Software Developers Journey Podcast

#250 Bobbi Towers learned to distrust eloquent speakers


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Bobbi Towers 0:00
I so strongly believe about diversity in the workplace. Not not just diversity of skills, but diversity of different levels of skill, so that it's a place of education. For me, that's what it always comes back to education. If you have I heard somewhere that if you have a group of experts in just about any domain, that they will be ultimately outperformed by a group of mixed skill levels.

Tim Bourguignon 0:41
Hello, and welcome to developer's journey, the podcast bringing you the making of stories of successful software developers to help you on your upcoming journey. I'm your host team building your own this episode 250, I receive Bobbi towers, but joined exorcism as a student in 2018. She is now the maintainer of the exorcism closure track. And he's also responsible for the syllabus design, and the code analysis tools. Bobby's career path focused on volunteering, and was recently made sustainable through community sponsorship initiatives that seeks to support the folk who create and maintain open source software having a unique set of physical and mental disabilities. But we naturally developed an interest in accessibility. And she created a 3d printed keyboard designed to be operated with one hand. That sounds interesting, Bobby, welcome to dev journey.

Bobbi Towers 1:41
Hello, Tara. It's great to see you.

Tim Bourguignon 1:45
It is indeed it is. Indeed, I'm really thrilled to have this conversation with you today. Really a warm welcome. But before we come to your story, I want to thank the terrific listeners who support the show every month, you are keeping the dev journey lights up. If you would like to join this fine crew, and help me spend more time on finding phenomenal guests, then editing audio tracks, please go to our website, Dev journey dot info, and click on the Support me on Patreon button. Even the smallest contributions are giant steps toward a sustainable dev journey. journey. Thank you. And now back to today's guest. But as you know, the show exists to help the listeners understand what your story look like and imagine how to shape their own future. So as as usual on the show, let's go back to your beginnings. Where would you please the start of your adultery?

Bobbi Towers 2:41
Oh, well, you know, we are a very special generation. And I don't think I don't think we talked about this nearly enough how, how significant that is that we saw the the internet exist when it didn't exist before. And it completely changed everything, the way that we communicate and the way that we work. And for me, it not only happened in my life, but it happened while I was a teenager. And when I was growing up. And whatever we're exposed to during those formative years. It forms the basis of our entire personality. So that was we saw all sorts of new technology coming out. And I listened to one of the episodes where you told your story. That was actually really great. I loved it. And one of the first things that you said was that you wanted in in tendo. But your parents wouldn't allow it. And that's the exact same way that my story began. Oh, wow, this is great. We're the same person.

Tim Bourguignon 4:10
Cool. You're talking about those, those years, where we came to being not young adults, but there's really over over the age of 10. Without the internet without this constant connection without this this outreach of the internet. And then during those formative years of our teenage really, we starting to have this new door opening. And so it's really having a foot in both worlds and seeing this world transform. Whereas the kids who were a bit older, were already in their late teens already in their studies when Internet came out and the younger years really started with Internet in the first place. Is this what you're mentioning?

Bobbi Towers 4:54
Yeah, and the people who own ever knew a time without the Internet? Really, it's hard for us to imagine what it must be like to not have gotten to grow up offline like we do.

Tim Bourguignon 5:12
I remember talking to my son who's 10. Recently, and telling him, well, when I was a kid, I used to go to the library every week, and get some books. And because I had some questions, and I needed answers, and so the only way to get answers what before and Gato was, was going to library. And he looked at me saying, Why didn't you pick up your phone like you like you're doing right now? I told you that. I explained that. There were no phones. And the internet was not there. And the computers were dumb, and oh, and that dumb, but they couldn't assess all this information. And then add to explaining about, about the encyclopedia and quarter to seven CD ROMs with answers to basically everything and actually nothing. That's that's really something you cannot fathom nowadays.

Bobbi Towers 6:02
Yeah, that's really crazy. I was at a thrift store and I saw a copy of Encarta. And so it was, it reminded me about that.

Tim Bourguignon 6:13
But that is cool. So coming back to what you said, you were not allowed to play at all. So you had to find another way?

