Sam Keen 9 January 2008
Coder, Event Organizer, Open Source Enthusiast, Geek
Sam Keen has been developing software professionally since about 1998 (though as a technology tinkerer, he dates back to the release of the Commodore 64). He has worked as a Java developer for various companies around Portland such as Nike, Standard Insurance, and Regence Blue Cross, Blue Shield. For those companies he mainly performed web development duties on intranets and public portals plus the occasional “glue script” here and there. He also has his own company, PageIndigo, llc with which he runs a web development consulting business on the side.
Sam co-founded the local PHP group PDXPHP back in 2004 and since its inception has been the primary organizer for the group. Over the past few years Sam has organized various events mostly centered around PHP and web development such as “Meet The PHP Experts” and the more recent “December Coder’s Social“.
What are you up to?
By day you will find me downtown at Regence. I am one of the Java engineers hacking away on their public facing portal.myregence.com. Nights and weekends are for the most part spent scheming and developing various software projects with friends. The remainder of my time is spent repairing/improving my 90 year old house which I enjoy quite a bit. Replacing all the plumbing in the house is the perfect yang to the yin of coding.
What are you into?
Working and socializing with the members of the open source community of Portland. I also enjoy organizing the monthly PHP meetings. I have met many interesting folks at past meetings. In the summer I enjoy working in our vegetable garden and then cooking with the harvest.
What do you like most about Portland?
The prevalence of Open source and Geek culture in the area. The compactness of Portland Metro. Micro-brews. Excellent locally roasted and skillfully prepared coffee. I can go practically anywhere without tucking my shirt in. The abundance of free wifi.
What are your thoughts on Java?
You cannot take too much away from Java. It is a solid language, well thought out for the most part. Also, to a great extent it has been used to legitimized and refine Object Oriented Programming. I also like the fact that in recent times it has largely embraced the open source communities and ideals. I believe that it currently suffers from “Coolness Envy” for the new kids on the block such as Ruby, PHP, and Python. You see features being implemented in Java which just turn out to be klunky (it just wasn’t meant to do those things). I don’t see it going away anytime soon, but I believe it is headed to being thought of in the same frame of mind as C++ is today, “certainly still useful, but not typically the first choice for new leading edge development”. We are in the age of the scripting language.
Have there been benefits from organizing PDXPHP?
Countless. When we started the group we did the presentations ourselves. I had a major fear of public speaking, but the groups we small then so I was able to ease into it. Now, 3-4 years later, I have for the most part overcome that fear. I have also met many folks in the group who I now consider good friends. Also ~80% of my freelance clients has come from networking at PDXPHP meetings.