Welcome to WintellectRAW – featurettes about your favorite authors. Each month we’ll give you a quick glimpse into the life of a WintellectNOW author – how they got their start, some of their hobbies, their favorite projects, and more!
This month we feature Wintellect Principal Consultant, Jeremy Likness. A Microsoft MVP, author, presenter, and avid blogger, Jeremy gives us a glimpse into his world – from sunburns, to Quake, and sage advice to family life.
April 2014: Jeremy Likness
My World Address is Woodstock, GA. It’s a beautiful little town just north of Atlanta.
The Beginning of Something Good. I literally got my start in the software space because of a sunburn. When I was 7 years old I was at the beach in St. Petersburg, FL and did not wear any sunscreen because I hated that stuff and Bullfrog wasn’t invented yet. So I got burned really, really badly and had to stay home. My parents both worked during the day so I was home alone with a TI-99/4A and no games. Bored out of my mind, I pulled out the manual and wrote some sample BASIC programs. They worked! I was ecstatic and quickly started writing my own “choose-your-own-adventure” style games. I was hooked on software and that continued for the rest of my life. Ironically, my first job was as bi-lingual customer service rep at an insurance company (I speak fluent Spanish). Whenever the software would break I was too impatient to wait for support so I’d try to fix it myself. The software department figured out what I was doing and instead of reprimanding me, offered me a position. I switched over and have been a professional developer since then.
Which Led Me to a Project… At one point in my life I was heavily involved in gaming – around the time of Quake – and I wrote some popular modifications including Midnight Capture the Flag. In fact, my involvement with Quake led me to one of my most memorable projects. It was the late 90s and I was contacted by a project manager who proposed an exciting project. I would have to work on it after hours and wouldn’t get paid a penny but there was no way I could refuse. It was a total modification of Quake that used the game’s engine to create a new game called SWAT. The idea was to bring a new, modern-looking environment but provide strategy by creating interesting levels that players could join as a fugitive to try to escape or a SWAT member to try to contain them. We had a team of graphics designers, level editors, and writers scattered across the country. I was in charge of writing all of the code using the QuakeC language provided by idSoftware. What is amazing about this project is that it gave me a glimpse of how remote software development can work. All collaboration was done online through a forum and IRC, but it worked and we released the software after several months to huge success. It was cut short by the release of Quake II that had a completely different engine.
That Taught Me some Valuable Lessons…Early in my career I learned that everything is either reversible or irreversible. If it’s reversible, don’t get upset, just focus on fixing it. If it is irreversible, don’t get upset, just learn your lesson and move on.
Maybe that’s why I always felt if I could have a super power, it would be the power of getting out of my own way. We all have incredible potential but sometimes we’re the biggest ones who keep us from achieving it. Focus on fixing what you can and learn from what you can’t. It’s pretty simple, actually.
But there’s more to Life than Code. When I’m not working, I love to spend time with my family. My favorite sound, bar none, is my teenaged daughter’s laugh and my favorite scent is home.
I watch a lot of movies with my teenaged daughter. We love traveling and hiking. I’m a big fan of billiards (9-ball is my favorite game). I also read a lot of science fiction and fantasy books but I alternate those with nonfiction.
Speaking of Life… If I could meet one person, dead or alive, it would be Moses. I have a few questions about scripture I think he’d be able to clear up pretty quickly.
Jeremy has authored some seven for WintellectNOW including the popular Mastering AngularJS series. To learn more about his professional life and experience, be sure to visit his bio.