About MeI was born in Coulee Dam, Washington, but my family soon moved to warmer climes (Santa Barbara, CA). I stayed in California through college and some early jobs. In 1975, I accepted a contract in Washington DC, where I stayed for the next nine years, doing scientific programming.
In 1984, I returned to California,
where I live in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area
(on the ridge above Skyline Drive in San Bruno, to be precise)
with my spouse Vicki Brown and our
We like the area's climate, attitudes, and interests;
it would be difficult to get us to move anywhere else.
I have been programming computers for more than 35 years,
starting with a student account
on Stanford University's pioneering Wylbur timesharing system.
I have been a freelance computer programmer, consultant,
and small-scale entrepreneur since 1975.
During my career, I have:
- I wrote book reviews and two columns ("The Human Factor" and "The Internet Notebook") for UNIX Review (later known as Performance Computing).
- My "I/Opener" column appeared in SunExpert (later known as Server/Workstation Expert).
- My "Silicon Carny" column appeared in SunWorld Online magazine.
- I write occasional articles for MacTech magazine. I also write articles for assorted other venues (e.g., Daemon News) when the material is inappropriate for MacTech.
... worked with many operating systems, including CDC's "Drum Scope" for the 3100 and 3800, DEC's RT-11, TOPS-10, and VMS, IBM's DOS and OS 360, Classic Mac OS, and assorted flavors of "Unix".
Since 1983, I've stuck mostly with Unix (including assorted BSD and GNU/Linux variants). I was one of the earliest (and smallest :-) owners of the (then new) Sun Workstation (I had serial #285). My current desktop machine runs Mac OS X.
... written more than 200 columns and articles for professional and technical magazines:
... developed and presented courses on "Introductory Awk", "Advanced Awk and Shell Scripting", and "Berkeley UNIX System Administration". The courses resulted in business trips to Finland in 1985 and to Ireland in 1987 (Cool!).
... founded the Washington DC chapter and served on the Board of the ICCA (Independent Computer Consultants Association). I also helped to start up the Sun User Group, edited some early SUGtapes, and served on the SUG Board for a decade.
... worked on a variety of satellite-based astronomy projects at the Space Science Division at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. These included the High Energy Astronomy Observatory (HEAO) A-1, Solar Maximum Mission (SMM), and SolRad HI.
... developed numerous software packages, reviewed copious documentation, answered technical support requests, and been otherwise useful to organizations such as Apple, Compression Labs, LucasFilm, Motion Analysis Systems, and Sun Microsystems.
... programmed in many languages, including several assembly languages, C/C++, COBOL, Fortran, Icon, Lisp, Pascal, PostScript, Prolog, Ruby, and various "native" Unix scripting languages (e.g., awk, sed, sh). Most of my current programming, however, is done in Perl.
Prime Time FreewareI founded and operated Prime Time Freeware, which published books, CD-ROMs, and ebooks on Open Source (aka libre) software. PTF's products included books and software collections on several Apple-related topics (e.g., MacPerl, MkLinux, Darwin), along with AI, TeX, and Unix freeware.
Meta ProjectMy continuing "cause" is the Meta Project, a proposed system that would integrate documentation and system metadata on Unixish systems. If adopted widely, Meta could ease maintenance, increase security, and generally improve administrators' and developers' lives.
The Meta Demo (www.openresource.com/Meta/mdhelp.html) shows off an interesting and useful subset of the project. I have also experimented with assorted "desktop" subsets of Meta, using both Cocoa- and HTML-based user interfaces. I am currently working on a version that is based on Ruby, Rails, etc.