Welcome! I'm Sam Alexander, a Senior Managing Specialist and Senior Software Engineer for IBM Software Services for Collaoration (ISSC), a global organization that helps IBM customers implement and succeed with IBM WebSphere Portal and Lotus software. You probably grok the Senior Software Engineer title, but may be wondering what a Senior Managing Specialist is. No, it doesn't mean I manage people. Rather, it means that I "manage" the aspects my projects as a technical lead. But titles don't really matter, do they? You're probably more interested in what I do.
I specialize in building Portal and "multi-channel" applications, especially with the IBM Web Experience Factory tooling. I generally eschew flashy marketing buzzwords, but I make an exception for "multi-channel." To me, it perfectly describes the concept of an application that renders and works well on many devices, including traditional desktop browser, Smartphones, and Tablets.
I dig working in the field. Although the rough part is the constant travel, in my software development career experience, there is no greater excitement and learning than experiencing the unique technical challenges facing each client I visit. Another perk is exploring the cities I visit via my morning runs. If I'm not in your office, I'm probably exploring a trail or scenic route near your office. :-)
Every technical person has war stories. How many times have you heard, "I remember when I wrote my programs on punch cards and fed them manually into the machine" or "I learned to program in COBOL". Well, I have mine, too, but I'll keep it short.
Before joining ISSC I worked with the Web Experience Factory product development team for several years. In addition to consulting, my background also includes Software Development, Quality Assurance, Performance Testing, and System Administration. (Many moons ago, I aspired to be a Unix and Linux admin, but despite my love of Unix and Linux operating systems, I found it rather boring.)
i can't take it!!!!! I'm trying to not share my geeky war stories here, but I can't resist!
- I learned to program in C on a Sequent
- To this day I vividly remember the thrill of running the "top" command in Unix and Linux and being fascinated with the kernel scheduler swapping the processes in and out and all the other cool information you could glean about each process. Sometimes I still run it for the hell of it and just stare at it.
- In college I once got in trouble with the VAX admins because I was trying to learn VAX by typing random commands to see what they would do, a few of which flagged someone. I got called into the office and questioned.
- The first time I though the web was the coolest thing ever was in the mid-90's when someone showed me how to pull up a minutes-old weather map from Nasa.
- I first installed Linux in 1995. Distro: RedHat Thanks, Steve P!
- I prefer VI over EMACS. (When a fellow computer lab technician first showed me vi, I innocently and naively asked, "So is vi like a word processor?" to which he replied, "Well, no, not exactly...")
- My first experience with a computer was a Commodore 64. > load poleposition ,8,1
- I once used Mosaic
- I remember when HTML tables were introduced.
- I have a shrink wrapped version of Netscape Navigator 2 I rescued out of the trash can during an office clean up a few years ago. I was appalled someone would throw away such a gem!
- I also have a shrink wrapped copy of Lotus Notes R5. Maybe you're not impressed, but to me it represents an early part of my career when I moved to Massachusetts to be a software tester for Notes/Domino R5 on the iSeries and met many of my closest friends. Oh, and my wife. :-)
Anyhow, I'm passionate about Portal and Mobile technologies, so I hope that you interact with me here. You can also follow me on Twitter: @SamAlexand