About

This is going to be my outlet to express my thoughts on many subjects. I anticipate that it will mostly be about programming and the things I am doing in that area but I also tend to have interests in many other areas as well, especially politics, the third rail of social content as it were. So, expect to see some ranting about political issues. Try to remember that these are my views and I share them to let other like minded people out there know that at least I have similar views. I will gladly entertain other viewpoints and I am willing to discuss most things and may even change my views based on such discussions. I would also hope that others would be open minded enough to risk having their views changed. I hope that it never turns to anything more than a good-natured discussion so that we can avoid heated arguments. That would be the nature of things I write and I reserve the right to just eliminate argumentative comments although I hope it never comes to that. This does not just apply to politics. I am sure that I have ways that I do things with respect to programming that may cause others to adopt them and I am just as sure that I may get a comment from someone that starts a discussion that could eventually alter the way I do things. My point is that I will write things because I want to share my experiences and hope that they result in learning opportunities for myself as well as others. In addition to programming and politics I enjoy such subjects as gardening, self sufficiency, home renovations, travel and business ideas to name a few. A little background about me and the sub heading of this blog:

I started working at about age 11 with a paper route. I also did a lot of yard work for neighbors and soon had both a morning and afternoon route in addition to a lot of odd jobs. I was fortunate enough to get yard work for a plumber and an electrician and soon was able to learn a good bit about those trades because my yard work lead to them offering me opportunities to “gopher ( go for this or that )” and that lead to more and more opportunities to do more work for them which offered great learning opportunities. This lead to meeting other tradesmen and I learned about carpentry, framing, roofing, foundations and masonry as well. By the time I was 17 I had a well rounded education in handyman type work. I then found my way into factory work and found that there were so many things to learn about. A few years of learning a job, getting bored of it and moving on to another soon resulted in my having done so many jobs and learning many things. One thing I learned was that I did not like factory work all that much, but for a few years I did some factory work in the winter and outside work in the spring, summer and fall. In my early twenties I married and a short time later we had a son. This made me take stock of my life and I decided I would go to college and try to take all that construction experience and turn it into a career as a civil engineer. This lead to an “Introduction to computers” class followed by a Fortran class and I was hooked. I changed my major and I have worked as a programmer since graduating in 1984. But, my other interests still have an impact on my life. In 2000 I helped my mother in her effort to start a real estate school by becoming one of her first students in a class of several people. I got my salesperson license and worked as an exclusive buyer agent nights and weekends for a while. I eventually got my brokers license and even attempted to start my own agency in an area where buyer agency was not yet prevalent. That did not work out, but I still maintain an interest in real estate and may turn back to it in later years as a retirement income source. As for the construction skills I learned, I have put them to use over the years doing many remodeling projects on the homes I have owned, and will likely continue to do so.

One thing I do recall from those early years. There were terms used to define certain people that worked deliberately at their skill. A Millwright is a person who builds and maintains machinery and a Wainwright or Cartwright is a person who builds and maintains wagons or carts and has been applied in recent times to this practicing woodworking skills. I figure that a programmer that really enjoys working with the code and crafting solutions to problems should also have a “term” to be known by and I found one…

Codewright! One who crafts solutions with code. I know this is the name of a product from the 1990s that was used to develop software but I think it fits as a term for those people that develop software at the coding level. I had also considered codesmith which would be along the lines of wordsmith, but I like the sound of codewright better, as it lends itself to the meaning of one who writes code, but suggests a craftsman or artisan type nature to the work.

I am a software developer that started in a Cobol shop in 1984 in a TurboDos on top of CPM environment. I have done many things since then and I really enjoy learning new things every day. I am a very firm believer in open source and try very hard to share what I know because it was through the good nature of others sharing their knowledge that I went from Cobol to DataFlex to Clarion to C to Perl to Java to PHP; picking up CSS, javascript, HTML and many other skills along the way. This journey also introduced me to Unix, Xenix, Linux, Aix, OS X, Windows, Netware and AS400 environments. I am constantly trying to learn new things to further broaden my skill level. Over the years I have done a lot of “magic” with the various unix style scripting utilities as well as learning to set up web servers (Apache/Nginx) and database servers (MySQL/PostgreSQL) on linux servers using such distros as Fedora, Ubuntu and CentOS. I am currently an OSX fan and I think that OSX is the perfect marriage between the UI of a Windows type environment and the command line functionality and strength of the Linux world. Out of all of this, and so much more that I am forgetting to mention, Cobol is the only “code” I have done professionally which was learned in a formal school environment and even then most of what I crafted from it was learned after I graduated through self taught learning. All the others were certainly learned on my own with the help of colleagues and the open source community. My whole career/life has been about learning.

The need to manage code lead to learning about repositories and the use of SCCS, SVN and most recently GIT. Along the way I have also learned many skills such as project management, SDLC methodologies like SCRUM, test driven and/or behavior driven development and continuous integration. I have learned best practices for writing code in general and have transitioned from a procedural approach to an object oriented development style with an understanding of the differences and when to use one over the other. I have learned that there is merit in using frameworks as well as rolling your own. It is through “working” with code that I have learned to apply many of my other “life skills” to the practice of developing code. The most important one being the idea of continually learning and making adjustments because time stands still for nothing and the only thing you can truly count on is change. I suppose that it is the effort of trying to keep up with change that inspires me to learn and drives me to seek out learning opportunities in all areas of my life. I am constantly trying to learn new things or the latest about the things I have interests in. I also tend to enjoy learning about the past almost as much as, if not more than, the “here and now”. I enjoy learning about so many things like politics, self sufficiency, new adventures, do it yourself skills, cultures, philosophies, beliefs and just about anything…

Given that this desire for learning is actually a part of my whole life, I suppose it was through learning that I have become a “worker” of code, a Codewright!

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