Bobbi Towers 6:20
Well, yeah, my parents had a very strict, no video game rule. It was my father, really. He he just didn't want it to the TV going on. I said, you know, that's not how a kid should grow up. Doing these mindless activities. I know more about games right now. And, you know, studies and stuff that say actually, the opposite is true, that that's the way that we learn tasks is from games. And being in the software industry, I always think it's interesting that, that it's gaming, that always gets the most cutting edge technology, you know, that's where, where everything starts, because it's where the performance is so critical, because someone's playing it in real time. So yeah, it was really a shame, because when I saw Super Mario, it was, it was the craziest thing I've ever seen, I'd seen ataris. And I wasn't so impressed with that, you know, it was always like, like Pac Man or something. But Mario was a work of art. And it's like, you're actually controlling the guy. So my mom eventually convinced my dad to get a family computer. And it was, it was a compromise, because, you know, she said, you know, all these friends have computers and Nintendo's and stuff. And so we got this. It was the IBM ps1. It actually wasn't very interesting. It was something like a two or 386 machine, I think. But this was before Windows, that it had something like Windows, like a graphical user interface that was just called IBM PC DOS, I think. And it was total like, like Macintosh where you point and click, and it's very easy, you turn it on, there was just like four squares. And I didn't really have a lot of fun with that computer because I was too. I was too afraid to break it. Because it was the Family Computer. And it wasn't very tinkerer friendly, I would say, you know, not like, if it was a regular dos computer, or, like nowadays, you would have like a Raspberry Pi, which is scraped because we're, we've entered an age where or tinkering is encouraged so much, and that's really great. But this computer, yeah, it was too too much where it took you by the hand and but then, my dad had a computer for his home business. And this was actually he was a primitivist in many ways, but an early or early an early adopter of technology when it came to computers and for doing his business stuff like you know he needed database management to keep track of his mailinglist in the customer's receivables. And, and he needed to do desktop publishing. So he had a clone of the original IBM PC, which was released in 1981, which was the same year I was born. And I got, I got handed down this machine that was the same age as me when I was, you know, 12 years old 13 or so. And it was so much technically worse, then the Family Computer than ps1 because it's there, this was going back, you know, 10 years or so. And then I was like, This is so cool. You just turn it on. And there's a DOS prompt. And that's it. And that's when it started getting really fun. They got me a Byte magazine where you could type in basic games. And the DOS resource guide was one of my favorites. And my dad had this problem. And this kind of reveals a part of his mentality, which became a part of my mentality. And he, he needed me to automate something. Because there is a thing that happens, when, you know, I don't know if this ever happens, zoo, or if there's just something that you hate that you it's just a little thing that you have to do every time you turn something on, and you just hate it. It's just so so bad. And I saw, yeah, he, I recognized a lot of that in myself. And it's funny telling the story, because that's, I can sense where that came from. But he wanted to make it so that he would turn on his computer and non lock with the off instead of on, and capslock would be on instead of off because he he typed in all caps. And so that was the the first computer thing that the moment where it was like, Oh, wow, maybe I'm like kind of good at this. Because we didn't have the internet. So I couldn't look up how to how to do this, I had to just piece it together. I don't know how I did it, to be honest, out of magazines, and I had to modify the I think the you know, the two startup files. And it was not a trivial thing. And ultimately, it was it was too frustrating for me. Because I didn't know anyone. So there was nowhere where I knew of that I could go for health. And well, you know, I could I could just make excuses all day long. But really what happened is I got distracted by music. And I did really, really poorly in school actually, and and that that's important. And I later found out that it's because I well, I had undiagnosed ADHD and also autism, which I just found out about just a few months ago. And so I'm going through the process of of rediscovery in real time, like every moment, I'm reliving these these memories and their significance now in in light of there was a comedian that that said that learning about your autism as an adult is like being handed the key to the city of Yoo hoo. And yeah, it's just, I love that so much. There was there was an autistic kid in my school. His name was Joey. And he was a very extreme example of someone who you just couldn't really talk to you. He had a little computer that he used to type things on, but yeah, it wasn't really. It was difficult to interact with and I thought that's what autism was for my entire life. Now, it wasn't until just a few years ago when I started meeting other autistic people. And she says, I have autism. And I'm thinking, No, you don't? Like you just like it to be honest. Yeah, I mean, you're not normal, but you're like, I thought they had like, just a really interesting charm about them. Like something quirky. Kind of like me.

