I’ve been meaning to start to interview some personalities of the Internet, especially Australians and post them here. For various reasons, but I think that often you get the perspective of people that they want to show, rather than what you want to know. (Poetry!)
The first of these interviews is Daniel Bogan aka. Waferbaby. Waferbaby is a weblog-cum-community that has been around pretty much forever. Daniel works for an Australian hosting company, Segpub doesn’t eat meat and draws some pretty cool sketches. Anyhow, to learn more check the website or read on.
Tell us about how you got to where you are, with work, especially Segpub. What helped you get work as a codemonkey in Australia?
Trial and error, really; I never had any serious web education, just jumped in the deep end and started to work out how things were glued together.
I do remember that in early 1995, the multimedia (remember that?) company I worked for sent me and their graphic designer off to a one-day HTML course at Apple Australia; this as around the time that the first WYSIWYG markup editors were popping onto the scene. I remember that the teacher’s name was Spider, and not a lot else.
What about the more programming side of things, being self taught, did you just figure it out slowly or did you get thrown in the deep end and be trialled by fire?
Usually the latter; even today that’s still how I tend to do things.
Do you have delusions (aspirations) of grandeur with waferbaby, or are you happy with it being your little baby, mainly a blog with some cool stuff attached?
I’m very happy as it is, which is surprising; it’s taken me this long to really become settled with the site (which explains why I’ve torn it down and rebuilt it from scratch so many times).
I see it as a constantly evolving application, basically – something I can keep playing with and adding to while I potter away with Real Work(TM).
Tell us about any crazy new plans you have in the pipeline for waferbaby.
I’ve always got these huge, crazy ideas for the site, but whether I’ll find the time/inclination to implement them remains to be seen (read: probably not any time soon).
While you don’t call yourself a designer, waferbaby always looks awesome. What are some of your major influences when building websites?
I always prefer to let the content speak, so when I go in to tear the stylesheet apart and start again, that’s at the forefront of my mind.
But seriously, I’m so not a designer; I’ve really only had the one design in various incarnations and colour changes over the years!
Well, I think you do a pretty good job.
And I think you’re deluded. 😉
You’ve got a pretty awesome relationship with internet bigwigs like Jeffrey Zeldman, John Gruber and my one of my personal favourite writers Dan Benjamin. How did you come to be friends with these guys (living in Australia)? Has this helped your work?
Just one of those things that happened organically, and by chance.
Hell, Jeff emailed me out of the blue about six or so years ago telling me he liked the site, and at the time, I had no idea who the hell he was! So I thanked him, we just started chatting via email, and I’ve been bugging him ever since.
I can’t actually remember how I came to be friends with Grubes and Dan, actually. Oops!
Regardless, it’s certainly helped me career-wise, since I’ve been given the gift of working with some of these talented bastards.
You’ve joined the growing list of people that have moved over to using Rails, hows that going for you? I’ve had a look at using it, and it looks pretty sweet, but tell me about some things about it that you don’t like, or that you would do differently with the framework if you could.
Nothing – if it ain’t broke (and it ain’t, in my experience with it) then don’t fix it.
What about PHP, what were the reasons you moved away from it? Mainly for a change? or were there other things that pushed you?
I’d actually moved away from PHP a while ago – the way that the OO parts were kinda thrown together in a mess got on my nerves.
I’d switched to Python and started building my own Web Framework (because this is what people who use Python do, apparently) with a bunch of friends, but all the while I kept hearing people praising Rails, so I gave it more than a cursory glance this time around.
Eventually, one thing led to another and here we are.
Where did the tagline, “We eat bandwidth for breakfast” originate from?
Oh god, who knows? It’s about as old as the site is, so I can’t even remember; something I pulled out of my ass randomly, I imagine.
I mean, that’s how everything else came into being.
And in the spirit of one of these meme’s that spread like wildfire, have you got a couple of websites that the readers probably won’t have visited that you would like to share?
You know, I actually don’t.
Sad, but my reading (in NetNewsWire) is quite vanilla and boring – Mac news, video game news, general tech news, a few webcomics and those of my friends who bother to keep their sites updated regularly.
Which isn’t as many as it used to be, sadly. You bastards!