About Me

 

Actual C++ Code
17 Machines
My Guitars
My Cars
My Commute
My Big Mouth
Good Code is...

 

 

There are many Charlie Andersons, but only one CharlieAnderson.com.  That's because I'm the one that's a programmer. I got started in 1978 on an Apple II computer writing games in Basic in my spare time, moved to Pascal in 1981 and C circa 1987. 

In this business, you keep learning if you want to keep working.  Invariably, half of what you knew cold four years ago is useless today. I've been writing Windows software since 1987's version 2.0.  I practiced this arcane art for a number of years at Borland International, in Scotts Valley, California. Those were mighty days, thinking great thoughts, breaking new ground, and working with good guys who happened to be great programmers. Too bad we/it stumbled.

Since the Borland Era, I've served a number of companies as a consultant, including Novell, Microsoft, and Borland itself. 

I spent a couple of good years at desktop video specialist Eloquent in San Mateo, California. 

I partnered with cryptography guru Roger Schlafly on an IP Telephone project. 

At the turn of the century, I worked with a bunch of ex-Borlanders at iMiner"Know What It's Worth" Inc., just over the hill in San Jose, California. We shared the same office park as auction giant eBay, and given that, and the fact that our name also began with a lower-case letter, I saw no reason why we wouldn't also have a market cap of several billion dollars in a year or two.

Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. iMiner/PriceRadar.com went down in The Great Dot Com Crash of 2000. I did get a couple of nice shirts out of the deal.

Time marches on.  I spent half of 2000 and all of 2001 working for streaming video firm Rebop Media and its acquiring corporate partner, Eloquent.  Good guys, fun project.  What's next?

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My roots are in the Midwest, good Scandinavian-friendly states like Illinois and Minnesota. Family surnames run the gamut from Dahlgren to Carlson to Palmquist. But I lived most of my life in Texas, primarily in Houston—the Oil, Humidity, and Chain Restaurant Capital of North America. Despite its abundant negatives (foremost among them the swamp-in-hell climate), I look upon Houston fondly, and consider myself to be "from there." For example, I think barbecue is one of the four food groups, and that Earl Campbell is a god.

Here's my list of lived-in places, in chronological order:

  1. Oak Park, IL  Not to brag, but this leafy inner Chicago suburb is also the birthplace of Ernest Hemmingway, and the site of many Frank Lloyd Wright homes.

  2. Des Plaines, IL I don't remember much about this place, but I've been driven by the little house we lived in.  These days it might be a tad too close to O' Hare.

  3. Rockford, IL  My mother's family has been kicking ass in the roofing business in northern Illinois for over a hundred years. Remarkable Rockford usually lands near the bottom of Money Magazine's Best 300 Places to Live list (it was 299th in 1998), but always seemed quite nice to me.

  4. Point Comfort, TX  As if you didn't know, Point Comfort is on the Texas Gulf coast, near Port Lavaca.  Grades 1-5.

  5. Sioux City, IA   As we sang as kids, "Where the three rivers meet, and the living is sweet, it's Sioux City."  I attended Everett Elementary and West Junior High. Money Magazine isn't that high on Sioux City, either—they ranked it 296th in 1998. The long-time home of Sioux Bee Honey and Jolly Time Popcorn is now better known for cow-themed PC maker Gateway, located just across the river in North Sioux City, South Dakota. In my day, the only reason we went to North Sioux City was to buy fireworks

  6. Houston, TX You need Astrodome or NASA facts?  Help finding the original Ninfa's on Navigation?  Or maybe a tour of the ship channel, Rice University, or the Montrose? I'm a moderately proud graduate of Cullen Junior High (the Bobcats) and Jesse Jones High School (the Falcons).

  7. Lindsborg, KS  My college town—"Little Sweden USA."

  8. Norman, OK  After graduating from Bethany, I lived in a house just off the OU campus for five months.  Ostensibly I was starting a rock and roll band ("Guitars, as sharp as that*"), but in reality I was smoking pot, drinking cheap beer, and hanging out with Bethany pals Lance Kincheloe and Charlie Thorstenberg.  It was the summer of the Watergate hearings and the Bobby Riggs/Billie Jean King battle of the sexes.  Truth be known, I was delaying my entry into adulthood.

  9. Santa Cruz, CA  Consider Houston vs. Santa Cruz—there's a big delta in every imaginable metric: weather, population, industrial mix, racial makeup, geography, politics, food...  Don't tell anyone, because we have enough people here already, but Santa Cruz has the best weather in the US.  Perfect days are the norm.  So far I've lived in Felton, Live Oak, the West Side, and currently, downtown.

  10. San Francisco, CA  Robbin and I moved to the Pacific Heights area of this chilly, beautiful walking city for a couple of years in the mid-90s in what was essentially an extended house-swap-style vacation.  I wouldn't mind doing it again, either.

I thought this list would be longer, but then again it only counts cities, not houses. Did I mention, I hate moving?

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In another life, or so it seems, I attended Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas.  To find Lindsborg, walk up to a map of the U.S. and put your thumb in the center of the contiguous 48 states. Somewhere under your opposable digit will be Lindsborg, population 2500.  (Or ask any Swede. My father tells the story of Ole Olson, fresh off the boat in the late 1800s, seeing bustling Chicago for the first time.  "Wow," says Ole in sing-song English.  "If this is Chicago, what must Lindsborg be like!")

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In 1987 I moved to California from Texas to attend the University of Borland, and these days live with my wife, nurse Robbin Anderson in a yellow Victorian near downtown Santa Cruz, California.  (The core of the house was built in 1850 and moved to its current site in 1864, making it one of the older buildings in town.) 

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I'm usually even-tempered but I can get cranky if I don't see at least one Simpsons episode a day.  My TiVo can usually find me one or two.

