Ben Szymanski

Software Engineer • Vlogging about efoils, tech and music • πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ & 🐊

Your job title is Full Stack Developer – explain what that means, and what kinds of projects you work.

At the most superficial level, I make websites.

On a technical level, it means that I'm kind of a combination technical handyman in that I can build out the presentation layer, executable code layer, system architecture and get it all shipped out to end-users. Each of those roles are usually stand-alone specialty roles in larger engineering organizations, but there are those of us who know at least enough of each to run a production from start to finish.

On a theoretical level, it's not all that much removed from that of a role of a classical computer scientist. I'm listening to people, doing analysis, solving problems and then recording the process in files of code. That's really all programmers, of any stripe, are doing.

You were once in a commercial for the Ohio lottery. How did that come about?

Haha, how did you find out about this?

Like the start of any great story, I didn't have anything better going on that night.

The video production team asked me if I could be an extra in a series of commercials they were shooting for the Ohio Lottery. I obliged them, and was bestowed the coveted role of "the barista." It's funny, looking back, how just one video shoot can change your life (or not!).

It was interesting to see this end of the video production process. I would see/hear the video teams editing at their workstations in the office, but there''s much more that goes into video production, like the number of takes, and how long of a night it was. And also having enough Gatorades for the crew.

It was an elaborate, high quality production, and included the design team and video team creating a medieval castle set out of 2x4's, very large sheets of Styrofoam and various shades of gray paint. It was like something out of Disney World.

On your website, you list Macintosh Aesthetic as one of your favorite blogs. What is your favorite Macintosh computer and what is your favorite Apple iPod?

I started that initiative earlier this year. M-A seeks to showcase obsessively exquisite photography of random old computers, in such a way that is over the top, ridiculous and a parody of pretentiousness. I tried making an Instagram account for it back in January, like my friends do for their pets, but Instagram repeatedly told me that it was a "spam account." How offensive!

My favorite Macintosh computer? It's gotta be the G4 Cube. So unique and so completely impractical, it was nothing other than an absolute flex of Steve Job's own delusions. There will never be another machine like it. I think that this era of Macintosh computer will be remembered by the Millennial generation, similar to how those classic cars with their luxurious tail fins, neat pinstripes and candy-red paint are to the Silents and Baby Boomers.

As for iPods, I think there is unanimous consensus among all iPod collectors that the 5th Generation (Video) iPod is the best iPod that was ever made, looks-wise and sound quality-wise. I have three of this very model, second-hand, maybe even third-hand, from Goodwill.

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