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28 January 2007

About the Blogger

UPDATE 2015-03-30

So I posted this 7 years ago.  It's very out of date but I'm going to keep here for historical reasons.  Critical updates

  • I'm not a Coldfusion Programmer anymore, I do a lot of SQL and some .NET in my role as an IT manager in the Office of University Development at the University of North Carolina @ C hapel Hill.
  • I'm not 30-something anymore. =)
  • I still live in Apex.  I guess that's worth mentioning!
  • Most of my open source projects are long abandoned.

And now, here's the historical stuff...


A few months ago, Charlie Arehart (many of you know him from the Coldfusion Developer's Journal, New Atlanta, and others) emailed me and suggested that my blog (and all blogs) need some kind of "About the Blogger" page.  Well Charlie, I've finally gotten around to writing one.  And since I have numerous blogs, I'll just post one here and link to it from my owner blogs.

Evolution of a Programmer

My name is Rick Root.  I'm a 30 something coldfusion programmer, and I've been doing the CFML thing since late 1997.  Back in those days, I was unhappily doing software QA for a company in Ann Arbor, Michigan, called ArborText, doing FOSI development for their SGML editor package, ADEPT Editor.  I hated it, but it was my first job where I was really in the IT industry.

You see, I've been a computer nerd pretty much all my life, starting with a Commodore Pet in 1977, and continuing on with the Commodore 64, and the Commodore Amiga before making the jump to the PC world in 1994.  Even then I think I really went to Linux first before giving up and jumping to Windows 95 when it arrived (I never really used Windows 3.1).

But I digress.  Anyway, although I had a lot of computer skills, and I even did some BASIC programming on the old C64, it never really occurred to me to go to school for computer science.  In high school, I was taking graphic arts classes, and I enjoyed printing - that is, the art of putting ink on a substrate.  I enjoyed it, and it was something that could be a career.  I knew what I wanted to major in before my senior year in high school even started, and I never wavered.  I only applied to one school.  Western Michigan University had a highly respected printing program (and in fact is the only university where you can bring in wood chips and take out a printed product, as they also have a paper science and engineering program that includes a real papermaking pilot plant).

I did take some computer science courses while I was there, intending to get a minor in computer science.  I did fine until I took the C class and couldn't handle pointers, so I dropped the class before the deadline, and that was the end of that.

Life after college was not really very exciting.  I took a job doing cost estimating for a book printer in Chelsea, Michigan (just out side of Ann Arbor) in 1995.  At the same time, when I moved back to Ann Arbor, I got my first "ISP" which offered me the ability to have a home page.  I bought an HTML book and used by graphic design and layout skills to make myself a website.  At the time I was also a fan of a variety of local bands, so eventually I made some fan pages for those bands, and one of them found my page and emailed me.  I had my first "client" and although they didn't pay me, it gave me an opportunity to create my first REAL web site, www.fatamy.com.  The lead singer was Bob Guiney, that you may know as The Bachelor (season 4), but this was way back in 1996.

Anyway, I realized that web development was something I wanted to do, and I enjoyed doing it, so I eventually quit my job at ArborText and started doing freelance web design with some friends who had started their own company doing the same thing.  in late 1997, they asked me to look into this Coldfusion product, because I had told them that doing major database development work in Perl was difficult and time consuming.  Plus, I wasn't very good at CGI scripting yet.  So I downloaded the trial of Coldfusion 3.1 and within 3 hours I'd found the product that I was going to use to build my career.

Unfortunately, the freelancing thing didn't work out, so I started looking for a real job.  I didn't have any "real" experience, at least not working for a real company.  I interviewed for a few positions in Ann Arbor but nothing really came through, and my new wife allowed me to expand my search to North Carolina.  North Carolina had a booming tech industry, and was a great job market for her too since she was a research scientist doing virus research.  I landed my first job as a real web developer, doing Coldfusion programming for Micromass Communications in Cary, NC.  They're still around, which is ironic because I left them thinking that they weren't going to make it, and the company I went to after that went bankrupt.  Go figure.

Over the years, I've dabbled in other languages, like Java, PHP, and even Python.  But I don't like doing any of that other stuff.

More about present day me

So I live in Apex, NC with my wife Adrienne.  Our 10 year anniversary is in July, and we have a beautiful daughter named Emily who just turned 5.  When we moved here in 1998, my sister lived here as well, and we'd been down to visit a few times.  But 3 or 4 years ago, my mom and dad moved here from Michigan, and so did my other sister and her family (from Florida).  So my whole clan is back together, 700 miles south-southeast of our original location (near Ann Arbor, Michigan).

I'm a big sports fan.  I grew up loving Michigan football and Tigers baseball, and I still do.  But over the last 5 years, I've also really grown to love hockey.  My team is the Carolina Hurricanes, who won the Stanley Cup last year.  Yes, I was there, and yes it was awesome.  They've actually played in the Stanley Cup Finals twice.  They lost to Detroit back in 2001, and they beat Edmonton last year.

