8 Bits with Cecil Phillip

8 Bits with Cecil Phillip
Cecil is a Senior Developer Advocate at Microsoft. Join us as we learn about Cecil's journey from a competitive swimmer on the Antigua National Team, to a University Professor to becoming a Senior Engineer!

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8 Bits with Cecil Phillip! - 8 Bits
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Brandon Minnick  2:02
Hello and welcome back. My name is Brandon Minnick. I'm your host here on eight bits. Thanks so much for joining us. And this week we have a very special guest hosts, Christopher Harrison. Thanks for joining the show.

Christopher Harrison  2:17
Thanks for thanks for inviting me. Thanks for letting me come back and, and co host again, I guess I didn't do too bad of a job. When I was here a few weeks ago with with Chloe when you're on vacation. That's right. Yeah, I

Brandon Minnick  2:29
was out. Turin amazing. national parks and monuments a couple weeks ago, we were Yeah, we were checking the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon, Xi'an we did all the things. And now this week, it's Chloe surd, to take a vacation so much appreciate you coming on the show. Have you been?

Christopher Harrison  2:50
You know, I'm actually pretty good. Like speaking of vacation, took last week off, went down to Las Vegas, with my wife celebrated her birthday and our anniversary. And it was it was it was wonderful to like, you know, be out and, and really to like, experience a little bit of of life again, that it was it was a really nice taste of of normal after the last, you know, 1415 months. And it was so good for us all. I hear that. Yeah,

Brandon Minnick  3:25
we were we were in Arizona, heading up to the Grand Canyon when the CDC came out with the new recommendations for the mask mandates. And all of a sudden, I mean, my wife and I were both fully vaccinated, which is why we felt comfortable doing this trip. But yeah, it was like all of a sudden, everything felt really normal. So here's here's hoping to a great summer. But I do want to share some Well, it's exciting news, but I can't really share the news yet. But for folks that listen to join us here in the live stream for the show. I they know I've been working a lot on something called the Xamarin community toolkit. And I also very passion about Xamarin stuff used to work at Xamarin. And with this new thing called dotnet, Maui coming, which is the evolution of Xamarin. We've been having a lot of internal conversations about what are we doing with the Xamarin community toolkit, because we got to make sure it works for dotnet Maui. So I'll say for now, stay tuned. There's an announcement and coming. It's all good news. You're in good hands. And if if you don't like it, you can blame me. But we've got no, we've got all good things coming up. So if you, for example, want to continue using the toolkit on dotnet Maui, we got you covered if you want to take advantage of the new dotnet Maui performance stuff with maybe a new toolkit. We'll have you covered but stay tuned. We'll make an official announcement soon.

Christopher Harrison  5:00
If you don't like it from all of your male, California, United States of America.

Brandon Minnick  5:06
That's right. You can you can find me on Twitter at the code traveler. Nice things only, please. But uh, yeah, Chris, we're we have. So we have an amazing guest today. But I want to make sure we get any announcements in that you have as well before we bring him on and talk about his amazing journey.

Christopher Harrison  5:22
Yeah, absolutely. So my, my big announcement is on June 30, we're going to be launching a new video series for view, which of course, is a front end JavaScript framework. And really excited about that. We've got Jen looper and Chris snoring, and myself all on video and presenting all of that out there. And it's there to support the learning path that currently exists on Microsoft learn for view, j s. So that's going to be on June 30 of the video series will launch. definitely keep an eye out for that or just my Twitter handle. There we go. Right there, you can hit me up on Twitter. And I'll of course be advertising that. And if you're curious about the learning path, which is still out there, you know, hit me up on that. And a little bit later. We're also going to have a bit on Django as well, which I'm really excited about. I just adore Django. It's It's such a fantastic framework. So I love it a

Brandon Minnick  6:20
couple of teasers for the fans of eight bits. You heard it here first. And for anybody listening on the podcast, Christopher's Twitter handle is at geek trainer. So I assume you trade a lot of geeks like me.

Christopher Harrison  6:36
Yeah, that before joining Microsoft, I was I was a full time tech trainer. And that that Twitter handle happened to be available, which still to this day boggles my mind that nobody else had had snatched that. So yeah. Thank you, Rob. I appreciate that. Rob says the Python for beginners was terrific. Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that. So yeah, we're trying to keep that style with both the view and the and the Django. So hopefully you'll you'll enjoy that as well.

Brandon Minnick  7:04
I'm excited. Keep us keep us posted. happy to announce it on eight bits once once it's live as well. Yeah, well, definitely. Without further ado, we have an amazing guest this week. He's been one of my favorite people to work with since joining Microsoft, and he has such an incredible story that don't want to delay anymore. Let's bring him into the show. Welcome. sessile. Philip, welcome. Hey, thanks for having me. What's going on? Yeah, so excited. You could join us this week. So I've known you for a couple years. I know you work at Microsoft. But for folks who haven't met you before? Who are you? And what do you do? Sure. So like you said, Brandon, Brandon, you and I and Chris are on the same team now, technically.

Cecil Phillip  7:49
So I'm a cloud developer advocate at Microsoft. I've been in this role for about three years, well, a little bit more than three years, I think, July 27, to be precise, he's gonna make four years here in the company, like doing in the same role doing the same job. Um, yeah, I'm a dotnet. Guy, like, I spent my entire career doing dotnet between, you know, web forms and MVC, and back in the day when we used to do jQuery and knockout, j. s, and all those types of things, up to now where we're talking about like Docker, or microservices and stuff, but has always been dotnet in some way or the other. And then also, you know, along the way, I've, you know, kind of, you know, got into the world of teaching a little bit, right. And that's, that's been a fun part of my journey as well, too. And maybe we'll talk about that a little bit as we go on. But, you know, I know no developer comes up being like, Oh, I want to be a teacher. Like, that's a normal thing that we do after we get our engineering degrees, right. Like, I want to go teach people to do stuff. But yeah, I spent some time doing that. And you know, I've done some podcasts and some video shows and things of that nature. And now here I am with you folks having a good time. You know, doing some live streaming.

Brandon Minnick  8:57
That's right. And so yeah, let's let's go let's go all the way back. Let's do the the sessile Philip origin story, because I know you live in Florida. Now you work at Microsoft now. But how? How did you get there? How did you get started in the world of tech?

