What's going on here?

Well, hello to you too. I'm Simon Allardice, and I write and record courses on software development. They make things easier.

Your name looks familiar. Why would I know you?

I write and record training courses for Pluralsight. Before that, I created many courses for lynda.com.

If that's not it, perhaps you attended a class I taught in previous years at Interface in Phoenix, or for lynda.com at the Ojai Digital Arts Center or Stanford University's New Media Academy. Maybe you saw me at a user group, or a conference like MobileConnections, Flashforward or SIGGRAPH.

No, that's not it.

If you have a long memory, you could have read something I wrote, like "Building Rich Internet Applications" for Peachpit, or have seen my name as a contributor / technical editor for books like the Flash Bible or ActionScript Bible.

Nope, I wouldn't touch any of those things with a ten-foot pole.

Well, I'm all out of ideas.

Where are you?

Most of the time, I'm in Phoenix, Arizona.

Arizona? Hmm. I've heard you talk. You don't sound like you're from Arizona.

No, I'm a diluted Scot. I've lived and worked in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Shetland Islands, Almeria (Spain), Missouri, Southern California and Arizona. Consequently, my accent is a hybrid mid-atlantic mish-mash that would baffle even Professor Henry Higgins.

And why should I listen to you about any of this?

I've been programming professionally for over thirty years, and I've done just about everything you can do with a computer: from programming safety routines for nuclear reactors to music drivers for computer games. And luckily, most of the time I'm still able to talk about programming and software development like a human being. I've taught for over a decade—not just online but in classrooms and conferences, from Fortune 500 companies to mom-and-pop shops, total beginners to grizzled enterprise greybeards.

I saw you speak at [some conference]. You looked like a bouncer. I'd have come up and said hi, but was worried you might hit me.

So I've been told. The likelihood of imminent ultraviolence is typically overestimated. Say hello! Good topics for our first conversation: anything to do with code, music, design, psychology, language... from bad puns to iambic pentameter. Bizarre Scandinavian death metal I may not have heard yet.

Terrible topics for conversation: anything to do with sports or television: those would be short, short conversations indeed. They would embarrass us both.