Who is Irina Dumitrascu?
I am a geek girl from Romania; I like to program, travel and walk on mountains. In the last year and a half I was lucky to do all of them while visiting South America together with my boyfriend, [Cristi], as semi-nomad freelancers.
I am shy, deliberative, and intellectual. If I commit to something I will push with all my energy to get it done.
Where and when did you start programming?
I went to a computer science highschool, and I had a great teacher who taught me about algorythms and smart programming techniques. I got really passioned with programming when I was 17, to the point of spending some good hours each day improving my problem solving skills and learning sophisticated algorythms. This was not so good for my social life, but got me among the smartest geeks in the country (top 6% in national olympics, to be exact).
I continued programming through university, started to do web development and wrote some more or less atrocious PHP and some decent multithreaded backend Java. I also worked with Adobe Romania on web related projects and finally started freelancing with Ruby and Rails around 2008.
I switched to Ruby charmed by how easy it was to test your code and by the elegant syntax. First, I tried it for a personal project: scraping some information of a web site and saving it in a DB. It was ready in no time, as a mix of Nokogiri, DataMapper and less than 40 lines of code. The next day I started [vimmish], a parser for vim commands. Quickly after, I moved to Ruby for all my web development and glue code.
You favorite IDE. JS Framework?
I use MacVim with some plugins for opening files, commenting code and a mostly stolen .vimrc (because I hate fiddling).
On the JS front, I love Backbone. It is light and powerful, and it makes writing and maintaining JS a pleasure. And it’s even better when adding Coffeescript to the mixture.
What does your typical day look like?
When I am freelancing: I try to get up at a decent hour and get a good chunk of work done in the morning. After lunch I read something or sleep a bit before the second round. Around 7 it’s time to browse for something nice to cook, and 9 o’clock will catch me watching a movie, reading something or drinking a beer with friends. Also, a typical day has a 28.6% chance of including a dancing lesson.
When I am traveling: wake up, if in a tent – enjoy the nature, otherwise – visit the current city, eat some streetfood, maybe hop on the next bus, search for a cool [couchsurfing] host or a nice hostel.
What do you do in your free time?
Program, cook, dance, read, go out, trek.
Current favorite apps?
Picasa. I used to love Skitch. Dropbox is useful.
What OS do you prefer?
Mac OS X. It works well and looks good.
Small picture for your Workplace?
This is me and my flamboyant working place in Sucre, Bolivia. I am addicted to having paper around when I work, to write down tasks, ideas or just things to remember.
Name something that has inspired you recently?
While working with Cristi on [Tzigla], our collaborative drawing web application, it was amazing to see people using the site to create very beautiful works of art. It was also inspiring to see how fast we were able to launch the core functionality (40 hours), and how our struggles with the design finally led to a decent UI.
I learned to draw from the book [Drawing on the right side of the brain]. I have always thought drawing is tied to talent, and it was great to find that it can be learned, it is quite easy, and it feels very good. You should try it.
What do you prefer (and why)? Freelance work or full time employment?
As I love to travel and to live in different places, I greatly enjoy the flexibility that freelancing offers. What I miss sometimes from my employed life is having a lot of smart people around, and discussing interesting technical issues over lunch.
What are your personal projects and goals for 2011?
Go to one more Ruby or JS conference. Start a new significant personal project. Code more awesome features for [Tzigla]
Spend some weekends outdoors, in the beautiful mountains of Romania. Take on dancing classes again. Live in two different cities.