About Me

Childhood

I'm lucky I survived. We drank from water hoses. We picked fruit off trees and ate it without washing it first. We jumped off the roof (one story). We rode in cars without seat belts. Everybody smoked cigarettes, even on airplanes and in restaurants. But for some reason, we didn't consider lead-infused paint chips tasty, so we didn't eat them. We mixed up random household chemicals in the back yard, but somehow we managed to avoid blowing anything up. We put pennies on the railroad tracks to see how they looked after the train squashed them. We had guns around the house, but we knew they were dangerous, so we didn't mess with them. We had to ride our bikes to school, sometimes for miles (yes, miles). Even if it rained or snowed.

Yes, it's very fortunate that I survived such a hard childhood.

Jobs I've Had

I'm primarily a programmer by trade, but I've done the following jobs:

Computers

I've been working with computers since 1974, when I used an acoustic modem and teletype machine to dial into the school district mainframe from my high school. I taught myself mainframe (Dartmouth) BASIC while there. Years later, I bought my first computer, an 8-bit Epson QX-10, which came loaded with an office suite called "Valdocs". It contained a spreadsheet, word processor and graphics program. At that time, I bought a copy of Borland's Turbo Pascal and taught myself Pascal. I used it to write various programs, including a checkbook program, and a blackjack program for my roommate to use (he periodically traveled to Las Vegas to play blackjack). Later on, I learned the C computer language and wrote a variety of utility programs to make my life easier.

Many years later, I learned FoxPro and programmed modifications to an accounting package called SBT. In 1996, I discovered Linux and taught myself Bash, C++, Perl, Python, and PHP. Among other things, I've spent the last five or so years writing software to run my business in PHP, including payroll, statistics, customer service, accounts receivable, accounts payable, etc. As of this date, I'm writing software to run my blog.

I also helped found the Suncoast Linux Users Group in about 1996, and was its president for over a decade.

Although I own and run my own business, I'm always interested in other programming work. If you think I might be able to do a programming job for you, contact me via this blog.

My Business

Currently, I own (with my wife) a company called Quill & Mouse Studios, Inc., which creates and hosts websites, and creates newsletters and other printed material for veterinarians, optometrists, chiropractors, podiatrists, dentists and auto shops.

Personal

I've been very happily married for 23 years now, and have raised a daughter. My daughter is married and has three children, which makes me a triple grandfather.

When I was a kid, we always owned German Shepherds. But it's hard to own a dog in a city when you don't have a yard. I had enough of walking the dog when I was a kid. So as an adult, I've owned a total of eight cats. Currently, we own a Russian Blue and a Siamese. I probably prefer cats to dogs, though I still like dogs.

I probably own 500 DVDs and about the same number of CDs. My favorite movie genre is science fiction, followed by romantic comedies. Hard to pick a favorite, though I was a big fan of Firefly and the follow-on movie, Serenity. As for music, I'm a fan of rock and R&B/Motown. Favorite bands: Yes and Led Zeppelin. Favorite album/CD: The Who's Quadrophenia. I also like a lot of electronica. Not a fan of hip hop/rap or country-western.

I watch some TV, mostly science fiction. No, I'm not that big a fan of Dr. Who. I was a big fan of Babylon 5, the original Star Trek, Star Trek Next Generation, Star Trek Voyager and Star Trek Enterprise. Deep Space Nine, not so much. I also was a fan of first three Star Wars movies. Not so much the ones which came out later.

I love books, but I don't have much time to read them. Again, mostly science fiction. Best sci-fi of all time: Dune. Best fantasy: Lord Of The Rings. These days, I mostly only have time to read the newspaper and magazines.

Youtube and Social Media

I have a Facebook page, but I don't go there much. I spend a lot of time on Youtube, where I have a channel called noferblatz. On it, I tell humorous stories and goof around. My wife also has a Youtube channel: fontzilla. Her channel features more family-oriented and pet-related stories.