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 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 Digg was written in he said “Rails”. So I taught myself 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. 5 plus years and going strong.

“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.

Recently 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.

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 1 kid and another on the way. 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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