About

I’ve worked at UT for more than 20 years, the last 8 or so in Financial Information Systems. Before becoming a developer, I got a BA in Mathematics and a PhD in Anthropology. My official job title is Senior Technology Architect. In theory that means I do technical stuff, and, since coming to Financial Information Systems, I’ve programmed in Java, Natural, webAgent, Python, C++, JavaScript, and a bit of Ruby. But every year is different.

My favorite family of languages are the lisps, because of their flexibility. Python is a nice 80% lisp. My current slogan is “I’m just a damn coding hippy”, because the truth is that I don’t care very much about coding standards and “best practices” — mostly for reasons covered in Spolsky’s essay Big Macs vs. The Naked Chef. Heuristics are great, so long as you don’t stop thinking.

I’m interested in a lot of things, including the culture of programming and why IT departments do the crazy things they do. Lucky Jim is one of my favorite books, and I’ve often thought that someone should write such a book about IT.

I’m also fascinated by programming languages and tools, and good writing about them. In addition to the Spolsky essay mentioned earlier, Taste for Makers, What I’ve learned from failure, or The Rise of Worse is Better are examples of essays I really enjoyed. A more recent example is Why Everyone (Eventually) Hates (or Leaves) Maven, by Neal Ford.



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