Tim Bourguignon 15:45
This is a very nice way to put it. This is awesome. How do you how do you deal with this, this maybe need or attraction to to look at your life again, with those new goggles and say, okay, is this Is this because of that? And how did I react back then? And now that I know this, how would I react? Whatever had reacted differently? This this could be a never ending hole to dig yourself into? How do you deal with this in the positive distance?

Bobbi Towers 17:02
Um, well, you know, I, I do think things like, Would I go back in time and and tell myself this or that. And then I realized that that's actually it's actually nonsensical for one thing. Now, in the end, because we can't go back. And then what does that actually mean? Anyway? What would that is? It doesn't make any sense. But it, it might be useful nonetheless, as a thought experiment. Now to think, you know, if, if I had only known, then I might have been able to, I might have had a chance in school. But since I didn't know, I was, it was mistaken for laziness. I have the kind of ADHD like the, it's called inattentive, what used to be known as add of not the hyperactive one. Because it's, you know, it's kind of like, my, my endorphins are incredibly expensive. So it takes, it takes a lot to get me interested in something, which is kind of like the opposite of the stereotypical I think most people, we talked about ADHD, talked about, oh, there's a squirrel, you know, easily distracted, and very quick to switch tasks just for the moment. And, you know, I don't have a very good understanding of I did end up going to school for psychology, but I still don't really know. Whether, like how that happens developmentally, whether there are two different disorders or if it's the same thing, and we just come up with different strategies for managing the the diminished attention, you know, whether it's like the hyperactive where you are very you don't have much of a filter with the input. Or, you know, I think I could have developed as a strategic response to that, like, okay, so I will just be extremely careful about what is worthy of my attention. And so, I ended up going very, very much that way.

Tim Bourguignon 19:48
But I throw you off when you were starting to say you were you were just you got distracted by music. Is this where we should go next? Maybe?

Bobbi Towers 19:59
Yeah, Yeah, so when the internet came around, and so we all kind of learned HTML a little bit. And, and that was fun. But what was really fun was when I found out about Mt threes. And I was actually, I got a computer from a computer science professor that my dad knew, he worked at a recording studio. And he, we decided to have him get me a computer because he really knew his stuff. And it was great because he installed a whole bunch of software on it for me. And so that because he knew I was going to be using it to make music, visually to replace the four tracks, cuz I, I learned to write songs by using a cassette for track. And but then, when I went digital, like, the first time that we had to do recordings on computers, he was really weird, because there is a whole tradition of recording that is all about how to record on analog tape, like, and we thought that that was just how it was. A lot of things were completely different. Like you would, you would tag it. And as a way to get natural tape compression and, and yeah, that gives like a real nice sound when overloaded. But then when we tried to do that, on the computer, it's just like, gives you a headache. But so so my friend gave me this computer, and it had like one of the first mp3 encoders. And so I was actually one of the first people to I converted a couple of my tracks to mp3 and put them on the internet was the time it was mp3 dot com. It was just and because it was such a small pond, I actually had the number one track in the gothic metal cat category. Yeah, just because there were actually about 300 songs in the category. And mine was the their favorite, the most popular one. And then interestingly, that song is actually quite famous, except that it was mistaken for a Marilyn Manson song. Because, you know, it sounded like, it kind of sounded like him. And so yeah, I wrote a Marilyn Manson song and gotten all the credit for it.

Tim Bourguignon 23:20
That's an achievement that you'd have a badge somewhere. I wrote a melee Munson song. At least people thought I did, and they liked it. That is cool. This was a segue into while using a computer every day to do something you love and tweaking about it for or to scratch that itch.

Bobbi Towers 23:42
Yeah, totally.

