1) I’m currently sitting in the kids karate lesson, the dojo walls are full of motivational quotes. Which is your favourite quote in any language?
This is a bit trite, perhaps (well, it came from Jonathan Ross…), but I like it:
“It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice”.
Slightly more highfalutin, perhaps:
“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” - Attributed to Mark Twain
2) Talking of childhood classes, what did you enjoy learning as a child, either in school or extra curricular?
My sister used to go to elocution lessons, and at a certain point (I’d be about 9 I think), my mother thought I should go as well. I don’t remember any lessons as such, but what I do remember is a long series of rehearsals for a short play, including other children of my own age, culminating in a final performance, outdoors in the nice garden of the place we were at (it was summer).
The main thing I remember was (as part of the performance) having to kiss a particularly pretty girl.
I was incredibly embarrassed about this, but I have to say, I also did enjoy the process.
(and unfortunately, it was many years before I got another chance to kiss a pretty girl (and that wasn’t in an elocution lesson… ).
3) If you had the resources to sign up for any new learning experience now, what would you choose?
I keep thinking I should sign up to study drawing properly. I’ve done a reasonable amount of drawing, learning from books (e.g. “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”), but I might get more benefit from learning from a teacher in person.
4) Do you have a certificate/medal/trophy or any other object celebrating an achievement which you’re particularly proud of?
Um, not really.
5) list up to five obscure or unexpected skills which you’ve learnt in your life through the jobs you’ve done or classes you’ve taken.
When I was a computer operator, I began to learn the machine-code of the IBM-360-compatible mainframe that we used to work on (with the help of an engineer who used to run diagnostics based on machine code). When I moved to another job, that used an actual IBM-360, I continued studying machine code, and also 360 assember code & macros. I’d also taught myself FORTRAN. I eventually managed to move into systems programming, ending up on various UNIX & Linus machines. (My one regret is that I never managed to learn the machine code or assember languages of those type of machines. It was mostly things like C, Perl and Korn shell programming.
I also got into Regular Expressions, which is a fairly esoteric area, which most programmers have some knowledge of, but it has a fantastic amount of power which casual users are probably unaware of. There is a great book, in several editions called “Mastering Regular Expressions” by Jeffrey Friedl. Highly recommended, if you are that way inclined.