Hello world!

Hiya. My name's Rob. I live in Austin, Texas and generally work a day job as a computer programmer, although I really consider it a hobby that's gotten a bit out of control. :)

Another hobby I've gotten paid for is writing. I did a stock market investment column for The Motley Fool[link?] for three years (1998-2000)[link?], which started out as a freelance thing and wound up being a half-time telecommuting position with benefits and everything, before it stopped being fun and I quit. (They laid off half their staff a little over a month later, which just means there were actual reasons they were no longer so much fun to work for...) Columns I wrote for The Fool showed up all over the place, including Yahoo, mp3.com, the "Interesting People" list, Linux Today, Slashdot (Note: in that search Sep 11, 2000 and Jan 27, 2000 and earlier are mine, the rest aren't)... All sorts of weird places. An australian wrote a review of one of my column series in a european mangazine once.)

I've done a little other writing since (for sites like Linux and Main and Linux Today), and a lot of the things I've posted to linux-kernel have gotten inexplicably wide coverage (the "Patch Penguin" and "Crunch Time" things got translated into foriegn languages, but smaller snippets show up on kernel traffic or KernelTrap from time to time...

But usually I need a deadline to get ideas down on paper. Now that I've got my own website, maybe I'll start up again...

Another hobby I've gotten paid for is teaching night courses at Austin Community College, mostly introductory level computer science courses. As I write this (2003) I'm in the process of applying to go back to grad school at the University of Texas for a Master's of Education in Computer Science, so I can turn this hobby into a day job and vice versa.

I'm working on a book on computer history. The book isn't online yet, but a lot of my research material and notes are. More should show up in that bit over time. The hard part's organizing it. :)

I'm a co-founder of Penguicon, and helped organize its first year (May 2-4 2003) in Warren Michigan. I also recruited the guests of honor for Penguicon 2.0 (April 16-18 2004 in Novi Michigan), and did national advertising and a few minor things, but mostly I get to actually GO to it now. :)

I'm con chair of Linucon, October 8-10 2004 in Austin, Texas.

Before that, I co-founded Penguicon, and helped organize its first year (May 2-4 2003) in Warren Michigan. I also recruited the guests of honor for Penguicon 2.0 (April 16-18 2004 in Novi Michigan), and did national advertising and a few minor things. But mostly, I attend the thing now. (Well I wanted to go to an event like that, and there wasn't one, so the obvious thing to do was make one and then convince other people to run it...)

I hang out with Eric Raymond from time to time, and his wife Cathy and their cat Sugar.

I'm a member (when I remember to pay my dues, anyway) of "Lonestar Mensa" in Austin. I have a similar arrangement with AANR although those guys remind me to pay my dues if my card's expired when I go to Star Ranch. The Mensa people never check. :)

I walk all around Austin (I've walked from the arboretum to U.T. and back, which Yahoo says is 10 miles each way, three times in the same week). I bike too, but this involves keeping a bike in working order and I tend to be hard on means of transportation. (This despite keeping a 1994 Ford Escort running for 7 years before it finally gave out in 2002. It looked kind of beat up towards the end there, though. Bikes last much less long...) I don't do too much organized running, but I've participated in the Austin 10k and the SWSA racing series. I also like swimming, volleyball, and badminton.

I used to collect comic books, before Marvel and DC simultaneously went nuts. (Marvel is now owned by Hasbro, which also owns TSR and Wizards of the coast. DC is owned by Time Warner/AOL.) I like role playing games but it's hard to find a good DM and the time. (Neverwinter Nights comes pretty close, though. But usually I have much more pressing demands on my computing time than games. Well, except for quickies like mame.) I'm not into card games much, although I'll make exceptions for things like Munchkin and Illuminati.

I read a LOT. I'm not sure I have a favorite author, but if I did it would be Terry Pratchett. Off the top of my head, I've read fun stuff by Robert Asprin, Mercedes Lackey, Chris Claremont, Raymond E. Fiest, Steven R. Donaldson, Patricia C. Wrede, John DeChancie, Diane Duane, Andre Norton, Piers Anthony, Harry Harrison, Anne McCaffrey, Robert Heinlein, Roger Zelazny, Douglas Adams, Tom Holt... (Remind me to get a decent book list together when I'm not 1500 miles from my books. :)

I did a blog back in 1998. Long before anybody was calling them blogs, of course; it was just an online diary back then. Maybe I'll start one again. You never know... :)

I am terminally single. I used to be depressed about this, but I got used to it.

I read over a dozen online comics a day: Sluggy Freelance, User Friendly, Kevin and Kell, Dilbert, GPF, Ozy and Millie, Nukees, Wapsi Square, Megatokyo, Pibgorn, Clan of the Cats, Schlock Mercenary, Melonpool, RPG World, Real Life, Ubsersoft and more... An old Rhymes With Orange strip (June 30, 1999) is based on an email exchange I had with the strip's author...

I hit Gnu Privacy Guard on the head repeatedly with this thing until it promised to behave, and the end result is a sort of public key thingy. It's installed in kmail. It keeps popping up a request for my password at odd times, and can't seem to remember the thing for ten seconds. It's kind of annoying, really. I may need to get the stick out again. (This was written by the free software foundation, the people who took eight hundred and thirty-three lines to write "cat", so I suppose I shouldn't be too hard on it for being a little less than user-friendly...) It's also on www.keyserver.net...

I write open source code.

Okay, now instead of bare my web page is cluttered and in desperate need of being indexed. I'll fix that later... :)