This morning, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I was reviewing a Java Web Services Tutorial and it was making sense. I tried the examples, and with a little bit of classpath fudging, I got them to work. I tried a quote generator I found on xmethods.com and got it to work. I was impressed with myself. Then I looked through the “additional resources” section at the end and found my way to a book on XML-RPC. Generally, this would be a good thing. I like books on stuff I want to learn — particularly O’Reilly books as they’ve been stand-up publishers of computer technology books since I’ve been in the market for computer technology books.
But this particular book had an author whose name I recognized: Simon St. Laurent. I recognized this name because he and I went to Swarthmore College together. We were friendly acquaintances. He was a history major with a knack for computers.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had this sense, but it’s happened to me before at reunions. A sense of “Wait, you’re in my field now? And you’re kicking my ass at it!?!” But that happened again. Simon’s written and edited a stack of technical books on subjects I only know peripherally but feel like I should know better. He’s given invited talks at the ACM. He’s a player. He’s a floor wax, he’s a dessert topping.
So, I did a vanity google (here are the results). Not surprisingly, much of it has to do with my time in grad school at UVa and the “research” (AKA failed apprenticeship) I did under Randy Pausch. There were some surprises though:
The most popular hit is a test page for Downtown Anywhere from when the web was young. It links to my “home page” at Virginia. I no longer have accounts at either Downtown Anywhere nor Virginia to update any of that information.
Google still doesn’t seem to know about my new home page.
My (again) mostly empty PSU faculty page ranks several pages higher than my home page.
My mention in my grandmother’s obituary in my dad’s local newspaper is on the same page as the Casagato links and my home page — the 5th of 6 pages. and possibly the biggest surprise:
According to the Revolver Directory, I’m a prominent member of the International Brotherhood of Single Action Revolver Shooters — or Casagato for short.
So, my self-esteem is buoyed once again. I may be no match in my own field for a history-major co-student of mine, but at least I’m mis-credited as a Single Action Revolver Shooter. An International one, no less!