Christopher Harrison  9:13
Your young age as time went on? You got older?

Cecil Phillip  9:20
Yeah, let's go on. Let's like dig into the time machine, right and make go all the way back. So I was I was born in an island called lentigo. Alright, so for those that don't know, it's in the Caribbean is a very small country. It's precisely 108 square miles. So for perspective, you know that if you take Florida and you drop it in Florida, if you take it and drop it in the bottom of Florida is probably smaller than Miami. You know, it'll take you about two hours to go around the perimeter of the country. Right. So again, for perspective of how big of a place that we're talking about. But yeah, but I was one reason to, you know, went to elementary school high school. They're, you know, I stayed there until I left, you know, come up to the United States for college. I think one of the things that's was always interesting about antiga and, and folks always ask, oh, how did you become like a computer person? It's always an interesting story, because we never had computers growing up per se. You know, I wasn't I wasn't in one of those societies where, you know, we didn't have computers in schools, we didn't have computers in the household. You know, and we're talking about like, the late 90s, going into 2000s, right? Well look like I'm in high school, I'm trying to figure out who I am as a person, right? Like, I'm trying to do some self discovery kind of thing. And, you know, your parents as Caribbean parents, they're very, they're very strict, right? When it comes to like, education, you know, what I mean? Like education and success and having a plan, right? And they're like, what are you gonna do? What are you gonna do? What are you gonna study? And so my dad was a doctor, or is a doctor, I guess you could say, he's retired now. But my dad was a doctor. And, you know, between me and my sister, he was always like, Oh, well, your your, you guys are gonna get older and you to come and take a family business. And so when you go to school, you need to study biology and chemistry and stuff, right physics, and whatever the case is? Well, it turns out, I didn't do that. And I ended up doing, you know, in school, we can talk a little bit about how the Caribbean education is a little bit different to the American education system. But when I went to school, I ended up studying business, accounting and math, right, like, those are the subjects I wanted to do, because those are the things I gravitated to. And then somewhere along the line, like I ended up taking, like a computer class. Now our computer class was interesting, because our computer class didn't actually have a computer. Right? There was a book that spoke about computers, but there was no physical computer per se, for me to actually just interesting. You know, it's kind of like, it's well, for us, it was kind of like every other science subjects. You know, the IQ talk about science, we talk about biology, you know, nothing but like, I've never dissected an animal anatomy, or I've never done any of these people we talk about, we talk about, like, you know, bones and skeletons and the structure of biology, just in the same way we spoke about, like, you know, processors and screens and keyboards, like the structure of a machine, like, I never really had one to play with.

Christopher Harrison  12:20
I had a programming class where the instructor tried to teach a little bit like that, that, you know, like, you learn a language. And so he was insistent that you could do this without a computer that if you just like, wrote out your code on with with pen and paper that that was somehow going to teach you to program. Yeah, I mean, for me, that's just cruel and unusual punishments.

Brandon Minnick  12:44
Right. It almost reminds me, like, why would we do this? Yeah, it was reminds me of doing whiteboard interviews, where it's like, how do you write code at this company? Do you do it on the whiteboard? Or do you do it on a computer and a tool like Visual Studio? Because maybe we should do the interview using Visual Studio that

Cecil Phillip  13:01
just I hated whiteboarding, those whiteboarding test too, because my handwriting is horrible. So like, why would I want to come to an interview and do things that are absolutely horrible that and feel confident that I'm going to do well, this interview like, anyway, that's, that's another story. We can talk about that later. I'm sorry. So so so that, so that was that was my educational experience from that perspective, again, like we, we learned about stuff, but like, I didn't actually physically have more. And, you know, along the lines at home, like I used to watch my dad, he used to come home, and he used to bring work home a lot and bringing work home, and like he had to do reports, like he typed up reports and Doctor things, whatever, whatever it is that he did. And I think that's the official term doctor. Yeah, we just we just call them doctor things, whatever it is that they're typing, I didn't understand the jargon. So I'm just gonna say doctor things. And so I grew up watching my dad with like, various typewriters throughout the years, like typing of reports, and, you know, stuff for people. And one year, I think, might have been like, two, maybe two years before, like, I left the country to come to college. He brought a computer home, right? I think like I said, like, we didn't have computers in school. It was very uncommon for your friend to have a computer in the house. But for my father, it was like, Hey, I spent a lot of time writing reports. This is like my new report writing machine like that was the intent and purpose of it at the time. So he brings his machine home is Compaq Presario folks remember, compact exhale MPa, q right. It's right back the Curio, right with the Q and you know, it was it was a tower computer, you know, and that's when you bought a computer came with everything right? It comes with the keyboard and the mouse and the monitor and like, you know, not like today like you got to buy them separately, right? Like it came with everything. And along with it, it came with a collection of books. Which again, I don't think anyone does that today. Like you don't buy a laptop and it comes with like reference material. You know what I mean? Like, that's not a thing, right? That's right. So So anyway, so you got this. And also we had like that 56k modem right, the thing that goes to do to stir it or did it right, like you connect to, like, through the phone line to the internet, like that's how long ago we're talking about. And oh, yeah, the turbo button. Yeah, I think we had a turbo button on the machine. So you could be right.

Brandon Minnick  15:21
I never understood that.

Cecil Phillip  15:23
I don't know what it did. Um, it made the computer make noise. I don't actually got any faster.

Christopher Harrison  15:30
It goes to 11 There we go. There we go. We go a little faster. So

Brandon Minnick  15:36
anyway, everybody knows what the turbo button does? Let us know in the comments. Yeah, definitely. I never figured that.

