Lucaji the extended biography

It was the early ’80s and we kids were totally different from today’s: I used to play on unpaved streets, scratching my knees on the the dirt, dirting and ripping my clothes and building shacks next to swamps. Not many years after, something changed and computers started to made their way through our lives. I have been in touch with electronics and calculators a little bit more than my peers, the ones with the Commodore 64 and a color monitor while I had an Apple//e with green phosphors. I have always felt a kind of outcaste.

The Apple// was equipped with two 5-14 inch floppy drives, a multi-purpose I/O interface card, an ImageWriter I printer, a handset modem. I was already reading pretty much everything, the library had lots of technical books about computer programming and electronics. One day, buried in a wooden chest down in the basement, there were tons of electronic components to be discovered. The Applesoft Basic was in the firmware, while Apple Pascal ’s two floppies usually were into their respective drives.

Typographies in summer

Another change saw me spending many summers playing around in many typograph workshops around central Italy, where I saw for the first time the Heidelberg Windmill printing machine and the mighty Linotype in action. Some of those were old artisans and still used moveable type characters and typesetters. Aldus was a recurring name in my youth, followed by points, pica, halftone screens and the loupe. Magic words in a kids mind. Shortly after, probably in some big workshop I loomed over the office windows to catch a glimpse of the striped rainbow apple logo on the monitors of those first Macintoshes starting to take hold. I was grown up, by then, to use Adobe Photoshop and Aldus Pagemaker and Freehand moving my first step into the Postscript world as Desktop Publisher. I disliked Illustrator 3 which was inferior.

First jobs

High school times were over, I was working already as software developer (I flunked two years), and then came this position (better paid) as video editor and ENG cameraman for a newsagency. I used an analogical video mixer and some U-matic, Betacam and DVCam recorders. That was destructive editing, let me tell you! Luckily they quickly upgraded to Final Cut 7 and destructive was no more.

Early electronics projects

  • I coupled two computers via a VHF radio link. One of the most ambitious project I realised when I was 14: with two simple homemade FSK modems using some CD4046 PLL ICs and used a duplex VHF carrier around 140 MHz (with two 5W TX-RX and Yagi antennas) to achieve a remote radio link that worked over more than 8 km. I used that link to remote control an Apple// with an 8 bit I/O card which in turn was connected to some TRIAC diodes and sensors so I could switch on and off electrical appliances and read temperatures and other values remotely.

  • In 1998 I equipped my 50 cc scooter with a digital Speedometer getting the speed through the six holes of the front brake disc. Using a metal fork, a modulated (to avoid sun interference) infrared LED and a photodiode I could get the six impulses each time the wheel circumference was completed. The speed calculation was achieved without any CPU but only with a 12-bit counter and two EPROMs (27C64), programmed with the already calculated 7-segment display encoded speed values.

Recent electronics projects

  • I assembled tube amps and preamplifiers for electric guitars and had lot of fun playing around with different passive tone circuitry.

  • I like to fix old tube radios or TV sets when I find one (without getting electrocuted).

  • I made a replica of the Time Circuits from the “Back To The Future” blockbuster as a talking clock using a Raspberry Pi.

Living in Central Australia

It is one of those things that has do be done: going overseas. In 2007, I spent nearly four years in Central Australia where I challenged myself with disparate experiences including the Tourism industry and Aged People Care. I worked for 18 months as a Tour Guide for AAT Kings Pty. Ltd in the Northern Territory of Australia taking people around the national parks of Uluru, Kata-Tjuta, Kings Canyon and Kakadu. I had groups up to 45 people to drive and take for walks in remote areas. The groups had to be meet and greet at the (only) airport and taken to restaurants and hotels in Yulara. Living and working in remote areas involved a lot of responsibility due to extreme climate conditions to avoid dehydration and heat strokes as well as cold temperatures at night. I got in close touch with the Aboriginal people, learning a lot of their culture and nature knowledge I was allowed to pass on the guests coming for their holidays. I ended up the remaining time in Australia part-timing for the Alice Springs council and for a government held retirement home for aged aboriginal people, the Aboriginal Hostels Ltd., where I’ve learned so much by being in close touch with the elderly Anangu, things about respect and proper way to do things that eventually my five senses changed forever the way my heart beats now.

I love languages, cultures and etymology. Give me everything to read and a place where to hike, watch the stars and place a tent. I do not watch TV but I do like good movies, mostly old ones.

