How to say my name

“Schneems” is my webhandle. Start by saying the first half of “schnapps” and end with the last bit of “seems” (Schn-eems). My full name is Richard Schneeman (Shhhh - knee - man). Listen below to hear both pronounced.

About Me

I believe in good stories and useable technology.

You may have heard of programmers that learned to develop so they could make games. When I was In high school I took a programming class taught by the coach. In the class we made a text based game using basic. Between writing goto statements I wondered how absurdly difficult something like Half Life would be to program, because I was under the false impression that ALL coding was like basic. It was around that time that I decided that I never wanted to write a game and certainly didn’t want to be a professional programmer.

Fast forward to me sitting in college, I was studying mechanical engineering (ME) at Georgia Tech. Not because I loved cars or anything, but because from a young age I told people I wanted to be “an inventor” when I grew up, and ME was about the most general purpose engineering degree I could find. I had a Co-Op job designing refrigerators for GE. I didn’t like that much either.

One day I decided I was going to make a million dollars in my free time by building the next big web app. A roommate of mine was in CS and when I asked what was written in he said “Rails”. So I taught myself Ruby on Rails.

Many years later I would teach a masters course in programming at the University of Texas and post all my material online. One consistent question that I get is “how do I learn to program”. To this day, my best answer is: find something you want to build instead, build it, and by the end you’ll know how to program.

You may have guessed, but I didn’t make a million dollars building webapps, but I did find a vibrant programming community in Ruby. I moved to Austin, Texas to work for National Instruments as an “applications engineer”. This is a fancy way of saying “phone tech support”. I got involved with Austin on Rails and eventually landed a job at Gowalla.

Gowalla was my second ever programming job interview. The first company I interviewed for asked me to whiteboard (which I didn’t know was even a thing) and afterwards I got treated to a heart-to-heart which involved the words “you do not know how to program”. Fun times!

I worked at Gowalla until Facebook aqui-hired the design team and I was left sitting on my behind. I ended up getting a remote job working for Heroku happily ever after.

“So Richard, what would you say you do here”.

I maintain the Heroku Ruby Buildpack which is the thing responsible for making sure bundle install on every Ruby app deployed to Heroku works. I also handle support escalations, manage the Ruby documentation, and in general I’m responsible for being an advocate for Ruby customers inside of the company. I get to go speak at conferences, write blog posts, and play around with all sorts of stuff. For the last few years I’ve been loving performance work.

I love writing. I’m an O’Reilly Author. I’ve also written for Ruby Source, CodeShip, Heroku, and of course this blog.

A big part of my life is Open Source. I made a platform to get people started contributing to Open Source called CodeTriage. I’m in the top 50 contributors to Rails and I maintain 50+ open source libraries with 530 million + downloads. I won a community award for my involvement in open source back in 2016 called “Ruby Heroes”. Oh also, the Heroku buildpack is open source too.

I’ve gone back to school for a Masters degree in Computer Science. As a result I’ve been broadening my languages horizons. Recently I’ve begun to write posts about other languages and more diverse technical concepts. I also write Rust now, which is fun.

If you’re wondering about the “married to Ruby, literally” part on my sidebar - well my wife’s name is Ruby. I met her at a Rails meet-up when she was trying to build her first web app. We’ve got 2 kids. Sorry to say but my wife would not let me name my first kid “Sudo”.

I tend to write about things that I’m currently working on or learning. Topics vary quite a bit, but just about everything is programmer flavored. Here’s a small sample of some posts that I wrote that I enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by!

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