How I got into coding?

My good friend Alejandro Aguilar @carlAguida tagged me to do #MyCodingHistory ….. a little late but here it is in five stages::

Self.Geek(1) { //Curiosity

Since I was a little kid I wanted to know how robots and electronics worked. I was always opening radios and cassette recorders to learn how they functioned…. and my parents encouraged me to keep asking questions although didn’t condone breaking things…. LOL.

When I was 13, they got me a Commodore 64, I’m sure it took a monumental effort to buy it because the C64 was not cheap (for Mexico anyway), Thanks Mom & Dad. Around the same time they found a free Computer course at the Academia Mexicana de las Ciencias, it was a three part class, topics were Logo, Basic and Boolean Math. Classes were on weekends… there I was enjoying Saturdays and Sundays learning geeky stuff while other kids were riding bikes; I ended up taking the classes so many times that it changed my life for ever…. }

Self.Geek(2) { //Big defining moment

One day a teacher missed a class and I was asked to fill in for him and that’s how I fell in love with sharing… this geeky, nerdy guy was teaching abstract concepts to older kids and young adults, I felt the power of sharing…. since then I haven’t stop sharing. Teaching is part of my kernel :)

Another source of information was a magazine, “MiComputer” where I learned many tricks… I even developed a Periodic Element Table that did basic Redox calculations! }

Self.Geek(3) { //Formal Education

When I was 14, thanks to Lauro Urbina who had recently graduated from a UK University, I decided to enroll at La Salle University and study Cybernetics and Computer Systems Engineering. At ULSA I attended High School and University. During my High School years I hung out with the Computer Sciences students and they thought me Fortran and Pascal. Then when it was my turn to learn that in class I was already ahead and I moved into more complex stuff like Digital Control, Fuzzy Logic and Neural Networks, that got me into LISP and Prolog, but my favorite was C, simple and elegant… and also got me into my first true love, Solaris and a Sun Sparc1 Workstation!!

During my first year in college I entered a Developer competition, my team won 2nd place with an interactive game developed in Pascal.!}

Self.Geek(4) { //Now what?

Right after graduation a friend of mine who knew I was into LISP put me in touch with a StartUp that was building a GIS but were having trouble mining information from AutoCAD drawings and building relationships with a seismic database in Sybase, they knew it was on LISP but LISP was rare…. so I joined the StartUp as Lead Engineer, unfortunately we ran out of funds before completion of the project.

Living on my last coins my sister got me in touch with another StartUp that was desperately looking for a C developer to do training and consulting for my beloved Sun Microsystems!

There I taught C, Solaris, Enterprise Networking, all sort kind of geeky things to geeks! I was in Nerdvana! Later on I went to Digital to help them build their Tru64 Unix expertise for the Alpha processor. I didn’t get to code much though. In ’97 I got back to Sun, as part of their Mission Critical Experts, I didn’t code there either but because I needed to make a cluster work, I hacked the code, opened Unix pipes to sync messages and killed a timeout and boom… a huge cluster worked flawlessly, that’s when I got the call to play with the big dogs… }

Self.Geek(5) { // Silicon Valley

After hearing about my heroics a manager at Solaris Engineering got curious about my hacking and scripting skills for clustering technologies and convinced me to come check them out. After a single interview I got a job offer to join the Solaris team. At the beginning I was not fond of going to California (I wanted to go to Japan) but once I landed and felt the Silicon Valley vibe there was no way back….. an energy that I’ve never felt before.

My team’s project was to optimize the UDLM in the SunCluster 2.1 for Oracle Parallel Server, once finished I move to marketing to start the Technical Marketing program for all Solaris Software, suddenly I was in charge of creating content, product, videos, how-to guides and empower the OpenSolaris community. I got a small team of 5 Engineers but oh, boy! we made tremendous noise sharing knowledge with OpenSolaris, that’s how I met @carlAguida, and luckily for me, dozens of enthusiastic young minds like him, around the world…. all because I was able to hack some code!

I got to work with some of the finest minds in the industry, sometimes close, sometimes with their teams, I meet the Master of Masters, Bill Joy, Java’s creator James Gosling, Gnome’s gman Glynn Foster, OpenSolaris & Debian’s Ian Murdock, Java God Miko Matsumura, and many others like Bryan Cantrill, Mike Shapiro and Adam Leventhal. }

So that’s my story…. instead of coder I was better known for the slick tricks I pulled with Solaris although I lost my Unix Guru credential long ago…..

Now I’m focused on teaching my own kids to code, Python and Java… oh and take the StartUp where I work (Panzura) to the next level!! World Domination through a Global File System (based on ZFS), check it out!

Alejandro, pick your burger joint…. it took me a little while but it’s here… thank you for the opportunity to reflect on the last 35 years that started with me breaking into my portable Cassette, Radio, TV for the first time when I was 10!