My Online Resume

My official resume is available for download

Also view my updated LinkedIn resume / profile.

Because of my varied work experience in software, hardware and pastoral experience, a tailored resume and cover letter explaining how I can best serve you might be best. Feel free to contact me to let me know your interest or to meet me in person.

My WordPress Blog site is meant to help not only myself as a work journal and a great way to keep bookmarks to important places, but to share what is learned with others. Being an open source fan and user of open source solutions. However, one other obvious idea is to link this portion of the site to LinkedIn and use some of the articles as an online resume.

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“So what language do you use?” – a pet peeve question

The title is meant to be catch your attention – and even I sometimes ask that question. It bothers me because people are so much more than just a programmer – but a solutions provider and go waaaaaay beyond technical know. Soft skills learned in the leadership masters degree for example, is primarily people related and affects the bottom line even more pronounced than the technical details. Similarly, when people ask “what language do you program in” . . . the answer is waaaaay beyond a specific one – but is is the solution provided that matters. Therefore the correct answer is “whatever language gets the job done and whatever it takes to glue things together … for you!”

Below is a personal experience with each language and it also lists the familiarity with them.

My mainstays seem to be php, .net (vb and c#) and Filemaker but lately I have done so much groovy and Java development that that is now second nature!

PHP – I can’t count how many thousands of lines I have coded. All my web development mainly uses this. This is a simple language understand and there are hundreds of people deeply embedded over the past 10+ years.

.net (vb and c#) was my mainstay while contracting to Telvent (now Schneider Electric) in their screen developement. Dozens of time saving stand-alone tools were developed as well as they main job- designing .net based screens to control pipelines and high power electrical systems (those were my tasks). Other .net jobs was the parent paging tool developed to integrate a check in system which is been in use since 2004. Lately a tool to interface with a counter-top inventory tracking system was developed in .net and runs nightly to scrape data and process material consumption via .net API and another to get customer data from another database.

Groovy – it took me a little time to get my head around groovy and a friend asked “so how do you like crawling again?” Within a week of forcing myself to learn it well – I was up and running. You can do so much in a few lines of groovy – it is I think an advanced language. Using Java (which groovy runs on) was so easy to learn as it is just like C. Advice is to learn it’s terminology through this great tutorial available at Oracle.

Java. Within a week I was as fluent with this as Cocoa, or .net. It is a very structured language with little room for making mistakes. A lot of custom code as been written for the Bonita platform and Java ties directly into it since Bonita is written in Java and uses groovy scripting to complete the rest.

Bonita. This can be considered a progamming language of sorts. Most of the flow is done visually. Most of the nitty gritty is done in groovy and/or Java.

Filemaker. I hve written extensive administration systems in Filemaker – hundred of scripts integrated with dos and unix scripts for doing things like ftp, xml manipulation etc. This is beyond thinking in terms of tables. You use the scripts to drive nagivation, decisions and to automate many tasks in Filemaker. It is a database system that anyone can understand.

C and C++. I have learned this when I was 14 – grabbed a book and started to go. I had to use object oriented concepts far after they were developed in 2004. The whole idea about asynchronous clicking by the user forces good programmers to think proactively about ‘what could go wrong’.

Cocoa – iOS and Mac OS X development. Steve Jobs was a genious (he invented it). This language is basically C++ but the structure is developed so that you can design fast. It is tricky but I am now in the cool club. A project for a dashboard app, a crossword puzzle, a secutity camera viewer app, a classroom coordinator app (a multimedia player over multiple machines) and a parent page viewer have all been developed using the Cocoa language.

Applescript – the most english language version of programming I have ever done. I have automated many processes to allow files to be transferred, things to be uploaded etc. Teen agers were able to do a whole secretaries job my moving this and that process ahead with automation. Many scripting languages use applescript and it fills the gap. Put this together with Automator and you can do just about anything.

VBA – One might think this is .net – it isn’t really. It counts since I have done THOUSANDS of apps and lines of code with this. Programming in Excel was the mainstay but also in powerpoint, Excel, Access etc. have been done

Excel . I would argue that there can be many times when Excel is eerily like a progammed language or a cascading series of custom formulas just like programming. Add a hint of VBA and MANY full blown applications result.

Javascript and Actionscript Everything on the web in the old days required checking – Javascript with HTML5 now also thrives on it. I have used this extensively as well. Now with jQuery as a hybrid version of web programming – Javascript is still an active language. In the world of flash – actionscript replaces javascript and many months of actionscript are also under my belt.

