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The Twelve Developers of Christmas: Andrew Cole, Master of the Rings
by Isabelle Groc

Isabelle Groc, January 7, 2013

Last month and now wrapping up in 2013, we have been celebrating twelve Stackato ActiveState developers who share thoughts about the product, little known facts about them, and how they spend their time when they are not developing.

Andrew Cole, Software Developer, joined ActiveState in March 2012. He works on the Stackato web console and the cloud controller. Andrew was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was a student at Harvey Mudd College in Southern California. He now lives in Seattle.

Andrew is a pinball collector, and he promised he would be playing his newest machine designed after the Lord of the Rings, to celebrate the theme of rings on the Fifth day of Christmas.

How did you become a developer?

By accident. I went to school for an engineering degree, and then I was trying to get an engineering job in Seattle. Before I knew it, I was writing software instead. It's been fun so far and it's hard to imagine going back to engineering.

What was your first computer?

It was a 286, that's about all I remember. My earliest computing memory was a portable computer my dad had that may have been a Grid Compass or look-alike.

Favourite programming language(s)?

I like Ruby for being expressive and quick to write.

What gets you excited about Stackato?

The first time I saw the micro cloud, I was really impressed with the polished "it just works" OOBE. As a server-side developer, there are almost zero comparable experiences.

What do you think this product will look like in five years?

I hope I can shout ideas for apps in to my phone, and Stackato will have them built for me by the time I get up the next day.

Who else in the industry impresses you?

I'm constantly impressed by the folks who manage large software projects, who have to keep the whole system in their heads, and can still drill down to individual lines of code and hack when necessary.

What do you do when you are not developing?

I have six very temperamental pinball machines that I take care of. When I was in college, the dorm I lived in had pinball machines maintained by the students. I played pinball growing up but it wasn’t until I got to college that I got really interested in it. Once you start collecting pinball machines, you have to learn how to fix them because they break all the time. I like the physicality of the game, it is very real. It is the kind of arcade entertainment that cannot be superseded by a video game or any virtual device. There are no iPad apps that can replicate the pinball experience. My newest pinball machine is themed after the Lord of the Rings movies. I am not a fan of the movies or the books, but it is a really good game. I also contribute to a Seattle zine about pinball called Skill Shot.

What do you listen to while you're working?

Mostly just the sounds of the office. When I do listen to music, since it must be energetic but also completely mindless so as not to distract me, I mostly listen to pop mashups from bootiemashup.com.

Best movie you've seen this year?

I haven't been consuming much media this year. I recently saw Gremlins for the first time in twenty years, and it was actually just as good as I remembered.

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Isabelle joined ActiveState as a Technical Editor after several years as a freelance journalist, editor, and photographer, and has contributed to a variety of media outlets including PC Magazine, Canadian Geographic, Discover, Canadian Wildlife, Georgia Straight, and Scientific American.