To quote 24601, who am I?
The main relevant bits are that I am a software engineer (or developer, programmer, whatever you want to call it), with about three ahd a half decades of professional experience in a wide variety of languages, system, techniques, and domains. For the past several years, I have been focusing mainly on Ruby, both on and off Rails. Now I'm trying to get away from the "selling time" hamster-wheel and into more "real value-adding consulting" -- if not in an advisory capacity then at least bringing my experience to bear on what the client needs by way of software I can develop, instead of just taking their orders.
But that's just the dry boring bits. An "About Me" page is for more than that. So let's see what questions you might want answered.
How did you get into software development?
It started in high school, Way Back When. They had just bought a row of TRS-80 Model Is, which I could play play with when the class wasn't using them. Just for fun, I taught myself BASIC, wrote some little games, and was soon tutoring the kids taking the class (which I wasn't).
The next year, I went to college as an Electrical Engineering major. By the time I had to officially declare a major, I had played around with their assorted much larger computers, taught myself a few more languages, enjoyed it (more than I enjoyed EE), and if I may toot my own horn, got pretty good at it (at least, much better than I was at EE). So, I transferred to Computer Science, and never looked back. I consider myself one of those lucky souls who found his calling early in life.
Most of my early career, from the mid-1980s to late 2000s, was in plain old C. (Very little C++, which wasn't even invented until two years in, and C# hadn't even been invented until about 2000. I did do some Pro*C, though.) I had taught myself many other languages over the years, including Java, but I had never managed to land much serious work in Java. A couple small projects, yes, but not big projects, let alone a job mainly using it.
By the time BAE Systems ran low on contracts and laid me off in 2009, Java seemed to be about 80% of the job ads. But there were so many Java people that if you didn't already have five years of solid hard-core paid Java (this was before most employers got a clue about Open Source experience), you just weren't getting any Java work, at least above entry-level. That made me feel like some kind of dinosaur, going obsolete. I seemed stuck in what I called "the Plain Old C Rut", though perhaps a tar-pit might be more fitting.
Later, a friend suggested I start a blog to show off my expertise in more modern languages, mainly Ruby, and thereby land serious work in them. I combined that feeling with "code" and came up with the name Codosaurus. When I decided to go freelance, I thought it would make a great name for that, so I used it, moving the blog to a subdomain.
Why "mainly Ruby"?
Ruby is the first programming language I actually like. Most of them I can take or leave, and some I'd much prefer to leave. I'll leave out the geeky reasons why I like the language itself. It also has a wonderfully warm and welcoming community around it, highly influenced by the motto MINASWAN, meaning "Matz Is Nice And So We Are Nice". ("Matz" is Yukihiro Matsumoto, creator of Ruby.)
Since Ruby is so easy to learn, and Rails is so productive, I think the same thing will happen as did with Java. (See 'Why "Codosaurus"?', above.) I missed the Java boat, and do not want to miss the Ruby yacht.
Enough with the geeky stuff. What else do you do?
It may also count as "geeky", but I'm active in Mensa, specifically Metropolitan Washington Mensa, usually going to a few parties each month. (Yes, parties. Just because we're smart doesn't mean we're stuffy.) I was Publications Officer from 2009 to 2011, winning a national award in the Publication Recognition Program, and have been MWM's webmaster since then.
I also hone my communication and leadership skills with the also somewhat geeky Toastmasters International, specifically Fairfax Toastmasters. I've held all club-level offices, been Webmaster at every level from Club to District, been Club Founder, Area Governor, Division Bard, and District Poet, won many contests (Speech, Humorous Speech, Evaluation, and Table Topics) at the Club or Area level, and earned Advanced Communicator and Leader awards (Bronze level in each), but I'm currently a bit behind in my speechifying -- and thinking of starting over, with the new Pathways program.
On lighter notes, I'm married to a brilliant cutie, am owned by two cats, and enjoy dark malty beers, smoky whiskies, good food of practically any cuisine, horrible puns, playing guitar, hiking, and shooting targets.