About the Blogger
A few months ago, Charlie Arehart (many of you know him from the Coldfusion Developer's Journal, New Atlanta, and others) emailed me and suggested that my blog (and all blogs) need some kind of "About the Blogger" page. Well Charlie, I've finally gotten around to writing one. And since I have numerous blogs, I'll just post one here and link to it from my owner blogs.
Evolution of a Programmer
My name is Rick Root. I'm a 30 something coldfusion programmer, and I've been doing the CFML thing since late 1997. Back in those days, I was unhappily doing software QA for a company in Ann Arbor, Michigan, called ArborText, doing FOSI development for their SGML editor package, ADEPT Editor. I hated it, but it was my first job where I was really in the IT industry.
You see, I've been a computer nerd pretty much all my life, starting with a Commodore Pet in 1977, and continuing on with the Commodore 64, and the Commodore Amiga before making the jump to the PC world in 1994. Even then I think I really went to Linux first before giving up and jumping to Windows 95 when it arrived (I never really used Windows 3.1).
But I digress. Anyway, although I had a lot of computer skills, and I even did some BASIC programming on the old C64, it never really occurred to me to go to school for computer science. In high school, I was taking graphic arts classes, and I enjoyed printing - that is, the art of putting ink on a substrate. I enjoyed it, and it was something that could be a career. I knew what I wanted to major in before my senior year in high school even started, and I never wavered. I only applied to one school. Western Michigan University had a highly respected printing program (and in fact is the only university where you can bring in wood chips and take out a printed product, as they also have a paper science and engineering program that includes a real papermaking pilot plant).
I did take some computer science courses while I was there, intending to get a minor in computer science. I did fine until I took the C class and couldn't handle pointers, so I dropped the class before the deadline, and that was the end of that.
Life after college was not really very exciting. I took a job doing cost estimating for a book printer in Chelsea, Michigan (just out side of Ann Arbor) in 1995. At the same time, when I moved back to Ann Arbor, I got my first "ISP" which offered me the ability to have a home page. I bought an HTML book and used by graphic design and layout skills to make myself a website. At the time I was also a fan of a variety of local bands, so eventually I made some fan pages for those bands, and one of them found my page and emailed me. I had my first "client" and although they didn't pay me, it gave me an opportunity to create my first REAL web site, www.fatamy.com. The lead singer was Bob Guiney, that you may know as The Bachelor (season 4), but this was way back in 1996.
Anyway, I realized that web development was something I wanted to do, and I enjoyed doing it, so I eventually quit my job at ArborText and started doing freelance web design with some friends who had started their own company doing the same thing. in late 1997, they asked me to look into this Coldfusion product, because I had told them that doing major database development work in Perl was difficult and time consuming. Plus, I wasn't very good at CGI scripting yet. So I downloaded the trial of Coldfusion 3.1 and within 3 hours I'd found the product that I was going to use to build my career.
Unfortunately, the freelancing thing didn't work out, so I started looking for a real job. I didn't have any "real" experience, at least not working for a real company. I interviewed for a few positions in Ann Arbor but nothing really came through, and my new wife allowed me to expand my search to North Carolina. North Carolina had a booming tech industry, and was a great job market for her too since she was a research scientist doing virus research. I landed my first job as a real web developer, doing Coldfusion programming for Micromass Communications in Cary, NC. They're still around, which is ironic because I left them thinking that they weren't going to make it, and the company I went to after that went bankrupt. Go figure.
Over the years, I've dabbled in other languages, like Java, PHP, and even Python. But I don't like doing any of that other stuff.
More about present day me
So I live in Apex, NC with my wife Adrienne. Our 10 year anniversary is in July, and we have a beautiful daughter named Emily who just turned 5. When we moved here in 1998, my sister lived here as well, and we'd been down to visit a few times. But 3 or 4 years ago, my mom and dad moved here from Michigan, and so did my other sister and her family (from Florida). So my whole clan is back together, 700 miles south-southeast of our original location (near Ann Arbor, Michigan).
I'm a big sports fan. I grew up loving Michigan football and Tigers baseball, and I still do. But over the last 5 years, I've also really grown to love hockey. My team is the Carolina Hurricanes, who won the Stanley Cup last year. Yes, I was there, and yes it was awesome. They've actually played in the Stanley Cup Finals twice. They lost to Detroit back in 2001, and they beat Edmonton last year.
I'm also overweight, but working on doing something about that. If you read my blog, you'll notice a lot of diet updates. I'm 20 pounds into a 70 pound weight loss program where I'm hoping to weigh about 200 by my birthday, which is July 24. I've got 48 pounds to go.
My web sites
In addition to my personal web site at www.rickroot.com, I also maintain a blog for my open source projects called www.opensourcecf.com, and another for my thoughts on the Carolina Hurricanes at www.thecaniac.com. My freelancing work is done under the name www.webworksllc.com.
I'm a chronic domain registerer. Is that a word? I often register domains based on ideas that I'm never able to spend enough time on, like www.banphonebooks.com, intending to be a petition type web site to ban the practice of sending printed phone books to people who don't specifically ask for them. I once built a parody web site where you could complete an offer, refer 5 friends, and get a free asian girlfriend (a parody of the freeipod.com type web sites)
The Coldfusion Community
I regularly attend CFUNITED in Washington DC, and I'm a regular participant of the cf-community and cf-talk mailing lists at the House of Fusion.
If you are attending CFUNITED 2007, please look me up and say hi!
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