I've been working as a professional programmer
since the early 90's.
- My work with the longest-term impact is probably
an extremely popular tool to help programmers
collaborate. (Winner of a 2005 JOLT Award.) I was
a co-designer and co-founder of that project, and
though I'm now retired from it, I managed to
main manual for the software; the complete book
- I joined Google in 2005, ported Subversion to
their scalable Bigtable technology, then helped
Hosting on Google Code, which now hosts hundreds
of thousands of open-source projects.
- In slowly going bald, I grew pointy hair at some
point and transitioned into engineering management.
I managed Google Code for a while, then managed a
team of ~20 engineers on a display advertising
product called the Google Affiliate Network, then
transitioned to managing a team working on the
Doubleclick For Publishers platform
You know all the ads you see on every website across
the internet? Yeah, we basically help those
websites serve those ads and make a living from
them. We keep the internet "free" as in beer.
- In August 2014 I officially took over as
Chicago engineering office, which means I'm also
responsible for the overall growth and health of all
~100 engineers working here. And yes, we're
- People are way harder than computers.
and I have spent the last 8+ years giving conference
talks on the social challenges of software
development. You can see many of our
on youtube, or you can read our O'Reilly book on
Geek: A Software Developer's Guide to Working Well
I love to play and compose music. I've been
playing piano since age 6, and was trained as a
improvisational fakebook reader. In college I was
quartets, and in my 30's I seriously took up
banjo. I like to play in a
session now and then.
I also have a long-standing career as a composer
for Chicago theaters. With my collaborator Andre
Pluess, we've won multiple awards for composition,
sound design, and new musical theater works over the
last 15 years.
Our most successful original musical was probably
Winesburg, Ohio, an adapation of Sherwood
Anderson's novel. It premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre
in Chicago, then played at a new-works festival in
NYC, then at the Arden Theater (Philadelphia) and at
KC Repertory (Kansas City). It won a both a Jeff
Award (Chicago) and an Ovation Award (LA).
Our latest musical was in summer 2012, and played
at Lookinggglass Theatre:
it received three Jeff nominations. In 2013 is was
selected to perform as part of
musical showcase in New York, and we're hoping
more regional theaters pick it up the way they did
Ever since my kids were born, my teenage love of
photography was re-kindled. I started shooting on a
35mm SLR in junior high school, learning to develop
B&W in my basement darkroom. Now that I have a
digital SLR, I've had to learn Adobe products in my
basement instead! My main photographic interest is
If you're just getting into photography and
wondering which camera to buy (or what the controls on
your camera mean), please take a gander at
my Intro to Photography
Page, which is particularly aimed at newbies with
a technical bent.
- After many years of using Canon DSLRs, I finally
switched to a full-frame mirrorless camera (the Sony
A7 mark II), with the Zeiss 24-70 f/4 lens. It's
basically identical quality to my old DSLR setup,
but nearly half the size and weight. I also use a
also use a Sigma 85mm f/1.4 lens for portraits and a
15mm lens for wide-angle tricks.
- There's a saying that the "best camera is the
one you have with you". Smartphone cameras don't
usually cut it for me, so when I don't have the Sony
A7 with me, I keep a small micro-4/3rds camera in my
bag -- an Olympus E-PM2 PEN with an effective 40mm
f/1.7 pancake lens (makes it coat-pocketable!)
- You can read about my photography adventures in
category on my blog.
- I post a lot of photos
Google Plus account and to
- I should really put up a portfolio of my
favorites, but haven't found time to do it yet.
A tip: Google Plus seems to be a haven for
photographers networking and discovering each other.
I highly recommend you jump in there and build a huge
Interactive Fiction is a computer-based
storytelling medium. It started with Infocom games
in the 80's, but has since evolved into something
wondrous over the last 30 years, with an extremely
active indie-developer community.
If you're totally new to this world, read
my Intro to Interactive Fiction
- As a writer, I've co-authored two successful
Day Out, which won the big Interactive Fiction
Competition of 2009,
which won the Jay is Games One-Room Escape
- As a programmer, I've been trying to write a
good Android application to play these games on your
phone or tablet. It's an open-source project called
but we still have a long way to go. You can
download it from Android Market, but it's still
pretty primitive. We'd love volunteers to help us
In 2009, I got sucked into the 'maker movement'.
It seems that my generation skipped over electronics
and started right with home computers. So I went a
bit crazy learning how to solder circuits, but then
got bored building blinky lights. I then stumbled
radio, and suddenly had a totally new outlet for
electronics hacking! Instead of building random
gadgets, you build equipment that actually lets you
chat over thousands of miles.
You're probably wondering why -- in this age of
internet and smartphones -- one would put up a wire in
the backyard to talk to people over morse code. My
reply is simple: why is fishing such a popular sport,
when we all live next to supermarkets? The point is
to be close to the metal, down in the dirt,
appreciating the basics, making stuff with your own
hands. And the reward is social: you get to talk to
other geeks about it over the airwaves!
I love carrying tiny radio stations (with
erector-set antennas) onto airplanes when I go on
business trips. When I get a free moment, I find a
local hilltop, set up the station on picnic bench, and
start chatting with other hams around the country.
It's like a secret society of geekdom.
You can read about my
radio adventures on my blog, and see more info on
profile (sort of like Facebook for radio
I have a strong interest in low-power gadgets
("QRP") it's called. (It's fun to make cross-ocean
contacts using only a 9V battery!) I'm also a member
of the Chicago
FM Club, a local ham club that has a repeater
network spanning the whole Chicago area.
Yes, D&D, that kind of thing. I don't have much
time for it anymore, but I've run weekly campaigns,
participated in them too. I'm involved in an indie
group -- NASCRAG
-- that writes their own competitive scenarios and
runs them as a tournament at GENCON each year. I also
participate in a yearly weekend game
As a rule, I enjoy RPGs on the computer -- but only
if they're social, i.e. I'm actually playing with my
friends (like World of Warcraft). Games where I'm the
only human around (like Elder Scrolls) tend to bore
me. I need the social element.
I'm a board
game geek as well, playing all the geeky board
games you think I would.
My interest in photographic portraiture led me
down road where I began wondering whether I could
sketch portraits as well. In late 2013 I discovered
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,
a truly amazing book. I worked through all the
exercises and kept practicing my sketches from
there. I've mainly been focused on learning to sketch
and shade portraits in graphite (working off of
photographs I've taken), but I've also begun to
explore the use of colored pencil. Colored pencils
mix very much like oil paints, but without all the
You can see my beginner-level sketches and progress
on social media, or take a look at
of my work on deviantart.com