Who Am I?
I’m a maker and a teacher. Currently I am a senior software engineer at Amazon working on Alexa but before that I was at Expedia leading a number of initiatives ranging from continuous delivery to migration to cloud infrastructure and containerization of services. In the past I’ve been a consultant, gone to and left graduate school, dabbled in geospatial programming, bootstrapped startups, written books, built software that deploys software millions of times per week to hundreds of thousands of hosts, taught at various higher education institutions and generally enjoyed working with technology.
Ever since I was very little, computers have been a part of my life; my dad brought home the first PC in our house literally the day I was born (I must have been holding out for a good birthday gift.) Falling in love with programming the Logo turtle around the time I was in the first grade began my love affair with building things. I have been fortunate to be able to pass on the love of learning and creating things to both of our children; our daughter is an avid reader and budding Scratch programmer, and our son loves to be outside discovering the world or building all sorts of creations, ranging from robots to space ships, using Lego.
I have been interested in computers, math, and science since I was little; playing with PCs from a young age, creating messes with chemistry sets, and taking apart just about anything I could get my hands on (I can’t say I’ve outgrown that). Those interests led to a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and my previous status as a Ph.D candidate in the Environmental Systems program at UC Merced.
A lot of time was spent exploring Linux, FreeBSD and other operating systems starting around the age of 12; prior to that I had mostly tinkered with some Apple BASIC and LOGO programming. I picked up some Walnut Creek CD-ROMs at a bay-area computer show with RedHat, Slackware, Yggdrasil and other Linux distributions that were in their infancy, and I was immediately hooked. I can remember staying up into the wee hours trying to get X-windows working, learning how the systems worked, and honing my programming skills.
I enjoy learning new things, solving challenging problems, and helping others as well. One of the things I have really enjoyed doing was teaching at both the University and community college levels, you never stop learning when you teach others. My other interests include environmental engineering, embedded systems, data visualization, math and programming.
In the past, I’ve been a senior developer at a startup and a startup incubator, a lecturer at UC Merced in the Computer Science and Engineering department, taught at Columbia Community College and CSU Stanislaus, helped run an ISP, developed embedded wireless access point firmware for tens of thousands of hot-spots world-wide, and done a variety of independent development as well.