Cecil Phillip  15:43
I have no idea what the thing but so anyway, so the report writing machine is in the house. And at the time it came on, I didn't really care about it too much. It was just like, Okay, this is like a work thing. You know, to me, like, I'm gonna go watch cartoons. And so one summer, you know, again, I'm home aboard. And I decided, hey, let me go play with this computer thing. Right. And it started off with just us like playing solitaire. So I guess we're talking like Windows 95, just before windows 98. You know, I mean, I wasn't into like computer games and stuff like that at the time. And I'm just like learning like what this machine is. And so, I mean, what does everyone do with a computer? Right? You play Solitaire and Minesweeper for like, hours, hours and hours, like clicking around, and like just understanding the mechanics of how the thing moves and works, right. And somehow I ended up like reading those books that came along with the machine. And in those books, they were manuals about, like, windows, obviously, like, you know, what's the Start button, what's, you know, the terminal, what's Windows Explorer, like, you know, those types of things. And also, it is one on Netscape Navigator, which was, again, like the big internet browser at the time. Right. So this is a while ago. And so I'm reading about Netscape Navigator. And what's a web browser? And what's the internet? And, you know, I think AOL and yahoo.com were like the two big things right, like back in the day. And a part of it spoke about like HTML. So what is HTML? I don't think it's spoken about JavaScript yet. But it was just like HTML. And then I think that's when you could still put styling, you know, like, there's no stylesheet. Like, you put the style in the tag kind of thing, right? So you say like, font color bold equals true, or whatever the case is, right? Like on the tag versus like, on some CSS property. So anyway, so I'm reading the book, I'm like, hey, let me go ahead. And I mean, I'm not doing anything, I'm bored. During the summer, I'm gonna try and, you know, go through this book and try some stuff out. So I tried out. And again, the simplest thing that you could probably ever do with a web browser, right? Like I put my name on the screen, big, bold letters centered right in the middle of the browser. Right away. Wait, you centered text. And, you know, that might have just been the default, tech Tech Center, whatever. And it was centered, right? I know. It's silly, right? Because today's developers, like we'd look at that stuff. And it's just like, Oh, it's whatever. But in that moment, for, again, this person that I didn't have a computer before I am playing Minesweeper, like, that's my extent of my computer knowledge, right. And now my name is on the screen. I'm like, Oh, I have mastered the machine like, this is mine. Like, like, I own this, like, my name is

Christopher Harrison  18:23
I'm envisioning you, as Tom Hanks in Castaway going, I have made fire.

Cecil Phillip  18:29
Exactly, exactly, exactly, exactly. Like that is exactly one of those moments where I get in retrospect, is a very trivial thing to do. But in my mind, this is like, I have just discovered the world, right? Like, this is the most amazing thing ever. And so I call my friends on my phone, you know, again, he's, you know, those rotary phone, like, you turn your phone, it goes, click, click, click the call my friends, and I'm like, hell you need to come over, because I just put my name with this computer thing. Like, it's amazing, most coolest thing ever. Like, if you come over, I'll put your name on the computer, too. You know, like that. That was a conversation I was having. So again, way, way too excited about putting some texts like on black or white background, you know, anyway. So anyway, so that happened. And over the summer, I just continued playing with it, right, like, you know, added a button. You know, just try and play with different colors. Try to put differently, I created a paragraph and not just not just the word, right, like just playing around and try to understand how this thing worked. And I think with between then and the few years that kind of went by prior to me leaving the country and actually coming to university. I would always just like ask my parents for stuff. So so my uncles and Auntie's, like they would leave the country and they'd go to Florida and New York and other places. And so I'd asked him to bring me more books. Right. So I think I remember him. I think my dad, he went to Florida, and I told him, Hey, I want to learn how to like use this thing. And so he went He brought me a c++ book. I think it was Borland c++, something something like whatever that thing was. And so he brought me the book. But I'm like, I couldn't use it. Because Borland was expensive, right? And I had, yeah, I had the book, but I couldn't do the thing. You know what I mean? Like, I couldn't do anything with it. I could just read it. So again, just like my class in school, right, like, I had nothing to do, I could just look at it. I couldn't do anything with it, really. But you know, I read the book, cuz I was interested in I was curious about it. And, and obviously, over time, I started like playing games on the computer, I think, NBA Live or whatever the case is, I'd come on, like NBA, like when those eSports games won those basketball games. But that's when like, you had to actually put the CD in and install it in DOS. If you remember those, you have to do that before. Before. Before there was a like a click, click, click Run, there was a go into dos CD slash something, something something installed, and you have to like run a, like a boot script of some sort. For you to install the game on the CD. Right? This is before like

Brandon Minnick  21:02
the Yeah, is this like Windows? 3.1? No, this is Windows 9598. This is but this is before. This is before

Cecil Phillip  21:12
you know, now we have the CD and it just does the thing.

Brandon Minnick  21:16
Yeah, cuz what's the CD?

Christopher Harrison  21:18
Yeah, cuz still a lot of things that you had to do directly in DOS. Like it wasn't like that pure shell that Windows three one was or over das, but like Windows 95. It was it was still like this, this little blend. And there were still a lot that you had to do through das that you still couldn't do through the through the UI. I distinctly remember those days. Yeah.

Cecil Phillip  21:39
Yeah. Yeah. So you still had to, there was like some manual interaction, right, that you had to do. Right? So I think between me playing video games and Minesweeper and reading these books, like I eventually became like, the computer Person of the house, right? Because I mean, no one else in the house was going into dos to do anything, you know. But here I was, because I really wanted to play this video game, right. And so I had to figure out how to get the thing to work. So again, like doing all these little things, and I again, I just became pretty comfortable doing that type of stuff. And then you know, there was the whole phase of Napster where now I'm downloading music, and you know, I'm doing stuff, right.

Christopher Harrison  22:16
Like, I'd have to go online and fill out your music legally, we're just going to pretend like, yes, the MPAA that's listening here. It was all legal. It was all you know, public domain music.

