Sam Gentile tagged me to share five little-known things about myself. Usually that would make me pretty uncomfortable and I would ignore it, but since it's you, Sam...
...I know you'll hound me until I give in. ;-)
Although I often talk about the business and organizational side of software development on this blog, I've always been a hardcore geek. I love paper & pencil role-playing games, but I don't get to play them nearly as often as I like. I recently found a group in Portland that I can play with, but with a new baby in the house and a book to finish, I can't justify taking a whole day every week to go play. :(
I used to spend hours in my parents' kitchen playing Ultima IV. (I think they got a little worried about how much time I played.) In fact, I've played every single Ultima, including Alkalabeth and the spin-offs (Savage Empire, Martian Dreams, and Serpents' Isle) and finished them all except III, VIII (ewww), and IX. I even participated in the Ultima Online beta, but that was pretty disappointing. I don't have much time for CRPG's any more, but I'm currently making my way through Final Fantasy XII. My favorite genre these days are 'twitch' games, because I can pick them up for a bit of quick, mindless fun. My favorite game in that category is Guitar Hero, which Sam's team gave me as a going-away present after I finished working with them last year. (That was the nicest going-away present I've ever had. Thanks, guys.) I just got Guitar Hero II, which is even better because it supports cooperative and competitive modes with different difficulty levels.
My dad was a doctor in the US Air Force when I was growing up, so I spent a lot of time moving around. I lived in six different places before I was 18, including the Azores, Portugal, and I went to three different high schools.
Sam mentioned that his first "platform" was the Z80 microprocessor. It was mine too--the very first computer I had was a Timex-Sinclair 1000 (a ZX81 with 2K of RAM) based on a clone of the Z80 chip. I was too young for assembly programming, but I did take 2nd place in a BASIC programming competition with a non-networked email program called "Postbox". I might have taken first place if the program had actually run, but the save tape got corrupted, as they often did. All the judges had to go on was my handwritten program listing! My prize was a 16K RAM pack, which was good because Postbox took up every byte of the TS1000's 2K.
My wife and I recently purchased a new house. We closed the deal two days before Suri was born and moved in three weeks later. Everyone said we were pretty "brave" to move with a newborn (they really meant "stupid") and were they ever right. We still haven't finished unpacking! As a funny twist, the new house is only six blocks from the upcoming Agile Open Northwest conference. On the day of the conference, I'll just walk out my front door and down the street.
That was fun. Thanks for the tag, Sam!