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The Twelve Developers of Christmas: Jeff Hobbs, Ring-Giver
by Isabelle Groc

Isabelle Groc, January 08, 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.

Jeff Hobbs, VP, Engineering, oversees ActiveState product development, and works on all parts of Stackato. Born in Los Angeles, he joined ActiveState in January 2001. Jeff got married recently, and exchanged rings with his true love well before the Fifth Day of Christmas.

How did you become a developer?

I actually started University in chemistry, planning to cure all the world’s ills. To get my science degree, I was required to take science courses in related disciplines, and I took a computing class with friends. I was so enamoured with the instant response and interesting challenges in computing, as opposed to watching titrations all day in organic chemistry, that I switched majors. I still ended up with a minor in chemistry, but nowadays, that only gets used in the kitchen.

What was your first computer?

My brother got an Apple II when I was young, and we used to play on that, even to the point of programming text adventure games in basic. The first computer that was all mine was a Fat Mac, with a whopping 512K of memory.

Favourite programming language(s)?

My favorite would be whichever one I get to program in that week, since I get to program so rarely now that I’m engrossed in managing the team. Nowadays it is mostly reading code for review. However, Tcl has always remained a personal favorite, though most of my actual development work has been in C over the years.

Do you have a developer nickname?

When I was the primary maintainer for Tcl, I was known as tclguy.

What gets you excited about Stackato?

I’m excited that we have been able to leverage so much of the development background of ActiveState to help define the next generation of developer tools and workflow.

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

I believe that PaaS will become a standard development paradigm in a few years. Stackato itself will grow to transparently integrate with more services, tools and hypervisor systems over that time.

What do people don’t know about you?

I speak fluent German, a remnant of my time working for Siemens.

What do you do when you are not developing?

I love to cook, but never by recipe. I love how it is quite different from the daily grind. Just myself and the ingredients , whatever I may have on hand sometimes, to make something fresh and delicious.

What do you listen to while you’re working?

Internet radio, because I’m too lazy to maintain playlists. Generally 70s and 80s music.

Best event you’ve attended in 2012?

It would have been a dance event at a friend’s wedding in Chennai. A dance team put on a Bharatanatyam performance. It’s like ballet, South Indian style. It was very well done and a beautiful performance.

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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.