Skills

A condensed section for selected keywords to describe my skills in a more prolix and columnated way.

Imperative, Functional
& Reactive Programming

Solid basis on VBA, Pascal, C and relative dialects including Object Oriented strains. I am getting along well with Rx sounds like a cool challenge.

Data modeling & database

I love data modelling and abstraction layers, enforcing patterns and anti-patterns and naming conventions. I worked extensively with MSSQL and I tested noSQL engines like Postgres and MongoDB.

IDEs & Text Editors

I use Apple XCode, Microsoft Visual Studio and Android Studio. I am accustomed to vi and a bit of emacs. Recently I have moved to Visual Studio Code from Atom when doing web development.

Code Analysis & Patterns

I can scavenge inside code written by others to understand how it works and learn how to write better code. Definitely I have trained a keen eye in scrolling source files. I am cool with the MVC and/or MVVC. Basically I use an hybrid version of both as in MVCVM as view models tend to be easier to debug and maintain.

Versioning & Package Managers

I prefer git for versioning control albeit I have cloned from CVS and SVN repositories. As for dependency management tools I prefer carthage to cocoaPods on Apple platforms. When working with javascript I relied on bower and npm while nuGet suffice my needs on ASPNET projects as well as DotNet and DotNetCore frameworks.

Microsoft Technologies

After working a while with the legacy aspnet, dotnet, entity stacks, I migrated to their core counterparts. I relied heavily on the Microsoft Office VSTO Add-ons development kit and/or using NetOffice and ExcelDNA libraries for complete and unlimited integration of C# projects with the Microsoft Office suite.

Apple Technologies

With excellent knowledge and hands-on experience with Objective-C I am quickly moving to the modern Swift 4 to embrace the new constructs and paradigms. I made use of CoreData. I worked with the MultiPeer and ZeroConf (Bonjour) service discovery along with Grand Central Dispatch for multithreading and concurrency.

Web Development

Having based mostly of the in-house software I have written using the dotnetcore framework and I adopted KnockOutJS to dynamically populate my Razor views and layouts. When it comes to develop static websites, I do use Hugo and the Go language with a bit of javascript and sass taking me a bit further on the way I worked a bit with node.js runtime

Analog Electronics

I know my way with vacuum tubes - I do fix old radio, tv sets and guitar amps - and transistors, tweaking with impedances and input-stages, op-amps, signal filtering with passive or active circuitry, analog modulation techniques and RF transmissions. I am acquainted to using an oscilloscope and tools.

Digital Electronics

I am acquainted with CMOS and TTL chips: flip-flops, counters, multiplexers and digital memories. Proficient user of EagleCAD for PCB layout on Gerber files. I builded projects using Arduino, RaspberryPi, PIC and Atmel microcontrollers using C language or even Assembly.

Handy Man

Sometimes I sketch with pencils and with Wacom graphic tablets. At school I was good at technical drawing on the drafting table (tecnigrafo) using rulers, stencils, rapidograph pens, and transfer sheets. I possess handwork skills with wood and/or iron structures and small concrete works.

Music

Around sixteen I have begun to study music on the piano and for many years on I played my heart out in gigs around Italy and southern Europe with blues and rock bands. In the last ten years, I have turned to bass guitar to train as much as I can on the road.

“Long ago and far away in a different age when I was a dumb young guy fossilised photos of my life then illustrate what an easy prey I must have been Standing in the sun, idiot savant something like a monument. I’m a dinosaur, somebody is digging my bones. Ignorance has always been something I excel in followed by naïveté and pride doesn’t take a scientist to see how any clever predator could have a piece of me” King Crimson - Dinosaur

I am citing that song for I am a fan of King Crimson’s music, and for a series of ancient, long unreasonable reasons.

Last update: 23 September 2018

Theme Credits

I come from the Desktop Publishing world, I do prefer printed media design to web site designing until recently I started using the markdown and Go language with Hugo, a static site generator that makes it almost a breeze. But web site design can still be a long and complicated task nowadays, but thanks to the open source community, it will become better in the future. And I am still learning! For this web site I relied on a heavy modified (by me) version of the Academic theme by George Cushen.

As said, I am making heavy lifting to his original theme, so I hope, in the near future to publish my first Hugo theme with Sass support and more!

Thank you for visiting Lucaji’s Pages!