About

Like most humans, I have many identities and varied interests. This blog by my hacker persona reflects my interests in programming, community, and public speaking.

<disclaimer>While I do work professionally, to have a clean separation between day-job and off-hours stuff, I am leaving that experience out of any blogging/hacking/speaking/etc. that is visible to the community. All the opinions and viewpoints I express on this blog are from my off-hours stuff ; everything is mine and mine alone and nothing is intended to represent the views of my employer.</disclaimer>

Also me:

Some things I’m involved with:

Hiking around the Rocky Mountains in October 2008

Hiking around the Rocky Mountains with Maura (who took this photo) in October 2008

I wrote my first computer programs in high school in the 1980s, then went on to major in Computer Science in college, plus dabbled with grad school.

Over the years I have worked for gigantic companies, medium-sized companies, start-ups, been an entrepreneur leading my own company, and have gone the contracting and consulting routes.

I have held a broad set of leadership roles through the years with some professional examples being: SOA architect, .NET enterprise architect, open source licensing advisor, manager of UI dev and UX, defined DRM strategy (crypto stuff), and pilot agile team (using XP). These days I am very excited about the possibilities of the cloud, specifically the unique value offered by the Windows Azure Platform; to this end, I founded and have been running the Boston Azure cloud user group since 2009, learning a ton about Azure specifically and the cloud generally. In Jan 2011, Microsoft named me as a Windows Azure MVP. I like how Microsoft views MVPs – “MVPs are objective technology experts” – both since I appreciate being recognized as an expert, and since I am committed to remaining objective.

A couple of example projects from my career:

  • Development manager, first as part of Lotus Development Corporation, then as part of One Source Information Services after we were spun out. This was the first Windows version of the company’s flagship product. I left after several successful releases, shortly before OneSource for Windows 2.0 hit the streets.
  • Software engineer, complementing work being done by staff of PhD researchers at the (then called) Compaq Cambridge Research Lab (CRL) to build out the media search capability of the AltaVista Search Engine. I architected, designed, and built the scalable subsystem that implemented the bulk media downloads (a million minutes per month of audio & video at the time) based on URLs to media resources harvested from the AltaVista crawler, fed to other subsystems for analysis (this is the stuff the PhDs built – they did text-to-speech, image content analysis, probably other stuff), and then used this synthesized metadata for indexing.
  • Here is a white paper I wrote while software architect at LifeFX where we created software to produce 2-dimensional models of human faces/heads (life-like avatars we called “Stand-Ins”) that could be animated in sync with arbitrary audio to make it appear the Stand-In was speaking. . I came up with the approach which would secure our Stand-Ins, and wrote the LifeFX DRM Whitepaper describing it (since I kept having to explain it to customers).
  • Once upon a time, I co-founded and ran an Internet development consulting company: or , depending on the year.

Currently employed as an enterprise architect focused on .NET. I work hard to stay close to the code – this keeps me grounded in reality, maintains my credibility, and helps me make better architectural decisions. From a personal point of view, it is also rewarding; I do like to code. (<fulldisclosure>I say above I “work hard to stay close to the code” – more honestly, I live in mortal fear of becoming obsolete, so I really obsess on my hands-on technology skills.</fulldisclosure>)

Coding on my personal time is mostly with Microsoft platforms and .NET technologies, but I am not dogmatic about choice of stacks (there are always pros and cons). I fiddle in many technology domains, sometimes with tools around podcasts and podcasting, and most recently with ASP.NET MVC for the Boston Azure User Group web site – and Windows Azure itself.

My “home” dev box is running Windows 7 with 3 GB RAM and a Standard version of Visual Studio 2008. DELL desktop runnung Windows 7 with 12 GB RAM, an 8-core i7 processor, and a wicked fast SSD as my boot drive.

A little more background if you are REALLY interested:

My wife Maura and I have four awesome sons.

Between Needham Baseball, Needham Basketball Association (the “NBA”), the Needham Soccer Club, Charles River YMCA, and CYO basketball at Sacred Heart Roslindale, I have coached around 25 youth sports teams.

Also have been actively involved with scouting since 1995, as den leader, Cubmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, and Troop Committee Member spanning several scouting units (Pack 502, Troop 13, and Troop 10). I served as an adult Advisor participating in three high-adventure trips: a 9-day day canoe trip out of the Northern Expeditions Canoe Base in Bissett, Manitoba, Canada (where we were dropped by floatplane into one of the most remote wilderness areas in North America); a 9-day canoe trip out of the Charles L. Sommers Wilderness Canoe Base in Ely, MN (where we portaged the historic Grand Portage); and an 11-day backpacking trip out of the Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, New Mexico (most of which was at between one- and two-miles of elevation in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southern-most end of the Rocky Mountains).

In 2008-09 I studied and performed improv at ImprovBoston. I performed with a bunch of really funny and talented people, first under the name Shocked and Odd and later as Raised by Wolves. In 2008 I took a class in Stand-Up Comedy under Dana Jay Bein, also at ImprovBoston. I performed once, for around nine minutes, and thankfully it went pretty well; yes, I do have it on video, and no, it is not posted on the public web. :-) I performed again in March 2010 after taking another class at ImprovBoston, this time under Maria Ciampa. No, that video isn’t posted either. :-)

Recently been thinking rather a lot about public speaking, how to deliver to technical audiences, how to design clearly, and been doing some reading.

I have a Kiva page. I support The Conversations Network because it is awesome. I have very little klout.

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9 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: Boston Azure Firestarter Wrap Up « Coding Out Loud

  2. Ofir Nachmani

    Hey Bill,

    I just opened a new blog on http://www.iamondemand.com, you are more than welcome to check it out. My main purpose is to help ISVs specifically to establish their new offering on the cloud include all the operation perspectives include asking the following questions for example : which cloud vendor will host my applications ?, go with an integrator/in house? , will it work for enterprise applications ?, how can I support 24×7 ? what is the business model ? and more,

    you are welcome to feedback and contact me if you find this interesting,

    Ofir.

    Reply
  3. Cori

    Hi Bill!

    Happy Tuesday! I would like to talk to you about some catering opportunities for your Boston Azure Boot camp at the Microsoft New England Research & Development Center from September 30th- October 1st!

    I can be reached at 617.581.1164. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Cheers,
    Cori-Lucy & The BG Team

    Reply
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