Redbeard Creations Redbeard's home on the web


About Redbeard Creations

This site is my space on the web for posting on programming-related topics. That will likely range from walking through experiments to discussing the topic of the day in whatever programming environment I'm currently working in. I hope to branch to broader topics (e.g. talking about programming in general). I've also considered (and not yet ruled out) screen-casts and the like.

This site will not, in general, be about me personally or about my family. I probably will also avoid art and music topics, except as they pertain to my primary passion and raison d'ĂȘtre for this site. That said, I'll probably mention such things from time to time.

On a technical note, the site is built using Sculpin, a static site generator written in PHP. Basically, I edit posts on my computer, run a Sculpin, and then push the site live. Everything is kept in a git repository so I can track all the changes I make and share them with the various computers I work on. The site then runs as static HTML and CSS.

All layout, design, and styles are created by me. Images and other graphics that are used in the general layout are generally created by me. When images not created or otherwise owned by me are included, they will be identified as such.


All textual content (generally with the .md extension) are licensed as CC-BY-SA-4.0. Briefly, this means you're free to use and change these documents, but you must give me credit and if you make changes, you must license the changes under the same license.

As an exception to the above, any code embedded in the textual content should be considered as public domain, technically licensed under the Unlicense. This allows the use of said code via copy/paste without having to worry about the licensing.

Except as noted, images are copyright ©2015-2016 Michael D Johnson. They are not available for use except as noted.

About Redbeard (a.k.a. Michael D Johnson)

First, where to find me. I go by redbeardcreator1 on most sites. So I'm @redbeardcreator on Twitter, @redbeardcreator on GitHub, and redbeardcreator on deviantArt. The same goes for my GMail account. My mail address here is just redbeard. I'm not terribly active on Twitter (I haven't figured out how to work it into my day very well, yet). I work on projects on GitHub and post art to deviantArt as time permits.

So, who am I? I'm a husband and father of five (one of whom does not live with us). I am a consummate computer programmer and I dabble in music and art, often combining them with programming.

I've been programming since I was in fifth grade (more than 30 years now). I've used more than 20 programming languages (depending on how you count) on at least 10 platforms in those 30+ years. Programming is what I do and who I am.

But I am also a father, with five great kids and a wonderful wife. The four kids living with my wife and me are aged 5-12 and are in kindergarten through seventh grade. Add in a puppy, my wife going to seminary full time and pastoring a church, and both of us having full time secular jobs and we end up being pretty busy.

As this site is primarily about programming, I'd like to give some details with regard to my background in programming. As I mentioned, I've been programming for more than 30 years. In that time I've used a number of different platforms and languages and I've had a couple companies actually pay me to work on software.

Platforms and languages

So, how have I built my programming experience? Let me count the ways. Note that this list is roughly in order of learning, but towards the end is geared toward showing what I'm doing now.

I am Zend certified in PHP 5. I hope to get certified for PHP 7 soon after certification exists.


2003 - present. Internet application programmer at Pitsco, Inc., Pittsburg, KS
Ongoing maintenance, update, modernization, and system administration of online assessment delivery system. Written in PHP, JS, HTML and CSS using a MySQL backend. Multiple server configuration running on AWS. Leader on a team of two developers. Mentor to the junior developer.
Developer on rewrite of the web-based curriculum delivery system, this time written in C#, .NET, and Silverlight using MS SQL Server backend. Provided support to customers and support department. Continuing support to present. Mentored a new developer during the development process.
Core developer for web-based curriculum delivery system replacing previously Windows application-based system. Written in PHP, JS, HTML, and CSS using a MySQL backend. Included Flash based media delivery. Provided training and support to customers and customer support department. Continuing support to present.
Mentored a new developer who was the sole developer of web-based tool to deliver additional information on company products.
Sole developer of new web-based, online curriculum delivery system written in PHP, JS, HTML, and CSS using a MySQL backend. Provided training and support to customers and support department.
Linux system administration throughout.
Support of customer service department throughout.
2003 (January-June). Customer service representative at Pitsco, Inc., Pittsburg, KS

Answered customer service line.

Diagnosed and fixed customer problems over the phone. Supported software, computer hardware, networks, and proprietary equipment.
Interfaced with other departments to help diagnose problems.
1999 - 2002. Electrical technician at Guardian Fiberglass, Inwood, WV

Implemented and maintained of electrical equipment on the production floor. Included basic electrical work, PLC programming and maintenance, electric motor diagnostics and replacement, and high-power electrical melters.

Designed and built control systems and user controls for packaging equipment, including PLC and electrical controls and industrial control panel.
Created and supported a web-based data entry system written in PHP, HTML and CSS with MySQL backend.
Maintained and administrated plant-wide phone system and computer network as well as individual computers.
Maintained vision control systems.
Provided phone support for systems at other facilities.
1995 - 1999. Electrical technician at Guardian Fiberglass, Albion, MI

Diagnosed and repaired problems with packaging equipment, automation control systems, and vision control systems.

Designed and built electrical control systems for automation and packaging equipment.
Designed and wrote software for vision control systems. Software written in C and later C++ on Windows.
Provided phone support for systems at other facilities.
1990 - 1995. Engineering co-op student at Guardian Fiberglass, Albion, MI

Wrote data collection and reporting tool for emissions testing. Written in C on DOS.

Worked on vision control systems, automation systems, and packaging equipment..
Documented and updated existing multi-computer automated line control system.


1990 - present
Continuous learning through books, online resources, user group meetings (Nomad PHP), and conferences on all aspects of programming as well as project management, Linux administration, UX design.
1990 - 1995 GMI Engineering and Management Institute
Two years in the Manufacturing Systems Engineering program.
Three years in the Electrical Engineering program.
1990 Carthage High School
Graduated valedictorian.

  1. I once used just redbeard, back when the Internet was young. But I kind of left for a while and lost it all. So now I use redbeardcreator as most sites already have a redbeard.