Cambia Research is my blog devoted to the art and science of practical,
real-world software development.
This site is for developers, team leads and business leaders who are tired of
all the jargon. You just want stable and effective software, right!?
I discuss and support the Microsoft stack, but many of my articles are not
specific to a certain technology.
Over the years, I've enjoyed having so many visitors and seeing that my
articles have been helpful. Your visits and comments motivate me to continue
sharing the golden nuggets of sometimes-unconventional, but always practical
software development strategies.
Build Better Software Better
I have recently adopted the tagline: Helping Software Professionals Build Better
I chose this tagline to convey two basic ideas.
- Better Software. I want to promote effective, high quality software in the world.
- Software Better. I want to help the individuals who create software have more fun and more success.
I started Cambia Research in 2002 initially as my software and consulting
company. I just left Microsoft and moved back to Kansas City where I became a
freelancer and built a software product. I launched my little application for
cleaning and manipulating text based data sets called CR Data Cleanser.
It was a good little piece of software, but I only sold one copy. That was my
introduction to the business world.
I ran my own software consulting company for the next six years. During that
time I added various content and articles to the Cambia Research website. At
the end of 2006 I rewrote the site in ASP.NET and created my own web publishing
framework which I used to write and publish new articles to the site (and still
use today). Since 2006 the site traffic has increased more than 800%.
In 2011 I updated the site again, bringing it up to .NET 4.0. The new site
launched on October 30th, 2011.
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Who Am I?
My name is Steve Lautenschlager. Here is my history:
- In the early eighties, I saw my first personal computer at a neighbor's house. With their TV screen as the monitor, it blew my adolescent mind that I could interact with the TV--just move this little mouse thing and the cursor moves around the screen. I was hooked!
- My high school got a computer lab in 1985 and I began staying after school to write programs in Applesoft Basic. The computer froze on me once while I was writing a report because the 10KB RAM was full.
- Later I began sneaking into the computer lab at William Jewell College. Kids of faculty were allowed access and they didn't always check ID. I managed to get away with it until I rebooted the main server one day.
- In college, despite my love of computers, I majored in physics and minored in math and English.
- I was captain of the track team at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
- I took one semester of Pascal as an undergrad. That's the only computer science class I ever took.
- I discovered the web in 1993 using the Mosaic browser and created my first web site.
- Two years later I was working at CERN, the European Center for Particle Physics and the birthplace of the web, near Geneva, Switzerland.
- I picked up Fortran for my graduate thesis analysis in particle physics.
- While at CERN, I attended a short course with Michael Metcalf (a prolific author and long-time Fortran steward). I also heard Bjarne Stroustrup speak on the creation of C++ at IBM.
- In 1995 at CERN, I used Linux, C, Perl and some other programs to create web-based, automated testing tools which got written up in CERN's international magazine, the CERN Courier.
- I completed my Ph.D. in particle physics at Duke University in 1999.
- I worked for a major defense contractor in L.A. where I was also very active in Toastmaster's and an avid swing dancer.
- I worked in Microsoft's web division in Seattle where I helped engineer global and local load balancing solutions for microsoft.com, Windows Update and MSNBC.com.
- Started Cambia Research as my software consulting company in Kansas City. Produced numerous data driven websites for customers.
- Appeared on CNN to discuss particle physics and Dan Brown's novel Angels and Demons.
- Spoke at Baylor University on the history and future of the World Wide Web.
- Appeared on a panel of business owners at the annual meeting of Bank Midwest where I promoted better online banking tools.
- Professional software engineer/team lead for thirteen years, specializing in the Microsoft stack.
As you can see, my path to professional software developer has not been typical, but many people have come to it from a variety of unique backgrounds. That diversity is one of the interesting things about working in this field.
When I asked my audience at Baylor university how many were using an online bill pay service to pay their bills, nearly 100% of the hands went up. A fairly tech-savvy crowd to be sure; but the web has quickly become a critical part of the fabric of our lives.