Awasson - Member of the Month September 2012
Every month SitePoint Forum Staff award one member with our highly priced and desirable Member of the Month badge. By doing so, we recognise the excellent job done during that month, showing patiente, skill, knowledge and community spirit.
This month this award goes to Awasson.
We do have an interview on the day which will be posted in the next couple of days. The delay is my fault so I hope that you will forgive me for it., please, join me to congratulate Awasson for his incredible participation during the previous month. Well done, and well deserved *clap clap*
In the meantime
Interview is now ready. Thanks, Awason, for answering your questions. To our SPF member, enjoy :D
- How did you find SP and what made you stick around?
I found Sitepoint sometime back in 2000/2001. There were go-to websites for web tech and programming info back then but many were acquired by large companies, folded into the larger companies business and then the part I was interested in (the sharing of tech ideas) vanished. I think I found Sitepoint when I was searching for a PHP solution of some sort on PHPBulider and found a link to Sitepoint. I was intrigued because it was in Australia but there was the Canadian connection particularly via Kevin Yank and Matt Mickiewicz. Another thing about Sitepoint was that in my opinion it was the top place to discuss emerging web technologies and making things happen in the real world.
- What would you change (that is, if we'd give you the opportunity to change anything)
With regard to the Forum and Articles, in addition to providing instruction about solving various business requirements I would like to encourage more articles and discussion about experimentation just for the point of seeing how things work. That was what inspired me to be part of SP in the beginning. There were articles about “desktop PHP”, C# and Java that I probably wouldn’t use in my every day work but by just following along, I was learning a cool idea or concept. It seems that a lot of what I see lately (not just on SP) is ready made, click install and run article solutions that don’t take any imagination and result in unoriginal products. It’s great to have simple solutions on hand but I want to see more creative and innovative articles and discussions.
- You work as a programmer... when did you decide that you wanted to work as one? Or it simply happened?
I’ve always wanted to have something to do with computers.When I was a kid, my dad took me to a local university and I watched the guys in the computer department play lunar lander and print out all sorts of ASCII art with their computers. At the time I thought to myself that it would be handy to learn how to work with computers so I could make my own video games; race car games and tank battle rated pretty high for a six year old me. In high school I was involved in electronics and computers but when I got into the working world I ended up going down the path of business management and marketing (with a little electrical tech work for good measure). I continued an active interest in programming on my own time. When the Internet started to gain traction I ditched my management job and started trying to figure out how to get involved in the world of websites, first doing freelance work building websites and teaching HTML, then joining forces with my graphic designer girlfriend to add web development to the services her company provided. We got married a couple of years later and run our design and web development studio as a partnership.
- Is there any other job that you would have done instead of programming?
At one point I was quite convinced that I was going to have a career in music. I’d be a musician in a heartbeat but although I’m enthusiastic, I know too many other musicians who are simply better so that might not be in the cards. I like marketing communications & advertising and recently I’ve wanted to get involved in technical writing. Currently I’m doing some technical review on a book and hope to write my own some day.
- In your profile you say that you used to break things... to then fix them up... how often did you break something up and realized that you couldn't put it back together? Has anybody said to you “Didn't I ask you to leave that alone?” Oh, that’s a bit tongue in cheek but I did spend most of my life being told not to touch one thing or another. My grandmother used to tell me that I was just like my dad who had a knack for taking things apart and not necessarily getting them back together properly. The upside is that if you learn how to take things apart and then put them back together (even if you have to do some repair along the way), you’ll have the confidence to tackle pretty much anything that comes your way.
- You also say that you like music... what kind of music do you listen to? Do you play any instruments?
I play guitar. I listen to all sorts of music from swing era jazz to blues, rock, grunge and heavy rock. Currently I like listening to Jack White (The Dead Weather, Raconteurs, White Stripes, etc...), Jet, Strokes but also Led Zeppelin, Heart, NIN, Alice in Chains and old U2 (Pre 2000).
