Cpradio - August 2012 MOTM

It’s with great pleasure that I’d like to announce the Member of the Month for August 2012:


Please join me in congratulating him and thanking him for his on-going help and support on the forums.

And now, get comfortable, and enjoy the interview.

Where does the name ‘cpradio’ come from?

Glad you asked! Many years ago, there was a website called “Christian Pirate Radio”. Quickly, I became active on their site to the point where I was even managing small tasks. They eventually disappeared and so I took on the name ‘cpradio’ to carry on their legacy and because it was the first site that really got me interested in what the Internet might be able to provide in the future.

You’ve been around these forums for a very long time, but maybe you still remember: what brought you to Sitepoint, what made you stay?

Well initially, it was likely a problem with JavaScript. I was so impressed that I stuck around both asking questions and attempting to answer questions. Then once I landed my first job after college (2005), I pretty much took a hiatus from everything other than work (my first job demanded a lot from me). I’ve since changed jobs (Dec 2011) and the new company I work for is just amazing. I find I have a lot of time on my hands and a lot less stress, so I came back to Sitepoint to see what has happened in 6 years and man did you guys change a lot (for the better).

You are putting a lot of effort in answering peoples questions. What motivates you to help others?

I had a friend many years ago that used to say “The only stupid question is the one that goes unasked.” That changed my entire mentality back then and still does today. Fact is, asking questions is a way of learning and if you don’t ask any questions, you won’t continue to learn. I enjoy being able to assist others, if not simply because others assisted me when I needed it. Not to mention, I enjoy challenges and I find that many times I may not know the answer right away either, so I’ll take on the question as a challenge and see if I can’t come to a resolution that I can walk the original poster through.

I’ve seen you posting a lot in the PHP forum, with some adventuring in the .NET and Javascript forums. Very much in line with the skill set you put in your profile. Can you tell us where it all started, and how you became who you are today?

Boy, if I start from the beginning, you’ll have to package it into a Sitepoint book :p, so I think I’ll summarize a bit. I was very fortunate to grow up in a large city (Houston, TX) that gave me many opportunities.

In middle school, we had a computer class that showed us Logo (who else remembers that turtle that always carried a pen when you needed one?), and an animation program called Toolbox. Needless to say, I was hooked! Unfortunately, my teacher didn’t care for my obsession, something along the lines of telling the turtle to do millions of circles rotating 5 degrees and randomly using a new color on a 386 didn’t impress her. That poor computer was running for a long long time (and that poor turtle, he must have been tired by the end of it).

Then in high school, I started in Turbo Pascal, then we migrated our Turbo Pascal code to C++. In my Junior (3rd) year, I self taught myself HTML, JavaScript, and PHP. Once in college, we used C, C++, Java, Perl, VB6, and VB.NET (here is a little known fact, I got my first International freelance job my freshman (1st) year in college).

Next came my first “real” job (of which I thought the company was a PHP shop during the interview; they weren’t); they used C# and I landed the job (which just goes to show that if you can think logically, resolve problems, and communicate well, it doesn’t matter what programming language you use). I still use C# and VB.NET today at my current job, and I use PHP a lot at home for personal projects and any occasional freelance work (if it fits the project).

Is your work web related? If so, what do you do for a living? If not, where does your interest in the web stem from?

I do work in the web industry. I work for an insurance company developing commercial lines products on the web for agents and consumers to interact with. My primary focus is performance, writing APIs, services, and designing data stores that meet business needs.

I also do freelance work, but only take on a few projects a year (less than 12); all of which is by word of mouth. In fact, just a few weeks ago I launched my freelance site just so I could have an online portfolio (really just highlights recent projects). However, I do not do freelance in the sense that most do. I take on “special” projects, ones that usually have odd requirements. Some of these requirements have been no backend language can be used (must use client side scripting) or removing old MRI images for a DOS computer that isn’t on the network and only has a 3.5" floppy disk drive.