Cecil Phillip  22:30
Was all non copyright. Creative Commons. Yes. Yeah. But what happened was, because 150 6k modem back in the day, what would happen is that I would set the, like a single song, I would set it to download, like, the night before I go to bed and wake up and see if it was done. Right. So I have to wait, like, at least eight hours to like, download a song, right? When you folks Remember, if you when you were on dial up, and anyone called the house, like, your internet, cuddles, you had it, you had to do that again, right? Like this is again, this is a long, long time ago. Um, so no, like, so that was kind of like me being in the computer space, right? Like, I kind of just got comfortable navigating and doing things with it and being in there. And eventually, I was just like, Well, why don't I just do this for a living, because it feels like a very comfortable thing to do. And also at the time, there, there really weren't a lot of folks in Antigua that were doing things with a computer, right? I think whenever I whenever I graduated to get into college, they were like maybe three or four shops, quote unquote, I call them shops. of people that will fix computers, like you can go in and, you know, it's like, you go to a mechanic, right? You take your mechanic your car into the mechanic, they fix the thing. There are few like computer mechanics that I could go to, whenever I don't know, the printer wasn't working or, you know, the file, something was corrupt, or I needed more RAM or whatever the case was. And so in my head, I'm like, Okay, well, this is what computer people do. Right? Like they fix machines, they fix machines, and they give it to other people. For some reason, like software never was in the back of my mind. Like it never crossed my mind that that could be a thing that that I could do. Right? I was like, I'm gonna fix the machine and get it back. Because when you think about, like, the environment you grew up in, like, usually, you know, pull your inspiration from that environment, right? Like, there were no programmers around me. So I didn't pull that inspiration from anyone in that context. So anyway, I got to college, university, and now I'm doing like, intro to algorithms and data structures. I'm doing Java, I'm doing c++, I'm doing assembly language, I'm doing all these things. And, you know, in addition to like, just the cultural immersion, socially, that I got from leaving the country, there's also the professional cultural immersion, I suppose. Because now like, I could see I could do more stuff, right? Like, I didn't have to fix computers and printers for a living, right? Like, there's a little bit more available for me from that perspective. And then um, and then you know, you You know, you do the career fair days and things of that nature and you see all these companies that are coming to hire college kids. And I'm like, wait, EA Sports is here. Microsoft is here. IBM at the time was here. HP Hewlett Packard, like all of these people like Netflix, a very, very, very early version of Netflix games are college. At that point out, and which this is far to tech, this is in Melbourne, years ago. And yeah, not Melbourne, Australia. I didn't I didn't go that far away.

Brandon Minnick  25:32
Well, that's Melbourne. Melbourne, you get you're going to add that Aaron would quickly correct us.

Cecil Phillip  25:41
Exactly, exactly. So yeah. So again, like just seeing that, like, was so important for me, because, like being academic is one thing, but then being able to see what you could do with it is a different thing. And, and that's kind of where you you derive, like your motivation and your inspiration from, at least for me, anyway. So I was like, Oh, well, I don't, again, I don't have to go home and fix computers, I could work for a company that does software, you know what I mean, I could, I could do more, I could start my own software company, I could teach people how to do these things like, like, there's so many different ideas kind of just started, like formulating in the back of my head about what was possible. But But I think along with the inspiration, like there were highs and lows to it as well, right? Because some of the lows of that were, Hey, I just again, I just came to this country, I'm not from here. A lot of these people that I went to school with already did programming in high school, I'm just picking this stuff up, like right now. So I already felt like I was behind the curve, like way, like years behind, you know what I mean? Like I'm trying to catch up to where these folks are. Um, and then on top of that, to, like, you know, there as an international student, right, like, I had to go through the process of getting a student visa, and then making sure my student visa was always valid, you know, making sure I got an h1 visa whenever I graduated, so I could still work, I had to get an f1 visa, you know, there were things that had to happen, in addition to like doing the work and being like a professional computer person, you know, all the visas you had to write. And I think that's one thing that maybe employers would notice, but for for your co workers that they may or may not know, like, and again, assuming that we got here legally, you know, what I mean? You may not know all of the things that have to happen for an international person to be here. So when you think about it, you have to realize that one, these people have to, you know, these people probably work a lot harder than you did. Not just from an academic perspective, but just in terms of putting in effort through legal fees and paperwork, and like having to maintain a certain level of status, to stay here else, you know, like, as an example, like, if I don't get a job, like, when I left college, if I didn't get a job in, like six to nine months, like I had to go, like, I can't stay here and hang out, you know what I mean? Like, I can't take like a gap here. You don't mean like, so people do the kind of just not go to school for you and hang out, like I have to go, you know what I mean? And so, again, just always thinking about, like, you know, and also to, you know, coming from the Caribbean to the United States, like the currency, you know, it's, it's not exactly the same. So, you know, my parents are spending a lot of money to come to school here, I have to put in a lot of work to to stay here again, going through the lawyers and, and do all this types of stuff. And still I have schoolwork to do. I gotta I gotta pass my classes. Right. I got to do stuff. And, you know, it's again, it's it's work it's effort, right? And, again, eventually worked out. And, and here we are,

Brandon Minnick  28:40
but some curious. So yeah, for, for folks watching. Yeah, we get 1000s of views. And there's a good possibility somebody is maybe in antigo right now wondering, yeah. How can I do that, too? How do you get started with that? Either college application process visa process, or which one comes first?

Cecil Phillip  29:05
For me, it was very much like, like rolling dice, right? Like, you never kind of know where you're gonna land. And I mean, not very seriously, because, again, I didn't I didn't live here. So I didn't do like a college tour. You know what I mean? Like, I didn't travel to schools and visit departments and see people, you know what I mean? I was lucky that again, my uncles and some family members would leave on teager and come back, and then bring back I think it was called us colleges, in those thick books that had like listings of colleges and universities. It was kind of like a like a like, yeah, universities or whatever. And, like they would bring those books home for me. And I'd have to spend time when I scroll through those books, right, that two, sometimes two, three books. I'd like 1500 pages, right? Because it's every college and university. It's all of their courses. It's how many credits they have. are, you know, student loans and deadlines? Like it's a very, very thick book. And so I had to think about, well, where do I want to live? Right? Um, and I'm like, I don't know, cuz I don't live in the United States. I'm not gonna be like, Oh, I want to go live in Arizona. I don't know anything about Arizona. I live in North Carolina. I don't know. I mean, like, like, how do I pick? How am I supposed to know, assuming that I haven't done that before. Now, some people have. But for me, I haven't been to these places. So I couldn't really make an intelligent decision. So the approach that I took was, well, I do have some family members that live outside of the United States. I'm going to pick colleges where my family lives. So I had family that lived in Virginia, I had family in New York, I had family in Canada, I had family in Florida. I'm like, so that sounds like a good start. Like, let's start there. And then we'll kind of like start whittling down what you want to do. Now, now I'm looking through these books now. And, you know, now I gotta say, Well, what am I going to study? Right? I know, I want to do computers, right? But like, what does that mean? Like, there's computer science is Computer Engineering is management information systems is information technology. And it turns out that every school teaches those classes very differently. So now, like, how do you pick right? So now I'm going through these books I'm looking at, like, I'm going down to the level of reading course descriptions to be like, what I want to do this course or not what I want to, like, do I want to do, I think, what was it like, UI with with Java? Do I want to do that? Or do I want to do hardware software integration? You know, I think I think today, we'll call that IoT. But back in the day, it was like, hardware software integration with like, assembly language. Do I want to do that? I don't know. You know,

Christopher Harrison  31:41
so I'm curious about the the timing, were you able to, like, do all that research online? Or were you talking about, like, you know, having to flip through, like physical course count,

Cecil Phillip  31:52
there was no online. I want to say there was no online, we had the internet, but you know, right. I had a book, like I had a thick book, or multiples of thick books that I was scrolling through these books and trying to figure out, you know, where I was gonna go. And, you know, in that time, again, we're talking about like, late 1998 99 this time, because, you know, you got to apply like, a year, year and a half before, right. So, you know, at this point, I'm looking through these books, these are all black and white books, right? I don't know what this place looks like, right? They have pictures of campuses and things of that nature. But for me, like they all look the same. They're all black and white. So it's whatever.

