Sieben Dinge


Ack! I got tagged!
Planet has been awash in this meme the last few days, so I’ll try to make mine short. Or interesting. Well… one of those, at least.
In roughly chronological order:

  1. I was born without a hip socket, a congenital birth defect that wasn’t diagnosed until I was 17 months old and everyone started wondering why I hadn’t started walking.
    They fixed it by breaking the hip bone—no high-impact plastics or metal here!— and letting the socket create itself as it healed. The body cast I was in for four months was a “minor” side-effect. Good times!
    I do have a scar; my mother was relieved that it started out about an inch long, but it grew along with my leg.
    No, you can’t see it.
  2. As a junior and senior in high school, I was a reporter and columnist for the local newspaper.
    I wrote about a number of things which made me a class and high school administration favorite, including articles on unconstitutional searches, district-wide attendance rules which were not in accordance with state education law, and asking my girlfiend-of-the-time to prom.
    (That last one got the most reader feedback of all of my columns.)
  3. I spent the last three years of college on disciplinary probation.
    To make a long story short: When asked for it, I gave some not-so-glowing feedback on a new set of “responsible use” policies the campus IT department was drafting. Unrelated to this, I ran a port scan (woo nmap!) from my dorm to locate a company server I was working on at the time (I was scanning for an open ssh port).
    The IT department used this event to put my tits in the proverbial ringer (in the parlance of our times). And unrelated to that, the experience uncovered a lot of illegal behavior by the University’s Judicial Affairs.
    I was eventually “convicted” in a campus kangaroo court where the “judge” conveniently turned out to be the same professor who had written the exact policy I had been charged with breaking.
    There’s an [embarrassingly] dated website chronicling the whole event, including MP3s from the all judicial hearings (holy crap did they hate when I posted those!) I was also on the news a couple of times.
    I still get emails every so often from current students who find the website and want to tell me about how they’re being railroaded by Judicial Affairs.
  4. The same year I was “convicted,” I wrote a web application that over 40% of the 15,000+ students at my university ended up using to get slots in perpetually impacted courses.
    The system was called CRASH: Cal-Poly Robot-Assisted Scheduling Helper.
    My bachelor’s thesis covered the history of the application. The university ran the service using my code for a couple quarters, the [awful, but functional] code was then open sourced, and about a year after I left, the University implemented the features directly within their registration system, due to outcry from students and professors.
  5. Like a few others apparently, I am a licensed pilot: airplane single engine land (ASEL) type rating with a high performance endorsement (but sadly, no instrument rating… yet).
    A lot of people know that; what you may not know is that I got interested in it because I originally wanted to be an air-traffic controller. I didn’t go that route because I became interested in it during my last year in college and couldn’t justify wasting a perfectly fine computer science degree to go push tin.
    I also couldn’t justify the federal government dictating where I’d be living based upon its opaque staffing needs.
  6. I got started in Mozilla (and coincidentally my career path) in a pretty random way: I was 17 and perusing photos posted from the first Mozilla party and I kept seeing a person in these photos that looked interesting.
    I randomly started conversing with them via email. As we chatted more about what I was doing—sysadmin at an ISP and a contractor—they offered me an internship at Netscape over that summer. It was on the client product engineering build team.
    I learned a ton of lessons while I was there about life, love, and the pursuit of a repeatable, sustainable build and release engineering process. I know a lot of software engineers find it perverse, but I feel in love.
    Searching Bonsai with a regular expression of “preed” is imminently embarrassing.
  7. I have a guilty little pleasure that when people hear it, they tend to think “Wow… this guy is super nerdy and quite possibly somewhat insane…”
    Mixing—ha ha—two skills in life I wish I had, but don’t, I blend electronica music air traffic control to make… interesting music.
    I enjoy it for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which that as a pilot, it’s good practice to listen to (and decode) that stuff. Electronica tends to ebb and flow, so it lends itself well to what you find in air traffic control transmissions as well.
    I also find it great music when I need to multitask and do a lot of [typically build-related] work simultaneously: I find it easy to work to, I find myself working faster, and it puts me in the right mindset to complete tasks succinctly and correctly, lest I smack packets carrying precious bits into each other.
    You may think it’s weird, but I have a few fans on the Internet who’ve discovered it and pester me for more mixes; one of them is a Mozilla Corp. QA’er.
    If you’re curious, listening to the first ten minutes of this will give you a pretty good idea.

Since this has been bouncing around PMO for awhile now, I’m going to point the finger at other people, many of whom work on Mozilla-related apps and technology, but some of whom who don’t and are just awesome people:

  1. John Gaunt: He used to have my job, but he got promoted to Bugzilla Janitor and Programmer Lie Detector
  2. Ali Rayl: I can’t seem to find her blog, so maybe she’ll tweet seven things we don’t know; but she spends her days making sure the Bird doesn’t suck and letting us know when it does…
  3. Nick Kreeger – Just call him “DJ Fail
  4. Rob Lord: Chief Birder; beyond his eclectic decorating tastes (which I’m more-than-slightly jealous of), I know I know 7 things about him, but I also know there are way more than 7 things I don’t know about him.
  5. Adam Fritzler: Adam does a lot of things (great photography among them) but will never be able to escape what he did first (if you’re chatting on AIM using anything but AOL’s client right now, you owe him).
  6. James Castañeda: James taught me that urban planning is a lot like programming, except it uses heavier things (like steel and concrete) and “refactoring” is slightly more “involved.”
  7. Mark Chen: Mark (via the
    FDA) [among other things] makes sure your spinach isn’t covered in poo. (He’s also a first-class recycler!)