smiley face. I could just picture you saying that in your way with a smirk. "well someone has to respond to your ramblings."

I understand that I will be associated with the incident and I wish that I wasn't. I, we(Charlie and myself) were told that you wanted out and that you sent an email asking to be bought out. What happened from there was between you too.

I definitely want to stay on the cutting edge and am always trying. I have started looking at Rails in the past and am not sure why I didn't proceed.

I have tried to stay plugged into this social networking thing, watching tech podcasts and just staying in the loop. Using Twitter I find myself looking at all sorts of fun links that people post. And staying tuned in to the latest things available, like Google Chrome, and other information.

I will read this PDF for sure. I like the aquasun site. Good job. Do you all of the programming still, or are you part of a team?

You and Charlie got the correct story, but the devil is in the details. We did 800K in sales in my time there (not counting eBay). Not groundbreaking, but not peanuts. My buyout was done in a exploitative way because I was in no position to do anything about it because signed agreements were always "just around the corner". To me, my deep respect for this person was all the contract I needed. I guess he didn't need to give me anything, but the pittance given was more of an insult than anything. Maybe he didn't see the full potential at the time and was not willing to invest. He could not have gotten where he is today with the site without full-time staff. He wasn't ready to be big yet, maybe I was lazy and did bad work

Unfortunately, since then I have approached every situation with C.Y.A. in mind and it can really screw with the way you pursue new projects.

This is the last time I will bring up this topic.

Feel free to delete this comment as this is a personal/business blog.

Change is hard, especially when you are so familiar with one type of language. It is also harder to find the benefit in migrating to a new platform. It was easier for me because the project was fresh and I wanted to try something new.

I still haven't really done much with the social network thing. I have a hard
time seeing these things as a productive use of time (not that I use my time well anyway).

The PDF is big, but after the first few pages, you will be hooked. I sorta like the site, it is only been launched for a month. There is some AJAX sprinkled in there that Rails makes very accessible. The real magic is in the backend: ebay API, ebay store, google shopping, etc…

At the end of the day it is still e-commerce. I would rather be writing something else, but it pays the bills.

I am the only coder, but I have Lee and Charlie on my team. Rails does such a good job separating logic from HTML that designers can write their own views without much help from me. We don't have to code, design, then integrate as much. I can code logic and hand the design off to them for most of the integration.

I should have put a smiley face after my first sentence as I wasn't using "rambling" in a negative light. I had read all your posts and to me blogging is rambling mostly because nobody is really listening; not to little guys like us anyway.

You have every right to be disappointed or super-pissed. For what I did to you, I am truly sorry and I hope I can make it right one day. This doesn't change my opinion about the other person. Even with many years and a clear head to consider what happened I still feel very wronged. Unfortunately, you were attached to this incident and will forever be associated with it in my mind.

I know you always wrote good, modular code, so maybe you have found your sweet spot with PHP and Perl, but since you do write good code, trying Rails is a MUST.

Grab this and soak it in:

Plus, you gotta stay on the cutting edge of this stuff. There is a lot going on out there and learning new stuff keeps you fresh and gives you different ways to look at problems. Finding myspace (bleh!) late is ok, but don't miss Rails

Current Rails project:

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Have you looked into using Twitter? It really can be addicting. Then there is, which lets you post in one place and have it automatically post to a bung of others (Twitter, pownce, plurk, etc…)

I like the social networking in a sense that I keep up to date. I follow mostly tech people and they are constantly throwing out links to the latest and greatest. I decided to do the social networking thing because of many of the podcasts that I watch/listen to. I started by following the hosts there and have built it up from there. If you don't watch podcasts already, I highly suggest checking out and for some of my favorites.

I am not sure what your plans for are in the long run, but I do have an invite code for Intense Debates if you would like one. I know you are not into social networking, but that is how I have built my little following. I have a couple of people that do come here when I post new topics.

I started reading the PDF a little. I really want to print it out, but it is so big. But reading print is so much easier.

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