Since you’ve been around for ten years, I’m going to seize the opportunity and ask you if and how the forums have changed in those years (and I don’t mean the layout :wink: ) ?

It has changed a lot, Sitepoint as a whole has become a much larger entity than what it was 10 years ago. Many new authors, more books, a marketplace, job board, courses, etc. Things have grown. The forum itself has also seen a lot of changes, though I think those were more so from vBulletin than the Sitepoint brand itself. Throughout all of the changes, Sitepoint still wins me over by its organization. All of the forums are easily identifiable and it has a community of all sorts of talents.

It’s your chance to change one thing about SitePoint Forums … what would you change?

I’d make Jeff Mott[SUP]*[/SUP] and I mentors. :smiley: Then with my new powers (albeit they probably wouldn’t be able to do this), I’d fix a few of the small [url=http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?860540-Unsubscribe-icon-does-not-appear-for-Subscribed-Forums]quirks that aren’t noticeable to others, but likely only by the person who reported them (which was me). They don’t really hinder usability either, so I can understand why they are not at the top of someone’s list.

[SUP]*[/SUP] seriously smart guy, he catches me when I’m still in .NET mode and posting in the PHP forum or just not thinking clearly.

In your profile you say you are interested in hiking, music, and movies. Would you like to tell us something about those hobbies, or any other things you do besides visiting Sitepoint?

I love hiking and the outdoors. One of my goals is to eventually hike to all ~180 waterfalls in the Tennessee Smoky Mountains area (I’ve completed roughly 20 of them). Then to continue with the North Carolina side. I live in Ohio, so I only get the chance when I visit my parents who retired in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, but I enjoy it a lot. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, any time is good for hiking.

Music and Movies are more of a past time I use to hang out with my family; my wife of 6 years, our 2 year old daughter and our 3 month old son. Friday nights has started to become Family Movie night and to our suprise our 2 year old actually sits through the entire movie.

I am also a Pandora One subscriber (love Pandora). I especially like the fact that I don’t have to carry CDs, buy MP3s, or whatever to listen to all sorts of artists, genres, etc. I wish you can buy out of the skip limit, but alas, no such luck yet.

This is your chance at blatant self promotion. Is there anything that you would like to promote?

How about a “Vote to make Jeff Mott and cpradio Mentors!” :stuck_out_tongue:

On a serious note, I really don’t have anything (all my freelance is by word of mouth), so I’ll just give shout outs to services that I care about and owe a lot to (all links are directly to their site without any referral information, although if you’d like to support me I’d be glad to give you my referral information)

  • CrashPlan (Serves all of my backup needs, love this product and I also use their cloud service)
  • Pandora (I love being able to stream music to several devices)
  • Netflix (Love streaming tv/movies to several devices)
  • DreamHost (All of my sites are hosted there. Say what you want, they have served me well and made up for times they didn’t, and I use their VPS service as well)
  • Debian (Yes, I am a Linux guy. My primary PC runs Debian and I’ve been running Linux since 2000)
  • Subversion (Yep, still using subversion – no git yet; Subversion has saved my hide numerous times, feel free to ask me about it)
  • LastPass (Oh where would I be if you weren’t managing my passwords – maybe on one of the leaked passwords list that have gone around recently)

Congratulations and well deserved.:slight_smile: Interesting Interview and as I’ve said before its always good to learn a bit more about what makes a member tick.

Keep up the good work.

Congratulations, cpradio! It’s been great having you around here. Coming from a teaching background, I’d like to :tup: your saying “The only stupid question is the one that goes unasked.”

Thanks @Paul O’B and @ralph.m (and all of the Sitepoint powers at be that voted for me to be member of the month)

Sweet. Good work.

Congratulations, cpradio - very well deserved. Thanks to you and Guido for such an interesting and entertaining interview, too. :slight_smile:

Awesome interview!

I too really liked the part about ‘no stupid questions…’ but I would add, make good questions that you can really help one to learn. :wink:

The [FONT=Helvetica Neue]Tennessee Smoky Mountains[COLOR=#464646] sounds very nice.

