bout Steve

1965 - born in Seattle
   Swedish Hospital in Ballard.  Mom called me a fuzzy duckling gosh.
   Parents met at summer camp, married at 21, had me then 2 sisters.
   Dad: teacher, Mom: secretary

1966 - Packwood
   Dad's first teaching job.
   Grandpa built us a house in the sticks with a view of Mt Rainier.
   Neighbor was a dairy farmer.  I milked a few cows with my Dad - scary.
   Often got lost.  Almost died in a frozen lake.  You know, country stuff.

1970 - 1st grade
   Dad decided we'd be missionaries in Japan.

   Road trip through churches in California to raise support (ask for money).
      Sang "Happiness is the Lord" in front of a LOT of churches.

   Road trip to Illinois.  Lived there while my Dad got a principal cert.
      Had a grand piano at the house we stayed at.
      Back then you watched a lot of TV and got into trouble outside.
      Hit Yellowstone on the way back to Seattle.

1971 - 2nd,3rd grade
   At Osaka Christian School where my Dad was principal of a
      one house, 2 room school for grades 1-12 for missionary kids.
      He taught 7-12, My teacher (Ms. Hertz) taught 1-6.

      School had 2 big fields.  (probably previously rice patties).
         with butterflies, weird beetles, frogs, ants.  ^^^Frog.

   Got to school on the back of my Dad's teeny motorcycle and walked home.
      Played in huge rice field hay piles on the way home.

   Japanese culture was pretty shocking.
      Everything extremely compact and weird.  Especially bathrooms.
      Candy and toy complexity and variety blew me away.
      Porn: two story posters at movie theaters.  Ads in grocery stores.
      Buddist/Shinto shrines/temples and neighborhood festivals and parades.
      Swimming pool complexes the size of about 8 x 8 city blocks.
         Huge loop pool with water jets to make a current.

   Lived in old converted army base housing.
      Had an upright piano.

   Summer vacations at the warm sea in tents and cabins.
   Everywhere I went I heard "Gaijin Da" - meaning "there's a white dude"
                                                   (ok, "foreigner over there")<

1973 - 4th grade
   Back to Seattle cuz of my Dad's manic depression.
      One year of cub scouts and the shock of American grade school.
      Then somehow we got to go back to Japan - no idea why.
   Learned electronics a bit cuz
      my Dad would stop at Radio Shack with his free battery card.  So I got
      Electronic components on cardboard schematic graphics.
      Connected to springs to slip wires into.
      Electronics 101 in a box for kids.
      Radio Shack used to be the coolest place in the world.  Now not so much.

1974 - 5th,6th grade
   Took my sister on the back of my bike and then 2 trains to new school.
      Lost my sisters occasionally.
      They usually showed up pretty quick on the video surveilance
      of the train platforms.
   Took an interest in math and
      Japan had much cooler electronic project sets.
      Wayyy better transformers - turned into more than cars, had magnets.
   Saw my first calculator.  That was a BIG DEAL for me.

1976 - Whitman Junior High in Seattle
   Yeah, my Dad had another manic episode and no more Japan for us.
   Good little Christian Steve was thrown in with the swearing pot smokers.
      Was surprised that all these kids didn't know they were going to hell.
         ...I changed my ways pretty fast and joined them.
      Was verrry shy.  Had 2 best friends, and few others.
      Went to church till part way through college.
         Was done deciding on atheism before high school, though.
         I'd read all the bible, memorized literally hundreds of verses.
         For me, God did not compute.  Error.  Kinda freaked out my family.

   Popular Electronics was a GREAT magazine.
      Learned about integrated circuits, soldering and breadboards from it.
      Favorite project was a dice display with red LEDs that would "roll" while
      you held a pushbutton.
      Also, blinking sequence of LEDs in a line.

   Breadboards minimized the soldering (which I suck at).

   My most advanced project was a shift adder.
      Pushing a button 8 times did a binary add with carry of
         each LED "binary digit".
      This is how computers add bytes.
      And how they subtract bytes.  (Adding the 2s complement is subtracting)
      And subtracting bytes lets you compare bytes
         negative?  do one thing.  positive?  do another.
         the most rudimentary part of all IF statements.
      So that's electrons making a decision - thought occuring in wires.

