Today We’re joined by Ralph R. aka “Crush”, author of Crushpad & CrushLinx, and proud member of Donationcoder.com
Q. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I´m a 38 year old German living in Stuttgart. Coding is my life. I collect games like others stamps – I think programs are art – and sometimes like to play a few minutes, preferring adventures that tell a good story. I´d say I surely have one of the biggest game-collections in Germany. I´m married with a wonderful wife. I was working as a freelancer software developer and EDM/PDM-Consultant/Supporter during the last 10 years for some big companies in Germany (T-Systems, Daimler, Mercedes, BMW).
Q. Where did the idea for the name “Crush” came from? as i see it on most of your apps.
Demo-coding made a lot of fun in the past – I was very interested in how new seemingly impossible and fast graphic-effects could be invented and coded. I founded a demo group named Crush on Amiga in the early 90´s and called myself the longest time “Catweazle” – it came from a funny tv-serial I saw as a child. When the Amiga-scene has flown away I switched to PC. This was a very big cut in what I´ve done – I wanted to make more serious programs in the future. With the time of Internet I decided to use my old group name as nick during looking at some of my old source codes and demos in Fellow and UAE (an amiga-emulator).
Q. How’d you get started with computers and build up your skill set?
A brother was quite cool in electronics (he was 10 years older than I) and I was interested in what he´s doing the whole day long (creating a very complex electronic keyboard by hand). So I started teaching myself with 9 years. At 11 I reached digital electronics and the arcade games, consoles (I remember my first computer game: my father bought a real pong-machine at the beginning) and home-computer era started to grow faster and faster. This waked my interest in assembler coding on C64 that was a good addition to my electronic hobby. Some months later my first demo was ready and I lost my interest in electronics and totally switched over to assembler-coding. After the C64 the Amiga came up and after this I started with PCs. Until 1998 I was a pure assembler coder. After this I learned C++ that was and till now is a good compromise about features and speed. I only coded as a hobby for fun and I never intended to do this as a job and so worked 6 years as a Interior adviser. Later my wife encouraged me to try it as a professional, so I visited a rather useless informatics-school only to have some proofs of skill in my hands. I new all they wanted to teach me – there was nothing new to learn, so I used the time to learn some other things I could need for the job and decided to enter the automotive CAD-sector as a freelancer.
Q. Which is your favorite programming language? Which tool you use for creating apps?
Nowadays I´m coding only C++ with no or very less inline-Assembler. I´m always using Microsoft Visual Studio and TASM & MASM. On Amiga I used the Devpack 2 assembler and some different ASM-Monitors and on C64 Turbo-Assembler and SMON.
Q. Did you “teach yourself” your skills, or did learn from a school or other resource?
All I know I learned myself. I remember that I learned assembler by analysing a full disassembly of the C64-Floppy-ROM with some remarks. I didn ´t had a description what command does what. So I was forced to experiment with a debugger/monitor I had and to find out what effect what command has. This was a rather slow but very effective way to learn and understand. My electronics knowledge helped a little bit to do it this way. Later I read books and with the internet I surfed a lot of coding boards to go forward. I´ll never stop learning but I don´t want to follow every hype (learning things I´ll never use) and I always try to specialize in some sectors.
Q. Do you have any other projects on the go other than NANY App?
In the next few months I´ll start a new company on my own with a mix of some special automotive CAD-services, software development, some consulting in EDM/PDM/PLM and 3D-Animation-sector and work on different products and small tools – some for the CAD or other industry and others for the home usage that will follow later.
Q. How much time do you usually spend on computers/programming ?
At my old job I worked 8-10 hours a day with computers/programming and after the work I append 2-8 hours in learning and coding. I thank god to have a really great wife that understands that my hobby is my life (I´m luckily married 14 years now).
Q. Do you have any experience with operating system other than windows ?How much you get involved in it?
I had to bother a lot with Unix computers at work and at home a little bit Linux. I prefer Windows for “normal” usage.
Q. How and when did you get involved in Donationcoder ?
Some years ago I had very much fun in programmer-competitions I attended at planet-quellcodes.de. Later they become less paticipants and uninteresting themes so i searched for a new interesting place with programmers. My profiles says I registered at Donationcoder at: October 26, 2006, 03:47:11 AM. I have a very longtime disc-cataloger project for what I only spent some days a year and I wanted to revive this again. So I collected, tested and compared all catalogers I found in the internet and created my big list of disc-catalogers that I released at Donationcoder. From this moment on I never really left this forum again.
Q. What are your hobbies and interests away from the desk?
My biggest hobby is walking with my dog at least 2 times a day alone and sometimes with my wife (thinking about coding-projects, talking with people I randomly meet and enjoying the woods). I´m also visiting the cinema 1-2 times a week (my favorites are SF and gory horror/splatter films with a lot of special effects). In the winter I´m sometimes skating on ice in the summer with roller skates. Once a month I go to the disco with my wife and I also like it to accompany her at shopping (living the big spender =8-). I organise local hobby-game-developer-meetings.
Q. Who or what in your life would you say influenced you most?
My father knew the local cinema owner very good and I could see all film for free as often as I liked. I was very much impressed by Godzilla films (ufos, monsters and aliens) and especially one inspired me that showed
a robot-maker. Only a few days later I saw a film about a scientist that finds the source of youth. From this moment on I wanted to build robots in the future with artificial intelligence on my own and experimenting like the crazy scientist. But as you see, I later changed the direction to a software-developer living a similar way.
Q. Your favorite stuff from : Food/T.V.Show/Website/Books/Music ?
Food: Bananas, flesh and noodles in any form
T.V. Shows: My favorite serial was Sledge Hammer, Tom & Jerry and Flash Gordon
Website: Donationcoder.com, Planet-Quellcodes.de, Developia.de, pouet.net and gamespot.com
Books: The Hitchhiker´s Guide to the Galaxy, John Sinclair & Perry Rhodan
Music: I like really ->every< – kind of music. I hear heavy/speed/death/trash-metal, gothic, pop, trance, punk, folk, computer, electronic, musical and opera. I prefer listening to some special songs from every direction but have no big favorites. I´m not a “fan” of a group/artist.
Q. Any advice you’d give to new programmers?
Don´t lose your interest in learning and going forward in new directions. Take a constant look at the technical developments and science. Never give up what you started before getting some useful results to maintain some motivation and learn from others as much as you can. Try to keep fascinated as much as you can and never use the word “impossible”.
Q. Where do you see yourself in future?
I´ll never stop coding and learning. Perhaps I start learning a new language or add some new hobbies like chemistry or physics in the future. I hope to get through my life without financial problems and want to stay together with my wife forever and try to follow my programmer-advices forever.