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About Me

Hi, my name is Richard Dalton, I am a Software Developer based in Dublin, Ireland. I began programming on a second hand Sinclair ZX81 in 1984, the tape recorder connection never worked so making the machine do anything involved writing a program every…single…time. I was hooked and haven’t stopped coding since.

My Primary School was one of the first in the country to own a computer (a BBC Micro) thanks primarily to having a principal with an interest in computing. In an attempt to get more time on the computer, I spent one evening finishing all the exercises in my maths book for the remainder of the year. It worked. I was excused from maths and allowed to spend the time “playing” with the computer.

In secondary school I managed to get access to the computers by teaching other students how to program. I ran an 80 minute programming class once a week.

I studied for a Certificate and Diploma in Computing at Waterford Institute of Technology, before completing a Degree in Software Engineering at Carlow Institute of Technology.

During my time in college I spent my Summers in Washington DC teaching programming to kids at TIC Computer Camp and I spent one Summer as Computing Director with the Camp.

After graduating I found myself accepting a contract position with Allied Irish Bank in Dublin and so began a life of Self Employment. Over the years I’ve worked with a range of companies from large multi-nationals to tiny software houses, from financials to pharmaceuticals to manufacturing and back to financials again, with a few stints as a college lecturer thrown in for good measure. My motivation all times has been to seek out interesting work, although the sunshine played a major part in taking up an 18 month stint in Florida in 2006-2007. In 2011 I finally gave up contracting and accepted a permanent role.

Back in the day I published two articles with the Visual Basic Programmers Journal, but in recent years I’ve favoured the simpler more direct route of publishing articles online, blogging and participating in forums.

After years of attending conferences I recently crossed to the other side of the curtain and started presenting, my first outing was at DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper Scotland in May 2011, I’ve since spoken in Belfast, Bristol and Reading.

I am one of those people who comes home from a day of programming and switches on the computer to unwind. I am fortunate be able to get paid to work on a hobby that I’ve had since I was 10 years old. If it wasn’t what I did for a living I’d be programming in any case.

When it comes to hobbies, I don’t let being rubbish at something prevent me from enjoying it, so I take photographs, play guitar and piano, and do card tricks, all very very badly.

Comments

Hamish I E Gunn
Reply

Looked forward to the FP talk at DDD but was disappointed: My first experiences with FP were 1973 (yes!) with SASL and Dave Turner (Miranda), an ex colleague. I even wrote a compiler for my own FP language. I taught FP to arts faculty students at a leading traditional university in the early 80s so I know the problems. Since then I let it go by the wayside and I was looking for something to revive my interest and see what had happened in the intervening years.

Some feedback:
You tried to do too much – you can’t rush talking about FP and hold on to your audience.
Was unclear whether the talk was about FP using Category Theory or Category Theory by way of FP. Either way it failed for me.
Too much syntax! Scala, F#, Haskell etc. I spent a lot of time trying to work out the syntax and thus lost the plot. FP does not need a rich syntax so you could think about using a simple FP language.
What is an Option?
You jumped from standard lambda calculus to a syntactic sugar version (lambda x y.) without mentioning currying (lambda x.lamda y.) – surely a fundamental tenet of FP. First class functions are fundamental.

Anyway sorry to be so negative – you were brave to try.

Richard
Reply

Thanks for the feedback Hamish, and sorry it took so long to approve your comment. I can’t disagree with any of your points.

If I ever try anything like that in the future I’ll take them on board.

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