Andy Burns began using the Internet when it was all physics papers and physics jokes, when rude pictures of girls were all ASCII art, and spam was a processed (alleged) meat. He survived CompuServe, was wowed by Mosaic, and visited the Trojan Room Coffee Pot (because he could, and that was the sort of thing you did back then). On the way he visited far and wide across the Internet, discovering that:

  • There are interest groups for everyone
  • No matter how weird you think you are, there is someone weirder
  • Many Americans are devout believers in God/s, aliens, or both, and some of those are the ‘someone weirder’
  • This whole ‘Information Superhighway’ is quite fun. It’s much better than the local library (which he’d read most of).

Arriving at University to study Cybernetics, he found his real passions…

  • Fast beer
  • Fine women
  • Gnarly whitewater
  • Cool websites

…although it occurs to him that any of those adjectives fits with any of those nouns. Anyway, he got bug for web development when he took over and ran the student union’s kayaking club website – which lead to the obligatory fascination with typography and web design, discovering that he couldn’t do typography or web design, and finally discovering that he could code and most people couldn’t. He passed his Masters degree (swearing that he wanted a job where he didn’t have to know what a matrix inversion lemma was) just as ‘web development’ was becoming a proper career.

After a sojourn working for the New Zealand prison service he found work in the dizzy world of electronic document management. He started by working with Open Text Livelink where he specialised in advanced mouse clicking until the company he worked for also realised that he could code. Around this time, and partly out of frustration, taught himself about these database things (a glaring omission in his education), and built himself a website featuring blog and gallery in PHP. In fact, he did quite a lot with PHP at this stage, and developed a long-term and profound relationship with Regular Expressions.

Time passed and Andy kept learning, picking up Sun Java Programmer and Sun Java Web Component Developer certifications. To keep himself busy at lunch time, he started writing a Chinese chess website in the hope that he might be able to beat one of his colleagues at the Chinese version. However, discovering the pain that was real world development Servlets and JSP, he gave up, and then resurrected the project as a port to this new fangled ‘Ruby on Rails’ thing. Before long, the site was working.

The nature of his work began to change, though, and he was forced to turn to the Dark Side. He began working with Microsoft Content Management Server 2002, and then SharePoint 2007 ‘Painfully Early Beta Edition’.

And so we find him today, having survived the bloodletting and near vertical learning curve of SharePoint 2007. On the way he’s acquired (along with a healthy suspicion of SharePoint Workflow) certifications in

  • MOSS and WSS3 configuration
  • WSS3 Application Development
  • ASP.NET 2.0 development
  • Microsoft Certified Professional Developer certification in Web Development (which suggests that the previous 6 years were unprofessional development).


His hopes for the future are that someone else finds his blog useful, and maybe actually reads it. He lives alone, and although he’d like he’d like cats, he prefers his leather sofa.