A little about Paul Heintz
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In addition to being the administrator of this site, I'm a computer enthusiast. As a child, my father was a computer science professor at Marquqtte University. As a result of this, I've spent my whole life around computers. I've always enjoyed doing things on a computer. In the mid-eighties, when my friends and classmates were getting Nintendos, I was playing my video games on a Commodore 64 (although I did end up getting a Nintendo of my own eventually). For the 6th grade science fair, I wrote a simple trivia game in Basic and presented it on my father's Compaq Portable computer. Before the internet was common, I would connect to bulletin board systems and even setup my own BBS. And throughout high school, I enjoyed working with Autodesk's AutoCAD and 3D Studio in my computer aided drafting classes, while playing with various video game modification software and music writing/editing/recording software outside of school.
For my 18th Birthday, my father gave me my first computer that was entirely my own. Having my own PC allowed me to get deeper into working with my computer without having to worry about screwing anything up for others. One of my first ventures was working with hardware upgrades, specifically adding an ethernet card into my PC. From there, I got into local area networking as well as installing and setting up various versions of Windows and some Linux distros. Working with setting up operating systems and performing hardware upgrades eventually lead me to building my own computers (and allowed me to get a temporary job at the Medical College working on ensuring PCs were Y2K compliant). Building new computers provided an old computer that my brother (also a software developer) repurposed as a dedicated Linux server on our DSL line. Having that server lead me to start developing web pages to in HTML and CSS and doing some design work in Photoshop.
I've spent many years doing various things with computers from running cabling and switches to connect multiple rooms in our house to the LAN, to hosting LAN parties, to reading up on high level programming languages like Java and C++ periodically. However, without being in a structured educational envirornment and spending many years working at non-IT jobs, I wasn't learning as much about computer science as I would've like to and ended up spending most of my time on computers gaming or surfing the internet. When smart phones started becoming standard, I found myself getting into hacking and modding my phones. I also took a job working at Wisconsin Diagnostic Laboratories and although I was making decent money and didn't mind the work I was doing, it wasn't the field I wanted to be working in. So I decided that I would finally enroll in college, something I had been wanting to do for years but was unable to for one reason or another. I debated for a while on IT networking or IT programming, but ultimately decided on programming because I felt it would allow me to be more creative and because I enjoy analyzing and problem solving. I enrolled at Milwaukee Area Technical College in their IT Programmer/Analyst program. MATC removed this program shortly after I enrolled and split it into IT Web and Software Developer, and IT Mobile Applications Developer. I was "grandfathered in" to the IT Programmer/Analyst program, but I found that by taking a few additional classes, I would also be able to earn the degrees in the web and software and mobile applications programs too. I'm happy I made that decision because in addition to earning two more associates degrees, I learned quite a bit more about programming and really enjoyed the work I was doing in those classes. You can view the details about my classes at MATC here.
My life isn't entirely about computers, but I do somewhat fall into the IT guy stereotype. I enjoy science fiction, gaming (including video games, roleplaying games and miniature wargaming), technology, and I'm a bit of a movie geek. I'm also a pretty big football fan, I enjoy the occasional hockey game, and I'll watch some of the world cup soccer games if I get the chance. My years of cooking experience showed me that I enjoy cooking (although usually for others more than myself). I'm also a big music fan. Not only do I have a huge music collection, I also play and write music. I've been playing guitar for about 25 years, I used to play saxophone in grade school, and I've played around with electric bass and piano. I enjoy cars too. I'm not a machanic, but I do have a decent understanding of how cars work and would like to pick up another project car in the future if I ever have the time and money to put into it. And finally, I enjoy travelling (again when I have the time and money). I enjoy hoping in my car and taking a trip out of town, or travelling to another state and exploring.