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Tom Sawyer

When I was in the 7th grade, I knew I wanted to be an Architect. I loved design, space and the combination of Science and Engineering plus the influence of Fine Art and sculpture that Architecture offered. The more I learned about it, the more I loved it. While I had been programming computers since I was 14 it was easy to assume that I might be drawn to Computer Science. However, back when I was about to go to college, being a programmer meant studying Fortran and working at a Bank or an Oil Company. There was nothing about that career that seemed even remotely appealing. I needed to create, to draw, to build.

Architecture was my passion..... and thats what I was going to go to college for....

At my University, a Bachelors of Architecture was a professional degree resulting in 185 credit hours in the catalog (which translates into 5 years at 18 credit hours a semester. That’s enough credit hours for a Masters Degree anywhere in the country. At my school, the only six credit hour class on campus was Architectural Thesis. For over 25 years it has been rated at the single hardest class on campus. When I started in school we had 400 freshmen. With a 98% flunk-out, drop-out rate when I made it to Architectural Thesis, there were only 12 of us left. When I threw my hat in the air at graduation we were the loudest 12 people you have ever heard.

It was amazing....

I was the first hired in my graduating class. I was hired, on the gallery room floor by HKS of Dallas, Texas the day I presented my thesis.
Life was good.... I moved to Dallas and worked for HKS on GLORY architecture. The World HQ for JC Penny's, EDS's new World HQ, Brooke Army Medical Center. The work was amazing and I loved it, despite my $9.62 a hour salary. (WOW Times have changed). At HKS we had 400 Architects under one roof and at the time was one of the largest firms in the US. (HKS is the Architecture firm that designed the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium) In 1991, the economy went down the toilet and they laid 200 of us off at one time.

A modern day warrior
Mean, mean stride
Today's Tom Sawyer
Mean, mean pride...

And there I sat.... for eleven months looking for work. The Internet didn't exist yet, so there was no Monster, Dice or other site to help with a national search. I went broke paying for resumes and postage to fuel my search. What I found around every corner was that nobody wanted a 23 year old Architect when they could have a 45 year old Architect that will work for the same $24,000 a year job.

So.... much to my parents displeasure I sat.... and sat....

Fortunately for me... I get bored REAL quick and eventually had to start doing something before I went flipping nuts.

It was then, in 1992 that I started Puzzled Software. A company devoted to Computer Aided Drafting Work flow Automation software. I blew off the dust from my programming books and dived into SYBL. A language used by Cadvance to automate its CAD engine. SYBL would eventually be purchased by Microsoft and come to be known as Visual Basic. With the help of a friend who was a C++ guy we released T-Square in 1992 on CompuServe in the forums and on AOL. Soon after this, I found investors and my company went from the two of us to 25 employees with re-sellers in California, Australia, Canada and Italy. We wrote T-Square for six different CAD engines and moved from SYBL to a new development language called Delphi. At the time we thought that since C++ made me cuss like a sailor, it would be best if we could move to a compiled language as opposed to the quirks and interpreted nature of Visual Basic. So Delphi it was. We both started from scratch, and learned, created and released eight different products. First in 16-bit and then migrated them all to 32-bit applications. Shortly after this, my team and I wrote two books on Object Oriented Pascal and the Windows API, modeled after Charles Petzold's famous C++ Books (the guy was my hero... despite being a C++ guy... Just as an FYI C++ makes me cuss... like a sailor).

It was about this time when I decided I would go to Graduate School and get my masters in Computer Science. After all, I had now been coding for 13 years, written books and was the founder of a start-up (before the Internet existed and it was cool to be under 30 with a company). How hard could it be...???

No his mind is not for rent
To any god or government
Always hopeful, yet discontent
He knows changes aren't permanent
But change is...

A trip to Admissions, fill out the forms and these guys will be BEGGING me to go to school....


Yes... there are times when despite my best intentions I manage to act like an idiot.
And this was one of these times.

I went into Admissions explaining that I had a degree in Engineering (that’s nice... she said) and that I had been coding since I was a child (that’s nice... she said) and I had written books on software development (uh huh...)

"Well Mr. Bowden, you have a nice application, but without any Computer Science classes you will need to start at the beginning. You won’t have to take math etc., and will be a graduate student, but you will need to take some LEVELING classes."

Leveling classes...?

"Yes, we have a beginning Pascal class that you will be required to take."