Tim Bourguignon 23:44
And how did i At which point did this evolve into something, something more it isn't me, hey, I could I could not just use this computer as a tool, but really started making it my own and really built on it to to do something for my life and not just a hobby.

Bobbi Towers 24:03
Well, you know, I just, I didn't actually actually do end up doing anything with computers. I dropped out of high school. Because I was I was in my dad's band. And so, you know, I was already not playing, playing shows, you know, doing concerts, that kind of big concerts. Wow. Okay. And so I grew up on the stage basically doing open mic nights and parties playing in bars, you know, since I was a teenager. And so, yeah, that was it didn't lend itself to an academic life, you know, and, of course the I didn't know why I was not able To apply myself, but it really it was kind of kind of last night. Yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 25:13
Oh, good. Oh, good. See you you're saying. So you grew up on stage? And this was the segue or the segue you took out of, of high school and into into life probably. What were you playing? Was it something something digital related? Or was it traditional instruments?

Bobbi Towers 25:35
Well, I played guitar, first guitar and bass. And eventually, reluctantly, vocals. You know, I was, I was, incredibly, I was way too self conscious. To have anyone hear me. Now it was only because out of complete frustration, you know, not being able to find a good singer that could sing my songs the way that I wanted them to. So yeah, I had to, I had to learn to do it myself. And it was really hard. Because I sounded really bad. for a really long time, actually.

Tim Bourguignon 26:25
Okay. You tell me. How long did you did you play with the band and then have this as your your main focal point in your life?

Bobbi Towers 26:36
I was up until I was about 18, or maybe 20. And then I, well, I bought a school bus. And I met I met some heavies that, that drove school buses across the country giving away free food. Okay. And so this actually, was, this was a really important step for me, because it showed me the value of well, it taught me survival for one thing. But I tell this story of people, and they say how, well how did you pay for the buses fuel? How did how did you get gas? And I honestly have to say, this would probably not work if you tried to do it today. But it was a different world then. And something like that was actually possible. You could hitchhike and, you know, get where you're going? Or? Yeah, in this country anyway. That's not a good idea.

Tim Bourguignon 27:56
Nowadays, you mean, yeah,

Bobbi Towers 27:58
in nowadays, you just fall fearful people when staff and you think, Oh, why is that person there? I'm scared.

Tim Bourguignon 28:08
You mentioned this, this was a formative period in your life, in which ways

Bobbi Towers 28:16
so I saw the the power of volunteering, and which, you know, here's here was people who had nothing. And yet, they were the ones feeding people. And I really just had to that impressed me so much. That here, these people are not struggling at all. And somehow living off of donations. And I thought there was something really profound there. So if you want to say say you want to always have your meal, the way to guarantee that would be the one to be the one making the free meals

Tim Bourguignon 29:18
I'm wondering this, this goes really deep in the year. But this is so contrary to to how mainstream society thanks, nowadays.

Bobbi Towers 29:32
Yeah, it was really it was really weird. I had no idea that you could live like that. And but I crashed the school bus and and that was really Yeah, it was really scary. And then I had lost everything. Then I was actually just hitchhiking. And I wandered around and I found a synagogue. I grew up to which both of you were reformed Jewish. So I had a bar mitzvah, but it was just really weird. It didn't, it didn't really mean anything. But I, one day, I just thought, I kind of want to want to find a synagogue. And it wasn't, you know, what it was, was the music. I, I secretly loved it. Every week at Sunday school, I was having a horrible time. But there was just something, there's something that happens when people are singing together. How I, we just get these chills in the melodies which is so such good songs. And so I found this synagogue and they, they let me Well, I just started coming in and playing music with the kids in the Sunday school. So this was, you know, how I ended up becoming a teacher was where I just, I was so happy that there was somewhere I could go and learn about my tribe. And, and somehow be teaching at the same time that I'm learning. So So that's, that's something that ended up coming back again and again, you know, this learning and teaching and how, to me they're actually inseparable. There's there's a greater activity, which is knowledge knowledge, the assimilation happening. And there's a giving and receiving

Tim Bourguignon 31:52
that's what he didn't go hand in hand. And you always have to do the one to be able to, to double check if you got the other and vice versa. So it's really two phases of the same coin indeed.