Brandon Minnick  32:31
Even pictures like, I'm sure you stayed in a hotel that had great pictures. Oh, this grayscale this look? Okay, pool that pool water could be green and purple? Like, I don't know.

Christopher Harrison  32:45
Whatever sessile. didn't know at the time is that all the campuses are we're actually just you know, grayscale?

Cecil Phillip  32:53
Exactly, exactly. So, so the process for me was, you know, again, luckily enough, like I had some family members that, you know, live outside of the country, they sent me these college books. And I just, I flipped through them, right, I flipped through them. And I picked some schools where I think we're close enough to my family, and I sent applications to those places. Now, and obviously, I had to do my essay T's I was, you could do your essays in the Caribbean, at least then same essay, you know, we do in the US. Same as it is, yeah, we just go, you know, we have specific testing centers that did that, right. So you couldn't go to every school and do it. I think today, like you just do it in your school or whatever. Like, I had to go to like specific places like testing facilities to do that. Right. And so I'll go did my si T's got a pretty good score. I did it the second time, I got an even better score. I'm like, Okay, oh, no, like, Can I just keep taking this thing and keep getting better scores. But anyway, it turns out that, you know, from the grades I had before, I got accepted to two schools without even sending my essays, right. So I sent in my college application, but I sent them in before I had gotten in my scores. Right. And that was because the deadline was approaching, but at the time that we're taking the exam, like that would be that would have been past the deadline, right? So anyway, so I sent my LSAT scores after I've already got accepted to college, which is funny. So I think that was more so just like, how many credits are you gonna get, like, you know, like, how many transfer credits or how many, you know,

Brandon Minnick  34:23
scholarship classes or

Cecil Phillip  34:24
Yeah, AP classes, you know, scholarship grants and things of that nature that that was a separate conversation. I'm sorry, I sent in my stuff got an and now what I got to pick Well, I got accepted to Virginia Tech. Florida tech, good school, and I got accepted to FSU. Right now. I'm trying to decide well, which again, I haven't been to these places. I don't know the difference, right? Probably if I grew up in United States, I might have watched like, I don't know NCAA basketball or seen the news or something like that I would have I would have learned about like College reputation. Like that's the thing people know about the country. I didn't know anything about that. Like I just Eenie meenie miney Moe. Right. We're gonna pick one.

Christopher Harrison  35:10
FSU is playing for the softball title. Tonight if they beat Oklahoma, they take the softball title tonight.

Cecil Phillip  35:18
See? and see. Like you know about that stuff. It's, it's, it's like news to you. For me. It's just like I don't know these people like like, what is this?

Brandon Minnick  35:28
Right? And even like for me growing up in Orlando, I kind of have a similar story where I love computers as the computer guy. And so when it came time to choose a college I just looked around said like, what are the best engineering colleges and at least at the time, hopefully, it's still true. University of Florida was the top in the state. So I applied to University of Florida. That was the only application I submitted to any college and they accepted me. So I went. But just wanted to get a subtle jab in there. Good choice, not choosing FSU.

Cecil Phillip  36:02
But I'll tell you the one reason why I'm going to Florida tech was because I liked their computer science program the most. And then also, at the time, they had the highest international student population in the United States. And I mean, that sounds like that might be a big number. But at the time, it was at like 12% 12% international students. I don't know what it is today might be more or less but but at that point that was the highest in the United States. So I was like, there's a lot of people that want to go.

Brandon Minnick  36:33
Ironically, yeah, I so I used to live in Melbourne. And I used to coach the fit the Florida tech water polo team. And yeah, the team was almost exclusively international students. So it's that the percentage of international students said fit his or her Florida Tech has gone up dramatically.

Cecil Phillip  36:53
Yeah, it probably has. But but that that, for me was like the deciding factor after I've gotten my acceptance letters, right. Like, it was, Hey, I like the the curriculum, because we're getting remember, I was going through all of these course descriptions and stuff like that. I like the curriculum, I like the subject matter. But I also really liked the fact that there's a lot of international folks going there. But not only international folks, there are a lot of Caribbean people that went there. So again, for me if I'm going to go like, and I don't know anything about this place, like let me go where the territory is, could it be a little bit more familiar, right? Because again, that's important because you're going away from home, right? Like, I'm not going to the college down the street or, you know, at the other side of the island, right, like I'm going to another country, you know, I mean, like let me at least walk in slowly to a place that's a little bit comfortable. You know, that kind of makes sense. So anyway, so now, you know, I'm here I'm in. I'm in Florida tech. And um, you know, it's, it's weird, because while I was in college, no one believed that I was a computer science major. Which is, which is weird, right? They're like, Oh, sessile you don't, you know, you're not like, and I don't mean to offend anybody, but I'm just gonna tell you what they told me right there, like you don't wear glasses and watch anime and drink soda and pizza parties and hang out. And I'm like, I mean, it's, it's balanced. Right? Like, like, we're all not the same. And I think it's a conversation we have a lot today with, which is like, what does a computer professional look like? The Anatomy. And so for me very early on, I'm just like, this is just how I spin like, I like playing. I like sports. But I like computers, too. It's okay to like more than one thing. It's not a problem. You know, the way

Christopher Harrison  38:34
I got that a ton when I when I was doing full time tech training is the number of students who who would come up to me or you know, the number of admins that whatever Training Center I was at, and it would just be blown away by the fact that Oh, wait, wait, wait, hold on. You mean, you're technical, but you're so outgoing, and you like have a personality like, Yeah, and that's okay.

