all about me
the early years
This site is about me, Robin Darby.
I'm a software developer; I've wanted to be a developer since about the age of 8, when my Dad constructed our first computer, a ZX81.
Growing up in England, the first compluer I really started developing on was a BBC micro. Those bays it was all BASIC, but I started to get interested in assembly because I liked to write games, and assembly gave be direct access to the graphacs functionallity. Fathers, be careful what you introduce to your children, you don't know what path you'll set them on :).
The day I finally got my hands on a hand-me-down x86 computer, things really started to heat up. My Dad got me a copy of Turbo Pascal and there was no stopping me. Turbo Pascal has a fantastic IDE and you could embed assembly in-line. I'd spend days, weeks writing little games and graphical demos. The idea, that a little bit of code I could actually make an image on a monitor (or TV set) make me feel like some kind of TV producer!
Fathers, be careful what you introduce to your children, you don't know what path you'll set them on :).
I scrapped through school, never really been much of an academic, being dyslexic didn't help, but I did manage to get into university to study software engineering (what else?).
I had a fantastic time, doing something you really love makes it far easier. Now, I lived a far distance from Uni, and I didn't what to go all the way there to use the computer labs (all my course work was to be done in Modula-2 on Unix boxes), so I got my hands on Linux (Slackware version 1.something); It wan't very easy to install, in those days you pretty much had to work it out for your self. But it was magic, I was finally free from the tyranny of icons and mouse clicks, it was like a grown-up DOS. This taught me the basics of unix command line, bash, AWK and SED programming.
I was constently surrounded with object diagrams and pattern books (nothing has really changed :).
During the final year of my course, we were finally let loose on Java, and I finally started to really appreciate the beauty of OOP, having been having been taught a disciplined approach to development helpped me now to get lost, UML is my friend, I was constently surrounded with object diagrams and pattern books (nothing has really changed :).
out into the wild
I was finally let loose on the real world, OOP in my pocket and a head full of dreams, Like every new software engineer I really wanted to be a games programmer. But looking around, there weren't any opportunities to do that, infact in those days, there weren't really many programming jobs for anyone who didn't know COBOL or Fortran; I really didn't want to program either of those. My parents kept encouraging me to keep looking and not to settlte for a system administration or testing role (not that there's nothing wrond with that, but my hart was set on being a developer).
Finally, I found a home, working along side some epic developers (like Ben Laurie) writing in this thing called perl for the newfangled world wide web. I mastered apache, perl, writing CGI and mod_perl programming.
and the rest is history
Over a decade on on and alot has happend, I worked for serveral start-ups, may went belly-up, others got eaten by bigger fish. My big break came when I landed a job at Amazon.co.uk in Slough (where the UK version of 'the office' was based). I was now building web-apps for one of the biggest retailers on Earth!
and 'hay', it's not harassment if you get married!
TBH, the work wasn't that exciting and the corporate atmosphere was rather suffocating. So I was looking around for other oppertunities, when an e-mail landed in my in-tray, "Looking for the next programing super-star!" - never have I considered my-self a "super-star", but the role, working for Amazon Web Services in Seattle intreged me intrigued; I loved visiting the USA, speaking at YAPC::NA every year had become my main holiday. So I packed a bag, and headed over to Seattle for the interview, "And that kids, is how I met your mother!"...
I got the job, and moved over the pond to Seattle.
AWS is a fantastic company to work for, the projects are exciting and best of all, I still got to write my beloved perl; I say best-of-all, but really the best thing was meeting my wife Tracy. She was working in a different department, and 'hay', it's not harassment if you get married.
Tracy likes to joke "You really can get anything from Amazon".
The years rolled by, but I could tell that Tracy was missing something - mostly because she kept telling me so, "I miss Colorado", she'd say, followed by "it's freaking dark and damp here". When the doctor started prescribing vitamin-d, I got the message, it was time to move west, bell south-east really.
to infinity and beyond
So I lucked out and found a job in Colorado working for Vail Resort, or at least a subsidiary, "Mountain News". The work is fun, I'm doing a lot of mason/perl and even a fair bit of Android/IOS development.
I've fallen in love with app development, XCode and objective-c has forced me to learn something new, and really, that's what it's all about, keeping your self relevent, having fun.
So what does the future hold?
I have no idea, there isn't a CPAN module for that. I can't see us moving from Colorado, I'm enjoying app development, so I can only hope for good things!
Thank you for taking the time to read my dribble, if you'd (still, even after reading this) like to get in contact with me, please drop me a mail via robindarby[at]mac.com, and be sure to check out my résumé on LinkedIn