Can you see it.... yeah, you reading the reader of this post. Can you see the look on my face...? no...?
Go look at my profile picture and add the color RED.... a DEEP DARK RED...

I was beyond PISSED OFF!!!

I hadn't built a company, sold software in five countries and taught myself two new languages (now coding in five) so I could put up with this crap! I wanted to take C++ (Mainly so I would quit cussing... it was embarrassing to hear me code with pointers and memory management) Naturally, I calmly protested despite the look I had on my face was one that would kill most people. As I began to sweat with anger, and my disposition was transitioning from PISSED off to contemplating how to ruin this person’s life when I heard, "Mr. Bowden, if you are half as smart as you say you are, this class will be easy. Just take the class."

A pause... Could this be an answer...


I was still upset.

I then began going down the test out of the class or CLEP (College Level Examination Program) where you take a standard test and if you pass you get credit for the class, but don't have to take it. NOW... I was thinking !!! I would take the test, pass and then pay for the class and not get any benefit towards my GPA...

HEY ! wait a second... that idea sucks!

It turns out, it didn't matter. They didn't let you test out of this class unless you had undergraduate programming work.
I was DOOMED to suffer through it.

Exit the warrior
Today's Tom Sawyer
He gets high on you
And the energy you trade
He gets right on to the friction of the day

I begrudgingly left the Admissions office to collect my book... on Pascal.
(sigh) How humiliating... it can't get worse than this.


First day of class. I show up and am surrounded by FRESHMEN. Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't have anything against 18 year olds but when we went around the room to introduce ourselves all of the "Kiddies" had the cutest stories about High School and what they did. I wanted to shoot myself right there on the spot.

It finally got to me....
In my most professional tone, I said I had my degree in engineering, books... blah...blah... space stuff... blah blah... and then decided to take this open forum to tell the class that I thought the schools policies on testing out of classes was stupid and that this class represented a COMPLETE AND UTTER waste of my time and money.

Calmly, my teacher looked at me and said, "Mr. Bowden, please hang around after class would you..?"
In hushed tones the kiddies Oooo'd..... (sigh)

and now it was my own fault. Me and my big mouth...(sigh)

After my monologue the teacher went on to say that he was a retired IBM fellow. He had helped create the Pascal Language for IBM on its 390 Main Frames (Waterloo Pascal) along with a list of WOW impressive other projects. The kiddies around the room were thinking about other things. I was looking at this old man in awe... and felt like a complete ass. After class, I went up front to his desk and he asked me to walk with him. We headed down the hall to his office. The Computer Science building felt like a hospital. It was clean and sterile. It smelled like floor polish. Nothing on the walls, and that hallway was the longest damn hallway I have ever walked down in my life. It was like being on death row.... a slow determined pace.

Certain of my pending doom, I slowly followed him in his office. I sat while he checked with his admin for messages. His office was lined with programming books. Floor to ceiling, the shelves were packed. Pictures of him standing next to old IBM BIG IRON were in the room. There was junk all over his desk, the place was an organized mess. This was the office of an engineer, a programmer. It looked all too familiar and I felt at home. When he came back, he told me his story of getting into IBM, some more of what he had done and I was CAPTIVATED. As mad as I was at this school, I loved this guy. He was brilliant and full of stories (humm... wonder where I get that from).

After the stories of his career, he told me that when he retired he wanted to teach. He wanted to take what he learned at IBM and share it with future engineers. He went on to explain that he felt the beginning classes were the most important for a foundation. If you learned these, the other languages would come easier. I knew where he was going and I agreed. He looked at me, took off his bifocals and said as calmly as he could. "David, I can tell from the course of our conversation that you have experience. I won't pretend to teach you Pascal, but I will teach you. Give me a chance?"

In all my years of school I have never had a teacher ask me for anything. I was totally taken back by his words, and thought to myself that leaving this class would be a mistake. So, I shook his hand, apologized and left his office.

The very next class we all pilled in the room. He started his lecture with a story. It was always about something that they invented at IBM or a problem they solved twenty years ago. And then, ever so eloquently his story would lead into the topic of the days class, followed by a programming assignment.

All of the homework assignments were the same. You had a problem, you would write code, execute the program and then print out the result of the run as well as the code that generated the result. At the end of the first homework assignment, I was the only person that had completed the assignment and got a correct answer. Yet, I found myself being "Taught" what I did wrong. Design, structure, variable declaration, commenting... the list went on and on. Each assignment, each week.