   I stole my Atari 2600 from the Bon Marche downtown.  On the highway to hell.
      I still threw away a HUGE FORTUNE in quarters playing
      Pac Man, Space Invaders, Asteroids, Dig Dug, Pole Position, Tempest,
      Centipede, Galaga, etc in the arcades with my buddy Richard.
      At least I learned ONE thing:
         games are a big waste of time and keep you from writing code.

   First software I wrote was for calculators
      MINE was a hp16c!  Converted between ALL number bases.
      Reverse Polish Notation and sequences of calculator ops - that was
         my intro to software

1979 - Ingraham Highschool
   First job!  Dishwasher=>Cook at the Omelette House by the zoo.
      Worked here till college.

   Real computers entered my life at school.
   Commodore Pet

   TRS 80 Model 3 (Tandy Radio Shack)

      When I first laid eyes on the Pet, I was hooked.
      I RAN for it and sat there wondering what to do.
      The 5 other kids I had to share it with wanted to turn it ON and
      I think one guy actually knew how to.  But I wouldn't let him.
      I just sat there staring in wonder.

      I learned the wierd dialects of Commodore and TRS 80 BASIC.
      Had casette tape drives for storing programs.
         Loading programs back wasn't a thing that always happened.
         Took quite some time to load a 2K program.
      PETs had no graphics mode - just a 40 x 25 text grid to print * in.
      TRS 80s had a 128 x 48 graphics mode by
         dividing a character (64 x 24) into quarters.

   I was taking geometry and could use the COS and SIN functions to plot out
      circles and sin curves.  Polar equations for a rotating line!
      I was able to put math on the screen - pretty cool.
   Still no printing.

1981 - mid high school
   my OWN first computer!  No more electronics for ME!  Timex Sinclair ZX81

      I hooked it to my TV and an old casette deck.
      Learned why it's important to have a BACKUP after plenty of retyping.

   More RAM

      2K was a little cramped.
      New 32K battery backed expansion pack.
      Bump it even slightly, and FZZZ - reboot.
      At least boot time was zero back then.

   I learned about "screen memory" - the grid of memory that you could
      use "poke" and "peek" to set and get the screen characters.
      Could do 64 x 48 (black and white) block graphics.

   Read through TONS of books and magazines.
   Learned Z80 assembly language to control ALL.  Basic was for wimps.
      Drew a shrinking square flipped onto the screen memory in FAST mode.

1983 - graduating high school
   The Commodore 64 was within my price range.
      But I stole it from the Bon Marche, too.
      Another BASIC dialect at which i scoffed.
      Learned it's 6510 assembly language immediately (a 6502 variant).
      Read Compute, C64 Gazette, and Dr Dobbs Journal magazines.
      Magazines of the time were REALLY GOOD!  (no internet yet.)

   Plenty of memory (64K of which, umm, was it 24K was usable)
      I learned the different graphics modes and the SID sound synthesizer.
      It had sprites, dual mode graphics capabilities via
         split screens occuring on raster interrupts.
      I spent sooo much of my life learning about this machine.
      I don't regret it.

   I went from the tape drive to the disk drive.
      I bought a mouse for it when they came out and scoffed at it.
      (It's just a lame joystick, right?)

   I could finally PRINT stuff!
      Fanfold paper with feeder strips on the side to rip off.
      I could see my 66 lines of code on a page!
      The screen was 24 lines, 40 columns - eye MURDER.

1984 - University of Washington - aiming for Computer Science major
   I got IN!  It was big and fancy and I felt pretty proud of myself.
      But I was lost in a sea of people I didn't know.
      (and would never know - too shy.)

   Summer job in Cordova, AK
      flipping fish onto the 1 lb can line.  All Summer :(
      16 hour days filled with smelling fish, standing up, not much else.
         Got to see a glacier up close.
      did this for 4 summers.  Worked at burger places between.
      There were a lot of Mormons.  We discussed atheism at length.

   VAX computers...
      Interesting, but was not a fan.  The weird terminals were terrible.
      At least it kept each edit of a file as a new version.

   Pascal, then Modula 2
      Had to do commenting and modularizing which I did not see the point of.
      If it works, it works, right?
      OH!!  So you can understand it LATER.  Good point.
      I learned the one true way to indent, too.

