wingolog

about

Welcome, reader! The blog is the main thing here. It has a user's manual and comment policy. The nice thing about that the blog that, unlike this page, it is unlikely to go stale. Pages bear their dates and you can see that if you're reading something from 2005 that maybe it's not relevant.

In that spirit, allow me to date this page and say that it's September 2014 and that as of this date my name is Andy Wingo. I live in France, but just a wee 15 minute walk from Switzerland. I'm American but it's been some 12 years since I lived in the States (gulp!).

I grew up around Charlotte, North Carolina, in the US. It's a kind of humid South sort of thing. I had a stroke of marvellous luck and got to go to a nerd high school there, the school of science and math state-funded boarding school. That was lovely. Against my better judgment, in university I studied nuclear engineering. It was a good education but mostly wasted, as the program tried to shunt everyone into roles in the hoary fission power industry.

When the time came to graduate, the night before graduation, I knew there was going to be a party the next day to celebrate, and that at that party there would be family asking, meaningfully, "So Andy, what are you planning on doing?" My plan was to join the Peace Corps, an American program that sends clueless college graduates to "developing nations" to "help" them. Then, as my family knows me, they would ask "well have you applied?" and I would say that no, but I was meaning to.

So to avoid the embarrassment, and to jump off the engineering rail-track, I applied to the Peace Corps the night before graduation so that I could say "well yes indeed, I have applied". This was 2002. I had thought that with my Spanish and computer interests that somewhere in Latin America doing something computery might be a thing, but the waiting lists were too long, and I wanted to leave immediately, so instead I headed off to southern Africa to teach math and science to middle schoolers there.

In Namibia I learned much, much more than I ever could have imparted. My heart still sings when I think of the sunsets and the starry nights there, and the people I left. As a teacher I did OK but I wasn't great. At 22 you don't even know what you don't even know. Stellar teachers are inspired, and I was distracted. I had gotten very sporadic, asynchronous internet access, and started to hack on GStreamer and Scheme and all kinds of things. Visions of fame as a computer musician, I spent my nights making noises with my computer instead of grading my learners' papers.

My contract finished in Namibia in late 2004. It happened that at that time there was a company starting up around GStreamer, the multimedia library I had spent nights hacking on. I went directly from Ondangwa to Barcelona to work for Fluendo. We redesigned GStreamer to look more like it does today, wrote overly complicated things in Twisted and Python, read Lamport papers for the first time, and made all the mistakes you would expect young hackers to make.

This is starting to look like a CV and that makes me a little uncomfortable, know what I mean? I don't know you and you don't know me and am I really my work history? Barcelona was lovely though, and home, more of a home than I had even realized. I lived 8 years there. It was a human place, built on human scale. In 2008 I changed to work for Oblong Industries, a laboratory of computers and humans and real-world spaces. We built some cool things, and they are wonderful, wonderful people.

Since 2011 I have been working for Igalia, a worker-run cooperative that does consulting and contracting around free software / open source projects. While working for Igalia I also moved to the Geneva area, for family reasons. Check the blog for more on this most recent phase of things.

Anyway, that the story of me and places. If you need to contact me, my personal email is wingo@pobox.com, and my work email is wingo@igalia.com. Either one should work, though in practice the work one gets answered sooner.