On the last day of class, our test was a program that we turned in. He went over them as he did in every class. When it was my turn, rather than a crit he simply smiled and said, "Mr. Bowden, would you please see me after class?" Again to the Ooo's of the kiddies, I nodded and hung around after class. Sitting in the back as the last student left the room, he collected the papers and stacked them neatly on his desk. He asked me to walk with him again to his office. As we went down the hall, he asked me what I thought of the class. I told him, that I owed him an apology. My pride and ignorance had it prevailed would have denied me one of the best educational experiences I had ever had.

With a smile, he removed his bifocals and wiped his forehead and collected himself to say, "It was never my aim to teach you the language you already knew. It was my goal to teach you HOW to code and why to do it a certain way." I smiled and shook his hand. He winked and said, "I wish you well in your future educational endeavors Mr. Bowden" and I left. It was after this class that I decided that my goal in life was to retire and teach. I wanted to be able to tell stories to the students about how we ended up where we are and how we built the things we did. I wanted to teach “the how” and “why” not the language or the process.

I wanted to be like him.

There are times in life when we have to learn lessons the hard way. This is one that I am very thankful for. We meet people for a reason, we interact and make an impression on some, perhaps more on others. Regardless of our time together in life, we can always learn something. I learned a very valuable lesson when I was young from him and to this very day, I code, design and structure my programs the way he taught me. Everything he taught me applied to every language I have ever learned. Every lesson applied to whatever I was doing, and they all had a story.

To this very day, I manage by stories. When we run into a problem I have a story. When it seems like we can’t solve it... a story of a similar challenge and how the team overcame the problem. With 20 years of building things that people take for granted to work and always be available you get a few of these stories.

And this story, is the story of where the stories I tell began.

Today's Tom Sawyer
Mean, mean pride.....

No more...
Humility, patience and listening go a lot farther.

God I wish I could remember his name.
He had no idea the impact he made on me....
On second thought, perhaps he did.

#r3altim3 #IBM #Computers #Programming #Engineerings #lessonslearned #lessonslearnedthehardway
poh huay Catherine Suen's profile photoMarcel Martens's profile photoDavid Bowden's profile photoEliot Pearson's profile photo
Interesting story and thanks for sharing. Can I get a credit for reading it all? :-) I can definitely relate to some of it from past experience. I'm a SW validation architect.
Nalla J
Great inspiring story!!!
"If you ain't learning, you must be dying...."
+Moin Ahmad I think anyone who has attended college, and I do mean attended might have a good story like this. The best part of our educational experiences is running across teachers and professors who shine, as your professor did. The tough instructors, the ones who challenged us, will always stay in our minds. Yours was a great story as well...
thanks for sharing. There are a lot of people who have programmed and know the syntax of the language, but not the essence of elegance in code. It's great that you had someone to teach you that. If goto statements still existed, most of programming done today would have been spaghetti codes, simply because they did know the language but not how to make elegant code.
Good luck and best wishes to you!
Great post and insights, thank you for sharing!
Beautifully learned, eloquently written & thankfully shared.

Epiphanies are what teach us the most, not just about the situation at hand, but about life, our future selves & how to deal with those difficult moments we encounter along the way just a bit better.

I'm so glad that he was able to reach you & touch you. He would be proud that he had such an impact on you, even now. +David Bowden May you never lose what he taught you & may you continue with your stories, teaching others & having unknown impacts on others yourself.

Thank you for this wonderful share.
Listening to anothers past whilst reviewing your own can be one of the most insightful, thought provoking and life changing moments. This is one of them! Thanks +David Bowden
Love reading your stories, hope you keep sharing them... Thank you! :)
wonderful story +David Bowden it proves we can all learn something even when our pride says we don't need to learn any more... thanks for sharing
Thanks for sharing an interesting story
Great story - I know the feeling (as a Cambridge Maths graduate I was asked / told I had to do a course in basic sums so changed career)

We can all learn though - even if just learning to be patient!

BTW I have "shared" a few of my holiday snaps - my goal is to move from pointing a camera at a nice view (as here) to taking photos. Criticism called for - not just welcome.

With regard to posts - I see no reason to share holiday snaps - hardly going to inspire or challenge someone is it?