   THEN they brought in the Apple Macintosh.  All jaws dropped hard.
      I refused to admit that it was better than my C-64.  But it was.
      But I'd never be able to afford one of those.  (Till 1995)

   The 20 minutes in computer lab were no thrill.  But I had my C-64.
   Wrote a text editor: NEd (Nifty text EDitor).  All 6502 assembly.
      load "*",8,1     booted it up off the floppy disk.
      It took about 3K of memory (at $C000)

   Wrote cool graphics programs with NEd.
      Had a start on music on the C-64, but kind of minimal.
      Just playing a melody.  Trying out "ring modulation", etc.

   Expanded NEd into Ward.  (word processor for college papers.)

   Mom finally divorced my Dad (his manic depression).
      Life got a LOT less stressful for me.  Manic depression is brutal.

   Talked to advisor about majoring in Computer Science.
      He saw my 3.10 GPA and asked me about majoring in Sociology or
      some other stupid crap.
      Good DAY to you sir.  I'm a computer programmer.  Started SPU.

1986 - Seattle Pacific University
   Yeah, this place was costing me hard, but at least they had PCs !!
   (clones !)
      I scoffed at the IBM PC.  It was nothing to my C-64!
      My courses forced me to use them.

   Turbo Pascal was on em!  And there were plenty!  Like 20-ish.
      Turbo Pascal had an editor built right in.  And it was FAST!
      WAY less hitting ENTER and such.
      They had a PDP8 Unix mini that I never touched.

   Mr. Tindal filled me in on Int 21.
      BIOS interrupts - the way to make MSDOS actually do something.
      You could read the disk, write the disk, display text on the screen,
      get into GRAPHICS mode...

      Learned to make printers do graphics using escape sequences.
      HUGE pixel resolution compared to screens.

      Mr. Tindal introduced me to this new language, too.
      Almost as good as assembly language.  Turned out to be better.
      Took me several years to quit assembly due to my C-64 needing it.

   80x86 assembly
      Learned it for accessing hardware.  But memory was segmented - ugh.
      I used it with C to keep my source code more compact.
      I learned the graphics adapters of the time:
         Hercules, CGA, that killer EGA, VGA.

      Took a course or two about SQL.  RBase...  EeeeYUCK!
      Storing data is dumb.  Put it in a file and be done with it.

   Senior computer science project
      Me and 2 other guys wrote a Forth interpretter that actually worked.
      TONs of hours of writing and testing it.
      Found out testing truly sucks when you've got a deadline.

   Job at "Berta-Max"
      A small Mom n Pop educational software company.
      Owned by Max and his wife, Berta.  Best job I've ever had, I think.

      got my hands on the infamous Apple II, TRS Color Computer, and IBM PC.
      Got hired because I knew the C-64 and an employee.
      Apple II was kinda lame and I didn't mess with it much.

      Used Turbo Pascal (versions 4,5,6 and 7) on the IBM PC
      BASIC on Commodore and Apple.

      All hooked to Echo speech synthesizer box.
      I spent months piecing together phonemes to make it sound right.
      (And building the associated editing apps in Turbo Pascal, etc.)
      Built a cool little slinky screen that'd sound out words and such.

   Figured out how to make the ibm pc's speaker squeal.
      Using 80x86 assembly.

1988 - BS Computer Science
   and a NEW home computer: Amiga500 - The new love of my life.
      Had wrung the C64 dry.  Was almost ready to buy a CLONE - horrors!
      $600 for the CPU, $400 for the monitor.
      Bought TV tuner to see TV on it's monitor.
      A =MEG= of RAM!  3.5" disk drive!  Mouse and a keyboard like the clones'
      Superb graphics and sampled sound better than the Mac.

   Amiga could multitask !!
      Several modules to the OS.  A user interface called Intuition.
      Had several sweet graphic modes - defaulting to 4 color 320x200 pixels.
      Could do a full 4096 colors 640 x 400 in "hold and modify" interlace mode.
      Could split screen and do 2 graphics modes at once

   Learned 68000 assembly language - very nice.
   Bought Lattice C compiler: $250.
      Ran it off floppy for 2 years.  Painful.
      Saved up BIG bucks required for a hard drive.  $600 for 15 Megs!
      Rewrite of NEd in C.
      Took a looong time to learn the Amiga OS.  A loooooong time.

   Lots of magazines and books (still no internet.)
      This one -sucked- but there were plenty that didn't.

   GUI programming sucked.  (called "Gadgets" on the Amiga)
      Wrote a program called CLIed meaning "CLI in the past tense".
      (CLI was the Amiga "command line interface" - dos)
      File manager operated by the mouse.
      Was jealous after seeing Norten Utilities on the clones.

