I started writing code at summer camp as a child using Turbo Pascal and Basic where I learned to write simple interactive programs and games. I was hooked.
My first exposure to the “internet” was on Usenet newsgroups in the early 90s. We had a 9600 baud modem at home, and I will never forget the distinct sequences of pitches and tones it produced as it dialed and connected, and the the overwhelming experience of communicating with someone overseas for the first time (I believe it was someone in Australia). Here I was, around 6 or 7 years old living in suburban Canada, able to write (in real-time) to someone on the other side of the world as though they were my neighbour. The paradox of this of proximity over great distance amazes me to this day, as I work with colleagues and open source contributors across the world.
My father worked at a local university and sometimes brought me to his office on weekends so I could fiddle with computers and telephones. I remember him showing off his new Sun Microsystems workstation that ran Solaris. It had a colour monitor (amazing!) and an awkwardly spaced 3-button mouse. He showed me this awesome new thing called the “world-wide-web” and opened an HTML page in the Mosaic browser. We visited NASA’s homepage and were able to view photos of distant galaxies taken by the Hubble space telescope. My mind was blown as the images slowly appeared on the monitor.
Within a year, we got a PC at home with a 28k modem and a web browser. I started writing HTML and built my very first website called “Star Trek Rules, Star Wars Drools” in which I chronicled on how the Enterprise was superior to the Millenium Falcon. I wish I still had a copy today!
Development was a side gig throughout high school and university. I was studying to become a professional orchestral musician at McGill University and subsidized part of my studies at the time by building websites and content management systems. In conjunction with performance, I also studied music technology; essentially writing code to produce and transform sound - both synthesized and from acoustic instruments. As an oboist, I spent many hours each day making and adjusting reeds. I wrote a paper for a physics class in which I studied the spectral acoustic properties produced by the crow of the reed (the sound produced by the reed on its) and defined which partials seemed to generate the ideal tone when placed in the instrument.
After finishing my Masters, I performed with orchestras across Ontario and Québec and taught privately while preparing for auditions across Canada and the United States. This gruelling and thankless experience eventually led me to switch careers to software development; a craft I have always loved and would allow me to live above the poverty line!
I’ve been developing full-time since 2012 and have built applications big and small for startups as well as established companies. I built key software components to award-winning software at Flixel Photos and Gallop Labs. Other known names include Planned Parenthood, Stubhub, Kijiji, TMX, NNGroup and SuicideGirls.