Thanks for the great questions Guido and answers by you!


It’s been a while since I was in Tennessee. And it’s been so long since I was in Houston the “outer loop” is now the “inner loop”.

I still run into problems with javascript, that hasn’t changed :shifty:

Of all the things I learned in school, I think the most important was how to learn. And asking questions is the keystone.


Thanks @HAWK, @TechnoBear, @ServerStorm, and @Mittineague

A very nice interview! I really like your sense of humour. :smiley:

Congratulations on a highly deserved MOTM award! :tup:

Thanks @kohoutek, if you can’t laugh in life, in your career, or even your job, I personally believe you need to initiate a change, change to your life style, your career, or even your job.

Matt, I agree to answer questions you have to ask questions and do searching and that’s part of the fun of forums. I do remember the Turtle Graphs and the robot but I can only remember programming with the software version those were the days…

Well, if you do make Mentor you don’t actually get much in the way of magical editing powers you can glow brightly orange and have a Mentor badge to polish though that’s about all. Hint: obviously a good way to impress is to also know how to use the report function to flag spam posts, etc.

I’d agree whenever you have a thought laugh at it. :smiley:

Nice interview. I really like your idea of freelancing solving difficult things nobody wants to touch. Must be really challenging and rewarding! :slight_smile:

Congrats on making MOTM, well deserved!

Thanks @xhtmlcoder and @ScallioXTX

@ScallioXTX, yes, solving challenges that others don’t want to work on is definitely rewarding and exhausting (which is why I only do a limited number of them a year :))

Congrats cpradio! I know I’ve seen you around quite often. Your input has been quite valuable. I’m glad you were recognized for the hard work!

Out of interest, why are you still using subversion instead of Git or Mercurial?

The biggest advantage I can give you for the distributed version control model (other than the obvious fact that you can continue to use version control when not connected to the internet) is the fact that branching and merging is so easy. We use Mercurial at work, and as a result of the simple and mostly painless branching and merging model, I’m free to experiment on ideas without the fear of breaking anything, and it’s really easy to create new branches for new features etc.

I just wondered why you are still using Svn?

Primarily because I don’t need a distributed version control model “yet”. Plus I have a several of custom hooks I’d have to convert that I just don’t have the time to do with having two kids. I really don’t find branching and merging all that difficult in SVN though (especially since the SVN repositories are only utilized by me and no one else – an advantage of doing freelance by yourself, I guess). At work, we are a .NET shop so we are using TFS.

So no “real” reasons, other than maybe “time to convert my custom hooks”, but even that isn’t “needed” for me to start using git so it really isn’t a great excuse. Guess I just haven’t found a need to switch and possibly lose all of that history I currently have tied in SVN (granted I’ve heard of others effectively using svn with git).

It’s been a while since I used svn (2-3 years at least), but from what I remember, it was merging that caused me the most pain back then. We had a team of 3 of us working on a project and we found it too painful to work with branches, so all worked on the same branch.

Merging is really easy with Mercurial, and I’d imagine it’s quite similar with Git.

I did convert an old svn project to Mercurial quite easily (there’s a pre-built Mercurial extension that can do it for you), although that had no custom hooks in it or anything like that. Custom hooks I can imagine as a reason for sticking to what you know.

Maybe the next time you start a project you should give Mercurial or Git a try though? I’d struggle to work with Svn now because I’m so used to being able to create experimental branches. Another good advantage if you are working with other developers is that if an experimental branch doesn’t work out for some reason, nobody in the team needs to even see my commits (means I’m not afraid to try stuff out and fail if it doesn’t work).

Anyway, well done on getting your award :slight_smile:

It is on my “to do” list, but that list is never ending and it always seems a higher priority item is constantly ahead of trying out git and/or mercurial.


Congratulations “Christian Pirate Radio”… Ohhh CPRadio. You deserved it.