      REXX language for the Amiga which i learned just after
      coming across it on IBM VM/CMS at my first "real job".

1989 - Boeing
   Took me 2 years of searching.  Being shy is bad for the job hunt.
   My buddy Dwight from church got me in.
   Finally made enough to move out into an apartment circa 1991.

   Learning how businesses used computers.  A big let down...
      Mainframes.  Databases.  EeeeYUCK !!

   IBM VM/CMS operating system.  (Kid sister to IBM MVS)
      Virtual Machine/Conversational Monitoring System - like that means a lot.
      IBM's try at being like MS/DOS - very weird.

      Learned these at school but hoped to never use them.  Nope.  Used em.

   Oracle 4.
      Learned SQL.  Pretty stupidly simple.  Longwinded like COBOL.
      Did not realize that THIS would keep me heartily employed forever.

      After a while I learned that this crappy OS (compared to my Amiga)
         =hooked together= lots of users.
      Networking was a big deal in the business world.
      PROFS was our email system.  Everybody hated it, but we were all ON it.

   Really got into Oracle's new PL/SQL and this weird IBM VM/CMS.
      And REXX was a cool little "batch files on the mainframe" language.
      I tried to flee "real" MVS batch files and was mostly successful.

   C finally came out for VM/CMS.
      I switched our shop over to it as FAST as I could.
         Took LOTS of convincing!
      Compiler had bugs galore.
      No square brackets in EBCDIC (IBM's version of ASCII).
         Had to use "unbroken vertical bar" and "cents sign" chars for [ ]
      Rewrote NEd in C for MS/DOS to use it on my PC for editing code.
         MS/DOS had this wierd "IRMA" software to upload/download text files
         from pc to mainframe.

   Oracle 5 was the (new) backend.  VM/CMS "panels" were the front end.
      Oracle Forms could be used for front end, but NOT by me - EeeeYUCK.

      Went to a lot of Oracle training classes in the 90s.
      Oracle had Pro*C, Pro*COBOL, Pro*FORTRAN and Pro*REXX so that your app
         could embed SQL while showing the UI.
      I really liked Pro*Rexx - interpretted code running SQL :)
         No "pre compile" like the other languages.

      Oracle came out with Oracle Call Interface:  No precompile, just link!
      Wrote a C wrapper around it with built in debugging of the SQL and
         the GUI (VM/CMS panels, remember?)

   I could whip up a database system on VM/CMS so fast.
      Got me a raise or 3 :)
      My baby was FSS - "factory status system" for Industrial Engineering to
      track "jobs behind schedule" across the factory.
      Shamefully, it lasted long past the OS being completely obsoleted by PCs.<

   PC network arrived in the 90s, too.  UngermanBass!
      PCs and mainframes chattin, printing together, etc.
      Wrote some software to use IRMA to
         replace our existing mainframe based printing network.
         Including graphical charts.
         Then I learned of FTP - a PC, Unix, AND mainframe way to transfer files

   MS Windows finally arrived - Windows for workgroups (3.1)
      I was sceptical.  It was glitzy, though.  Disliked but grudgingly used it.

   While working at Boeing, I finally acquired a =LIFE= (became less shy)
      Met some friends.  Some of whom were female.
      Realized I'd better come across one of these for myself.
      All the ones at Boeing were taken.

   My sister had a baby girl.  I got the bug.

1992 - Boeing layoffs
   Tons of friends got kicked out.  I survived fine.
   It didn't seem right to hire and fire like that.

   Boeing also got boooring.  Stuck on mainframe while Unix was taking over.

   Gramma always told me I should play piano.
      I'd play single finger melodies I'd hear on McDonalds commercials.
      But never get both hands working at the same time.
      Had quit my one stab at lessons cuz my teacher was a jerk.
         (Might have been me.)

   Something new for my Amiga!
      Using MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface),
         PCs could =talk= to SYNTHESIZERS!
      Hook cables between em and BAM!
      A computer program could play the synth!

   Bought Bars&Pipes Professional - a midi sequencer
      This program could record/save/play/show songs on your Amiga and synth!
      HAD to try to build a similar program.  It's called PianoCheetah now.
      Used to call it MidiPlay.

   Got Kawaii Spectra KC10
      My first keyboard.  Nice sounds.  Quality organ style keyboard.
      Went searching for a synth that had better sounds.

