Welcome to the new dubman.com

Hello friends and family, neighbors, potential employers, and, of course, world.

At the moment, there isn't a whole lot to see here beyond the usual resume, contact, mug shot, etc. There will be more. I'll be using this site as a test bed for experiments in web design and development, and as a showcase for technical, civic and creative projects I'm involved in. In this embryonic phase, it consists of a small sampling of the geekiest aspects of my life. Do come back later for a rounder view of it :)

I'm starting with this spare design for several reasons, mostly just because it feels right to me now. My intent is for the neutral palette and flat affect to avoid clashing with or distracting from other content. There's plenty of time to go for baroque later on.

I will shortly be developing two other sites in parallel, one for my community in Seattle, and another for the major regional transportation project I am deeply involved in.

The following has the makings of a blog, but right now it's more of an apéritif -- hopefully nourishing to the appetite and spirit, if not exactly nutritious.

Fun with mazes

Since a friend taught me the meaning of the word "shortcut" at age 3 using chalk on his basement floor, I have been fascinated by mazes. I recently decided to code up a little random maze generator in C# for old time's sake. Here's a sample made just for you.

Maze image

Quasar, 25th Anniversary Edition

I hope it is hard to believe based on the head shot to the left, but I've been programming since the era of chiseling binary on stone tablets with dinosaur bones. This led to an early brush with fame for co-founding a software company at the start of high school.

Rather than spend Spring Break 1983 (wow...) on Risky Business, I spent it at Aristotle Software's world headquarters in Chicago in a creative frenzy, programming an arcade game for the Apple II called "Quasar". This was back when there was zero intrinsic support for sound and graphics, so games were built on the bare metal in 6502 assembly language.

I advertised and sold the game, receiving some glowing fan mail, but I was paid mostly in karma. By the start of college I was vaguely aware that it had made its way onto the pirate circuit, posted to BBS's from coast to coast.

Computers these days are thousands of times faster than the Apple II (but take much longer to boot up... what's up with that?). And just as there are folks into antique cars or vintage guitars, there's an online community of nostalgic nerds who are keeping old platforms alive through emulation. Apple II forever!

I held on to some old floppy disks and printouts from those days, but I don't have a working computer to try them on and I feared my handiwork was lost. Then one day, I did a vanity search and was surprised to find the instructions to my game posted on an Apple II archive site. Was the real game available anywhere, in a form that would run on a modern computer?

It turns out the answer was yes, although it took quite a bit of sleuthing. Click on...

Screen shot of Quasar, the Apple II game