Member of the Month - July 2013

Well folks, another month has rolled around and it’s time to announce the Member of the Month for July.

This month, the award goes to none other than fretburner who has been making some fantastic contributions in the JavaScript and PHP forums as of late.

I recently caught up with fretburner and marked the occasion by asking him some questions so that we can all get to know him a little better.

Congratulations on being awarded the MoTM badge for July, fretburner. How do you feel?

Thanks, I feel good! I’m still surprised to have been chosen, considering the short length of time I’ve been posting here.

Your SitePoint profile doesn’t give much away. Would you care to fill in the gaps and tell us a little bit about yourself: who you are (real name if you want), what you do for a living, and how you got involved in web development.

Yes I was trying to be fairly anonymous at first in case I made an idiot of myself on the forums! My name is Nilson and in addition to my day job I do some freelance web development and teach English as a foreign language.
I first started out by helping a friend of mine, a print designer who was getting into web design but didn’t know where to start when it came to code.

Well, it’s too late now, your cover is blown :slight_smile: Anyway, staying with SitePoint, what brought you to the forums and what inspired you to start helping other members?

I’ve been a visitor to the forums for years, but I never felt confident enough in my own knowledge to start helping others, especially as there seemed to be many forum regulars who knew a lot more than I did. Recently I had a question that I couldn’t find an adequate answer for by googling, so I decided to sign up here and see what kind of a response I got. While I was here, I spotted a couple questions which I knew the answers to, so I thought I’d have a go… once you start it can be quite addictive!

I know that feeling all too well - I think we should start a support group. But I digress … You post knowledgeably in many areas of the forum and your posts demonstrate a strong programmatic knowledge. What languages and skill sets do you have?

I guess I’m a bit of a jack of all trades really. I’ve got a reasonable knowledge of HTML, CSS, and a bit of SQL, and languages wise I do PHP, JavaScript, and a bit of Python. Lately I’ve been working a lot with Backbone.js and Require.js and trying to get my head around those properly. I don’t have a CS background (I studied Sociology at college), so I’ve been trying to plug the gaps with some of the online courses from sites like Coursera and Udacity.

And I’ve got to ask, where does the name fretburner come from? Is there any meaning behind it?

Yeah it comes from my hobby of playing the guitar, and aspiring to be as fast as some of my favourite players and blaze up and down the fretboard!

I’ve heard that you’re the technical co-founder of a web start-up. That sounds very interesting. Can you tell me more about that?

Sure, the app itself is aimed at bringing construction professionals with specialist skills together with developers and consultants who are looking for those skills.
My job as the technical co-founder spans just about everything you can imagine that relates to running a web app, from writing markup, to building RESTful APIs, to server admin and deployment.
The broad scope is what makes it such a great job, as I get the opportunities to learn about and use such a wide range of tools and technologies.

And have you made your first million yet?

Haha, well things are growing slowly and steadily at the moment, but I’m still a long way off my own yacht or sports car! :wink:

I understand that you’re from the UK, but you live in Brazil. I’m officially jealous, but tell me - why Brazil? Was it tax purposes?

No, and I’m not on the run either! My wife is Brazilian, so she’s the reason I’m here. She’s still in the process of completing her PhD, which is why we’ve decided to stay for the time being.

So, is Brazil a nice place to live? What are the main cultural differences between Brazil and the UK that you have observed so far?

There are a lot of upsides to living here: the food is great, the people are very easy going and welcoming, and you see a hell of a lot more sunshine than you do in the UK! On the flip side, certain things like computers and consumer electronics are expensive here, and it’s hard to find good tea.

As for cultural differences, I don’t remember much coming as a big shock to me. The hardest thing to get to grips with has been the language - four years on and I still struggle!

Brazil is hosting the 2014 World Cup. I’m sure that’s going to be amazing. Are you a football fan and if so, who do you think is going to win? (It’s got to be England, hasn’t it?)

Haha, well I have to say I’m not really a football fan. Everyone here is crazy about it though, so I guess between them and my wife I won’t be able to escape it! I did see that England managed a draw against Brazil in a friendly the other day, but I don’t think we’ll be so lucky in the World Cup.

I’m afraid you might be right :slight_smile: Anyway, moving on, do you have any hobbies away from the computer? You said you’re a guitar player. Do you play in a band?

Away from the computer? Don’t they call that eating and sleeping? But yeah I’ve been playing the guitar for about 13 years now. I’m not currently in a band, but I have played in an acoustic trio, and a rock covers band back in the UK. Other than that, I enjoy reading sci-fi (part way through the Dune series at the moment) and non-fiction, and I also like to watch series (recently finished Fringe, but into Person of Interest and Sherlock at the moment).

One of the benefits of MOTM is the chance for shameless, unmoderated, self-promotion … Is there a website or a Twitter or Facebook profile that you’d like to draw our attention to?

I don’t really have anything like that to promote, but perhaps I could use this opportunity to say that I’m always interested in collaborating with other developers or designers on side-projects for fun or profit, so if anyone is interested just drop me a message. :slight_smile:

So, before I let you go, two more questions: who’s your favourite web personality (and why)?

I’m not sure I have a favourite. There are so many talented people out there doing interesting and inspiring things. Sometimes some of the best insights or most interesting libraries have come from random people that I’ve never heard of before.

And if there was one bit of advice you could give someone who wanted to become a better web designer / developer, what would it be?

Hmm, I suppose I’d say spend some time learning from other languages and their communities. You’ll find fresh perspectives on things that you can bring back to your own projects.

Wise words! Oh, and hang on, I almost forgot the obligatory silly question: Star Wars or Star Trek?

Wait, isn’t that three? While I do love Star Wars, I’d have to say Star Trek. I grew up watching TNG, DS9 and re-runs of the original series.


So people, it’s over to you. Please join with me in congratulating Nilson on this very well deserved award

Congratulations fretburner!
And a great interview again this month, well done to the both of you.

Congrats fretburner!

Really enjoyed the interview. Good job to the both of you.

Great interview, guys. and congratulations, fretburner. You seem so knowledgeable that I’m amazed you were lacking confidence in your ability to answer questions. Your posts have been awesome.

TBH, I’m surprised it’s hard to find good tea in Brasil. I thought Brasil was heavily into leaf-based products.

Hey Guido, cpradio, Ralph - thanks a lot guys :slight_smile:

lol, good point… that might explain a few things over here!

Congratulations on a well earned recognition.
I think you should hitherto be referred to as ThreadBurner for the way you jump in and answer questions.

:smiley: Thanks Thom, much appreciated!

Congratulations, fretburner, on your well earned recognition.

I owe you a special thanks for pitching in and helping with my little JavaScript question, too. Your code was uniquely helpful.

Hope you plan to stick around for a long time. :tup:

Congratulations! :tup:

Congratulations fretburner.

I got the guitar reference on sight, even if not web dev related :wink:

Thanks man.

Do you play as well?

Thanks a lot ronpat, much appreciated!

Thanks. I take it from your location you’re a fellow Brit too? :slight_smile:

I have a bass I fool around with. So I don’t exactly “burn” frets but I know what they are.

Congrats fretburner to win member of the month at SP cheers

Congratulations, fretburner, on your well earned recognition. Hope you will do better.

Congratulations FretBurner. You deserve the award indeed.

Hey… Congrates man… Great Interview… have a good time ahead :slight_smile:

Thanks a lot guys, I appreciate all the messages! :slight_smile:

Congrats! Way to go :slight_smile:

Well congrats Nilson aka fretburner…you really deserve to win that title…i guess we’d see you a lot more now on this community…