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Nov 30, 2012, 15:58 #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2009
- Melbourne, AU
- 319 Post(s)
- 5 Thread(s)
PulloŚMember of the Month, December 2012
One really cool thing about these forums is that brilliant people choose to hang around and help others by sharing their knowledge and expertise.
This month, we'd like to highlight the efforts of Pullo, who is our Member of the Month for December. Pullo has been giving amazing help and advice across a wide range of disciplines of late.
Here's an interview I conducted with him recently.
Congratulations on being awarded the MoTM badge for December, Pullo. Were you surprised?
Well, itĺs certainly deserved.
There are lots of things I'd like to ask you, but firstly, can you say something about your username? It's often intriguing to know what led to someone's choice of username (unless you have a boring one like mine!)
Now, I've got to ask: your profile page features a mug shot of the gangster Jack Zelig. What's up with that?
Heh heh, I used Google image search, actually.
Well, I got into computers in about 2004 when I volunteered to make our diving club's web page. However, I didn't have a shred of computer knowledge and volunteering was one thing, but actually making it was another.
There was quite a steep learning curve involved at first, but from the moment I started, I was hooked. I then spent ALL of my spare time learning about web technologies and about PCs in general.
At some point I noticed that friends and family were starting to ask me for advice, both with their computers and with web projects. This gave me the confidence to apply for a part-time job at the local university, as a network administrator (which, suffice to say, I got).
Since then I haven't looked back once. I have never stopped learning and in the course of this job, have been lucky enough to work with a variety of technologies, some of which you allude to in your question.
I am also continuously looking for ways to apply what I Iearn. For example, our department's secretary wanted to make minor changes to two or three pages of our website, so I built her a mini CMS using Ruby.
I gather that you haven't always made your living from web development, and that you have a rather interesting life story. Do you mind telling us a little about that?
As my profile states, I live in Germany. I am, however, not German, but rather a misplaced Brit.
I came to Germany whilst studying, but loved it so much I ended up moving back when I had finished.
I originally worked as an English trainer, but as soon as I realised I could make money from working in IT, I took the plunge and became a freelancer.
That's not to say that I don't teach any more, I do. I currently teach a team of engineers who work with the compounding of thermoplastics. It's great fun and gets me away from the computer, but has left me with a ridiculously in-depth knowledge of a compounding line, that I'll almost certainly never need again.
These forums attract a lot of people who are having specific issues with their web work, but it's really nice when people choose to stick around to help others and share their expertise. What brought you to these forums, and what inspires you to help others?
What's lead me to help others? At some point I noticed "Oh, I could answer that question", so I did. And then I answered another, and another, and the whole thing just snowballed.
I enjoy helping people, and sometimes, when I get positive feedback from someone I helped, it makes my day.
You also have a really cool blog site that provides lots of tips for web designers at http://hibbard.eu/. What inspired you to start that up?
It was only a short jump from writing things up in a text file on my PC, to writing them up in WordPress for the world to see. WordPress is great like thatŚthe ease with which it lets you publish content is almost unparalleled.
Times have been pretty tough economically of late, especially in Europe. How have you weathered the storm as a freelancer? Do you have any tips for making a living as a web developer?
What has worked for me, though, is to plan ahead and when I do find myself "between jobs", I use the time to learn or to practise something that will strengthen my rÚsumÚ.
What is your outlook on web development in the foreseeable future? Are there any technologies you are especially gearing up for, or do you have plans to branch out in any particular direction?
I've just finished redesigning my blog. Not only did I make my new design responsive, but I designed for mobile first.
This was a very interesting experience and was inspired by the amount of clients perceiving the relevance of a website that is accessible to mobile users.
On a separate note, I'm also looking forward to the release of Ruby 2.0 next year. That'll be fun to play with.
Can you tell us a bit about your interests outside of web development? I gather you are into fantasy books, running and even diving!
Saying that, I've not visited the Barrier Reef yet. Are you located near there, Ralph? Do you fancy a house guest or five?
Iĺm actually a long way from there, way down in Melbourne, but I can highly recommend the Barrier Reef as a place to visit. Itĺs awesome. (Donĺt wait too long, though, as it seems global warming is killing off the reef at an alarming rate. )
And, when I'm not doing that, I try to keep fit and do quite a bit of running. Now that it is winter over here, this is more or less restricted to the treadmill in the gym, but in summer I enjoy running outdoors (there is quite a lot of nice countryside where I live).
If you had superpowers, what items would top the list of things you'd want to changeŚabout web development or the world in general?
So, I'd use my superpowers to put an end to all that. I'm not quite sure how this would work in practice, though. Maybe with some cosmic rays, or something ...
I've just slipped a sedative into the drinks of the other moderators, so while they're asleep, are there any websites or other causes that you'd like to promote here?
Finally (and this is a bit of a long shot, but I'll ask just in case): can you shed any light on the meaning of life?
Get those shipped over to me, then I'll be sure to let you know the path to true enlightenment shortly after consuming them
That sounds great, Pullo. Iĺm off to get some of that German beer now!
In the meantime, everyone, please congratulate Pullo on his award!
Sorry Pullo, I drank all the beer. But I think Iĺve found the answer now anyway. Thanks for the tip!