Mike Miller (aka/Gringo Suave)
As a kid I got my first taste of the fun of computers when my dad bought my sister and I matching Commodore Vic-20s for Xmas. On mine I learned enough BASIC to fill a random sentence-generating program with all the profanity a 12 year-old could think up. Oh, we thought we were hilarious, haha. I also remember saving and loading the program took 15 minutes from cassette tape! Good times.
A few years later, I studied DOS and Win 3.1, desktop publishing on System7, and electronics at the local Adult School during a short period of unemployment. After just a few voluntary 10-hour days, a lightbulb went on over my head; I really enjoyed this stuff.
Next, picked up an AS Degree in Computer Science from Moorpark College, also studying Anthropology and Music. Later acquired a few minor industry certifications like the A+, Network+, and the Certified Novell Netware Administrator along the way as needed. Continued on at CSU, loved learning but tired of the bureaucracy and left for bigger and better things.
In my professional life of computer geekdom, I've been in IT, I've been in QA, I've been a Software Developer, usually rubbing lots of people the wrong way en route. There are many horror stories and triumphs to share. Resume-wise, I've worked in the:
- Aerospace industry as a SysAdmin/Webmaster at the Rockwell Science Center,
Here I got my hands on real VAX machines, a Cray, Sun/SGI, Macs/PCs, got started with Slackware Linux and Windows 95 and NT 3.5.
- Entertainment industry as a render pipeline jockey/developer (under SGI Irix) at Dream Quest Images, then Disney Feature Animation,
- Enterprise Security industry at Symantec Corp. as a QA Analyst,
- "Tech" industry at Yahoo! Search Marketing as a Senior QA Engineer.
- Digital Signage industry at Scala, Inc. as an Application Developer and Trainer.
LifeI've also been lucky enough to have traveled quite a bit. As a young lad I knew there had to be something else out there ... better than the life of empty materialism I had grown up with in Southern California. This search for meaning has led me to visit six of the seven continents. I've studied Geology in a village made of stone in the Himalayas, danced in the "Samba-drome" during Carnaval in Rio De Janeiro, and played with penguins in Antarctica (word to my Linux homies). Of course I'd like to share any insights gained in these travels as well.
Unfortunately, while I grew up in a nice area, it was (and still is) what we liked to call a "Dude Ranch," although I hear the term "Sausage-fest" more often these days. I don't care for that second term much, as it conjures up unfortunate images in my head. :/
Considering that fact, that I received little to no guidance growing up, and that geeks were even less appreciated in those days, and you might imagine I wasn't very successful with the ladies early on. After many years of trial and error and error (and more error), plus the perspective travel brings, I think I've finally figured it out. Had a few cute girlfriends, and today I have a beautiful wife and wonderful baby girl. To be honest, if you told me this 10 years ago, I'd have just laughed at the idea.
But hey, if a dufus like myself can do it, you can too. Hopefully, I can help a few geeks avoid the mistakes I've made.
Additional random geek credentials:
- Was an expert at loading DOS TSRs into UMBs and finding free IRQs, all now obsolete skills.
- Owned: Commodore Vic-20, Intellivision2 w/Intellivoice, Sega Genesis
- Used: the original Mac, Amiga, Pong, Nintendo (finished Zelda and Metroid)
- Set up dedicated Quake servers at work.
- First email address and website in '94
- Used NCSA Mosaic, later Netscape 0.9beta with notepad/simpletext to create websites.
- First CD player acquired circa '87 (thanks Dad)
- Bought a Pioneer Laser-Disc Player and "Home Theater" in '89, before the term existed.
- First mobile DJ in Ventura County primarily by CD with the Denon DN-2000F ('91ish)
- Got into .mp3s, Winamp, CD-Recording in late '97. Went back to Quake while others made millions. :/
- Visual effects
- I have credit on several shitty Disney films.