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echo($hello_world);

Hello, world! I am Problematic. It’s true. Well, technically I’m Derek Stobbe, hailing from Provo, UT, and I’ll spare you any more details about my personal life. I am a web developer by trade and a computer scientist at heart. I got started coding (does that need sarcastic quotes around it?) with QBasic on a five-dollar computer purchased at a garage sale, quickly got bored of that (“what do you mean, ‘BASIC doesn’t compile’?”), and moved on to Visual Basic. Not much of an upgrade there; we’ll call those “the dark days.”

I broke into the web development field when a buddy and I decided, right out of highschool, that we wanted to put together a (now long defunct) gaming website. Didn’t know anything about server-side scripting besides what’d I’d picked up from Dreamweaver’s code view (leave me alone, okay?), so we pooled together our resources and put half down to have some guy I found on the internet put something together for us. Cue a long wait. A loooong wait. Or at least, it seemed like it at the time. But seriously, a week would go by, and he would respond to my daily emails asking for updates (yes, I was an irritating client once, too) with a vague promise of, “soon, soon.”

I knew what technologies he was using (mostly because my webhost at the time only supported PHP4 and MySQL), so I started playing around, trying to figure out how to do what I wanted to do. It took forever, but I finally cobbled something together, and it was glorious. Sure, it was horribly designed and hacky and I’m sure riddled with injection holes, but it was mine. I told our guy, “hey don’t worry about it, we don’t need your work after all” and started bragging to all my friends about the website I’d made. Incidentally, about an hour later I got a tarball and an email demanding the other half of his payment. Jerk.

Got a Real Job™ doing web work with my uncle’s company not long after that, and haven’t looked back since. I briefly toyed with the idea of moving into Java or C#, or even C++ for game development (a dream of mine for a long time), but there’s just something about the web that I can’t let go of. Maybe it’s the fact that a well-built and timely web app can go viral in a way that nothing else really can (except for meme pictures and stupid youtube videos, but don’t get me started). Or maybe it’s the delusions of grandeur that I have about running a large and active community. I don’t really know, but whatever it is, I’m in the web market for better or for worse (right now things seem decidedly biased toward for better, but who am I to judge?)

I welcome feedback and user interaction (like I said, my highest fantasy is a healthy web community), so drop me a line at: djstobbe@gmail.com, or use the nifty comment box below! Let’s chat.

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