Silver and Light - genuinely inspiring. I hope these guys get support to continue developing (pun intended) their idea.
Alex and Gennia's realistic HDR - genuinely inspiring (had seen a lot of poor unrealistic HDR and thought it was not for me until I saw their work)
Your B&W photos - inspiring (I dont take buildings often - other than bridges that is); and looking at the work of others left me thinking I must try to master B&W photography

One simple accident of fate was meeting a professional photographer when walking round Norway who was shooting with a Contax T2 - a fantastic camera and got myself a second-hand bargain (but don't know how to share the output online so keep those for me).

However; to get back to the point, my Digital camera is twice the price of the two film cameras combined but the photos are not as good as either. So I have to learn how to use it to the maximum and how to process the output as well as possible (as per Gennia/Alex).
WOW...another brilliant, brilliant story +David Bowden I love the way you tell your stories and I definitely enjoy them a lot. Thank you for sharing :)
+Moin Ahmad Thanks for sharing and commenting. There doesnt have to be a reason to share stories like this. Just sharing. I personally believe that teachers dont get enough credit for the valuable work they do. We spend 90% of our life learning. When one of them takes the personal interest to guide and direct us its a gift. Your math teacher sounds like one I would have liked to have studied under. Thanks again. I enjoyed your story as well (and added you to my circles)

+John Zaleski A+ that was just under 2300 words. I think its my longest yet. Which means most wont read it all. So absolutely extra credit for everyone that did !

+Allan Jocson Thats one of my favorite quotes !

+Sean Cowen well said my friend. As always thanks for being in my stream.

+andoy castellano You are 100% correct there ! I have seen some of that spaghetti logic and am really thankful that CS fundamentals was a part of my education. Programming languages isnt hard, thats just syntax and practice. Good design, implementation and architecture are hard. Without the basics we are lost. (as with all things)

+Jonathan Davis the chance to mold and motivate as a teacher is a huge draw. I have always loved the world of academic pursuit. +Anita Berglund was pushing me to get my PhD the other day in a different conversation (you should look her up shes great). I really enjoy it and want to get back to it. As for your dad :-) if I had a nickel for everyone that studies one thing and does something else with their degree I would have a jar full. the thing I love about my degree in architecture is that I am well rounded as a result. Fine Art, Engineering, Science all of those topics make for a great educational foundation. I am sure you dad is the same. Thanks for the comments!

+Jaana Nyström always nice seeing you in my stream. Thanks so much !

+Laurie Morrison Well... another Wed in the books :-) glad you liked it. I promise to make them a little more concise (if I can)

+Feisal Kamil Sorry it was a long one :-) thanks for reading it.

+Mai'ta L'yeya Nava I am so glad you enjoy them. I will be sharing more and have some development work I am completing to make sharing and finding them easier.

Thanks everyone! I certainly enjoy being in the good company of friends. Your time and comments are all sincerely appreciated.

+T.C. Deane Man I knew you were that kind of teacher. I would give my left arm to have you teaching my son his guitar. Everything about you says this is the kind of guy you are. Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad youre here and that I call you a friend. Send my best to the family.

+Susan Porter Aaaawwww you tried sneaking in on me didn't ya. How's my favorite chemist today..?

+John Dusseault Well said. A lesson learned indeed. Since that time if I have a chance to learn anything, I take it. Tell you what, if you dont follow +Elia Locardi go check him out. I learn a ton from him. I have a huge appreciation for the time and effort it takes to teach. Its a gift. I like the way you summarized this.

+Javier Esvall thanks for taking a look. I really appreciate it.

+duncan shimmin Thanks for the note. Im glad you liked the story and find some inspiration from my photography. Since you like B&W you should check out my B&W circle. There are some amazing photographers in there. Talk about learning, I get educated every day as they share more and more of their work. Truly humbling. As far as snap shots go. My friend, I would tell you that snap shots have a place. They are where you learn to use your camera, experiment and master the craft of photography. The first step is learning the tool and composition. The PRACTICE like crazy. Photography is definitely one of those things that gets better the more you do it. So keep shooting, sharing and getting feedback. Ask questions... LOTS of them. The community here is great and they will help. (ask me anything anytime). The rest will come in time. If you do these things, you will notice that your snap shots will fade and slowly turn into art. Thats when the magic begins

+Amy Gabriel :-) I love it when you pop in and say Hi.

+Milena Ilieva you are always so kind. I'm glad you liked it. Its my pleasure. Thanks for consistently reading and commenting on them.

+John Chandler Thanks John, I really appreciate it.

I don't normally reply like this (sorry) but I sent this one out late last night and didnt have a chance to engage with everyone after doing so. I had to get up REAL early this morning to take my son to a band competition.

