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Interview with Joe Wingbermuehle
Posted by Michael on 24 October 2005, 14:23 GMT

Since ticalc.org's tenth anniversary is rapidly approaching next year, I thought it would be an interesting idea to have a series of interviews with famous TI community programmers of the years past. Tracking them down was easier said than done. Therefore, while I originally intended to have a mini-series of interviews from now until June 2006, it will be a few sporadic articles. And now without further ado, continue reading more to learn what happened to Joe Wingbermuehle, our first interviewee.

While Joe Wingbermuehle has written many popular 83/83+ games, he is best known as the creator of Ion, the defacto shell for the 83+. Recently I interviewed Joe and asked him a few questions about what he's up to nowadays and what he thinks about the TI community.

Interview with Joe Wingbermuehle
MichaelHow old are you currently and what education have you had?
JoeI'm 24 years old. I've been out of school for a year and a half now. I went to UMR (University of Missouri at Rolla) and got a BS in Computer Science and Mathematics.
MichaelHave you done any programming since you left the TI community?
JoeWell, I've done a lot of programming since I quit doing calculator stuff. Of course, that's what I do for a living these days. I also have several projects I work on, notably JWM.
MichaelCan you explain what JWM is?
JoeJWM (Joe's Window Manager) is a window manager for the X Window System often found on UNIX systems including Linux. It provides the stuff needed to arrange windows and start new programs graphically.
MichaelThat's an interesting project. What motivated you to create a window manager when there are already so many in existance?
JoeI guess there are some similarities between what I did with Ion for the TI-83/83+ and a window manager, but really, I just started writing it because I wanted to play around with X11. Of course, I also wanted to have a window manager that worked exactly like I wanted it to work. Eventually JWM just got to the point where I could use it on a regular basis so I just continued development and now it's becoming a pretty mature window manager.
MichaelBesides JWM, what else have you been up to? Any hobbies/travelling?
JoeWell, besides programming stuff, I really haven't done anything terribly exciting lately. As a hobby, I guess you could say I like playing piano, but that's about it.
MichaelAll right. What do you think of the current TI community as compared to when you were active? Has it changed and if so, for the better or for the worse?
JoeI'm not really that familiar with what's happening now. I do keep an eye on it, but certainly not as much as I used to. From what I can tell, though, it seems to be growing. I still see some familiar names from when I was active and, of course, many new ones. Lots of new things since I've been active, which is a good thing I guess. New people, new games, and even new calculators.
MichaelSome people claim the community is dying and the quality of new programs has gone downhill. Would you then disagree with that statement?
JoeThat's hard for me to really answer as I haven't actually tried out most of the new things, but I doubt it's really dying. Good programs take time to make and will always be more sparse than the stuff that people write in a day during some free time. I'm sure there will always be new people to pick up the task of writing great stuff for the calculators.
MichaelOkay, it's nostalgia time. What are the best and worst things you remember about the community? Are there any particular events you'd like to talk about?
JoeCertainly, I think the most exciting time was when I first got my hands on a TI-83+ and had the opportunity to explore uncharted territory and make Ion in the process. Of course, I had a lot of help with that. I also remember back when I made SOS and Bill Nagel didn't seem pleased about that. This was only shortly after AShell had been released, there were some interesting IRC conversations if I recall correctly.
MichaelDo you have any advice for programmers who are just getting started?
JoeNow that's a complicated question. I guess there are several schools of thought, but I've always found the best way to get started programming is to make something that will give you feedback as soon as possible. So if your goal is to make a breakout game, start with just a ball bouncing up and down and keep adding to it. Small steps make the process more entertaining. As to where to go to find out how to program, I'd just find a book on it. Of course, you'll want to know assembler language if you want to program calculators, but z80 or 68k isn't too difficult to pick up after learning C, so I'd start there.
MichaelLastly, is there anything else that you would like to add to this interview? Feel free to plug a program, deliver a calculator version of the Gettysburg Address, etc.
JoeWell, I don't have much to plug, of course, if you want to keep up to date on what I'm doing, visit joewing.net and be sure to give JWM a shot. As a last word on calculators, I really enjoyed being involved with doing calculator stuff. It gave me the chance to learn how to program in assembler language in a free environment that you just don't get with modern computer systems.
JoeThanks for interviewing me! It makes me feel important :-)
MichaelAnd thank you!
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The comments below are written by ticalc.org visitors. Their views are not necessarily those of ticalc.org, and ticalc.org takes no responsibility for their content.

Re: Interview with Joe Wingbermuehle
Patrick Prendergast  Account Info

Great interview, the community owes Joe Wingbermuehle a LOT.

So thankyou Joe, for everything :).

Be sure to interview Tijl Coosemans(Kalimero) some time. He hangs on IRC as well.

Bring on the PaD :).

Reply to this comment    26 October 2005, 15:32 GMT

Re: Re: Interview with Joe Wingbermuehle
Scooblescott  Account Info

Yea, If it weren't for joe, a lot of good games may not have been made, since a lot of good games are for ion.

Reply to this comment    12 March 2006, 17:54 GMT

Re: Interview with Joe Wingbermuehle
kevin roosa Account Info
(Web Page)

wow! I wish I could make PC programs and not get stuck in the middle!

Reply to this comment    27 October 2005, 00:59 GMT

Re: Interview with Joe Wingbermuehle
George Zhao  Account Info

who is going to be interviewed next?...i wonder

Reply to this comment    27 October 2005, 02:01 GMT

Re: Re: Interview with Joe Wingbermuehle
Kevin Ouellet  Account Info
(Web Page)

dunno, there is also the newsletter coming, meaning more interview *cough*

Reply to this comment    27 October 2005, 14:17 GMT
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