I started building websites when I was 12, making heavy use of the popular Copy and Paste Code From Other Websites method. My first few websites were cheesy and terrible so I’ll spare you the details, but one website was popular enough that I found myself managing a small but vibrant community of users, using the open source bulletin board software phpBB. As a result, I spent a lot of time in the phpBB support forums, and eventually picked up enough web dev knowledge to start answering other people’s support questions – not always accurately, but it was a great way to learn.
I no longer run any phpBB boards, but I owe much of my current interest in computer science to that community, which welcomed me aboard as a moderator – and, later, as a member of the website team – even though I was a clueless 15-year-old who had only just found out what Linux was. My early programming experiences consisted of modifying phpBB installations, which was probably not the best way to learn PHP, but I persevered and eventually discovered languages that are not PHP.
In 2014, I graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science. I still make cheesy and terrible websites on occasion, like when I registered the domain howdoi.land to show a perpetually flying martlet using CSS animations (still one of my proudest accomplishments). My primary occupation these days, though, is building the core technology for Macromeasures, so I haven’t animated any martlets in a while.
Feel free to email me at my gmail account or send me a message on Twitter @dellsystem if you want to get in touch.
- name: Wendy Liu
- gmail: ilostwaldo
- twitter: @dellsystem
- facebook: ilostwaldo
- phpBB: dellsystem
- linkedin: dellsystem
- all things FOSS
- listening to music
- solving puzzles
- beautiful math
- designing pretty things
- CLIs, clean code, and consonance
- reading books, especially if they’re about politics, inequality, and post-capitalist economics
- currently running: ubuntu 16.04
- favourite pokemon: mudkip, as you may have heard
- favourite text editor: vim for the command line, gedit otherwise; IDEs tend to crash in my presence
- favourite free software projects: inkscape, phpBB, git, less.js, django, jekyll
- favourite web server: nginx
- other buzzwords I may know something about: HTML, CSS, LaTeX, SQL, jQuery, AngularJS, D3.js, supervisor, Riak, Redis, MongoDB, AWS
- favourite musical artist: stars
- favourite author: right now, it’s a toss-up between Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, and Neal Stephenson (ask for book recs, or see my goodreads!)
- how I make slides: I have a complicated setup involving an open source tool called Inkscape Slide; it’s an exceptionally painful process which I would not recommend to anyone and which may explain why I haven’t given a talk in a while (you can see some of my slides on speakerdeck, with their source on github)
- most popular blog post: this (regretfully) snarky one about some questionable code that I found in my university’s learning management system, Desire2Learn; the blog post found its way to #1 on Hacker News while I was asleep, the fallout of which affirmed the merits of using a static site generator to build this website