/kerəzˈmadik kōdˈfônə / noun
a large animal species with symbolic value intrinsic to detailing code architectures
Since I was a kid, I had two interests, figuring out how to make things work, and drawing.
Introduced to calligraphy and lettering books, I loved letterforms. I was given a calligraphy set, but I learned I preferred letterforms more than the art of calligraphy.
I also had a growing stack of hot rod magazines. I would read and study the builds, looking at the designs and shapes of the cars and the intrigue of building a blueprinted and balanced engine.
I would be right there helping my Uncle and Grandpa work on the farm implements. I would go out to the shop and use the manual drill press and play in the haystacks and parked tractors.
It was all about seeing how things worked. What would happen if two things came together?
As I got older, I would study and experiment with new ways to use what was put in front of me. Broken radios and tape decks became fodder for new ideas. The smell of ozone became normal.
What I tinkered on changed when I gained access to computers. I learned C++ and Assembly because I wanted to write a computer game. I learned enough that I was able to get employed by Borland International, a programming tools company.
At Borland, I was introduced to relational databases and additional languages.
When I first started at my first code job, we were encouraged to teach code classes to others in the business. It made sure we shared our knowledge, and it helped cement what we knew. At least, what we thought we knew. We also learned new things from each other.
I spent time working with and reading many people's code and quickly realized coding standards were a great thing – both for support and sharing with others.
I moved on in my career. I interacted more with support teams and marketing, which gave me a greater appreciation for client needs.
My first job after Borland was for a hardware manufacturer that released the first USB line of computers known as the multimedia enthusiast.
This line of computers was designed to be very energy efficient. This was a big thing in the mid to late '90s.
In particular, these computers had an onboard sound solution that was making waves for sound quality. One problem is that the chipset had a feature embedded that powered on when sound arrived and then would power off after.
You might think this was great, but it was too efficient.
Since this was in the hardware, and all the computer owners had a computer that would hum when you moved your mouse or pop when a sound played. The solution we needed had to be done in software drivers.
My solution was to feed a string of NULLs to the beginning and end of the sound stream through the driver – just enough to allow the card to power on and power off gracefully.
It was an excellent lesson for me to look at the user's needs while putting together products.
Over the years, I have worked on many design and development projects. With each, I try to embody the project in a more holistic way as to make a person's life better, and not just to build a function.
Combined with a design background, I'm architecting applications that are usable for people first.
Years later, I am still active in my local developer and design groups, sharing, and learning.