Who is Kimberly Blessing?
I’m a web developer, standards evangelist, technical leader, and teacher. By day I am a senior software architect at Comcast Interactive Media and by night I teach in the Computer Science department at Bryn Mawr College, my alma mater. I’m also a member of the Web Standards Project (WaSP).
I’ve been building web sites since 1994, starting with an online Duran Duran discography site. In the past, I have worked for and led web standards adoption efforts at AOL and PayPal. At AOL I picked up the moniker “Obi-Wan Kimberly” because I was (and hope I still am) a CSS Jedi.
Where and when did you start programming?
I started programming in BASIC on a TRS-80 Color Computer 1 in 1980. These were very simple programs — changing screen colors, drawing pictures on the screen, and making sounds. I wrote a program for the computer to play the harmony to “Yesterday” by the Beatles, so that I could play the melody on the flute. I performed this a few times at school, but when I was put up on the high school stage, under big, hot lights, the TRS-80 suffered heat exhaustion and left me quite red-faced.
I moved on to the Commodore 64 (and 128) but stuck with BASIC. I tried to write an AI like Joshua (from WarGames) during the summer of 1984. I didn’t have anyone to tell me that no one had created an AI yet, so I kept at it the *whole* summer.
Despite this early exposure to programming, I didn’t learn any other languages until college, where I worked in Pascal, C, and LisP, among others. That’s also when the web was really just taking off, so I learned HTML and Perl, too.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up early and go to the gym for an hour. I get coffee and check email, Twitter, and my feed reader to catch up on what’s happened overnight. My work day is usually a mix of consultations with product engineering teams, discussions with product owners and user experience designers, and pursuit of my own research. On the nights when I’m not teaching, I work on side projects for clients, do some writing or technical editing, or procrastinate while meaning to do those other things. I’m really a night owl, so I have to force myself to stop and go to bed at a decent time, in order to wake up early and do it all again.
4. What do you do in your free time?
I don’t really have much free time, but I do like to procrastinate. I watch too much TV. I enjoy music. I’m starting to do more cooking. When I schedule proper vacation time, it’s generally to travel.
Current favorite apps?
Remote desktop connection, IE9 beta, FF4 beta, EditPlus, FeedDemon, OneNote, Microsoft Money.
What OS do you prefer?
Windows. I’m a PC. Windows 7 is just brilliant. I run it on my Media Center PC, my TabletPC, and my laptop.
Small picture for your Workplace?
This is my office at work. At home, I don’t really have a space set aside for work… I just sit on the couch with my laptop.
Favorite: Color, Font, Language, JS Framework?
Color: All of them.
Language: It’s a toss-up between HTML and CSS.
JS Framework: jQuery, but purely out of familiarity.
Name something that has inspired you recently?
Nothing inspires me like someone telling me that I can’t do something.
What do you prefer (and why)? Freelance work or full time employment?
I like to direct my own work, whether it’s freelance work or full-time employment. I’ve been fortunate to have great freelance clients, but I’ve found greater autonomy in full-time employment than with freelancing — along with the benefit of a regular paycheck.
What are your personal projects and goals for 2011?