Bobbi Towers 32:05
Yeah, so I am i i learned a lot teaching the kids and I actually got so deep into the religion, that I ended up deciding that I wanted to become a rabbi. And so I, I moved to Israel and went to rabbinical seminary. And that was really weird. I, I might have ended up actually I think I don't trust people who are eloquent speakers. It's, it's hard for me to have because I, that got me in trouble. I didn't know how to tell when someone was telling me something that could be potentially dangerous. And I heard one of your previous guests say that she she said she grew up in a religious cult, and didn't go into further detail. And so I was thinking, not only not only did I do that, but my story is even worse, because I didn't grow up in the cult I found out about it and joined it willingly.

Tim Bourguignon 33:43
Yeah, I guess you have to go through your experiences what's what's feels right at that time. But go at its hopefully with a cool headed and understand at some point which you're living through, which I'm inferring now. But I assumed this is what happened. So you went through the experience, and came on the other side. Having grown and learned something?

Bobbi Towers 34:09
Yeah, I really did. One of the reasons I went was for the music, once again, like the music is always with the most important thing to me. And so I actually studied the music of the Yemenite Jews. Really interesting musical tradition. The language is the Hebrew that they speak as still sounds like Arabic. It's, it's a very ancient form of Hebrew. And so I really liked that. So it was the music and also the work ethic was a huge thing to experience and still to this day I've never seen anything like the the passion of the Jewish study hall where the most successful study halls are the loudest ones. Whereas people arguing, you're really getting into it yelling at each other, staying up all night, in the morning, like, there's just papers scattered everywhere, you can't even see the table, because it's just completely stacked with books. And you know, that was a good night. And you feel physically different now, because the mystical mystical Judaism views, the study of Torah learning, to be even higher than a higher activity than prayer itself, say, I'm still actually trying to trying to find at least part of that, you know, through my own productivity, that nothing ever even comes close. One of the things is that they learn everything out loud. You would never like read a book to yourself a, say, in a way, that's almost like doing nothing. Because the, the body is not, is not involved. It's your thinking, you know, it's a nice, you know, thinking is nice, but real learning is one of the same with speaking. And it's fundamentally social and fundamentally vocal. So I didn't have, I didn't have a community at the time. And so while I had a little voice recorder, and I started recording myself, learning all my stuff, and it turned into kind of a weird obsession of mine, you know, every day I would go out and walk around with my voice recorder and, and just talk, you know, trying to desperately trying to teach myself to talk. Because I knew that, you know, one day I wanted to be a public speaker, I wanted to be a teacher and I'm always so envious of people who can just talk and talk and talk and I How do you know, for me the words don't just come to me there. This is hard. So that was that became I didn't even realize how how useful that would be. That that's that's how I started the my strange recording habit. Which ended up becoming what I call my time traveling coping strategy for well for ADHD.

Tim Bourguignon 38:13
Do you still do you still have all those tapes that you do? Do you listen to them?

Bobbi Towers 38:17
I do. I actually, yeah. I have them. All on the it's all in the cloud. Actually. Every once in a while I like first, I wonder, yeah, that's always a huge time sink. Yeah, I have to be careful that I don't have anything to do. If I go into their in office, you know, it's almost like, that's not the it's not the point. The point isn't to actually have the stuff. The point is that it's actually a motivator in itself. Because I it was a serious productivity hack, you know, for someone who, you know, I would end up just like playing with two bottle caps for you know, my entire study time and never actually get anything done. But if I press record, then there's, you just have to So yeah, I would read all of my books, and made like audio books of everything I read.

Tim Bourguignon 39:36
Did you still use that kind of hacks nowadays. So apply to a different contexts and different different fields?

