A short description.
For the world at large, I am an Oracle DBA. These days this means being a sysadm-like person working for
$BIG_CORPS possessing little or no sense of humor. And you know what? It's mostly true (with thelack of sense of humor part being the exception: if there's one thing that techies don't lack is the sense of humor).
I have worked, and still work consultancy jobs for some of these
$BIG_CORPS, I set up Oracle instance, I am privy to Oracle parameters, trace files, execution plans and all of this stuff. For some of these gory details, you might like to visit my Linked In Page.
A little more about my technical me.
However, I've done a lot of things that usually don't warrant any recruiter call, these days: I built a lot desktop applications for years on Windows, using languages that back in time were deemed easy, like Visual Basic, but also Delphi, which at the time was everything VB wanted to be and later in Lazarus, which is Open Source's multiplatform answer to Delphi. I still think that, as far as raw power, ease of use and self-containing are concerned, Delphi and Lazarus are the perfect choice for the GUI desktop.
Nevertheless, time marches on, and a new technology arose: the web. There's always a part of me that wanted to be an "artist" but realized that lacked the skills to draw or play an instrument, while recognizing in some instinctive ways what looks good and sounds good. So, during the turn of the century, I found myself to cover what folks would call the "full stack developer" role: creating the frontend (using lots of nested
<TABLE>s like mom used to) and creating the backend using mainly
VBScript but also -- guess it was like destiny -- Oracle OAS 4.0 and PL/SQL to create dynamic web pages -- oh, the horrors of
htp.print()... it was so low-level that I devised a perl script that could parse a web page, extract the form it contained and generate a PL/SQL package containing the stub to print the page and collect form data. Ah, THOSE. WERE. THE. TIMES.
Later I'd write stuff on multiple platforms using a vast array of frameworks and toolkits and I'd hone my skill further. Since I worked in a small shop, a pattern was gradually established: the more I became proficient with Oracle SQL, the more I'd cut my teeth on DBA tasks: setting up an instance, creating users, stored procedures... you know, the usual suspects.
Around the 10s I started moving more and more in DBA-land, reducing pure-coding tasks to a minimum (but never to zero, as you will discover later). It was around these years that I started doing the DBA consultant's life, which culminated in me being a hi-speed train line subscriber from 2015 to 2017. It was indeed stimulating but it was also hard as hell, when you've got a kid growing the last thing you want is not to be able to partake in his experiences and you do not want to fall dead asleep when he wants you to play.
Luckily, I ended up working near home, and one of the silver lining of the whole COVID pandemic is that corps discovered the whole remote working stuff, which is what I mostly do as per today.
Tech-wise, I moved from being a Windows-only guy to a 70% Linux / 30% Windows: I keep the latter for working concerns and because, musically-wise there are an awful lot of free, high-level DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to make music (sort of) and tinker with. I've also become a more command-line oriented guy, but that's because of the inherent composability of commands and, let's face it, when you have to solve a focused problem you need a focused tool that solves the thing well and plays well with other commands.
What is my approach?
As this site's name states, I'm a tinkerer by heart. I usually tend to dive myself into new technologies and try things to get the grasp of them, then building upon what I've reached. This approach has some advantages: I'm fairly proficient with a lot of stuff and I know enough paradigms to overcome differences and exploit similarities between related technologies and become proficient in them. It also allows me to be bold and not scared by new stuff. I have also been dubbed a "Code Animal" for this headstrong, almost instinctive approach.
There are also some disadvantages: my knowledge level on some of these techs somehow is limited by the "need-to-know" contingency and thus somewhat shallower. Moreover, I sometime lacks the "idioms" that long-time, specialized tech users usually employ.
Another disadvantage, which in my opinion is also a blessing in disguise, is the general refusal of high-ceremony, bureaucratic languages and frameworks, something I won't touch with a long pole unless there are clear benefits for my needs: in my earlier years, one of these exception was Pascal: the language is verbose, very restrictive but Borland version overcome these disadvantages by providing a state-of-the art full-fledged compiler and some language extensions that made it very close to C's power. That's also why I couldn't bring myself to fully despise VB6/VBA: you won't win any awards, but it helped me save my day more often than not (performing a migration from Oracle to Sql Server using Sql Server 2000 ADO components for data migration using VBA integrated in excel: sounds as CSI as it gets, but I did it. )
In the end, coding (and more often than not: meta-coding) the way out of a problem is one of my favorite modus operandi. If something can be scripted, you will find me scripting some stuff to automate something; if the code I have to write is repetitive and boilerplate you will find me writing some sort of generator; and so on.
And outside your trade?
As I said, there's been a part of me that's always been attracted by art: I've always been fascinated by the printed medium, page layout, the subtleties that make a written page good-looking and easy on the eyes, and the fine equilibrium between contrast and regularity.
I also am a music buff: like most introverts working in IT, I used to listen a lot of odd-tempo 70s progressive rock, and a lot of heavy metal during teen years; later, I've been mellowed by years of working as a barman in a local club so I haven't any hard and fast musical tasted. By and large, however, something piques my interests if it:
- There's some degree of technical prowess in it.
- If there's little of it, it must be bursting with energy
- Or, if it's something mainstream, it must sound awesome.
- Trappy autotune is definitely a no-no for me, unless the voice is so otherwordly that ceases to be a voice and becomes a special effect.
- If there's an odd-tempo -- say a 7/8 rhythm -- I will definitely listen to it
- If it defies genres -- say a techno tune which is also odd-tempo, you have my attention.
Acknowledgments and inspiration:
Finally, this belated attempt of a personal site draws inspiration from these sources:
- Eleventy, for creating such a Static Site Generator: fast, powerful, extensible and flexible.
- Learn Eleventy From Scratch, the best tutorial ever for this SSG. Compare and contrast with other SSGs (I'm looking at you, Hugo which assume that you already know everything.
- Dana Byerly, for having built and structured the type of personal site I always wanted to build but I didn't know how to do it.