Cecil Phillip  38:58
Yeah, it's, it's very weird. I never really understood that. Um, but again, also to remember, like, my context is different, like, I'm coming from another place, and I'm just like, do do computer people do something different than I'm supposed to know. Am I missing something? Like, I already know that I didn't do it in high school, like a lot of other folks that's in my head. I'm always thinking, I am missing something. Like there's something that like, I haven't done that, like, I haven't gotten like the rite of passage to be in this place. You know what I mean? After a while, I just realized it was just silly, silly stereotypes, and it's whatever. Um, I can tell you another thing for me in college was, um, so before I went to college, like I didn't, I didn't meet a lot of different type of people that don't look like what I look like, you know, um, you know, right now, I think there's a big conversation in the United States about like diversity and inclusion and just like respect of other people. Um, I grew up in a society where like, everyone was the same, like I had black teachers, I had black friends I had, like, everyone was the same, you know, it was a Christian society, right? Like, like, everything was the same. And so now I want to say Christian, like, you know, it's, you know, Catholics and Methodists and Baptists. And like those, like, like, that was the culture of the Alamo. And now I come to United States, and I'm meeting people from Egypt, and Africa, and Australia, and France. And I'm like, we don't have any of those, you know, me, like I've never met folks from from this, from these places in these cultures. I've never met Muslim people before. I've never met Jewish people before until I left the country. And I came here. And I think in addition to just one, learning more about the perspective of what I could do, technically, again, it was also learning, like, the different perspectives of people in general, right, like, so it was learning on both sides, both professionally and personally, you know, what I mean, like college was a huge exposure for me, just understanding like, what was possible, you know, in a way, and I know, everyone doesn't have like, the ability to go or the finances to go whatever the case is. But for me, it was about, you know, what, regardless of whether it was school, or whatever the case is, it was about like, leaving your comfort zone. And being in a place that were kind of immerse you around different types of people in different types of experiences. And, and it's almost like going to, like, very uncomfortable situations, right, and learning to kind of like, adapt to those not hostile situations, but again, just just places that you're just not usually at, you know what I mean, and kind of deal with that.

Brandon Minnick  41:45
Yeah. And so I'm curious. So I'm going to selfishly take a minute to plug your podcasts away from the keyboard. anybody listening should go to away from the keyboard, Comm. Subscribe. It's a great listen. And the reason I bring it up is what you're just talking about. So with different folks who not only look different, but have different backgrounds or sound different. Seems to be the kind of the running theme on the podcast is that kind of is this life experience? What inspired you to host this show?

Cecil Phillip  42:27
I think life experience turned it into what it is today, what where it initially started was. So you know, we used to, you know, pre pre COVID pre pandemic, right, we actually used to meet together and user groups and used to meet in person and have sessions and stuff like that. I don't remember any of that. It was like a lifetime ago. That's like, that's, like at least five JavaScript frameworks I got right. Like, we don't remember that. We, one of the things that we always wanted to do was like, since these meetups were, you know, once a month kind of thing, like, how do we connect with people for the other three weeks of the month, right? So like, Oh, hey, let's do a podcast and and kind of, like, continue the conversation that we would have started at the end of the meetup, because at the end of the meetup and the sessions that everyone wants to hang out, and there's questions, and then the little bit of networking happens, and, you know, like, community building happens, you know, like before and after the meetup is when like, the community is kind of built. But anyway, as we're doing the podcast, and you know, I'm in South Florida, so it was mainly like South Florida conversations we're having with, you know, different companies, and how are you using dotnet? And what kind of startup are you? We didn't call them startups back then. But you know, what kind of you business ID you have now and whatever, whatever. And eventually, like, we realize, hey, like, there are people from outside of Florida that are listening to our podcast, too. We didn't think about that, like that was never that the target audience. We didn't like go out and seek them. But they found the show and they liked it. So now we're like, Okay, well, how could we expand the, the subject matter to include people from different places, you know, the way and so we could have totally, you just been like, we don't care, whatever, we're just gonna keep it so far. We're just gonna keep it man. We're just gonna keep it for a lot of you. But I think once you recognize that people are giving you your time. I think it was almost like our duty to like, give those people like a moment. You know what I mean? Like, like, again, like, I've never been to Africa, at least at the time, you know, but we have people from Africa, listening to the podcast, maybe we should get a guest that's been from South Africa. Right? You know, I'd never been to the UK or, you know, again, I, I've never, I haven't done a lot of things right. Like, maybe we should find some other people with insect that do these things. Because now as more people listen to the show, like if I want them to find someone or some thing or some topic that they could kind of connect to, and be like, oh, okay, every episode is not about me, but like this particular one, like, I feel this person, like emotionally like attached to what they're talking But I kind of felt like it was our duty to kind of tell that story. Um, another thing too, what you'll notice, as you know, even with like the conversation we're having right now, you know, we like we haven't said anything about technology, like I haven't said, compiler preprocessor directive data, like we haven't spoken about it. Right. But But what we're doing is we're looking at, like the people behind the code, right, like the people behind the software that we built. And I think a lot of the times we forget that perspective. Yeah, a lot of the times we see a thing, and we're like, Oh, damn, you, company x, your does, your thing doesn't do the thing I wanted to do. And then we say we have a lot of choice words for those people. But then we forget that there are people, right, and you forget that, you know, we're all under the same pandemic, we forget that, you know, some people have lost loved ones. And some people have lost their jobs, we forget context, right? We forget that we're still people at the end of the day. And I think shows like, like our podcasts, and even what we're doing here, right now, it's always good to show the other side of the keyboard, you know, what I mean? Like, like, like, Who are the people that are doing these things? What are they building? Like? What do they feel like? You know, what are some of the struggles that they've gone through? You know, because you can imagine there are 1000s millions of people that are writing software every day. You know what I mean? Like, what's the probability that someone that's written some software that you're using had a bad day? You know, what I mean? Like, what's the probability that you know, something messed up happened to them? In an event? You don't know, right? And it's kind of like when people are online, and they're complaining, oh, well, you brought up this feature, but you didn't do this one. And you did this. He didn't do this one. And I'm just like, really, dude, like, you know, yeah, people, it's always like, what have you done for me lately? versus, uh, you know, hey, like, like, I should really appreciate these people's time and effort. And, you know, again, remember that we're talking about people, we're not talking about, like machines that are writing the code themselves. Right.

