Brendan Robert

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Greetings.  Feel free to browse around.  Make yourself at home.

I am a Father: We brought four wonderful children into our lives.  It is not without its challenges but so far has been rewarding beyond words.  Pictures can be found here.

I am a Geek: I learned to use computers when I was five.  My parents taught me to program basic on a Timex/Sinclair ZX80.  From age 7 through 13, I used an apple //e.  Since then I've been using PCs.  I dabbled with Linux off and on since '98, and have freed my laptop from Windows in 2007 (happily using Ubuntu since then.)  I frequently follow sites like Slashdot, Hack-a-day, Engadget and web comics such as The Oatmeal, User Friendly, and XKCD.  I grew up reading Scientific American and Nibble, and used to frequently type programs in from magazines as a hobby until I eventually learned how to code my own games in assembly when I was 15.  I would still love to someday meet those who I read about and idolized as a kid like the Woz, Lord British, John Romero, Burger B., Steve Meretzky, and so forth (it's actually a long list.)  Is that sufficiently geeky?

I am a Consultant: From 2000 to 2011 I worked as a consultant/architect for Vignette, now part of the OpenText. Some of the sites in which I've had heavy involvement include T. Rowe Price,  USA.Gov, Redhat, United Healthcare, Carrier, AIM Funds.  I've worked with several other Fortune-100 companies as well.  I also got to work on some exciting projects with engineering for the new social product!  There was a very long time I wanted to be a game programmer.  That dream quickly faded when I went to college and saw how brutal and unstable that industry was (and still is!)  Fortunately, the web became the new thing and I quickly learned the early emerging technologies, doing LAMP stack programming and so on.  Consulting was a great move, because I enjoy solving real problems more than I enjoy programming itself.  If I can make a computer help others solve their problems and get their jobs done more efficiently and more enjoyably, then I've done my job and I can take great pride in it.

I am an experienced Traveler: I used to travel a lot for work, though I will always call Austin, Texas my home.  On busier years, travel afforded me great (and mostly) free vacations, and during the week I was occasionally lucky enough to visit fun places like Boston and Chicago for work.  I've been to Hawaii a bunch too.   I've been to Manhattan cumultively for one year for various projects, and have been culinarily ruined by it.  ;-)  I haven't actually gone anywhere in the past three years, so I'm transitioning from "business traveler" to "business traveler sympathizer."   This is wonderful because I have been given a gracious opportunity to watch my children grow up, and I don't have to worry about getting my possessions mishandled or lost.  Or wake up at 4:30am on a Monday.  Or hear about all the funny things that occurred while I was away sitting in a quiet/boring/lonely hotel room.  Or have my personal liberty and privacy tossed out the window for the sake of security.

I am a Coder: I have a degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin.  To date I have learned over ten different programming languages, but I've been doing mostly web programming for quite some time.  My languages of trade are Java and JavaScript, but I can still whip up code in Basic, Perl or even 6502 Assembler.  Languages I've learned and mostly tried to forget are Lisp, Pascal, C/C++, Haskell and Fortran.  I have done extensive work in web/database programming as well as multi-threaded computer simulation (see Java Apple Computer Emulator.)  And like any good coder, I occasionally eat cold pizza for breakfast.

I am a Musician: I like to write music, time permitting.  I haven't been doing as much of this lately as I've wanted to, but still crank a tune out from time to time.  See the music section for some recent works and older favorites.