My name is Ryan Booz. I’m the (accidental) Chief Technology Officer at EnergyCAP, Inc. I’ve long desired to have a place of my own that I could muse and discuss things I’m learning in my professional career and hopefully providing something useful to others along the way.
At EnergyCAP, we create the industry leading software for managing utility bills and the energy those bills represent. We are a small but growing software company trying to navigate our way out of 35+ years of legacy development styles and paradigms to transform how we do business in an Internet world. We support multiple code bases and applications that serve the same basic (and advanced) functions for specific verticals in this industry. It wasn’t really our choice, more the result of a history that involved Enron. Don’t blame us.
But that’s the past and we’re working feverishly to bring all products together under one roof in the next few years through our web application offering. It’s fun and frustrating all at the same time. I have a great team of developers that are learning new skills, trying to figure out how you go from a typed language to non-typed languages with ease, and cursing Flex all along the way. It was a good decision 7 years ago when there still wasn’t standardization among all of the browsers. I didn’t think the end would come so quickly back then.
I’ve loved programming and computer problem solving since the first time I looked at the BASIC commands in a pirated copy of “Lost Dutchman’s Gold” on my fathers TRS-80 (on cassette tape) in the early 80s. As it turned out, I was able to determine that the copy I had wasn’t actually finished and the game had no actual end yet. Talk about disappointment.
In 1986 my fifth grade class had a week of lessons on Apple IIc’s with the LOGO Turtle writing lots of “FORWARD 100, RIGHT 90, etc.”. I couldn’t wait for that class every day. At the end of the week I was able to draw a fairly decent version of the Penn State Nittany Lion logo… well, as decent as a fat turtle drawing blocky lines in 16 colors** would allow. I was hooked.
My big break came in my junior and senior year in high school because of our Physics teach who happened to love the growing field of Bio-mechanics, of which Penn State (15 miles away) had one of the premiere programs… and there was grant money for developing high school curriculum. The first year we built a force platform and hooked it up to a PC and video camera to start analyzing people walking and jumping on the thing. We worked with the program and were able to write some small applications to help us with the data more. But half-way through that year my teacher submitted an application to a new initiative through the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center which gave us a new DEC 5000, Internet access (in 1992!) and multiple on-site visits with the awesome people in Pittsburgh. My senior year ended by completing a reproduction of a study about the rotational motion of platform divers using FORTRAN 77 and POV-Ray to actually do the drawing. The video we produced of the five example dives was aptly titled, “The Effects of Booz on Diving”.
I’m not an expert in anything I discuss on this blog – just a guy who works with and talks to a lot of people that have a similar passion for doing the best, “right” thing in a given situation. Whether we do it or not is another story. I long to have the things that my team produces to be constantly improving and striving to be the best at their given craft under their current circumstances.
At the end of the day I want to honor my employer with my best effort, have fun with my colleagues in all that we do, and be proud of what we produce at the end. If it solves a client’s problem and is actually easy for them to use, then we’re doing something right.
**OK, the 16 colors thing had no bearing on the end product. First of all our workstations (we worked in pairs) had monochrome monitors. We only got to see the end product once we saved it and took it to the teacher who reviewed it and then ran it on his computer which was hooked up to a TV so that we could see the colors. And regardless, I only needed good old PSU Blue and White! So 16 was way overkill. 🙂