‘the OPML sketch of who I am and how I got here’


As I’ve already mentioned, I had the pleasure of meeting a certain gentleman by the name of Dennis E. Hamilton earlier this week. He’s a fascinating chap.  As we were talking it became apparent to me he was a true hacker – one of the originals. Dennis started programming in 1958 while working at Boeing as an engineer, spent some time admin’ing the UW computer systems and a bunch more. What I loved is not only his in depth knowledge of programming languages (including some I’ve never even heard of), but also how he’s kept totally up to date with the latest stuff. He’s still a ‘hacker’ in the original sense of the word.


As a continuation of the meetup, he’s just written a cool post on the ‘Aha’ moments of programming and provides some advice for some wannabie coders. Worth checking out if you’re looking for some pointers.


Anyway, what made me laugh is this opening line to that post:



“At Tuesday’s East Side Meetup, Alex Barnett asked me to give the OPML sketch of who I am and how I got here.  After a 20-minute ramble (at least), I managed to spill out some version of my 47-year career in computing and my love for software development.” 


I don’t remember phrasing it that way. Maybe I did – we had just been discussing OPML before I asked. I think what I actually asked was – ‘can you give me the outline of your professional career’. But think – an actual OPML file describing of who I am and how I got here. What a cool idea. I think I’ll try that.



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Comments (6)

  1. orcmid says:

    Hi Alex.  I’m pleased that the post delighted you.  I got a lot out of our conversation.  A few items for the record:

    1. You did mention OPML in a teasing way when I got this blank look and became tongue-tied over your original question.  I agree, it is something worth doing.

    2. I was an Engineering Aide at Boeing Renton, in 1958.   (I had the calculus they needed after dropping out of Caltech after two quarters.)  In those days, aides were human computers/plotters.  I learned a lot in my short time there.

    3. At the University of Washington, I was hired as a student "Clerk Typist A" in the Division of Counseling and Testing of the Department of Psychology.  It was a programming job but they didn’t have a job classification for it at the U.  I spent my time hanging out at the computer, an IBM 650 installed in the tower of Bagley Hall, the Chemistry building.

    That all went by in incomplete bits and pieces in the conversation, but I wanted to fact-check it just to avoid others misunderstanding my history.  

    You’re also showing me that I should seriously look at OPML for carrying biographical information too.  I may have to follow your lead.  There are some things about OPML that I just don’t get [;<).

  2. MSDNArchive says:

    thanks Dennis, appreciate the historical corrections 🙂 Look forward to you so I can refer to it in the future.

    Alex.

  3. BillyG says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to pick up some free advise, something so hard to do when you feel boxed in a corner because nobody around you knows what the heck you’re talking about lol. I think it’s a geographic thing lol.

  4. Here’s an OPMLish podcast for you, recorded tonight with me, Joshua Porter, Adam Green and John Tropea….