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I'm color blind.  Anything green that isn't the color of a lush lawn in bright sunlight goes right over my head. I'm not outstanding with reds or purples either.  For that matter, pastels of almost any hue are tough to name.  I'm not complaining—it's more party trick than disability.

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Speaking of vision, until recently I was nearsighted as hell, too.  I got my first pair of glasses in the second grade and by high school had worked my way up to a coke-bottle -9 diopter case of myopia. I then suffered with contact lenses, hard and soft, for 30 years.  In January 2000, I had LASIK refractive surgery performed on both eyes, and now have the vision of a 22 year old fighter pilot.  I could kiss Dr. Plager and the Visx people.

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In January 1980 I changed my name from Charles Robert Palmquist back to Charles Robert Anderson.   How did it get changed in the first place?  Long story, short answer: Father #1 Robert Anderson died in a car wreck on US 20 near Rockford, IL; subsequent legal adoption by Father #2, Keith Palmquist.  So if you knew a Charlie Palmquist during the years 1957-1980, maybe in Point Comfort, Sioux City, Houston, or Lindsborg, that was probably me.  "A rose by any other name yada yada yada."

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I've been playing the guitar since college and am finally starting to get the hang of it—it only took about four years a string.  All kidding aside, nothing that I have experienced in life is quite as fun as singing and playing loud electric guitar with a drummer and bass player. Guitars I have known discussed here.

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From 1976 to 1987 I was married to Jon Nell Kluna.  We met at my first job, Air Pollution Control, and lived for years on Candlelight Lane in Houston's Oak Forest area. I still keep in touch with her mother, Ruby Kluna. These days everyone lives in Tulsa.

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I sometimes get crazy about golf for years at a time.  I'm currently in remission from this hobby, but it won't be long before I'm out there again, loving and hating this special game. I've played most of the courses around here many times, including De Laviega, Aptos/Seascape, Pasatiempo, and even the incomparable Pebble Beach (once).  (Not to mention countless early morning rounds at 9 hole gem Valley Gardens in Scotts Valley.)  I've shot 81 at Watsonville's Pajaro Valley club twicenot bad for someone who can't hit a wood to save his life.  Thanks to Phillip Moore, the pride of Liberty, Texas, for turning me on to the game.

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Then there's my Alanis Morissette obsession, er, hobby.

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I have a healthier obsession with jogging.  I started running in 1982 during a stressful time of my life, and except for a few sprained ankles and fat periods, don't miss my every-other-day 2-4 mile run.  I get a kick out of 10Ks, especially the big ones like the Wharf to Wharf (late July in Santa Cruz), and the legendary Bay to Breakers (mid-May in San Francisco).  Don't get the impression that I'm fast.  My best 10K time ever was 52 minutes.

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I use dashes a lot—I learned this habit from my grandmother's letters—she was a big letter writer—it's a device to keep on talking about something, the way people do in real life—they never shut up.

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A tip of the hat to the radio station that helps me get through the day: San Francisco's KNBR, The Sports Leader (680 AM).  I especially like Gary RadnichOver the years I've found that my interest in sports has decreased and my consumption of sports talk radio has increasedgo figure.  My two hour commute might have something to do with this.

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My little brother of ten years (through the Bigarthuronback.jpg (19454 bytes) Brothers/Big Sisters program), Arthur Carroll, spends time with me every week. He's 18 now, and at six foot four, not especially little anymore.   

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I love my TiVo digital video recorder--I'm on my third.  I wish I hadn't blown up my first unit trying to expand its capacity by adding another hard disk following a detailed and very convincing recipe I found on the web.  It cost $500 to fix this mistake.

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Arthur and I love to visit Fry's, Silicon Valley's electronics retailing legend.  There are many pages on the web devoted to Bad Experiences at Fry's, most of which ring true. The brothers Fry hire inexpensive workers, primarily from exotic third world nations, and throw them into a huge, noisy room containing millions of dollars of high-tech inventory. I learned long ago that if you intend to buy something at Fry's you had better know exactly what you're buying as you fondle the box, because chances are, no one there can tell you. To their credit, they're good about taking things back. My friend Chuck Batterman has made returning items to Fry's an art form. 

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I have an office in a spare bedroom that I only use for business and which is therefore a legitimate tax deduction, except that once in a very great while I will play some Quake II over the Internet. (If that's not the future of entertainment, I'll eat this clacky old keyboard one key at a time.)  Id Software and lead programmer John Carmack rule. They're the best thing that's happened in a long time to PC gaming and the video card industry.  A few steps to success in the brutal world of on-line fighting:

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Work on your moves—your enemies have.  Become proficient at one-on-one fighting: circle strafing, hopping, crouching, etc.

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Keep your fire centered on your target as you move hard left and right.  If you can't circle strafe your opponent to death, he will circle strafe and kill you. 

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Lead your targets by a generous amount.  They're moving faster than you think.

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Keep relaxed and put those crosshairs where they'll do the most good.

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Find a game that gives you a ping advantage over your competitors.  Ideally, host the game yourself.  Change ISPs if you must.  Don't be afraid to spend a little money.

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Learn the levels. Find the good guns and evolve some good killing scripts. 

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Get good with the rail gun.  Nothing kills quicker.

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The best Quake II player I know is Song Huang, also known as Armageddon. He is quick and deadly.   Arthur would probably be just as good if he played as often.

Update: If you're looking for a newer first person shooter, Unreal Tournament and Halflife are both better games, at least on the "fun to play" scale, than Quake II's beautiful but disappointing successor, Quake III Arena.  I'm looking forward to Doom III, because I know Id will not stay down forever.

* Josie and the Pussycats theme

 

 

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All Content © 1998-2002 Charles R. Anderson  •  This page was last modified on 11/13/2003