I want you all to know how much I appreciate your comments and time. You have no idea how much it means to be surrounded by so many good people and friends.

Have a great day everyone !

+David Bowden Inspiring and touching. Education is never done is it? Cant have the cup so full that there is no room to add more. But it is up to each one of us to know so and do so. Do keep the flow of these stories coming. Look forward to them.
Thanks +Rao Gobburu I appreciate it. There will be more. It is getting harder to think of things to write about, but I do enjoy it. I totally agree that we are never done learning.

"life is a lesson, you learn it when you're through" - Limp Bizkit
+David Bowden Many thanks for sharing your story! As I said before, go for it!
"Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death."
- Albert Einstein

I am flattered that you mentioned me in this context, sincere thank you David!
I love this quote also! "I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious."
-- Albert Einstein
See everyone... this is why +Anita Berglund is a PhD and I only have a masters. She quotes Einstein and I quoted Limp Bizkit :-) The second quote by Einstein is one of my favorites. I have an entire book of his quotes.
Ahhh but there is room in life for both +David Bowden I LOVE the Einstein quotes too, but I also loved your Limp Bizkit quote, had you only done the Einstein, we would have missed the LB! That would have been sad. But you DO realize that YOU use both, right?!
+David Bowden I had Snoopy in my PhD thesis...:) I am not a careerist at all. It´s because of the learning and being in that environment. I genuinely love to teach (I get goose bumps experiencing how students learn) and be involved in dealing with complex research questions. It´s a way of living, a state-of-mind. It feels like you are like that as well +David Bowden.
+Anita Berglund You are right, that is how I am. This is why I accompany my son on his Photography Class and Club trips, so I can work with the students and volunteer. I give a lecture every three years at my University on Alternative careers with a degree in Architecture and offer classes on PCI Compliance, Data Security and a few other topics. I really do enjoy it.

I love Swedish Chocolate and have a few friends from there. I should go take pictures there :-) The school that you are at sounds amazing.

this was absolutely delightful to read

thank you xo
+David Bowden The teaching sounds great! Yea, maybe Sweden isn´t that well known for it´s chocolate, but I am happy you know about it... Sweden is really beautiful , but I am biased....:) Yes, Karolinska Institutet is an inspiring university, ranked high internationally (awards the Nobel Prize and the laureates give lectures here which is really inspiring).
+David Bowden Hmm, that sounded like bragging, was not my intention. Just wanted to emphasize the inspiring environment.
+Anita Berglund oh no. I didnt take it like that at all. I completely understood what you meant. Besides, I have read enough of your posts to know thats not your nature :-)
+David Bowden Perhaps my favorite of your stories so far and that's a rotten thing to say...but this one was personal to me in ways that are complex. First, my father was an architect...back almost at the turn of the century (Yes he was that much older than my mother) when there barely was an architecture/engineering department at Columbia University. He died when I was a little girl and I always thought that had he lived I, too, would have become an architect. But, more importantly than his being an architect...he was a builder of life and that is really what I took away from the many stories my mother told me about him.

There is this thing that architects do...they build things, they make connections, they create, they construct...but it always (or most often anyway) centers around people. And people are stories and I so relate to that part of you because it is also what moves me through an actor, director, designer writer. There are so many elements of this that very many...these are just a few...thank you. People are amazing. I love the path, the road, the bridge that took you to the man who would ask that you give him a chance.

You do not need to aspire to be a teacher. You already are.
+Giselle Minoli you are always so kind to me in your comments. Thanks so very much for that. When I read your comment I was not surprised that your father was an Architect. You have so many of the qualities that architects posses. I bet your mother has some great stories.

I really liked how you put it. "he was a builder of life." That to me says a ton, and its very true of the profession. Often what Architects create last a century or potentially more. A mark on society of the time, the culture and the technology of that time or era. Its a very powerful and creative profession.

Its no wonder you are a designer and creative :-)

Thanks so much for your story, sharing and being so kind. I sincerely appreciate it.

