Leela: Hmmm. I've been looking for a way to serve the community that incorporates my violence. Let's do it!
Fry: You'll barely regret this.
The quick-n-dirty description of me is "failed physicist" - I took physics in U but I completely bit at the heavy math. So now I'm a programmer, like all the other physicists out there. Eh, I don't mind that too much. I'm also a pilot, so unsurprisingly most of my edits are on science, tech or aircraft.
I hail from Toronto, specifically the Christie Pits area close to downtown. I have what used to be a "right sized" house until the girlfriend and I broke up, and now it's just plain too big. Still, I got it for a great price, so the cheapie in me won't let me sell it. Of course that leads to other problems, like the neverending upgrades you always forget about when you buy a place.
I work at a medium-sized (for Canada) hedge fund during the day, primarily writing the program they use to enter and track orders. I'm formerly a Mac guy, but holding a day job pretty much means you've got to work on the PC, and so I do. I can't say I really mind it though, and I have to admit that Microsoft Access does the job well.
I got into programming in a roundabout way, originally working in tech support for FirstClass. That was one odd company; there were the programmers, and then "everyone else", the peaons. I never managed to break into programming there, the barrier to entry was just too high. Then back in '97 Apple Computer announced it was buying NeXT and using OpenStep as the next Mac OS X. So I started looking into OS and got completely hooked, posting about it a lot on the UseNet. Then one day I got a email from a developer in Toronto who wanted to hire me to help him write a program on OpenStep, but I declined, saying I liked my job and didn't really have that much experience anyway. The next day I got laid off. The day after that I worked for him. The rest, so it goes, is history.
I'm an avid cyclist and do about 200k a week on average, at least during the warmer months, which takes up my afternoons and any free weekends. I've started doing some longer distance day ride this year, 100-120 typically and a century ride every so often. Right now I'm gearing up for the Donut Ride, which I hope to try this weekend.
I have a fairly wide group of friends, some of whom have even ended up here on the wiki, like User:Pandora and my buddy Nick (missing in action).
Me and the Wiki
I've been a wikipedian for a while now, my first edits go back to the March 2002 time-frame. I guess that makes me one of the old-timers. Since then I've made a little under 10,000 edits, and created or rewritten perhaps 1,000. Before registering for this account I made a number of edits using User:220.127.116.11. As of April 2007 I have over 12,500 mainspace edits, and over 15,000 in total.
Some of these turned out to be really interesting when the people I was writing about would later see the article and write me. For instance I got a really nice letter from the author of the ZGRASS, who was impressed that I managed to piece together so much of the history. Admittedly I did a lot of legwork on that one, photoblasting a couple of articles at the Toronto Reference Library for background. I also came across a mention of the Lotus Improv article on someone's blog. He was convinced that I worked at Lotus because of all the "insider history" I gathered, but I have to admit I got most of it from an old NeXTWorld article.
I have only one "wikiwhine". In May I spent about a week trying to get several pictures of the IBM 1360 from Berkeley, only to succeed and then find they were summarily deleted because I uploaded just after the May 19th cutoff. This was particularly frustrating because there was no notice on the wiki about this cutoff, I only noticed it when I went back to the page and noticed a deletion tag. Poorly handled, IMHO. It's doubly frustrating in this case because the machines in question were all destroyed.
One of my pet peeves in the software industry is good ideas that simply disappear into the ether. I'm always annoyed when I try out some new package and it's missing some painfully obvious feature they could have just lifted directly out of another older package. That's why a lot of my writing is on older software, like Lotus Improv, FullWrite Professional.
And following that line of thought, I've decided to try a little experiment. I have started a new collaborative effort I call the Manifesto for a Better Word Processor, in which I hope to collect up ideas from all and sundry on the features they would like to see in the ideal word processor.
And a new one too: ObjC wishlist
Here's a few of my articles I'm particularly proud of.
Everyone seems to do this, but it got so long I had to break it up.
- User:Maury Markowitz/History, business, etc.
- User:Maury Markowitz/Aircraft, engines, etc.
- User:Maury Markowitz/Physics, engineering, other tech, etc.
- User:Maury Markowitz/Computers, etc.
- User:Maury Markowitz/Sandbox
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