Brandon Minnick  47:07
Yeah, that's a it was a, I empathize deeply, having been on both sides of that. And, yeah, I had that realization a couple years ago, myself, where every time somebody creates, or every time, there's a new tool, a new website, a new podcast, something new in the world, somebody created that. And somebody put time and effort into it. And I think it's right. And I realized, it's important that we we remember that first before necessarily criticizing it, because it's, it's so easy to read a blog post and be like, Oh, this is terrible. There's typos everywhere, or they call it this instead of this, how, how could they? But yeah, at the end of the day, you know, somebody took the time out of their busy day, to write that blog posts, they're not making any money off it, they're not looking for fame, they just wanted to share their experiences. And I think if we first take that moment to appreciate that content, then I think we can give some better feedback rather than worst blog post ever. How could anybody read this just is, there's a person behind it?

Cecil Phillip  48:24
Yeah, I think for me, so kind of like, going back to the question Christopher asked me, for me, it's very similar to my experience going to college, right? Like, I didn't know certain things until I got there anon meeting these different people. And now I have a different perspective about what it means to communicate with them what their culture is, like, you know, what things may or may not be deemed respectful or disrespectful? Again, you don't know what you don't know. But then you don't know if you don't make the effort to know. Right? And so it's Same thing with us, right? Like, as we tell the stories of computer science and of computing in general, I kind of look at shows like this, like, the historical record of what we've done, right? Because Because who's writing the history books for us? ran away? Like, where's the who's the who's the computer historian? Right. And it's us technically, in a kind of backward way. Right? It's these podcasts that we do is the shows that we do these videos that recreate these blog posts, or rewrite, that at some point, you think about it 1025 years from now, whenever someone's gonna look back and be like, Oh, well, this is how we used to write code. And this is how we used to do videos, and this is how we used to do podcasts and conversations. And, you know, assuming that, like, you know, the world hasn't gotten crashing to hell. We can look back at a historical data and be like, oh, wow, like things were different or better or worse or whatever. Because, you know, if we look back, probably a lot of the things that happened, like might have been lost to, you know, I don't know, like environmental damage, and I lost the disk and you know what I mean? Like, stuff happened, right? And we don't have history for everything. And so I think all this data that we're generating, now, this is just going to become, you know, like someone at some point is going to sit down and curate all this stuff that we've created over this past, you know, two, three decades, and be like, well, this is the history of computing over, you know, the early parts of the 2000s. Right, and this is what it looked like. And this is, and this is what, you know, this is where we came from. And, you know, this is where we're gonna go, right.

Brandon Minnick  50:31
Well said, Yeah, I wonder about that myself. Because we are constantly generating or creating things, but it all lives in the cloud are ones and zeros. And I'm curious how, how that will survive, or if it will survive, like, you know, you're talking about installing software, installing games on a computer using the CD. That was only 20 years ago. And now, I don't even own a CD player. So yeah, if if all that information was saved on the CD, well, what good is it if we don't have a way to read the medium? So like? Yeah, I'm always curious. And none of us will be around to know the answer. But yeah, 2000 years from now, will we still have like, the old Geocities websites cached somewhere? And the Internet Archive?

Christopher Harrison  51:22
I mean, I don't know. It's, it's funny, because I mean, certainly there's a lot of things that have been lost to the ether over time. But there's, there's still a lot of things that that do exist out there. You know, the the Space Jam the original Space Jam website being like a fantastic example of that, or Bob loblaw, one of his website,

Brandon Minnick  51:46
laws law blog. Yes. Thank you.

Christopher Harrison  51:49
Yes, exactly. But But he was he was a y2k denier saying that it wasn't going to be that big of a thing until he put out a website about this. And it apparently, like still exists in the in that exact same state that it did from his last update of like, you know, February or something like that of the year 2020. So that, you know, some of those things do still exist out there. So to like Russell's point, it's gonna be really interesting. And to your point, as well, Brandon, it's gonna be really interesting to sort of see 20 years from now, when everybody starts going back and looking at those things, like, what the interpretation of that is, is gonna wind up at Yang,

Brandon Minnick  52:33
right? Yeah, for sure. Like this? Oh, no,

Cecil Phillip  52:38
no, exactly. I look at my family, like generations of my family. And like, I kind of started talking about, like, how my dad reports on a typewriter, you know, no way. And then I went to college, I wrote reports on a laptop, you know what I mean? And now my eight year old son talks to like, the air, right? And some device in the house is good to listen to him and does the thing, right. So we're, I had to like, use, you know, my dad walked to libraries, I had Britannica or whatever, and carta on a CD. You know, now my son stays at home, and he talks to the air. And like, the speakers in the house are like, oh, I'll find the answer for you. I know what that is, you know what I mean? So there's just a kind of, again, and this, we're only talking three generations, right? We're not talking about hundreds of years. But you can see how technology has kind of evolved over that space. And one, like, you know, we're very much more connected, but then to is there's just so much more. That's possible, you know, within that space. So, again, I don't have a teenager my son's not 20 years old in college. So I can only imagine when, when he has to write reports like, what is what is that going to look like, at that point? You know, I mean, and what does it look like for his grandkids? And, you know, sometimes I wonder, Is he gonna even own a car? Or are they just gonna like, you know, our cars just gonna drive us? We're not gonna drive that anymore. Like, what is it? Really?

Christopher Harrison  54:00
I just want my flying car. That's all that I just want my flying car. See? Something? Yeah, we don't get like jetpacks or something.

Brandon Minnick  54:09
So it's just a beaver missed? Because we've been having some awesome chats in the comments about stereotypes. We've talked about it for a bit. Where are what a software engineers look like? And in the thumbnail for the show, you're holding this really cool metal? What is that and explain a little bit more about your, your hobbies as a software engineer on the side. What are you what do we do?

