Category: About Mike

My First 7 Jobs

1. Paperboy
2. Dishwasher
3. Truck washer
4. TV antenna installer
5. Assembly line worker in water heater factory
6. Printer’s helper in box factory
7. Lab assistant in pharmaceutical company

River Walk

I learned the Pomodoro Technique from Staffan Nöteberg’s charming book years ago, and have been using it ever since.

But productivity tools always have to be adapted to your own quirks and internal rhythms, as Belle Beth Cooper recognizes in this article.

I’ve never quite mastered the five-minute breaks every twenty-five minutes, but I’m pretty good at the serious break every two hours. It helps that the dog has figured out the schedule and tells me when it’s time to walk to the river.

It also helps that there’s the river to walk to.


What I’m up to right now:

Publishing PragPub, a monthly magazine for software developers
Editing books on web development and usability for the Pragmatic Bookshelf
Putting together an anthology of articles on functional programming
Writing a biography of a tech legend
Winterizing the homestead

Join the /now page movement:

Comments Off on /now Posted in

A Piece of Pi

3.14159 26535 8979 323
846-264 3383
27950 2884
1971 (693-993)
7510 5820 (974-944) 59230
78164 0628 6208 (998) 6280
34-825-34 211 70679
8214 8086 51
0664 (70938) 4460
… that’s all I’ve got.

Snow Day

I was probably twenty-one. I woke up, along with the rest of Elkhart, Indiana and environs, to stillness.
A massive lake effect snowstorm had blanketed the area overnight, and the radio report that morning was a litany of closings. All the schools, pretty much all non-essential businesses. Snowplows were on the job but wouldn’t get to secondary roads any time soon.
I was going stir-crazy by noon, so I packed a snack, bundled up, and headed out into the drifts. I was five miles out of town and I walked in the center of the cleared lane of the State highway all the way in. I had the road to myself.
In a residential neighborhood on the southwest side, I saw a girl in a parka pulling a heavily-laden sled. Something about her caught my eye and I went over to say hi. We were the only people on the street. It turned out that I knew her. She’d skated with my friend Ace that summer at the roller rink and we’d all talked over cokes between songs.
She explained that she was delivering her little brother’s newspapers for him. I’d had a paper route, probably at her brother’s age, and I knew the fierce commitment to get those papers delivered no matter what. I took the rope and for the next two hours pulled the sled while she worked on her throwing arm trying to hit porches from the street. She was pretty good.
By evening most of the roads were cleared and I had dinner in town with a friend — I’m pretty sure there was wine — and caught a ride home.
I realize that people in the Midwest and Northeast may think nostalgia for snowstorms is ridiculous, but I’ve kept that memory all these years as a model of one kind of perfect day.

Fire in the Valley News

Fire in the Valley, the seminal history of the personal computer and the ragtag band of revolutionaries who created it, is available again, now in a third edition that brings it up to the Snowden era. Paul Freiberger and I first wrote Fire back in 1984 when we were rubbing elbows with these crazies every day as journalists covering the birth of this strange and exciting new phenomenon. The third edition is now available in a beta version from the Pragmatic Programmers, and the official release is imminent.

You can find out more about the book at the Prags site, and you might also want to take a look at the book’s Facebook page, where we’ll be posting historical tidbits, news about the book and our appearances, and other goodies. And you can follow us on Twitter, too, where we promise to have something interesting to say.

The book will also soon have its own Web page, where we’ll share even more goodies. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to find out when and where that will happen.

About Mike

I’ve been writing about technology full-time since I helped launch InfoWorld back in 1981. I co-wrote the seminal history of the personal computer, Fire in the Valley (it was the basis for the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley). I was editor-in-chief and then editor-at-large of Dr. Dobb’s Journal forlikeever. I have been a columnist or editor for a bunch of computer magazines. Four different columns for MacUser alone. Model and scripter for an Italian comic strip. Co-wrote the Computer History entry in the online Encyclopedia Britannica. I now edit books for the Pragmatic Programmers and edit and publish a programmer’s magazine called PragPub. My partner Nancy Groth and I live on a wild and scenic river in Oregon.