   Got Yamaha TG-33 sound module
      Connected it via MIDI to my keyboard and Amiga.  Nicer sounds.
      Couldn't add =new= sounds like I could with my Amiga's 8 bit samples.
      Was a costly mistake, but I was making $19,200 a year - pfff who cares.

   Got Peavey DPM V3 sound module
      It could do "sample dump standard" to load in new samples!
      But 16 bit mono samples go slow thru midi cables at 31K baud.
      But I loved that sound module.

   Got Peavey SX sampler
      A 16 bit 24/48 KHz sampler  ...that I never used.

   Amiga was an octopus in my living room...
      monitor, keyboard, mouse, hard drive, floppy drive, printer
      modem (2400 baud!)
      midi interface
      sound sampler (24KHz 8 bit)
      picture digitizer hooked to video camera
      audio out to my stereo

      Took up an entire 6 foot long table
         Not including my stereo and Spectra keyboard...
         These sprawled across the living room of my lonely apartment.

   MidiPlay and MidiComp.
      these were my new laser focus in coding.
      Hooked to my new fully weighted 76 key Ensoniq KS-32

      Good piano sounds on it (the rest sucked.)
      But it was a good solid keyboard.  My Peavey V3 made the sounds.

   Met a girl, with a girl (almost a year old) and a boyfriend.
      She hated the boyfriend, moved in with me, and WHAM!
      No room for my Amiga!

      Quite a bit happens when a woman and a little girl enter your life.
      Especially at the same time !

      Tearing myself away from Carissa was the hardest thing I've ever ever done
      as Kathy gave her old boyfriend another shot about 6 months in.
      ...But I knew Kathy's sister

   Realized I had to say goodbye to my Amiga.
      Not just due to girls.  Commodore had gone out of business.
      No more upgrades meant the OS was truly and utterly DEAD.

      Dark Ages of my programming past began...  Bright ages of my life, though.

      bought Mac Classic.  A fresh OS to play with.
      Couldn't find source code for doing midi on AOL.  (internet was young)
      I finally came across some but then...

1995 - ClairCom
   Boeing's low pay finally got me lookin elsewhere.
   My DBA called me up from a place called Claircom, about to be bought by AT&T.
   Started working downtown in the Gateway Tower => Key Tower.

   Now I was a contractor.  I converted to employee a couple years in.
   Later, I'd be one again for a looong time.

   Had a PC at my new job with 2 =gigs= of disk !!
      AND a Sun Unix box ON my desk !!
      Unix and Win95 hit me like a ton of bricks and I was in love.
      My poor mac died of neglect.  As it should have.
         Still have it's bag for storing cables.

   While my home computer had died, my life was taking off again.
      Two new work OSs and a job billing for telephones on an airplane network.
      My work was no longer boring ass.
         What's a CDR ??
         What's RF, a switch, T1, who are these marketting crazies ??

   Life blows up
      Closed on a 2 bedroom house.
      Got back together with Kathy & Carissa.
      Connor happened.
      Got married.
      So a 4 yr old and baby in a 2 bedroom...  Plus brand new crazy job.

   1995.  A very big year for us.  I was an us now.

1996 - Claircom became "AT&T Wireless' Aviation Communication Division"
   Windows NT !   Oracle 7 and 8 !
      Forms and Reports and PowerBuilder (that I tried to stay AWAY from).
      Informix.  Nothin compared to Oracle, but I learned it.
      Remedy...  Bleh.  But you gotta learn some boring stuff to get paid.

   Figured out a little more about business...
      Sure, yeah, networks, OSs, Databases, Applications.
      But there's also this stuff called
         Billing, Inventory, Marketing, Accounting, Human Resources, ...

      When a company is sized at about 200 people,
         you can see these pieces play out.

      Call Detail Records and Switches hooking to cellsites that
         control an RF connection to an airplane phones network.

      I was on the billing system.
         Solaris and Oracle and Pro*C and Forms and such.
         About 5 other folks working on it with me.
         Contractors built it.  We maintained it.
         We picked it all up when the contractors up'd their rates...

   Unfortunately, this airplane phone stuff was doomed.
      In 1995 when they installed the American Airlines MD-80 fleet,
         we saw our usage/revenue skyrocket.
      Thing is, it didn't keep going up and
      our expenses always kept us from profit:
         revenue share with the airlines was 33% of our take!
         paying to keep up long distance connections from
         150 cellsites scattered across the US to our central switch in Texas
         umm, very very costly...
      We never EVER made a profit in ANY quarter...

