I don't know how or why you are here - in truth everything here is, and always will be, best classified as personal minutiae... the very definition of meaningless - a blast from past when internet was a a different place, bits of life floating peacefully in the dark void of the forgotten outer reaches of the net... the only new thing likely to happen here is more randomness thrown into this strange rippleless deep!
Why are you here again?
A Programming Story:
The first two computers in the house, that I remember anyway, were an Atari 2600 and a Coleco Adam. Calling into various local BBS systems, Basic and Logo, papers for school and games (Ultima IV!) are what I remember from the early years...
Computers were part of my life since I was young but probably the single thing I spent the most time doing was playing the Clarinet - eventually it took me to the Eastman School of Music (Peter Hadcock), Indiana University at Bloomington (Eli Eban), North Carolina School for the Arts (Robert Listokin) and the University of Arizona (Jerry Kirkbride).
The real revival of my interest in programming dates to the early 2000s while I was a Teaching Assistant during my doctoral studies at the University of Arizona. I worked on several classes that had simple online components (simple HTML mostly), had to find ways to process grades for classes (Excel/VBA) and in an Electronic Music course I learned Max/MSP. My Max/MSP programming wasn't a true deep dive into programming, but working to create interactive systems that combined music/sound/hardware/computers was an inspiring experience.
Music didn't work out as a career for me... In the early 2000s I started climbing and canyoneering, and started working at the Summit Hut. The Summit Hut is an amazing locally owned Outdoor Specialty Retail business that since the 1980s has done in-house development on systems including Inventory Management, POS and Accounts Payable. I started as Floor Sales Staff and then moved to a Buyer's Assistant Position. As a Buyer's assistant I did my first programming for the Summit Hut developing Excel VBA to help us do restock and stock balances. Over time I became a Buyer - and over time I moved from VBA to .NET and developed more and more tools - reporting, ordering, PO creation...
Some projects that I work on:
- Dropbox Based Reporting: Each month Excel and self contained HTML reporting files are generated and put into folders on Dropbox for our vendor partners to access. This system gives us easy access controls, great sharing and an interface that is already familiar to many people. Using Dropbox, rather than building/buying a full reporting website, allowed us to write less code and focus on the reporting.
- Inventory Display: The Summit Hut's Inventory Management app is a WPF application that started in the .NET 3 time period and is now a .NET Core application. Interesting functions include an Item History report that assembles any references to the item into our system to help figure out what happened and why, Excel matching tools that allow us to add information from our items into any Excel sheet where UPC/EAN or our own Ids are available, the ability to paste in a list of ids and look up all the items - a simple feature but it means that a list of items in a reporting email easily becomes a list of items inside the program and drag and drop support across windows.
- Inventory Bulk Item Creator and Updater: If you have experienced Excel users it is very hard to create an interface that is going to be more efficient for creating and editing long lists items than Excel... Our programs lean into this idea and rather than try to apply restrictive data validation in Excel our importers essentially bring in string values, parses those values into our database values, apply numerous validation rules to catch mistakes we have made and applies changes to the database leaving a history of the changes. Inventory Display has more traditional GUI editors for smaller edits and less experienced users - but our buying programs currently support 4 buyers with over 70 years of combined experience so in some tooling we specifically support power users and create tools that take some knowledge and training to use.
These days I work at the Summit Hut doing development, IT and buying, run and hike (mostly in Southern Arizona), love photography (Pointless Waymarks and Hike Lemmon and enjoy living a slightly more rural lifestyle in the Rincon Valley.
In 2006 I started writing on cmiles.info using WordPress.com and for a good few years I wrote about tech, life and adventures. By the 2010s the posts were all about adventures, more and more about the Santa Catalina Mountains. The site was never taken offline but it was last updated in 2015.
In the early 2010s I started another WordPress.com site - consuming.cmiles.info - on which I put notes about what I was reading, watching and listening to. That effort ended in 2013...
These first sites informed my efforts on Hike Lemmon! | Hiking and Adventures in the Santa Catalina Mountains which I started in the mid 2010s. For many years that site took all my attention - and of course the 2010s were huge for Facebook, Instgram, Twitter and other now forgotten social media sites that at the time seemed useful and important.
Since 2019 my focus has changed - Pointless Waymarks and the software to generate it Pointless Waymarks Cms: A .NET 7 WPF Gui for Static Site Generation have taken my time and attention, I'm rarely on social media and a new house has meant fewer adventures.
Sometime in 2022 I looked back at cmiles.info, enjoyed it, and with the Pointless Waymarks CMS in a very usable state converted the tech and life posts to this new version of the site along with the content from consuming.cmiles.info. The posts related to the Santa Catalina Mountains will move to a new version of HikeLemmon (in progress atm) and adventure posts about areas outside of the Catalinas have been moved to PointlessWaymarks.
If you're reading this you are either here randomly and are unimaginably deep into the long tail of content on the internet or your a friend - either way send me an email, charles at cmiles dot info, and say hello, if nothing else I will be glad to congratulate you on somehow finding this!