LeRoy Miller [kd8bxp]
How did you begin programming and at what age?
My first programming experience was in Applesoft Basic, I was 7 or 8yrs old then. Later, I programmed in Basic and Extended Basic on a TI-99/4a, Basic on a Commodore 64, and again back to Applesoft Basic. I did some logo and lisp programming as well, and spend some time in Pascal classes in high school. and later learned Visual Basic. GW-BASIC on the IBM, and ended up spending most of my time programming in Turbo-Basic also on the IBM
What languages do you code, and in what platforms?
I am now self-taught in PHP (mostly on command line, but have done some websites as well), and some linux shell scripting. - My choice platform is Ubuntu linux. However because of the nature of PHP the code will run on just about any platform.
What machine configuration and operating system do you use?
Hard question to answer, My main machine is a quad-core AMD Athlon II 2.8ghz with 6gb ram, 600gb hard drive running Ubuntu 10.10. I code mainly on this machine, but the code runs on a P4 machine 2.4ghz, 1gb ram, no hard drive, it boots and runs off a custom Ubuntu 10.10 DVD that I make.
I also own other machines that I can run and test code on.
Please list web addresses where we can see some of your work
What part of project development is most gratifying to you?
Seeing my ideas come to life and work! I am also happy if people can find use of some of what I've done!
From the outside, it seems a rational job, but is creativity necessary for programming?
Sometimes, you have to think of a way to get a project to work correctly sometimes that is thinking outside the box. So I would say at times you do need to be creative.
What conditions do you need to concentrate when programming?
I normally have the TV on in the back ground, so maybe I don't concentrate ? LOL
When you check out code you wrote time ago, what's the main difference with respect to code that you write nowadays?
Today I know a lot more about how PHP works, I know some of the short cuts, I am able to reduce the code and get the same results. I've also learned how to include code from other scripts, so I don't need to repeat code over and over again. I still have some of my BASIC programs from back in the day, that I've said I would like to translate to a modern language
Do you still buy programming books, or do you learn everything from online sources?
99.9% of everything I learned I learned from online sources. I have a few linux shell scripting books, but rarely open them.
Do you think programming should be taught at the basic education level?
Are we talking elementary school? or Middle school? or high school?
I in Middle school you may have an idea about what you want to do with the rest of your life, and getting an introduction to programming would not be such a bad thing.
In high school I don't think you should be required to take a programming class unless you have a real aptitude for it. I also think that colleges should at very least let students who are in the programming field test out of the entry level stuff. I feel most "kids" these days know more about computers then what any of use adults give them credit for.
What has been your experience in marketing your software?
At this time I give my software away under the creative commons license. I do market it however, mostly I say that it is available on twitter. Most of my followers are ham radio operators and my current project is something that deals with ham radio. It is important to target your customer, even if you are giving the product away.
What do you learn from software users?
Most end users don't think like programmers - and what makes since to a programmer doesn't mean it's going to make since to an end user. Again you have to know your customers and understand what they want. Sometimes that is imposable, sometimes it is easy
What would be your solution against piracy?
I like free and open sourced software. free - no need to worry about piracy. Open sourced - lets other programmers expand on your ideas and hopefully make them better! Also open sourced software doesn't mean it's not copyrighted, if someone expands, they are suppose to give you credit for the original software, and in some cases have to include the original code with their project. or can't sell their project. I've not faced an issue with piracy.
What are your favourite games and on what platform do you play them?
I like the classic games, mostly I am a console gamer - BUT it has to be a classic - Sega Dreamcast, Nintendo Gamecube, and the 3DO are my current consoles. I do play a few facebook games on my ipod touch
How do you feel when friends or family ask for your help in solving domestic computer problems?
Repairing computers was my life for many many years - so I guess it doesn't bother me that much.
As machines for development, what opinion do Macs deserve?
I've used PowerPC based Macs in the past, I liked them, but no longer use them. I've never owned or used a intel based Mac so I have no opinion.
How do you protect your computer from viruses?
I run Ubuntu Linux on most of my machines, viruses for linux are around, but it's not a hugh problem. On my Windows machine I use AVG Free. I also have my routers firewall setup to block some known bad websites, as well as use openDNS for blocking bad website. It's not 100%, but what in life is.
In social settings, do people become interested when you tell them you are a software developer?
My Ham Radio Friends normally are interested, and will check out the software, other people, not so much, I have had a few people ask about doing some project for them, but that is not many.
Do you work alone or in a team? Which do you prefer?
Yes and no, I wouldn't call it a team persay, I usually write some code, and give it to someone to do some testing, if they are happy I normally put it up on the website so others can use it. I do take input from other users, and try to do some of the things I think are good ideas!
Are you one of the first to update to new software when it comes out, or do you normally wait until more stable versions appear?
Let's just say I waited almost a year before I upgraded from Ubuntu 10.04 to 10.10 - and I am putting off upgrading to 11.04 as long as I can!
At this point in your career, what would be the project of your dreams?
I think I have the dream job now.