Perl – This was my first language that I replaced an entire administration position with staff at home over the internet. One can do almost anything with Perl and do it in such a way that no one can understand what you have done (including yourself if you go back to it in 6 months) – this is not what I have done but it shows what a powerful language it is. This is a language that glues things together and can do complex mathematical operations

Labview. Extensive automation was done with GPIB interfaced lab equipment. This is a language that you drew wires from one part to the other. Many lines were drawn to accomplish what most people do by typing.

Mathcad and Matlab. One is graphical, the other more like progamming. This was the main stay of my early career while taking my Engineering Masters at the University of Calgary and my undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo.

Python was used for scripting on the XMBC video player as it has a python interpreter in it. This XBMC platform works on all sorts of platforms even with jailbroken apple devices so it was a perfect choice for the project. It used Python . . . so python was learned. It has a syntactically different structure with no { } but the # of tabs determines what code belongs with what. Neat.

Unix shell scripting like awk and sed. Are those languages? Sure. I have fought tenuously with XML and XSL and understand that now as well. Add Google map points with kml, facebook apps (Javascript and php), DOSSQL, wsh scripting and other proprietary languages and you will soon see – why I cannot and do not like to answer the question “so what language do you use?”

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Think customer focused when designing – work yourself out a job

If you think bottom line for your customer it will be noticed. At Telvent, I worked not only on projects but also how to make design itself better and faster so that Telvent could hire lower paid designers to use the higher paid engine design that I developed. This creates a demand for what you are doing since you are so far ahead of the curve because your designs start designing themselves that you will always be in demand. It is a win-win. Here are some other tips that keep you looking like a professional and never like a bafoon. One caution however is to market what you are doing. If you don’t the extra time you spend upfront getting the customer better and faster might make you look like you are wasting time. Show the customer how it is a win-win or a triple win which it usually is – the last win is the customer being able to design the next iteration with cheaper staff or in half the time.

At first this seems to take more time, but as you get successive wins under your belt (and hence the customer’s too) it starts to get noticed that you can do just about anything.

Here are some tips for designing in a win-win way

  • think modular design – how can what I do be a class or a reusable part. How can once piece of lego have just one more hook that I can use in the future. Watch out that the complexity stays easy to configure though
    • think toolbelt. The more tools you have the faster and more stable was the design
  • document document document your code. Blog so-to-speak what you do day to day and explain to yourself what you are trying to accomplish. In the immediate it helps you even explaining it to your customer or others who interface with what you are trying to accomplish, in the long run it helps your customer
    • for .net for example, learn the sandcastle documentation rules. It takes an afternoon and about 4 days of using it and you have all the rules in your head. Keep it up or you will start to lose it
    • learn the rules for php doc, Java doc or what ever else you are using to document your code so that a machine can cobble it together
    • document on the side with Word (words and final pics) and Powerpoint (generating pics) since they are so prolific and seemingly universal. You can use proprietary software but Work and Powerpoint are everywhere your customers are and hyperlink quite well
    • use wiki’s for communication between collegues – they can edit the doc to be even better than you alone can accomplish – the power of  collaboration
  • Use a code repository. I have used SVN, GitHub and Mercurial. Using a back up program does not cut it – I have tow of my own personal prize apps for iOS – luckly these were personal projects
    • SVN is the best for versioning binary files since you can lock others out while
    • GitHub and Mercurial are great for multisite collaboration or a regimented distribution system to the end customer. Slow and steady wins the race.
    • be verbose in your comments
    • never procrastinate with getting code into a repository and schedule time at then end of each day. Once a VM went on the fritz and many fellow coders had to redo the code – not so with my code – thank goodness I followed the golden rule
  • Never hard code – no matter what the pressure. If you do – use the well known phrase “TODO” in your code and schedule a time in the future to work this code from hard coding to dynamic design. This makes you look like your intentions were pure which they are. Document when you hard code and mention ideas to work this out to a config file or config-array in the future
  • keep todo lists
  • keep people informed of what works and what is left to go in black and white. This is where wiki’s or published excel sheets are so handy to clarify what is done and what is to go
    • write down – I repeat – write down where struggles are occurring so others can help with experience or with pulling strings to get items out of your way
    • never ever assume the other person has heard you – it takes 7 times on average before someone ‘gets what you are really saying’
    • keep track of your hours and publish/communicate them frequently
  • put larger goals aside to get quick wins for you and your customer/boss. If it is important to them, it should be important to you. Agree to disagree sometimes and get items done that satisfy others if they deem it important

These are some of the basics of programming and half has nothing to do with coding itself but the practice of communication, politics and being organized. If you practice these thing then good things will come.

Please add comments and I will work them into the text above for others.

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