1. What are five things you really really want to get to do before you die?You know, I don’t really make lists and check things off like that. I have things I want to do, but I’m going to be dead for a really, really long time, and there are a really, really large number of fun things to do, so the overwhelming number of things I want to do, or would want to do if I knew about them, are not going to get done before I die. And still, I feel like I have a full and rich and happy life, so I guess I’m getting an appropriate number of them done. I’ll just modify this question a little bit and give five things I just really really want to get to do: (1) Skydive. (Actually, I might get to do this just before I die. :-) You know, if I knew for certain that I were going to die at a certain time, but I got to pick the manner, I can’t think of a better way than falling out of a high airplane.) (2) Learn to ride a motorcycle (a relatively recent addition). (3) Ride in a hot-air balloon. Um, those three are what come to mind from the realm of things that are both realistic and things that I haven’t done before. If I continue gradually into the realm of fantasy, I could add (4) Spend a significant chunk of time on Antarctica. (5) Spend some time in orbit. (6) Found a nation. (7) Travel to another planetary body. And if I list some things that I have done already but really want to do more of, I could add (8) Learn more languages. (9) Visit more foreign countries. (10) Spend more time camping and hiking. (11) Go back to school. Oh, I also want (12) to learn more about photography, and maybe get to a point where I can occasionally do it semi-professionally.
3. What do you do for a living?I’m a Unix sysadmin for a department at a local university. Because I’m part of a small group, that involves end-user support as well as working with the machines. Once in a while I get to teach, which I really really love. More details about what I do if anybody cares. My first job out of college (in 1989) was doing user support at Princeton, and I eventually switched to system administration. My highest-profile job was for the MIT-based branch of the World Wide Web consortium; Tim Berners-Lee (who is a really nice guy) was my immediate boss.
5. What is one of your pet peeves?Ooh, this one is hard! You’d probably get a better answer from other people; I bet I don’t really notice which of my perfectly reasonable, normal, straightforward bits of righteous indignation are pet peeves. And the truth is I generally give people an awful lot of slack; sometimes too much. I guess I’ll say hypocrisy, especially the kind where the person is genuinely not aware that they do the exact sort of thing they decry in others. Hmmm, let me amend that: Lack of self-knowledge. Of course, I’m sure I have that problem, too. :-) I have minor pet peeves about language use, typography, and so on, but off the top of my head I can’t think of an appropriate one to cite, so that will have to do for now. Let me know in a comment if you’d like me to come up with five questions for you. I don’t promise to come up with them in a timely fashion, but I’ll come up with them eventually.