Cecil Phillip  54:39
So, so kinda like I mentioned earlier, like we like, whenever I went to college, there was always the, you're not a software person. Like, I don't believe you. Like up until the point that I'm graduating. And I'm walking across the stage like, we don't believe you like I need to hear him call you. Because I don't believe you. Right, but I'm like, okay, whatever. So You know, I grew up again, I grew up in Antigua and I was always a fairly like active person. I used to swim for Antigua. Like regionally speaking, like, I used to do a lot of swimming and basketball was the thing that I did. And, you know, after I graduated, I was like, I need something to do. Right, I need, you know, I'm not on a team anymore. And, you know, getting into sports in the United States is a little bit more complicated. Particularly you want to play in college and stuff, like you can't just like, Hey, I'm coming and show up. Because that's what we did at home. We just showed up here, paperwork, stuff has to happen, right? So anyway, um, I started getting into like weightlifting a little bit. When I started working, like nothing, not not like super heavy weights, just like lean fitness, I guess. And I saw an ad on like, you know, like Hulu or one of those things. I saw an ad about, like these obstacle course races, so I started looking them up on YouTube. And then I think like Spartan and CrossFit was, like, just starting, like, it wasn't super profitable yet, but it was just like a thing that people were doing. And I was like, Oh, hey, you know, I don't like running. Like I honestly hate running. Um, but there's very few races that's just swimming. In no way, particularly like, this is a big continent. Versus I could like, I could walk to the beach from my house. And until you get to me, like so, me getting to the beach is a little bit different. So I'm like, this is a big place, like, what do people do? And so I saw these obstacle course races and I'm like, okay, I don't like running. But like, this is like a little bit of everything. Like there's some climbing, there's lifting there's, you know, swinging on bars and carrying rocks. And like, That sounds like fun. Let's Let's do that. And you before COVID I want to say maybe two or three years before COVID I started doing like obstacle course races. So I did. Warrior dash was my first race. I did that like three, maybe like three times. Before I did any other race event. Yeah, warrior dash was a lot of fun. So it was worried that South Florida, they don't come down here anymore, but they used to. I think the closest one to me now will be Orlando. But before we used to come all the way down to Fort Lauderdale, Miami. Um, I did that I did. Mud factor like so this, this metal that I have here that I'm holding up is from one factor. I know you can see that. But that's what it says. This is a mud factor race. One factor is kind of short. It's like a 5k with obstacles kind of thing. So not not super long in comparison to the other one. I've done Spartan, Spartan Race. Spartan is interesting because they have three different versions. I think there's a there's like a five by eight and a 13 mile version or some some some iteration of that. Like there's three different plans that you could do with obviously varying levels of like, obstacles and things of that nature. So I did two of them. And I was trying to get the trifecta. The trifecta is when you do all three of them. What happens is that when you do Spartan, Spartan races, you just like you don't get the whole middle, you get like back, right? So I had like the top piece, I like the sight piece. And I needed like one more part and the 113 mile and I'm just like, do I really want to do this? I do I really want to do 30 miles of obstacles. But I'm again COVID happened, and then I haven't done it. So. But the thing is, you have to do this. You can't like do it. I can't do 2018 2019 2020 I got to do all three races the same year. So I don't think I'm going to do it this year because things are still pretty locked out. But maybe next year, I'll you know, get the three of them. And let's see how that goes.

Brandon Minnick  58:41
Right. Well, we'll start trading now. Well, sessile we only have a minute left. Thanks again so much for coming on. So quicker. I flew by. But for folks listening, where can they find you online? We know your your podcast, away from the keyboard calm.

Cecil Phillip  59:00
Yeah, so definitely check out my podcast away from the keyboard calm. And again, the whole purpose of that show is for us to just have conversations with folks in technology about not technology. So you know, you'll hear a lot of random conversations about comic books and woodworking and having children and starting businesses and you know, but they're all from folks in technology. So again, like kind of just like peeling the veil behind and showing you the people behind like the stuff. Another thing that I do, and I could see if I could find like I'll put this in a private chat. So I do a show called The on dotnet show. So this is a pretty fun show that I've been doing for about three years. We do a live version of the show we do a pre recorded version of the show. And we also have like what we call a little highlight videos, but it's all around dotnet stuff so you know dotnet web applications dotnet you know new C sharp things, new blazer things Visual Studio things. If you're interested in learning about dotnet we have something for everybody. Whether you're seeing here or elevating you We're in the space. So that's pretty cool. And another thing that I do that's public that folks can take a look at. I'll share this inside of the chat too, really quickly. So my me and my other co worker, Brian Clark, we do a show called pay weekly live, actually did it just before I got on here, like before I'd signed on to the stream. That's what exactly what we're doing. But we pay weekly live, what we do is, you know, we take two folks that aren't Python, professional people. So again, I'm a dotnet person, right is more of a JavaScript person. And then we both get together, we learn Python, which has been really fun. So we've been looking at building a lot of cool things with Python. We've been exploring different Python web frameworks, we look through flask and Django and fast API. Bottle tornado. Again, like all the cool Python things, we've kind of just been exploring those. How do you work with databases with Python? Or how do you call web API's with Python? How do you build bots with Python? Again, the cat is just, you know, messing around and exploring a lot of things. Another thing too, you'll notice about that stream, like Brian, and I love to go on tangents. So again, I'm warning you because when you come to the show, and we don't do code top to bottom, don't get mad, like, we like to go on tangents. Because I was I was, again, because it's about people at the end of the day, and I think it's important that we have the conversation. And sometimes we have new folks that come in, and they're like, oh, okay, how do you do? priority planning? Like, how do you determine like, what we're going to do first, right, or stuff like, you know, oh, how do you like what's what's, what's type hinting in Python? And then we got, you know, we go on a little bit of a tangent, or what's Docker, you know, how do I install, like, the VS code thing, or whatever. And then we kind of go on tangents. And, you know, we want to make sure that whoever comes to the show, understands what it is by the time that they leave. So I know that might be frustrating for some of the more advanced folks, I'm sorry. But you know, again, we definitely want to make sure that people are comfortable and understand, hey, even though you might be coming from a perspective of I'm a new developer, or maybe you're, you know, super duper c++ person and you want to learn Python, like we want to make sure that everyone understands what's happening. Love it,

Brandon Minnick  1:02:07
let's say printing in Python. Yeah, Python. So yeah, so we are out of time, but sessile Thank you so much. Thanks so much for tuning in to eight bits this week. Do make sure to check out his sessile his podcast away from the keyboard Comm. You can see him on the on dotnet show on Channel Nine. And also he can catch up on Twitch doing pie weekly. sessile Thank you so much, Christopher. Thank you as well for coming on as the guest host and we will see you next week. Thanks everybody. Appreciate it.