Bobbi Towers 39:43
Yeah. So So nowadays, you know, we have well, that's actually kind of normal. Because we have live streamers. So you know, there wasn't, there wasn't a such thing at the time. But now yeah, we There is an activity of just turning on a camera and a microphone and just talking. And

Tim Bourguignon 40:10
indeed, that's what I was thinking about singing, do you have a street check, switch account, Twitch account and and do your work. Maybe you're volunteering work on open source we haven't talked about in the open and thus scratching it and motivate yourself and learn something and take the learnings of this study hall into your day to day work and have the best of all worlds all together this way? Sounds like it.

Bobbi Towers 40:39
Yeah, it was. I could be an evangelist for the power of recording, like I just want to, to get everyone to try it. Now just record your screen and see what happens.

Tim Bourguignon 40:59
It sounds almost like like a rubber ducking, but one step. Rubber ducking, ducking plus plus, I would say it's even worse, no, just explaining to someone they really recording it as well. So paying attention to your every move probably, or at least becoming aware of what you're doing, not just talking, but really becoming aware, etc. And moving up toward in this in this mental stack?

Bobbi Towers 41:26
Kinda Yeah, well, what you notice is that you can then be free to switch tasks. And knowing that you can reestablish continuity after the fact. And so, no, normally, like when, when you are finishing something up, you don't want to stop. Because then you're gonna have to figure out how to get there again. And so, you know, normally you'd have to, you know, at the end of a long learning session, or if you're coding something or whatever, you always have to leave some time at the end to so that you can summarize what you did. So that tomorrow, you'll have some clue how to get back there. If you are recording, suddenly, you don't have to do that. And so then that opens up a whole new way of suddenly you realize that, you know, I can just do something for five minutes. And then if I get bored, it gets hard to focus. And so then I just switch gears focus on something else. Now, knowing that it's okay that it's disjointed now. That's right. It's a time traveling superpower. Because you're literally having the ability to compose events in time.

Tim Bourguignon 43:14
This is like memory slipping, you're just you're just at some point, bringing everything back into RAM, and just not doing it. The forceful way of having to think hard, whereas I was thinking cetera, there's just dumping it again. This is awesome. Good. Can you listen to yourself in in 2x, or 3x? And just dump it even faster? Does that

Bobbi Towers 43:35
work? Oh, yeah. I've found some really interesting stuff from going back in and watching. Like, because at a certain point, I started doing it with coding problems on exorcism. And just streaming myself struggling through these things. And it took it took me like, a long time to just get one of the problems. For some reason, it just took me forever to understand it. And then I went back to listen to the recording, and I got to see like, where I almost got it, but then ended up messing something up and never ended up recovering from it. So it leads to lots of really interesting insights and and then say I say that say I didn't learn anything. And it was just a complete failure. It's actually not because then you have something that someone else could benefit from. And so that's Another layer to, to the benefits of,

Tim Bourguignon 45:07
of the exercise. You mean?

Bobbi Towers 45:08
Yeah, yeah, I realized that I, I'm making curriculum, I'm writing a curriculum by doing this. And develop to having a whole teaching style. It's based on empathy for the beginners struggle. I think too many teachers make this subject sound easy. And it's actually, it frustrates people because these things aren't easy. And it's too easy to forget how hard it is. For beginners.

Tim Bourguignon 45:51
It's even the it isn't you. It's one of the stories I've told many times the show ready, is really how I didn't figure out the make command early on in my childhood. And was was was handed over a book by my uncle and taught myself how to write see, but I didn't figure out how to make it. And it was something that was not in the book, it was assumed that it was so easy and so obvious, there was not there. And it took me a few years to understand, oh, that's what I had. I should have done back then. It was, I didn't go at this step. And I figured later on well, this was indeed obvious for the for the author. And so that's why they probably skipped it, without even thinking or thinking about it. And, but that was a hindrance for me, for me. And so I tried to approach later on teaching, or at least public speaking and trying to convey ideas, with this beginner's mind as well as trying to hear, is it really understandable what I'm trying to say? Is it really something that somebody with no knowledge at all could come back to and really start understanding? And quite often I realized, no, I missed, I missed a dozen steps. And it doesn't stop there. It starts somewhere else entirely. And it really forced me to go back to it. That's, that's brilliant. That's really cool.

