About Me

UPDATE: I’m 31 now and am working at a store/online store. Working on xt:Commerce most of the time. The rest of this isn’t updated and is as it appeared in 2012.

My name is Alexander Knopf and I’m a 30 year old Computer Programmer. I’ve spent a year in america but I live in Germany now, where i was born and raised. I’m currently unemployed, which is why I spend a lot of time working on this page and educating myself on programming and security.

I started playing around with computers before I was ten years old. I’ve always been fascinated by them. My first computer was an apple ][e that I got for christmas in the late 80s. Unfortunately that was pretty much my only present that year and it broke less than one month later. In 1989 my father bought his first computer which was a state of the art 386 with 16 Mhz. It even had a color monitor ! Shortly after that (over 20 years ago) he gave my brother a Turbo Pascal book which came with an IDE, compiler and everything. It was the usual “this book will teach your everything you need to know in 37 seconds” kinda book which goes from the basics to how to write simple programs from scratch. We both started to read the book and write small programs that would do really fancy things like draw pixels on the screen. After that I read about a few other programming languages like GW Basic, C and eventually Assembly language. Around this time my father decided to check out SUSE linux and I read about Open Source software and how basically the whole OS is written in C.

A few years after that the Internet thing kinda caught on, maybe you have heard of it. So my brother brought a MUD to my attention that we played a fair bit before checking out the circlemud source code and trying to run our own. We obviously never intended for it to become a big game with thousands of players (or any players at all since internet connection was abour $1/h back then and we couldn’t afford to run our own server). We did manage to make a few changes to the game, though, mostly cosmetic ones.

Years later (this century) I was hired as Head Coder on a MUD that actually still exists, even though it never had a lot of players. I had also once started to write my own codebase from scratch in C++ using mySQL as database and did manage to get something running in about 5,000 lines of code. That is where that story ends, however. I never really found the time or inspiration to work on a text based game after looking at World of Warcraft. I didn’t think that MUDs would really keep gaining players (even the free ones) considering how much better graphical games look.

I didn’t really want to keep the whole (apparently fairly long) story chronological since I thought it would be confusing. So here’s the webdesign part of my programming career. I have to admit that I was a very slow learner in that whole Webdesign thing. I read about html back when it was state of the art and I knew the basics on how to make websites. I even worked with server side includes a little before php became a thing. I didn’t really go beyond that for a long time, though. I read about CSS and how it\’s excellent to separate design from content but I didn’t really care enough to actually learn things. Then dynamic websites became the thing and I started learning a little bit of php, still didn’t learn CSS and never made anything that really looked good. Back then everyone was still fascinated with blinking text and javascript mouseovers that were completely useless but attracted attention.

The jobs I did have so far had me working with databases a whole lot, unfortunately mostly MSSQL. I wrote a lot of stuff in VB.net and C#. I always liked databases and the way they stored data. When I started learning php it was obviously all with mySQL which I then used from C++ for my own MUD. I read a lot about database design and how to avoid redundancies.

And that’s where we are today. 20 years of programming experience and not a job in sight. More and bigger challenges are yet to come though !

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