optionalXtra Batteries not included


The name "optx" had originally been the name taken by a bunch of pimply, socially maladjusted teenagers under which to publish their meagre contributions to what used to be known as the "Demo Scene" or just "Scene" as it later came to be known, using programming languages that could now be considered pretty much defunct!, namely Pascal and the tasm assembler.

Considering that South Africa was a bit of a slow starter in terms of internet adoption, this all happened in a time when digital communication entailed using a 9600 baud modem to dial up to an electronic bulletin board system or BBS to exchange files and messages with other like minded people. The pimply youth's grew up however, and soon they ventured into the great big world to earn their keep. It was during this time (circa 1999) that the internet really exploded in South Africa, and I thought it good to acquire the domain name for what was once the sole consumer of our time and energy.

In the numerous years that followed the acquisition of the domain and it's associated hosting facilities have not really been utilised. Given that I have gained and learned so much from the generous souls of the internet who freely publish their knowledge and experiences for other, and quite possibly the greater good, I've decided to join their ranks, and start sharing the information that I have found useful, or that has assisted me in solving problem. ...and so optionalXtra was born, and joins the ranks of those who are known as "Just another blog!!"

The technical stuff

optx.co.za was previously published using the brilliant nanoc Ruby framework by Denis Defreyne. With additional configuration bits by Fabio Cevasco of H3RALD who's numerous bits of Ruby code and helpers used for his website proved an invaluable resource for the original blog.

Recently the blog was moved to WordPress 3.2.1 when I moved to a new hosting provider. The motivation for this was that I just don't have enough time to tinker with the blog code, when I could be spending time writing posts.

Articles are produced using the Markdown syntax by John Gruber and Aaron Swartz, which are saved in WordPress in both Markdown, and native formats, using Mark Jaquith's Markdown on save plugin for WordPress.

The owner

Look ma! It's me!

Chris Mulder is a software engineer working in Johannesburg South Africa. He spends the majority of his time working with Oracle/Sun software products, and some days even manages to get them to work for some of the people who pay his salary.

He has a keen interest in most things Open source, and has been a long time user of the [Linux (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux) operating system, and the various distributions thereof, notably Debian, and more recently Mark Shuttleworth's Ubuntu Linux.

Professionally he has been accused (on more than one occasion) of being somewhat of a UNIX biggot, and an over-zealous supporter of Sun Microsystems hardware and the Sun/Oracle Solaris operating environment. He writes some (crusty) Java from time to time, and enjoys shell scripting. Recently he has started to dabble in Ruby, and finds it to be an exceptional language for rapid prototyping, or just simply solving a problem.

In his spare time (which he seems to have way too little of) he enjoys music, both listening and making, photography, reading, having a "braai" (that's a barbeque for the non S.A. citizens), and last but not least, drinking beer!