Frank Moraes

Experience

Frank has a PhD in Atmospheric Phyiscs. This involved sitting
in front a computer for about 4 years, leading to, among
other things, starting his first website in early 1993 and going on
to work for Microsoft and many other high tech companies.

Over the years, he’s created countless websites and intranets
for companies of varying sizes. As part of that, he’s done a
lot of coding, especially with PHP and JavaScript. But in the
early days, he did a lot of server-side programming via CGI
using the Bourne Shell, C, Perl, and many other languages. He
wrote his first website crawler in 2000.

He’s also worked professionally as a freelance writer for
the last three decades — doing everything from
traditional tech writing to newspaper film reviews and
humor. He’s often found that smaller companies didn’t just
need websites, they needed content to fill them. So writing
and coding have always gone together in his work.

Getting to Know Frank

WIHT: How did you go from scientist to
programmer to writer?
When I was in graduate school,
I began to freelance as a writer on the side, and I never
stopped. The work that I did as a scientist was programming:
I created computer models of the environment — first of
permafrost and then of atmospheric oxidation. So it all fits
together rather nicely.

WIHT: Windows, Mac, or GNU/Linux?
Frank: I really don’t care. I run about a
dozen computers at home and I have all three types. They’re
just tools. I think of them like I do refrigerators: freezer
on the side? On the top? On the bottom? Whatever, as long as
the left-overs don’t spoil. But I am an old Unix
guy, so all of my computers are set up to be pretty
unix-like. I couldn’t live without vi, for example.

WIHT: Do you run your own web servers on
these machines?
Frank: I run one web server at home because
I find it the easiest way to move stuff around and have
access to everything everywhere. I also set up specialized
web servers for projects from time to time. For example,
sometimes it’s necessary to set up an old or odd server in
order to install some dead piece of software that I want to
write about.

WIHT: Do you still code?
Frank: When necessary. I am working on a
side project. For that, I use Assembly, C++, and PHP.
The reason for the different languages is that the
application spans several hardware devices with the final data
stored in a MySQL database on a web server. The PHP is used to display the
data in pseudo-real time. Even after all these years, I still
love that I can make this kind of stuff work. Just the same,
I don’t code for fun the way I used to.

WIHT:Do you still run your own websites?
Frank: Yeah. It’s kind of an addiction. My main one is Frankly
Curious
. I host that with SiteGround, because it is kind of
demanding, with almost 8,000 articles on it. I host my
“lesser” sites
on a low-cost reseller account elsewhere. My newest website
is Psychotronic
Review
.
It’s hard to stop yourself when you have varied interests,
even if nobody gives a damn.

WIHT: Varied interests?
Frank: Some would say I just have a short
attention span. But there’s so much exciting stuff in the
world. Outside of work, my main interests are Don
Quixote
, which I’m
kind of a freak about
and experimental theater. That
partly explains why
Grumpy Squirrel (the finger puppet in the image above) was with me on vacation in Puerto Morelos.

WIHT: Star Trek or Star
Wars
Frank: I’m not much of a fan of either,
unless they are written and directed by Nicholas Meyer, who
I admire.
Certainly John Dies at the End is far more
interesting than anything in the Trek or
Wars universes. In terms of film, my tastes skew to
the extremes: art (eg, Die Wand) on one side and psychotronic (eg, Death Bed: The Bed That
Eats
) on the other.

WIHT:What are your favorite books?
Frank:Do you mean technical books? Because I
have a hard time calling any of them “favorites.” In terms of
the work I do around here, I’m rather fond of The Mythical Man-Month.
And I love Fowler’s Modern English Usage.
As for books I think normal people should read:

My favorite book as a child was James and the Giant Peach. I still love it, of course.

Selected WhoIsHostingThis Writing

Frank is editor at WhoIsHostingThis.com. But he started as a writer and still manages to occasionally find time to write articles.