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
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 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
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?
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:
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.
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.
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.
Point Comfort, TX As if you didn't know, Point
Comfort is on the Texas Gulf coast, near Port Lavaca. Grades
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
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.
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).
Lindsborg, KS My college town—"Little
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
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.
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.
San Francisco, CA
Robbin and I moved to the Pacific Heights area of this
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,
I thought this list would be longer, but then again it only counts cities, not houses.
Did I mention, I hate moving?
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!")
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.)
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
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.
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
Plager and the Visx people.
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."
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.
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.
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
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.
Then there's my Alanis Morissette
obsession, er, hobby.
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
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.
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.
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
Radnich. Over 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.
My little brother of ten years (through the
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.
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
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.
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:
Work on your moves—your enemies have. Become proficient at
fighting: circle strafing, hopping, crouching, etc.
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.
Lead your targets by a generous amount.
They're moving faster than you think.
Keep relaxed and put
those crosshairs where they'll do the most good.
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.
Learn the levels. Find the
good guns and
evolve some good
Get good with the rail
gun. Nothing kills quicker.
The best Quake II player I know
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