Bobbi Towers 47:10
Yeah, that's also why I so strongly believe about diversity in the workplace. Not not just diversity of skills, but diversity of different levels of skill, so that it's a place of education. So for me, that's what it always comes back to education. If you have I heard somewhere that if you have a group of experts in just about any domain, that they will be ultimately outperformed by a group of mixed skill levels. Now, I, I wish I could remember where I heard that, because I'd like to verify

Tim Bourguignon 48:04
that now I'm thinking about all the PhDs working together in universities, and really having not that much diversity in the way they research to those very advanced topics, and how that works out for them. I mean, they must be bringing diversity from somewhere else. But this this mono thinking pattern that they have, might be exactly in the way of this and I it kinds of sounds logical, I would say, that's having people ask you dumb questions. I'm making air quotes on the dumb mixing loop the questions you didn't ask yourself for a while and didn't know you should be asking yourself really obfuscates some parts of the problem that you didn't know you should be inquire into. So that sounds logical. But I wonder how that works with with niche learning, or niche teams like this interesting research into this. Like, I'm having an eye on on the timer. I really love how you started the story with with the the, the this, this ADHD and this loser troubles you you you found out later on, and how we covered all the ways you managed to hack it during your childhood and find ways that works for you. Without knowing about about this and really finding ways to make it work to make it still progress to learn from it and actually become the person you are today. That is fascinating. And I'm thrilled to hear that you took pieces of this and mix it up and still are using this today. This is fascinating. This is really fascinating.

Bobbi Towers 49:55
Yeah, the first time that I was interested in anything, anything academic, was when I was learning Hebrew, or getting ready to move to Israel. And I was actually translating, I was writing me a translation of a prayer book and started getting into, you know, all of the Jewish philosophy. And some of the ancient Jewish philosophers. Were talking about Plato and Aristotle. And so I thought, I'll go check that out. So I started learning it. You know, my first math book was, I found out about Euclid elements. And started teaching myself math by drawing triangles with a stick.

Tim Bourguignon 50:56
And that sounds like Wikipedia, just going from one idea to the other, and just drilling down and waking up at some point, starting with with ancient Hebrew, and landing on triangles, and probably with with a dozen detours in the way. That is interesting.

Bobbi Towers 51:13
Yeah, I just it was, it can't be overstated how I never, I never imagined myself doing anything smart, or, you know, turning into I played music, and I liked teaching, teaching music, mostly, I never want wanted to, or could picture myself doing anything else. I lost one of my hands in 2015, with an accident. And that was another big turning point. It was the point where I actually started getting more well developing mentally. And probably because I needed to, I needed to use my brain more to make up for the disability, the physical disability. That was when I ended up making this one handed keyboard.

Tim Bourguignon 52:23
Oh, you're showing? Wow, they're showing me a keyboard right now with very colorful keys. And I don't see all the alphabet. So there must be some some some ways to combine keys, there is numpad. There is a few

Bobbi Towers 52:40
I didn't want I didn't want to do any layers. Okay, because I, I wanted to think simpler. So I don't like things that are hidden away as I wanted. There to be. So there's a full numpad. And then I have Well, the main keys are in there's a single handed DeVore AK layout, okay? was designed for efficiency of words rather than the Qwerty design, which was, I guess, to prevent the swing typewriter arms from hitting each other with the most common letters on opposite sides. And I have arrow keys. So because I like using arrow keys and and I have the backspace and enter are on the thumb, right, either side of the spacebar, which this was, while it was the first time that I got into 3d modeling. And this was I wasn't sure if I, you know, when we're programmers, sometimes we struggle with physical things. I know I do. I got to the point where it's like I was so stuck in my head that I wasn't sure if I even knew that my code I knew it would be a good exercise to to learn how to make a physical object. Because it would give me the feedback, the confirmation that my my thinking about the code and what its effect in the world is what it should be.