2000 - ClairCom starts shutting down
   A big layoff was coming my way.

   I'd learned Sun's Unix by now.
      Weird things like Perl, C++, and a buttload of 2 letter commands.
      But, eh, a pretty boring OS...
      Sure, it'll run a network and oracle and a webserver.
      But the user interface is basically not even THERE!
      I like Unix.  But only for work.

   Back to Windows95 at home !
      Yep.  I'd officially become a CLONE.
      It was hard to accept for a post-Amiga-ite...  HARD!
      And my kids were getting old enough to give me a teeeny bit of peace.
      Started back on my MIDI SEQUENCER called "Ditty".
         (Itty bitty MIDI sequencer)
      The 80x86 had grown past the horrid segmented architecture.
      And the Windows OS had a robust GUI compared to the Amiga's.
      Open up a dialog and pop in controls via a resource editor.
      It had threads and memory mapped files.

   Bought the MS C++ compiler and it came with MSDN.
      ALL the docs you could want right there !
      I really missed having a nice paper book, but at least I didn't have to
      GO GET em.  MSDN - truly remarkable.

   Figured out that MFC (main C++ GUI library) was a pile of crap.
      But one I could learn from.
      I rewrote all the good parts into my own library.
      A set of .h files of different GUI classes.
      On the Amiga, I'd started using C++ a little, but Windows was ALL C++.

      The windev email list and are what made me
      the windows developer I am today.

   By now, everyone in ClairCom knew we were going to die.
      Hung around until they shut the billing system down.
      It was just me and a DBA turning it off.  I have it's last CDR.


      Oh sure, why not sign up for cub scouts?  My son will have fun.

      Yeah, it's an evening of entertainment you have to plan out EVERY week.
      For years.
      But I have some deeep friendships from that that would help me
      survive my future divorce.

   Carissa becomes a teenager / Curt returns
      My home life was beautiful up until Carissa called up her bio-Dad.
      I'll spare you the details.

2002 - ClairCom is done
   During these boring ass days (at work),
      I learned Windows OS and continued with Ditty - C++ on Win32 API.
      Used my keyboard and a Soundblaster Live/Audigy PC synth on a card:

   Wifi and laptops started to become a thing.  A thing I liked.

   Started dinking around with a personal website, too.
      HTML - sheesh - messy.  Good thing there's perl.
      Javascript - ooo I can make blinky things.  Sheesh.

   When there were less than 20 ClairCom employees, I finally got booted.
   Layoff package paid for a new roof and more !
   A company died.  Kinda sad.  Kinda cool.  Weird experience.

2003 - Western Wireless
   2002 was =not= a good year for a job search.
   Had fun with the kids tho - plenty of swimming.

   Finally found Western Wireless.  Had to be a contractor.
   Commute to Factoria was UTTER HELL.  I'll never work at Microsoft.
                                        (Did you hear that, recruiters !!)
   Learned Oracle 9 and cell phones proper.
   BIG billing systems, QualComm BREW, and intro to what AmDocs is.
   Nice place.  But as soon as I got used to it
      I found a gig offering me a =much= higher rate...
      And that's what being a contractor is all about.

2004 - Tideworks
   Contract again.  Oracle Forms and PL/SQL

   Company moving the big shipping containers between ship, train, and truck.
   Huge inventory system needing to add billing capabilities.

   Never wanted to get good at forms.  But I did.  Now that it's outdated.
      Does so much at the outset.
      Yet is so painful when it comes to polishing the app.

   Got a lot more into the whole schedule driven thing.
      That's the life of a programmer...
      Deadlines and code versioning and standards, oh MY...

   Outsourcing had completed becoming a thing.
      I thought about trying some other job, especially between contracts.

      But NOPE writing code will always ROCK!

   Contract lasted a year and I was looking again.
      But that was no longer scary.  Just frustrating.
      I've learned so much at home that I can't put on my resume.
      I could fill so many c++ jobs, but, nope, no work experience.

2005 - Cingular / AT&T
   Sweet commute.  15 minutes door to desk.

   Contractor again.  =4= gigs seperated by layoffs.
      Ugh.  Contrator-ness is against my religion.  But I have no choice.

