This is the personal website of Michael Hoskins, a Houston-based designer and programmer.
My day job is at a small software development agency, so I'm able to wear many hats on a given day, from network administration to video editing to WordPress plugin development to debugging SQL statements. I enjoy variety, so this works out well for me.
I've been a gamer for nearly as long as I can remember, and a budding programmer nearly as long. In elementary school, our "Talented and Gifted" classes had a TI-99/4A with a few games on it. From that moment on, I was captivated by the capabilities of computers and the potential they contained for entertainment.
Somewhere around third or fourth grade, I received a second-hand Commodore 64 (with disk and tape drives!), along with a couple programming manuals for the system. As it turns out, these would be instrumental in showing me the computer not just as a consumer device, but something that could be commanded to carry out the user's will (provided you could learn the syntax). These manuals, along with the magazine 3-2-1 Contact, taught me the basics of BASIC.
As it turns out, knowing BASIC came in handy during the IIe-era of school computing. I believe before the class even started, I had wowed the person next to me with my fancy:
20 GOTO 10
We learned to use LOGO, but the pen-based drawing didn't make much sense to me at the time. Why use such a slow method of drawing when you could just jam everything into a sprite and blit it anywhere you want?
Anyway, after middle school I didn't do much with computers. I occasionally used my friend's Amiga 1000 (with RAM expansion and two floppy drives, thank you very much) as often as I could, checking out games and the demoscene. I started talking smack about PC-compatible computers requiring a SoundBlaster (or equivalent, which meant Turtle Beach) card for halfway decent sound, and an add-on board for EGA graphics. "The Amiga can display up to 4,096 colors on screen at once!" (sort-of true, in limited-use situations) and "comes with on-board 16-bit stereo sound!" (totally true; the Amiga kicks ass).
Ahem, I digress.
After high school, I moved to Houston, and began to reap the benefits that urban living brings. Now able to get a reliable and fairly cheap Internet connection, I began a new obsession: to learn. I was determined to soak up everything the web had to offer.
Obvious jokes aside, during this period I began to learn HTML, and while helping others with specific needs for their sites, began to pick up some ASP (don't judge me; at the time, Microsoft products were trivially easy to begin developing with, unlike you kids today with your Rubies and Railcars), then PHP.
I was tempted by the sweet allure of Java and its oft-repeated "Write-Once-Run-Anywhere!" mantra, but didn't understand what all these extra words meant: "Public static void main? That's ridiculous; why can't I just write the function name?"
After getting my feet wet in a few more semicolon-based languages, I finally understood Java's now-not-so-cryptic code, but had already graduated to a career in Flash Actionscript development. Fun graphics, easy framework, ubiquitous player...what's not to like?
This brings us close to the present. I've learned a great many languages and skills since my start in hacking (in the "coding" sense), and will likely be learning more in the future.
It's not that I enjoy the programming, per se. I enjoy the challenges of problem-solving, and ultimately ending up with an elegant solution to a tricky problem.