What happened to this blog?

I’ve scarcely posted for over a year because I was busy working much of 2012. I worked 3 ½ months as a contractor programming in Ruby, Rails, Javascript, JQuery, Coffeescript, Backbone.js, Mongo, and HTML/CSS. Then I took a permanent position at a somewhat larger startup using those same tools, plus Postgresql and R.

I love programming. I began programming in COBOL in junior high school, but I got scared away from computers for the next 25 years after reading a book on the absurdly difficult Assembly language that made me feel programmers must all be mad geniuses.

I started dabbling with programming again in 2000 when I progressed from re-designing my company’s data schema to writing triggers and stored procedures (i.e., small programs that run inside a database). I dabbled with several languages — Java, PHP, C — before falling in love with Ruby in early 2006. I love that when a program fails it’s almost certainly because you — the programmer — blew it. The corollary is that when a program runs successfully, it’s because you wrote it correctly. It’s deterministic. It’s also powerful. I founded OptimalHome.com in 2001 and helped build a pretty amazing, fully functional prototype (covering just Silicon Valley) of an online real estate service that had some features still unavailable a decade later. But I lost my co-founder to an offer he couldn’t refuse (giving him an immediate fat paycheck and an 8-figure payday a few years later), and I couldn’t keep OptimalHome alive because I didn’t know Java. Ever since, I’ve wanted to understand the “full tech stack.” I’m not an expert programmer… not yet, anyhow. And I’ll certainly never be a genius. But I do enjoy programming and trying to become a better programmer every day.

I used to read the news more broadly and deeply. These days, my life is mainly spent on work and parenting, plus studying a little Chinese in my spare moments.

Posted by James on Saturday, January 12, 2013