This is Peter Keller.
Well, I graduated in May 1999 with a B.S. in C.S. and I am extrememly happy about that little fact. I spent 40K on a piece of paper I could have made with the Gimp and a laser printer, but I knew I had to have it in this world. My life is full of relief now that I only have one thing(work) that I MUST think about. I have a lot of free time if I want it. Usually though, I waste it, just because I can, and it is good to do that in your life. Other times, I write code during my free time sometimes for myself, and sometimes for other open source projects. Now, some history. I grew up in some really small town with only 100 students in my senior high school class a few miles south of Lake Geneva, WI. My early life in the spawning pits was the usual eat or be eaten with the outcome being, well, obvious. I became interested in programming early on and knew I was a geek by 5th grade. I never had a computer until Jan of 1998, so I spent a lot of time learning how to write code in school labs or on friends machines whilst they were getting stupid drunk. When I got to college, I met a sordid group of people that introduced me into the underworld of a place called the UPL. At the UPL, I began to learn how to hack. I knew I always had talent for hacking, but the resources and people at the UPL really helped it blossom into something extraordinary. I have spent, do spend, and will spend large amounts of time there refining my skills. I must admit, anyone who really desires to write code and do it well should go there and get a membership. Anyway, I spent most of my college career either hacking, drawing, or playing heavy-metal guitar(though I've been doing that for about 14 years). I had a job as a sysadmin at SSCC for a while(and almost became an alcoholic because of it, the job was fun and all, but I noticed that sysadmins just kinda become alcoholics-- naturally. I was no different.). Now I work for a wonderful research project called Condor here at the University of Wisconsin--Madison. It is 700,000 lines of evolving code that just does the sexiest stuff. It suits me well because hardcore systems programming is something I've wanted to do for a long time.
A (hopefully) Live Image from the UPL Cam.
Well, I really enjoy writing code. Sometimes not even useful stuff, just odd, wierd, strange, and damn near off the wall crap that probably isn't going to be useful to anyone, including me. Sometimes I actually do write useful stuff, but mostly they are excersizes in converting thought to code. However, when I really do need to write something useful, it usually isn't hard, just time-consuming. The only thing that is going against programming is the sheer amount of attention required to do it well. And most of the time you are alone in the code you write, occasionally I get bitter about that. When I did write code with a partner, Alan De Smet, it was pretty amazing and very cool. However, the unfortunate bastard up and graduated on me while I was in school and found something to do with his life. :) We had written a pretty cool 3D Engine, but it seems the web pages got destroyed... I'll have to look for them somewhere, maybe I got a copy. No matter though, for the time it was great code, but now it is probably pretty primitive. Either way, I had written all of the graphics code: reference frame stuff, line drawing, texture mapping, Xlib interface code by hand and Alan had written a nice object/world loading system along with a scripting language and a shell for it. Ahhh... Those were the days. I still write various 3d engines along with designing spatial data structures that better model polygonal, mathematical, and voxel data sets.
Hmm... I also like playing guitar. Loud, racous, bleeding out of your ear making your spleen implode Sepultera type of Metal. My sister Rose introduced me to Metal(and drinking) at a young age. I grew to enjoy its complexities beyond just listening to it and began playing. Haven't stopped since. I write lyrics occasionally, but I find much more fulfillment in the creation of complex melodies and wonderful phrases that say much. For a while, I was getting pretty pissed at the music scene after metal had gone underground in the late 80's. Guitars were nothing more than jangly shiney objects for anyone to strum two chords together and wail about how angst filled they are. It made me sick. The raw potential of the guitar was being sadly crushed in what was to become the mainstream music. So for the vast majority of the 90's, I sat back and listened to the old school metal and the good band that showed up once in a blue moon. Luckily, it looks like slowly but surely metal is comming back. I see it in the paper where it wasn't before, shows are becomming more prevalent, it looks good. Of course the music has evolved, but it hasn't died.
Drawing has been a pretty good portion of my life as well. I did it a lot when I was a kid, and liked it enough to continue in High School and college. Although in the past year it has fallen into disrepair (hey, it takes a while to master C), if I practice I could be proficient once again. In college, I discovered that I really loved ceramics. I was a hand builder, the wheel never really appealed to me. To me, a pot is always a pot(though to a lot of other people it isn't :) Ceramics allowed me to make the wierd stuff as fast as I thought. I mucked around in glassworking for a while, but it wasn't the medium I was looking for. The fast creation time with clay and its beautiful malleability properties was perfect. If I do go back to school for a Masters, it will be in Fine Art. I think my talent as a hacker would be wasted in school fishing for a Masters in CompSci.
For those interested, I often write insane and opinionated comments in Alan De Smet's blog. Many times what I write isn't a true representation of my actual persona or beliefs, but I like making odd connections in the articles he posts and writing genuinely wierd stuff merely for the amusement factor.