Please tell us a little about yourself. I live in Florida (aka the Sunshine State), where I was born and raised. I have always lived in Florida because it is warm, there’s so much to do, and the IT industry has been growing steadily with a lot of promise on the horizon. I went to college for Computer Networking and, since graduating, I’ve worked in Information Technologies for over 15 years. I am married and my wife works in Marketing. We have a dog. He is a 9 year old Weimaraner and he has earned many nicknames, including Sir Barks A Lot.
How did you get started with computers? I originally got started in computers based on my interest in electronics when I was young. My father, who is an engineer, was issued a computer by the company he worked for and I was fascinated by it but wasn’t allowed to use it since I was well known for taking things apart and only sometimes putting them back together. I saved up my lawn mowing money and eventually bought a used 8088 computer from a friend. It was manufactured by a company called Leading Edge and ran DOS 5.5 from a 40MB hard drive but I thought it was awesome. I learned BASIC then Turbo C on that computer and I still enjoy programming in C variants today. The Internet existed but I mainly connected to BBSes to get files and play games until later on, when I had a better computer and got interested in Linux.
What attracted you to the ODROID platform? I first heard of the ODROID platform and HardKernel when I read about the ODROID-GO, though I can’t recall where I read about it originally. I thought it was cool since it had a lot of capabilities for a good price, and I ordered one right away. I then got involved with the ODROID community and started making YouTube videos about the GO. I’ve enjoyed helping others discover how to use the emulators and exploring new projects, like attaching a wireless charging system and testing new emulators.
How do you use your ODROIDs? I run several different emulators on my ODROID-GO and I help out with development as time allows. Lately, I have been enjoying learning the Commodore 64 platform using the new emulator on my GO. I am looking forward to the future additions to this platform.
Which ODROID is your favorite and why? The ODROID-GO. It is just portable fun. It has a touch of nostalgia, which I think is why most everyone gravitates towards it initially, and I’m enjoying the older games all over again.
What innovations would you like to see in future Hardkernel products? I think more products like the ODROID-GO that make electronics fun for everyone would be good. An affordable single-board computer that supports M.2 SSDs would be next on my wish list. I realize that these may be available elsewhere, but I would love to see HardKernel develop a small version around the size of the ODROID-C1+.
What hobbies and interests do you have apart from computers? My wife and I are both SCUBA divers. For me, it is the closest I’ll likely get to being in outer space. I follow space science such as the Mars rover missions, the Voyagers, New Horizons, and the International Space Station. I try to watch every launch or major event if my work schedule allows. When I was young, I used to listen to the NASA audio feed during Space Shuttle missions. I have been an Amateur Radio operator for over 20 years and still find it fun to communicate around the world using just an antenna in the backyard. I mainly use digital modes such as JT65 and PSK31 on HF (shortwave) bands. I also enjoy going to the range and putting holes in far away paper with a bow or firearm, but I do not hunt. I like to go geocaching, and travel both with my wife and to visit friends.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to learn more about programming? Begin with a device you can program that interacts with the world. When starting out, it can be boring to write a program where the result is only on a screen. However, when someone writes a simple program that achieves something externally, like changing the TV volume or monitoring the weather outside using a remote sensor, I think it makes things more tangible and the imagination begins to see other opportunities in the real world. This can make it more fun for someone just learning and encourage future projects. Everyone learns differently so try different things to see how you learn best and stay inspired to do more. I do recommend eventually learning a C-based language since a lot of programming languages are based on C. It will help you understand many different languages once you understand the basics of C.