Tim Bourguignon 54:37
It is indeed a humbling experience to realize at some point that you've been making something the whole time, but it was virtual. And I've lived through this this, this this questioning of myself as well saying well, okay, but did I bring anything else to the world? Just just bits and bytes in wood? be able to create something and at first, the answer was no. And I remember asking myself the same question and studying, making or stalling working with wood. Because there was the, in my opinion, the easy way, the easiest way to start making something and having the same realization, okay, I learned something, I learned how to think about a problem, I learned how to go at it. And then I double check that I'm able to actually do something in the world, not just bits and bytes and moving electrons around. And I remember being that being a very, a very comforting moment. Maybe metros are the right word, but probably saying, Okay, I'm not just as Ultra is rhetorical I, I can make something in the world was that weather the same for you?

Bobbi Towers 55:47
Yeah, it was so much fun when, when my, my 3d printer was running, I was happy. It was whenever whenever it was running, I always just hear the sound and with the self soothing sound, that's what it sounds like, getting something done.

Tim Bourguignon 56:08
With the, with the caveat that you've been doing something you'll have been getting something done for years before that, just it was not physical, and just in some, in some way didn't feel real maybe. But this is this is also how brains is fooled enough to think that it has to be physical to to exist, is a whole different kind of form. Bobby, this has been fantastic. I feel we we haven't even scratched the surface, and we could be talking for hours. But I have to be mindful about our time. It's been fantastic. Thank you very much for opening this door to to your world and how you you grew into it and what only the person made you become the person you are today. Thank you so much for that.

Bobbi Towers 57:04
And thank you this was this was a real pleasure.

Tim Bourguignon 57:08
It wasn't you where would be the best place to to contact you in a mindful way this works for you. And and maybe start a discussion with you.

Bobbi Towers 57:20
Oh, well, I, I go by Bobby codes. It's like the VLBI codes. So it's Bobby codes on YouTube is where I do programming streams. And I also stream on Twitch is the same Bobby codes and my Patreon is also patreon.com/bobby codes. And I'm on Mastodon at used to be on Twitter, but I couldn't do that anymore. And so it's a B towers coding is my Macedon handle.

Tim Bourguignon 58:04
And now I had links to all this in the show notes so the listeners don't have to to search for it just can scroll down and click anything timely or not that you want to plug in before we call it today.

Bobbi Towers 58:18
Oh well I wanted to to give a shout out and publicly thank closures together who just decided to sponsor my work on F two exorcism which is when when I was first invited to this show. And I read that it was for successful developers. I said oh, oh, I am sorry that this is not for me. So I was actually going to have to redefine what it means to be successful. I surely it must have something to do with the money having the money situation worked out right. And but it turns out just between the time of scheduling it and today I was selected to to receive funding for the next three months. So actually, when this comes out, I will be just wrapping it up and looking for my next project.

Tim Bourguignon 59:22
Awesome. Congratulations on that. Indeed. I'm not sure I would define successful by money. And that's a whole different kind before then congratulation on this. And then really since it's ahead of us at the time of this recording, and enjoy this time that that must be thrilling to really have the resources to focus on this and not have to to be too much concerned about the next paycheck. That is That is awesome. Do what you love and know that you're paid for that congratulations. And we'll add a link to to closure at either as well in the show notes, if you want to inquire and see what that what that's all about, and probably about your work on exorcism as well. And we'll add a lot of links afterwards. Bobby, thank you so much. It was really a blast starting my day with you in the story. It's really, it's really delightful. Thank you so much.

Bobbi Towers 1:00
:18 Hi, thank you, Tim.

Tim Bourguignon 1:00
:21 And this has been another episode of developer's journey, and we'll see each other next week. Bye bye. Thanks a lot for tuning in. I hope you have enjoyed this week's episode. If you liked the show, please share rate and review. It helps more listeners discover those stories. You can find the links to all the platforms the show appears on on our website, Dev journey, dot info, slash subscribe. Creating the show every week takes a lot of time, energy, and of course money. Would you please help me continue bringing out those inspiring stories every week by pledging a small monthly donation, you'll find our patreon link at Deaf journey dot info slash donate. And finally, don't hesitate to reach out and tell me how this week story is shaping your future. You can find me on Twitter at @timothep ti m o t h e p talker email info at Dev journey dot info