- Your list of interests also include home renovation and motorcycles. It seems that everything that interests you is related with breaking things up... (and fix them, of course! XD) Which would be the job that makes you feel the proudest?
Hmmm... That’s hard to say. Probably the renovations on our home but I’m also restoring an ex-race bike at the moment and it could very well be my proudest achievement when it’s done.
- What kind of motorcycles do you like? Harley Davidson style, or more street/racing ones?
Road Racer or “Sport” bikes are the ones I like. Motorcycles used to be my primary mode of transportation but now it’s just for fun. For about the last ten years I’ve been into restoring a few ex-race bikes that have come into my possession.
- How many motorcycles do you own?
I have three semi-rare mid 80’s Suzuki sport bikes at the moment... A 1985 GSXR750 (ex-race bike), a 1986 GSXR750R (Limited Edition), and a 1989 GSXR750RR (1 of 500 made, ex-race bike)
- What was the craziest thing you've done (but that surprisingly worked well)?
The craziest thing I ever pulled off was a reporting system I added to an ancient ASP Classic website that had a membership system with various levels. The “intern” level members needed to reports their work experience of about 60 areas of interest on a monthly basis and we needed to generate 1-month summaries and 3-month quarterly reports from the information. Writing the database tables, code and queries to manage all of it along with testing the whole shebang had some complications but I managed to write most of the big code over a weekend about three years ago and it worked exactly as specified. I built the database over a much longer period because it’s the core of the system and it had to be right from the get-go. The crazy part was developing new applications on an ancient, unsupported technology. Microsoft abandoned ASP more than ten years ago and it’s getting trickier to support on newer version so IIS but there are still lots of websites that use it so.. You have to do what you have to do. The surprising part was whipping it up so quickly and that it works so well.
- What is the challenge that you would like to take if you could?
I’m not sure... I’ve got a lot of things on the go. I’ll have to give that some thought... Ok, if I could, I’d like to be part of a “think tank” that looks at coming up with solutions to big issues like what to do about world-wide water pollution, alternate energy or sustainable living and housing for 3rd world countries. I’d like to take some time off and join Habitat for Humanity and build houses and schools. That sort of thing would be a fantastic challenge and would make me feel like I had really achieved something.
- You help a lot around the CMS forum... in your opinion, what's the CMS with the hardest learning curve? What's the easiest to use? What is the best?
That’s a dangerous question... There are a lot of CMS packages around and they are so much more sophisticated than the PHPNuke CMS’s from ten years ago. If I had the time I’d like to learn them all but I just don’t have the time. Currently, my favorite is Drupal. I find it the most flexible but I’ve been using it for five years and I made a concerted effort to learn as much about it as I possibly could.
- And outside SPF and work... what makes your day perfect?
A nice twisty road with some friends on motorcycles. There’s nothing quite like it. ...Or even in the shop tinkering with something electrical or mechanical.
- Do you have any piece of wisdom you want to share (if you haven't already)? Any funny story? Any recommendations (a book, a movie or what we should never ever buy)
One piece of wisdom I try to keep in mind is not to jump on people in the forums if they don’t share your point of view or seem outrageous, rude, ill-informed or obnoxious. It’s hard sometimes and some posts are just begging to be jumped on and flamed but nevertheless, I try not to react. ...Sometimes I still do anyway.
- Now let's go for some shameless self-promotion.... what makes you special?
Ummm, because my mom says I am?... I suppose one thing is that I’m stubborn and don’t give up easily, so even though I may think that whatever difficult task I am working on is impossible, I’ll continue working on it until I come up with a solution. I’m generally good natured and I’ve also got a wicked memory for things and events so I can usually pull up some trivia that comes in handy somewhere along the way.
- Is there anything else that you would like to add or say to the world? Maybe something along the lines of whatever you do, try to make a positive impact on the world and the people around you. I’m not being glib, I truly subscribe to that idea.