About Me

Welcome to my web site. My name is Shawn Baker and this site is a loose collection of things I’m interested in. I’m a middle aged computer programmer with a long time interest in computers (obviously), technology, golf, photography, cycling, racquet sports, science fiction, and music. There’s not much here right now, but it will grow over time, and those are the things most likely to show up.

So let’s start with a short biography. I was born in 1961 in a small northern Canadian mining town named Flin Flon. I spent most of the first 10 years of my life there and then most of the rest of my life in Winnipeg, the capital of the Canadian province named Manitoba. I’ve also lived in Toronto, Canada and Canberra, Australia for about a year each in the 1980’s. I live in Winnipeg now, and probably will for the rest of my life.

I did well in school, and for some reason all the adults around me said I should go into Commerce (an old name for Business or Management). So that’s where I started my academic life at the University of Manitoba. And for some reason, the Commerce people insisted that all of their first year students take the introductory computer programming course (in 1979, why?). It took me all of three weeks to figure out that I loved that course and hated all of my Commerce courses. It took me another two years to straighten it all out and complete all of the first year courses of a Computer Science degree. Then three more years to complete an Honours degree.

As it turns out, that wasn’t the end of my education. I went to work for a year in Toronto, then decided to go back to school and take a Masters. But of course, that didn’t turn out to be a normal experience either. I spent the next four years being a full-time Lecturer at the University of Manitoba and did precious little work on my degree. After finally realizing that I just wasn’t going to be an academic, I left university and headed out into the real world (i.e. I got a job as a programmer).

Since then (1990), I’ve been a programmer. Most of my career has been in the DOS and Windows world, with a few forays into the UNIX/Linux world. Here’s a sample of the things I’ve done (and enjoyed every minute of):

  • a Windows multimedia application for communicating via video and voice with a proprietary wireless camera
  • ported Windows CE to several different platforms, including XSCALE (IXP420, PXA255) and MIPS (VR4121) devices
  • Windows CE kernel code and countless device drivers, including PCMCIA, USB, display, TV out, backlight, touch panel, keyboard, audio, magnetic stripe reader, SNTP client and MIB, watchdog timer, notification LED, serial port, console
  • several Windows CE, Pocket PC and Windows Mobile applications, including a shell replacement, numerous test programs, and a golf scorecard
  • code for interfacing a proprietary language engine to Visual Basic 6 and Microsoft .NET
  • UNIX based machine independent database and circuit analysis programs for different CAD environments
  • Windows custom controls, VBX’s and OCX’s
  • countless Windows and DOS programs, including a syntax highlighting text editor for Windows, a deck building program for the original Magic computer game, a text based windowing library for DOS, and a DOS program for tracking student marks
  • client/server imaging and form processing applications
  • DOS serial I/O terminal emulation and file transfer applications
  • ROM code, device drivers and TSR’s for proprietary PC expansion boards
  • several websites using PHP and MySQL

As you can see from the above, I’m a techie and have no interest in management. I love what I do and have every intention of doing it until I retire, and even after that. I do lots of programming on the side, and even have my own little company named Frozen North Computing. These days most of the side work is related to the internet and web applications. I’ve contributed to a couple of open source projects and plan to do more of that in the future.

Aside from programming, my most passionate pursuit is golf. I have a low single digit handicap and actually got it down to scratch once upon a time. I compete in the local amateur tournaments and even won one back when I was 40. I also managed to win my club championship back then at the Southwood Golf & Country Club. All of my other hobbies are just normal pursuits that I enjoy.

So there you have it. Please look around the site and feel free to tell me what you think by commenting.

PS: I guess I should mention that somewhere in there I met the love of my life, married her, and have been living happily ever after ever since.