In a few words: I'm adept of Free/Libre/Open-source software, skilled Linux system administrator and amateur photographer, open to new ideas and willing to learn. Besides I like to travel, study and speak foreign languages and communicate with interesting people.
By the moment I work in IT area more than 15 years. I began with MSP430-family µC programming in pure C and Assembler. It was time when I was learn to code sophisticated algorithms optimized for space (from 1 to 4 kilobytes of program memory and no more than 512 bytes for heap) and power consumption. I had to deal with bare hardware without any OS and helper libraries. So I wrote libraries and task schedulers myself.
At the same time on my own initiative I've set up corporate dedicated server based on RedHat Linux 7.1. It didn't provided many services though, only Jabber IM, Samba file server and CVS repository. But for that moment it was very useful.
After many years interacting mainly with hardware and electronics I decided to concentrate on GUI software. On my next job, besides supporting legacy software written in Delphi, I intensively used for building new products C++ and wxWidgets framework. From the beginning development assumed using databases (Advantage, MS SQL, MySQL). Later I realized solutions for partial data export/import for different databases.
Along with writing user-oriented software, I was asked from time to time to automate some routine business processes. For such tasks different scripting languages were used, such as Bash, Python and perl. Later I've interested in Lua and Ruby, but didn't use them too much. Gradually I began to perform several system administration assignments. E.g., administering MS SQL database, writing firewall rules (Linux/iptables and FreeBSD/ipfw), updating DNS zones, setting up vpn (OpenVPN-based), configuring Apache and Nginx web servers etc.
To improve my sysadmin skills I taked freelance tasks. E.g., I've deployed lxc- and kvm-based enterprize virtualized environment, set up dns, mail, proxy, file and print servers and firewalls. Though I've found, that it's more interesting for me to install and set up servers, plan overall process, design core structure of the system and let it live, than perform monotonous support tasks. To do all the time the same endless work is boring. :)
As for my free time, there are several main areas of interest. These are not hobbies, though. I'd rather said, these are parts of my life.
Several years ago I decided to make my personal home server: dns, mail, firewall, proxy etc. The result was a bit amazing even for me. After some time of planning, decompositioning, assembling and setting up I had fourteen OpenVZ-based virtual servers, accomplishing each its personal task. Some time passed, and I set up another home server, this time lxc-based with only 4 containers. And, finally, the VPS, where this site is hosted, is one more of my servers, this one with multiple services “all-in-one”. Almost all are controlled by Ansible (Puppet or Chef would be overkill in such case). Well… Not finally… 'Cos I have one more little Raspberry Pi box serving as a proxy, local DNS and mail, fileserver and Bacula-driven backup system. And that's all by the moment. In the end I have my personal domain controlled by my DNS server with my personal mail and Jabber and Asterisk, with several territorially distributed LANs linked in one big WAN by VPNs (OpenVPN and tinc).
But all the servers would be futile without clients. And I have plenty of Deian-based clients. More, even my parents use Debian on desktop! I've found it more convenient and simple to install Linux and to teach use it, than constantly clean the system from malware. And, to be honest, for most basic needs Linux is almost ideal OS.
Photography is my passion from school days. I used to shoot on black and white film and did all the chemistry and processing by myself. Nowadays I photograph on DSLR, but sometimes unpack my old “Zenit” film cameras.
In 2012 I passed personal photo-quest “365 Project: A Photo A Day”. Though most of the shots are far from perfection, the project was really hardcore training for me. I learned my new camera, learned how to find inspiration in everyday life, learned how to regularly pick some slice of time for my hobby in rather busy schedule, learned how to carry beauty of the world to other people… Certainly, it was hard, but after all it was great experience I couldn't take another way. As I haven't set up image gallery on my server yet, here is a link to my 365 Project on external photohosting.
Besides self-studying I attend several photo-courses to improve my skills and learn something new or refresh things I didn't use and forgot. It's very interesting and inspiring to meet people experienced in the same area, but with a bit different skills and knowledge. It allows to learn more quickly and to enjoy such communications.
I always was interested in languages: its history, structure and semantic. I like to solve problems in structural linguistic area independently of the language itself. I don't like the label “grammar nazi”, because it lowers (I'd rather said, destroys) the importance of literary standards and knowledge of grammar and, therefore, makes a norm of low-colloquial style, slang and “newspeak”. Language is a sort of “social glue”, which forms our world outlook, which supports history and makes possible to develop science. And lack of respect to the native language (well… not just native, but any language) leads to personal narrow-mindedness and general decline of culture.
By the moment I can speak two foreign languages, currently learn one and one more language isn't in active use. My goal is to learn at least three more of most widely used languages. Each new language opens ways to new countries, where I could live and communicate without interpreters.
My native language is Russian. And I constantly try to find ways to improve my spelling skills and style of speech by using explanatory and etymological dictionaries and grammar reference books.
English and Spanish are the two foreign languages I can speak. Generally speaking these ones cover overwhelming majority of countries, where it's possible to travel and successfully communicate with locals. I started to study Spanish several years ago, because I like this language. And now I can't say for certain, which of those two, English or Spanish, I can speak and understand better (despite the fact, that I learned English and used it much more longer).
Esperanto is one more language I could speak fluently some time ago. But nowadays I use it from time to time, mainly in written form. So this skill is losing little by little, unfortunately. Nevertheless, I can say, that I'm old esperantist, :) because I started to study this language, when I was 13.
I choose languages to learn considering their usefulness for international communication. But not only by that criterion. One more important factor is subjective phonetical “beauty” of the language. That's why I decided to study Spanish. And that's why many years ago I've began to study French. By several reasons I stopped it in the middle of the way, but in the next few years I want to proceed and finally speak as a native French. Now I learn Portuguese. It is both widespread and euphonious, so, it's worth to learn among the first ones.