So after work today I visited my local Wal-Mart for an eye exam. It was time for some new glasses and a pair of contacts. After arriving and filling out some paper work an older fella came out and introduced himself. Apparently this was my eye doctor. He wasn’t my regular eye doctor that I had come to know for the last three or four years. Apparently, he was on vacation so this fine gentlemen was filling in.
Immediately, I noticed that he had an OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) sitting in the examination room. I was interested in it because I had only ever seen them in pictures on the Internet. So I said, “Hey, an OLPC.” I think he was surprised that I even knew what they were. I asked him how he liked it and he filled me in on all the good and the bad and why he was using one.
Anyway, as the conversation continued, the new doctor asked me some personal questions regarding what I did for a living. I told him that I was a Design Engineer mainly and the IT administrator for a very small company. He asked if I ever did any programming in my line of work and I told him that I did but it was mostly just scripting since I wasn’t much of a “real” programmer. He found interest in that and asked what programming languages that I used. A little embarrassed about the first one I told him that I scripted in visual basic (VBS) and also used a little python (thanks to Mr. Richard Querin). I mentioned that python scripting is what I was really interested in learning more of because it seemed like the way of the future and allowed for me to use the code on Windows and Linux with very little changing. I also explained that I wrote bash scripts to automate some routines on my server as well.
Well, it turned out that this doctor is a software developer on the side who uses python for a majority of what he does. In addition, he uses Ubuntu wherever he can, especially at home. And the kicker is that he was well aware of many open source programs like Blender, Inkscape, and OpenOffice. If that wasn’t enough, I found out that his kids (who are probably around my age of 36, I’m guessing) are software developers too. They own a company in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, which is about an hour from me. His son is a big Blender user of all things.
We chatted for about 45 minutes about programming, Linux, software patents, open-source software, and education. Probably could have kept on talking but there were other patients that he had to attend to. He was very interested in the subject of teaching young children programming, namely python. This is why he had an OLPC. Apparently, him and his children were writing software for it. I thought that was absolutely brilliant.
So that’s my story. Here I am in Small Town, Indiana at my local Wal-Mart and I run into a person like this. He was very interesting to talk to and listen to. Yes indeed, it’s a small world after all. 🙂