All my best to you and yours
Well, I'm not particularly kind +David Bowden...maybe I just recognize a builder of life when I meet one. I think we are all the architects of our lives. We build ourselves from the ground up, and like the pyramids it is a creative process that doesn't end until the day we die. Some would say that is when you can tell if the foundation of your building was strong enough. ;)
+David Bowden OMG! How could I miss this yesterday! So moving and the best one since the first one! I have felt this way about school myself (esp the 18 year olds) but an inspirational teacher can really make it worthwhile! Very proud to know and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I say again you must write a book!
I just wanted to say I very rarely comment on your stories, but I read every one. Thank you.
+stephanie wanamaker ahhh... there she is. So nice to here from "HEY WHERE IS YOUR WED POST GIRL" :-) glad you liked it.

+Laura Topliffe you just made my day. Thanks for saying Hi and letting me know. I just added you to my circles. I sincerely appreciate your support.

+Frank Beaney Thanks ! i'm glad you liked it. My only regret was not keeping in touch with him. If he knew about the things I have been able to accomplish since his class, I think he would be proud to know he was a huge influence.
Another great post this week - thank you for sharing.
I am on my way to bed and I remembered that I hadn't seen it yesterday so came over to check as I must have missed it :-)
I really enjoyed this tale and will reshare it... what you say about teaching via analogy/story is so true. I've always found that people get things better when you can relate things to something from their life. And it also helps you to understand the topic better to have to break it into the underlying concepts in order to be able to analogize in the first place. If you can do that, you can literally teach anything.

Also, being "overqualified" for things often allows the opportunity to look at things from a different perspective, I'm glad it worked out so well for you!
Wes Lum
David, great post and story, but I'm still disappointed you show the number of people following you.
Hi +Kathryn Brown thanks for that. I'm glad you liked the story and appreciate the share. There is something to be said for teachers that can reach people. I'd really like to be one of those one day. They are truly special. Its a shame we don't value teachers more.

+Wes Lum Thanks... curious, why are you disappointed...? as the numbers are a very sore topic with me on multiple levels. I have never messed with it as I find it statistically irrelevant. However, I am curious as to the basis of your disappointment with regard to my profile and then am further curious if the disappointment is the same for those that have 100's of thousands if not millions of followers. I do sincerely appreciate the honesty, and would indeed like to understand your comment in greater detail. I have a rather long post you may find interesting that I have been sitting on for quite sometimes that addresses that very topic
Wes Lum
+David Bowden, I guess we had a discussion awhile ago, where you stated that numbers were not important, and in that I asked why do you show your numbers then...It's one of those things that just "stuck" with me for some reason. I believe you're a great person, and I really enjoy your posts, but that one thing just keeps popping up as an image in my mind when I see you in the stream. It's kind of weird because I don't really care whether people display their follower count or not, but because of that post you made a while back, I just feel like you had the perfect opportunity to be an example of why numbers aren't important...Anyway, this is really going off topic from your original post. But your profile picture just inspired me to write up a new post :D
Hey +Wes Lum My friend, thanks for the reminder. I do indeed remember that discussion and I ALWAYS appreciate a straight answer. I had them off for sometime. I have been tracking number for a bit to provide a model of system usage and its impact and guess I forgot to turn them off. I will PM my message to you. Its still being edited as I have decided to change a bit but you will see what I mean.

Thanks so much for giving me a straight answer. You have no idea how much I appreciate that :-)

+Wes Lum I keep them on because of my conversations with women who are afraid to come to G+ because they're worried about the public and possibly skeevy factor. They feel better after they cruise my circles. They get a sense of the male/female mix and the international flavor and realize that it's a real place. I have great people in my circles and feel confident and safe and comfortable here and want other women to feel the same way.
Wes Lum
Giselle, thanks for that. I definitely don't want to make anyone feel bad either way, displaying the count or not. That makes a lot of sense though.
+Wes Lum of all the ways to voice an opinion, I thought the way you did it was professional, friendly and well stated. I take no offense to anyone who is straight and honest as long as its handled that way. +Giselle Minoli thanks for that explanation. It makes total sense to me.
I don't like numbers either +Wes Lum...but as a woman I find I often rebel against them by putting them everywhere. I tell everyone my age and my weight if they ask and I tell the truth! I think women experience the world in a very different way than men. Thanks for letting me chime in on this one...
+Giselle Minoli well said! It is the default setting on my profile to have my numbers showing and me seeing them doesn't change my character one bit! It is quality not quantity that matters to me but I am not turning off my numbers just to prove that point
I tend to agree with you +Giselle Minoli I do much the same with much of life, but I'm completely uncomfortable with my numbers showing here as it tends to pull in the crazy sheeple that only follow the numbers, so those I DO hide.
To me Miss +stephanie wanamaker you'll always be the hippest young woman on G+. You are awesome. BTW (sorry this is off topic, David) but those shoes were fab.
+Giselle Minoli hehe I am very fussy about shoes could be a little more glamourous in the winter though but its so cold in Canada just sweatshirts and yoga pants but I am coming to the land of movies and sunshine!
I refuse to PlusOne a discussion about shoes in my thread :-P
Great post! Ok - now I have to go back and read all the comments but I'll add my own (extended one) first...

