John McDonough

Wherever I Am


John is a guy that likes to write code, his code is typically “OK” so that means it’s pretty much like everybody else’s code. John has been writing some sort of code since he was 11 (eleven not 3) when his dad got him a Timex Sinclair, TS1000 with the 16KB expansion module. John still uses the TS1000 to surf the web in black and white on an old TV in his Mom’s basement when he is feeling nostalgic for the old days.

John next used the Commodore PET to write “OK” code. A computer that he enthusiastically stood in line for to take home each weekend from school, he got to take it home each weekend because he was the only one in line. When his mom couldn’t pick him up from school he used his wagon to bring the computer home. None of the teachers seemed to mind that John used his wagon, with one teacher stating, “I don’t even know what that crazy contraption does; maybe you’ll be an astronaut one day” when she saw John pulling the wagon through the teacher’s parking lot. John wondered what pulling a computer in a wagon had to do with being an astronaut and to this day suffers from mild motion sickness that would probably preclude him from being an astronaut.

John’s coding journey continued with various computers and John was briefly an on campus representative for Data General while he was attending Hofstra University. John carried around and used in class the Data General DG1, as long as he got one student and one of their parents to meet with a DG representative a month he was able to keep using the computer. John was told to stop using the computer in a few classes since the clicking of the keyboard was annoying to the professor and students. One professor told John that “portable computers were ridiculous and that the common person would never want or need a computer”, John still agrees with him.

After college John got a real job doing massive mail merges and printing names on envelopes at a printing company. The mailing lists were for publishing house promotions. John programmed the typewriters that printed the envelopes as well as writing code that searched for duplicated names in the lists. John also added his name to every list and was soon inundated with so much mail and magazines that he knew the mailman knew he was very important. John liked the work but did not like the commute or the place where he worked. One time one of the employees working a huge paper cutter cut off his finger (not John’s finger, his own finger) and John happened to be in the wrong-place at the right-time and picked up the finger and put it the ice he had in a cup (ice that he just got for a soft-drink that was too warm because the office refrigerator was broken). The finger could not be reattached due to being separated from the owner for too long. This happened mainly because the finger was sent to one hospital and the owner of the finger was at another. John’s boss said it was John’s fault, however John, not being one to point fingers, has said in his defense that he put the finger in question in the car with his boss and his boss went to the wrong hospital. This was not the reason John left the printing company, he left because on Fridays when the paychecks came in his boss would have everyone limbo under a coat rack that was held by the boss and his dad, the big boss. John didn’t mind the limbo, that was fun, John didn’t like that he would always lose.

Now John works at Cisco for DevNet where he writes code, that is pretty much “OK”. John also gives talks on writing “OK” code and teaches people how to write “OK” code. So if you want write code that is as “OK” as everyone else’s code listen to John.