I'm also overweight, but working on doing something about that.  If you read my blog, you'll notice a lot of diet updates.  I'm 20 pounds into a 70 pound weight loss program where I'm hoping to weigh about 200 by my birthday, which is July 24.  I've got 48 pounds to go.

My web sites

In addition to my personal web site at www.rickroot.com, I also maintain a blog for my open source projects called www.opensourcecf.com, and another for my thoughts on the Carolina Hurricanes at www.thecaniac.com.  My freelancing work is done under the name www.webworksllc.com.

In addition to those, I also run www.cfmbb.org for my coldfusion message board software, and www.blogcfm.org, which is the home page for my coldfusion blogging software.

I'm a chronic domain registerer.  Is that a word?  I often register domains based on ideas that I'm never able to spend enough time on, like www.banphonebooks.com, intending to be a petition type web site to ban the practice of sending printed phone books to people who don't specifically ask for them.  I once built a parody web site where you could complete an offer, refer 5 friends, and get a free asian girlfriend (a parody of the freeipod.com type web sites)

The Coldfusion Community

I regularly attend CFUNITED in Washington DC, and I'm a regular participant of the cf-community and cf-talk mailing lists at the House of Fusion.

If you are attending CFUNITED 2007, please look me up and say hi!

Posted by rickroot at 11:31 AM | Link | 14 comments
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Re: About the Blogger
Rick: I was interested in your experiences at Micromass Communications. When where you there? Your comments about them not surviving .... was this before they made the change a few years ago to more pharmaceutical marketing and mving away from the software development end of the business? The reason I ask, is there may be an opprotunity for me (on the creative side), and, without having met them yet, I'm trying to get a fix on whether this company is worth getting involved with. From what I've seen on-line, they've gone through some fairly radical 180 degree changes in the last few years (laying off 25 people in 2002 alone). I'd be interested in further comments from you.
Posted by Jackie on January 31, 2007 at 7:09 PM

Re: About the Blogger
Jackie - it was a LONG time ago... way back in 1998. I actually have a friend who more recently did some contract work there, if you email me I can put you in touch with him.
Posted by rickroot on January 31, 2007 at 7:47 PM

Re: About the Blogger
Just in case you didn't know, someone has posted a documentary they did about Frank Allison and the Odd Socks on YouTube:

It is a lot of fun and makes you wish you were at one of his concerts right now.

Posted by David Brzezinski on February 7, 2007 at 1:45 PM

Re: About the Blogger
Wow, that's awesome! Thanks for posting!
Posted by rickroot on February 7, 2007 at 3:09 PM

Re: About the Blogger
wow! Frank on YouTube! Grrrrreat! Gonna watch it right now. Thanks, this makes my day!
Dan on Ohio
Posted by drmlabs on February 18, 2007 at 10:23 PM

Re: About the Blogger
ps- I registereed just to post a comment regarding the infamous "Frank Aid" show at the top of the Park that you mention. I have the whole show on Videotape. I also have about a dozen live Frank shows, solo & with da Sox. I got turned on to his music late in the gmae, and tried to tape as much of it as I could - I guess partly cause it didnt look like he'd be playing much longer :(
Posted by drmlabs on February 18, 2007 at 10:25 PM

Re: About the Blogger

What's the story with the I like you website. Did you create that? I'm trying to find the author so that I can have permission to put it on my website. Or link to it or something. LMK
Posted by Maria Marsala on April 1, 2007 at 2:44 PM

Re: About the Blogger

i just wanted to let you know that I attended the Appalachian State game this past weekend, and I would do anything to sit in a bar for hours and talk with you about it

Go Mountaineers! and of course Go Big Blue!
Posted by Chris Reeves on September 5, 2007 at 8:55 PM

Re: About the Blogger
haha.. word up Chris, what's happenin? Drop me an email sometime. The addy is easy to find.
Posted by rickroot on September 6, 2007 at 11:36 AM

Re: About the Blogger
I like your Q and A regarding God and satan. I am writing a book and may to include this; would you be willing to eamil an ok, with the understanding your nuame would be included in the book.
Thank you,
Ed Gagle
Posted by ed gagle on September 21, 2007 at 2:20 PM

Re: About the Blogger
Please don't. I didn't write it, and I don't know who wrote it. it's one of those email forwards that has been making the rounds for at least a decade, if not two!
Posted by rickroot on September 23, 2007 at 8:15 AM

Re: About the Blogger
Just wanted to say that your Blog is awesome. Have spent half the day working with it to make it "my own". The CSS has been super easy and setup was a breeze. Thanks again! If you want to take a look at it, its RoninKrys.com.

Fantastic stuff...
Posted by roninkrys on March 15, 2008 at 8:48 PM

Re: About the Blogger
glad you like it!
Posted by rickroot on March 19, 2008 at 3:26 PM

Re: About the Blogger
for your national holiday page... april first celebration in SF. st stupid's day
www.saintstupid.com. thanx
Posted by bishop joey on July 31, 2010 at 11:42 AM

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