Wow, so much of this resonated in tangential ways. My background was in the arts (music, fine art, photography). I went to college quite young, having skipped two grades in elementary school, to major in a Music program that wasn't really my cup of tea. I left after two years when in became clear it wasn't working and stayed away from school for ten years. In the 70s, serendipitously, I ended up living next door to a guy who worked for Bell Labs. (It was years later that I came to understand that I had walked into a den of computer geeks the likes of which had developed UNIX, UUCP, etc. By coincidence, I now work at Princeton where I've gotten to work with Brian Kernighan in some of our public lecture series.)

My other love in life was science and (though I didn't realize it) engineering. (My dad had me tinkering with the tubes in our TV set when I was 4...) So, when I talked with this neighbor about what he was doing at work, I was intrigued. (I like to share this story... He once told me he was going to a "eunuchs" convention. I replied saying I didn't know they had one...) At the time I was taking an astronomy course at the local community college (just for fun) but looked into some CS stuff. The prof I had for intro said "You seem to have a knack for this..." So, off I went to the FORTRAN class. The whole point of my doing this was to get into this new fangled thing called Computer Graphics.

I kept working on credits to complete my BA and that took me to NYC for a CG course at the New School. It seems the profs thought I also had a talent for teaching and I ended up teaching the course I had gone there to take by the next semester. This lead to a job at a video post-production facility coding special efx in - are you ready?? PASCAL! Really, I made money coding in Pascal! I also continued to teach at night.

That job lead to a CG software development company. It was at that time that I got myself into a Master's program and got my MS in Info Systems Engineering. When that company closed shop in NJ, I chose not to go with them to Syracuse but, instead, stayed in the rural community I had moved to so that I could be part of the nascent community college there. By the end of ten years, I had established one of the first digital media degree programs in the state. Politics there caused me to leave so I ended up an IT manager in the academic technology group in Princeton U's central IT unit, which is where I still am.

It's been an interesting ride but, +David Bowden - I have always missed teaching! Like the teacher you wrote about, for me it was always about technique, not the particular language. In fact, I believe that good process applies to anything. I taught programming in Pascal for years until C became the required language for my "kids" to be able to move to a four year school. At the time I had left, I was getting ready to transition to Java. I am still in touch with some of my students and many of them went on to be web developers and designers.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I had a daughter. She, too, has an interest in science and the arts. In high school, she was able to take architecture courses and ended up in a 5 year Archie program in 2008. She did not make it past her third semester. She wanted something different and dove into Communications her fourth semester but found herself being attracted to... uh... yeah...


She became an IT minor. And, of course she had to take...


GAD!!!!!!!! So here I am, 13 years later and I am teaching her C++! She was having trouble with it until we took a weekend together and we went through the "forget C++" lesson. Think in English. Solve your problem out loud and write it down in English. The particulars come later but you will be able to do this in any language. Think top down (or as a I told many students "You don't build a house around a towel bar!"). Etc.

It's the chance meetings that get us where we end up. An amazing teacher in just the right place changes everything...

P.S. - I'm big on stories, too. Just ask any of the poor folks I work with! I'm sure they often wonder where I'm going when I start a reply - but they've learned to go for the ride... ;-)
Once again this is beautifully written. So far, I had just read to 2 of your posts as I am a slow reader. Also I love to read all your G+ friends add their own stories on your post comments. I will continue reading all your posts in the next few days. Thanks for sharing.
+Lorene Lavora that is a great story and I appreciate you sharing the background. I look forward to hearing more from you :-) I do agree.. chance meetings are important. I have a few stories about them and each one regardless of length (of the meeting) are important.

+poh huay Catherine Suen Thanks so much. Im glad you like them. Its my pleasure to share them.

+Marcel Martens you are too kind. I am afraid I dont have the voice to be a narrator. I do have several stories I cant write about as they are more "sound" based (meaning accents or inflection) but really just dont have the auditory chops to do it. Thanks for the compliment though
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