      But layoffs in the middle of summer are wonderful.
      And, eh, it's a living :)

   Now I'm in front of the billing.
      Mediation where everything gets collected from everywhere in prep
      for billing, fraud, usage analysis, etc.

   gig #1) Blue To Orange Conversion
      moving subscriber data out of the old AT&T billing systems into the
      new Cingular ones.  Just a bit of PL/SQL and Perl.

   gig #2) Mediation
      Learned CVS and got to try to get all the Mediation source code into one
      repository.  Not so fun.  But, eh, useful.  Lots of diff'ing perl code.
      Did MMS and IM code changes and reporting
      Oracle 11 now?  Not much better than 8 if you ask me...
         (I'm obviously not a DBA.)

   gig #3) Test env and production deployments
      All dev outsourced.
      Just some perl,PL/SQL for the test envs, writing boring ass SISs, and
      covering for the employees who always go on vacation.

   gig #4) Gizmo - writing front end website stuff now !
      Finally some coding again!  And a new learning curve.
      The Javascript, JQuery, and CSS on come in handy nowww.
      Web front ends are kinda silly.  But I'm cool with em.

   end of gigs - hired on fiiinally.
   Finally I'm done with the job descriptions - whew !!

2009 - Piano lessons and robotics and cell phones
   All this stuff happened in parallel with AT&T:

   Kids are getting older and I've finally got TIME for me again...

   Started piano lessons.
      Should have a long time ago.  Learning songs takes a LOT less time.

      New gear:
      Yamaha CP-33 (nice weighted piano)

      EdiRol PCR-800 (nice unweighted keys and sliders and pedals and knobs and)

      Connor never got into robotics club at high school, but I sure did.
      Robotic actuators and sensors.
      Embedded OS (usually Linux based) does it's thing.
      Building out complex actuators (arms, etc).
      Learning how to teach a high school kid.
      Quit after 4 years.  Other Dads wanted in, Connor graduated 2 years ago.
         Will go back when Davin hits middle school.

      My son conned me into getting a smart phone.
      I've lived voice cell phones and they're pretty boring.
      As a Dad, I did NOT wanna be bugged by my wife n kids.
         I =just= got some peace.  I'm not giving it up.
      But post iphone, I started noticing Android.
      Umm, that's an OS right there.  That's a robust OS right there.
         That's a Linux OS with a full GUI that I can write code for...
         Oh java?  Phhh.  No way.
      Then I get my son one.  And I try writing a little code for it.
      Welp, another OS for Steve.  Android is a thing.
      Got a Nexus10 tablet.  Seems too small for notation.
      But I'm slowly gonna get PianoCheetah on Android.

   Ditty grows up
      Ditty => PianoCheater => PianoCheetah

      It's no longer a little thing.  It does a LOT.
      Guitar Hero gave me some ideas as far as notation.
      Took a stab at standard notation and decided against it.
      There are still hardly any other users, but maybe some day...

2011 - Davin
   A grandson will change your life.
   All the fun of kids;  NO work.
   Carissa turns out to be a pretty solid Mom.  That's the best part.

2013 - divorce :(
   Time for some more life changes.
   Yeah, Kathy turned out to be a jerk.
   Got bored with herself, cheated on me.  Well, that's my opinion.

   Got a new teeny house with a swamp !
      Ripped off the (terrible) roof and put on a metal one with a turret.
      New open ceiling and ladders to lofts and turret.
      Built out my living room even more gloriously than it was
      back in the Amiga days:
         Big huge tv and speakers.  Speakers in the turret, too.
         Big piano/computer stand in the middle of the living room.
         New digital drum kit in the living room, too.
         You get the idea...

   Experienced online dating
      yeah, it's terrible.  But pretty eye opening.
      Forces you to realize what it is you need.
      And how much nicer offline dating is.

      So, well, yeah, that's a nice plus.
      I'm stickin' with Annie.

   Connor finally gets a job at FedEx.  And money.  His own.  Yeah.

> You are here.

   Ok, so what's the moral we take away from all this?
   Phhh.  Who knows.

   I dunno.  You could say I sorta kinda like computers I spose.
   It was nice growing up in parallel with PCs.

   Being old is pleasant.  My kids ain't kids.  PianoCheetah is my baby now.
   Well, that and actually playing piano.  I finally no longer suck at piano.

   If you're really lookin for a takeaway, here are some nice catchphrases:

      - don't be evil

      - follow your passions and hope for the best

      - it figures

      - it is what it is