Hi! Tell us about who you are and what you do

I’m a coder, I guess :) Not corporate enough to be called a developer, not academic enough to be called a computer scientist, so I guess I’m a product of the 80s computers boom underground.

I have tried to write mostly open source software in my programming time, and I still do. Other than that I write novels and short stories.

I’m from Sicily, Italy, and I’m almost 47 years old.

I truly believe that programming is a kind of art form if done with an exploratory point of view, trying to reach some kind of beauty or freshness and in general as long as you want to discover something new. I guess in general people know me for being the author of Redis, however a few folks remember my security-guy past.

What is your hardware setup?

Well, nothing too fancy I guess. Not everything I’m listing here is evident from the pictures, but this is what I use day to day:

  1. A Macbook with an M1 Max, so that I can do certain machine learning stuff in my macbook directly. It’s powerful enough to locally run quantized LLMs and so forth. I use it 50% of time like it is with its own display and integrated keyboard.

  2. In my home office (the one in the pictures) I also have an external monitor and keyboard, that I connect when in there. My other office is in a mall here in Catania, which has an office space section. There I just bring my laptop: all my hardware is here at home.

  3. A bunch of MCUs, ESP32 and other stuff. Sensors, displays, Raspberry Pico, and so on. I like low level embedded programming.

  4. A Raspberry Pi 3B that I use for many tasks depending on the project at hand.

  5. A Prusa MK4 3D printer.

Retro Zx Spectroom

  1. A ZX Spectrum with a MIVAR TV set that I use to play 40 years old games or write BASIC with my daughter.

  2. An older Linux server that I use only via SSH.

  3. A Flipper Zero.

  4. Kindle.

Personal gym

  1. As part of my office I have weights and a treadmill. From time to time I stop programming and do some deadlifts or similar exercises.

And what are the favorite items in your workspace?

Old wooden stool from Singer

The oldest ones I bet: this ancient SINGER stool, and the ZX Spectrum.

In general I don’t bind a lot to objects, unless they are either very old or made to last forever, like stainless steel or wood things.

What is your software setup?

On the Macbook, MacOS, vim, make, and all the other command line stuff.

For writing prose - Scrivener for Mac.

For 3D modelling - Blender, TinkerCAD, Fusion360 depending on the task.

I use Telegram a lot, so Telegram Desktop is always open. I also use Telegram as a note keeping application: I have a group with myself where I create topics to forward things there.

I run a few AirBnBs so I also always have a Whatsapp window open to reply to customers.

What are your favorite programming or scripting languages?

My foundational languages are C, Lisp, SmallTalk, FORTH, Tcl - languages that were useful for me to understand fundamental concepts.

One of the best very high level language that put most of the ideas in the previous ones in a good, accessible form, is Ruby.

However in practice nowadays I mostly use C and Python. C for system programming. Python for ML or higher level stuff.

Is there anything you are missing in your setup?

I wish I had some powerful NVIDIA GPU. But they cost too much and get replaced fast. So I use Google Colab which I think is a nice idea with a terrible implementation.

What book comes to your mind that you would like others to read?

Solaris by Lem.

Recently, I also enjoyed quite a bit UNIX: A History and a Memoir by Kernighan.