Julian first touched fingers to keypunch in 1972, punching Fortran code onto cards at Imperial College in London and soon moved onto Macro-11 programming on PDP-11s and hand-punching paper-tape boot loaders. This qualifies him as a "real programmer," and he still sticks to the real programmer's motto ("A real programmer can write Fortran in any language") whenever he can. Until recently, he even had a PDP-11 in his garage to remind him of better times.
He learned Fortran while a geology student, but he has never practiced in the rock business because he succumbed to the charms of graphics programming during the course of doing his PhD in Igneous Geochemistry (which is nearly as interesting as it sounds). Abandoning geology at that point, he headed off into computing and so is properly titled "B.Sc (Hons), Ph.D. (Almost)."
In the late 80s, however, he joined the universal drift toward quiche-eating, and he now finds himself programming in C++ and even Java, a language so quiche-like that it eschews pointers, afraid to give direct access to memory, figuring that this is too dangerous. As a result, he got involved in Microsoft's ActiveX and COM ventures, realizing that these were the nearest anyone was going to get to real programming, with all the acronyms, pointers, arcane system calls, and opportunities for general mayhem that anyone could want. Oh yes, and there are paying customers out there who need this stuff, too...
To pay the bills, he is currently running a training and consulting company along with his wife and is mainly involved in Java, J2EE, C++, .NET, OOAD, and COM/ActiveX (oh, and the odd bit of Fortran, as well). A second career in writing has also beckoned, and he has written books for Wrox Press, Coriolis, and Microsoft Press.
In the past three decades, he's programmed systems of all types and sizes, from single-chip computers for instrumentation to Cray and CDC supercomputers. In the course of these endeavours, he has (he is confident to assert) forgotten more programming languages than most of the readers of this page will ever learn: Snobol, Spitbol, Babbage, Forth, Trac, flavours of Lisp, flavours of Basic (the A$ sort:), lots of Fortrans (II, IV, 66, 77, 90, Watfor, and Watfiv), several dialects of JCL (//DD SYSIN * and all that jazz), Teco, Macro11 and Macro32, Z80 assembler, various other assembers, Icon, BCPL... the list is, if not endless, then at least reasonably long. Being a real programmer, he has (of course) never programmed in Cobol, RPG, or any other of those languages beloved by suits and bean-counters or done anything serious involving SQL. (Sadly, however, an increasing amount of database-related material is creeping in, and he's finding he is having to relax his standards somewhat :-)
In such spare time as he has, he follows numerous pursuits, chief among which are playing a variety of instruments (acoustic guitar, slide guitar, bass, mandolin, and mandola), building a large collection of recorded music and musical instruments, cooking (especially bread-making), appreciating fine beers, ignoring DIY, and refusing to maintain cars.