Hi All and Welcome,
One of the joys of working on open projects is you get to meet amazing people and work with them to build amazing things. We're just getting started here at CosmoQuest, and I welcome all of you to join us on this adventure.
If you are a programmer, project administrator, systems admin, or graphical artist (or anything related) we could use your help. Over the next few days and weeks, I'll be setting up threads discussing things we want to do, and I hope you'll chime in with your own ideas, and tell us what you want to see.
As you get engaged, I hope you'll spend a few minutes introducing yourself on this thread.
Me? I'm Pamela Gay, aka starstryder. I'm a PhD astronomer by trade, but I think the title I'm proudest of is getting tagged as a code ninja by one of my students. While at Michigan State I got about halfway through a bachelors in computer science when I realized I was going to be forced to take Assembly - this was back in the early 1990s - and I realized I really really didn't want to do that. I had 3 semesters of C under my belt, and I decided the 400 level physics courses were way more attractive then, well, anything having to do with assembly (it wasn't logical, but it's true). Since then, I have spent (and I continue to spend) more hours coding computers then doing anything else other than email and writing. This is because all the science I've ever done has been database driven. Even when people say I do education research, really I'm just writing software to study large surveys; I use computers to transform tables into new understanding.
I'm the type of person who codes for the same reason that other people do puzzles. There are these pieces - functions, libraries, algorithms - that can get put together in near endless combinations. In my head, I can see what I want the code to do - I can see the cover of the puzzle box - and it is the challenge of using all those pieces to build the image in my head that drives me. My periodic "Just one more div", "Just one more test case", "Just one more piece of functionality" promise to myself has this nasty habit of turning into seeing the dawn - but I love it.
Working on CosmoQuest is a love affair for me. I get to combine my passion for astronomy with my love of coding to create someplace where other people can join me in painting not just the picture in my head, but a bunch of pictures I haven't even imagined yet. While I don't think our server would run well if I gave you actual paint, I am here to write the needed API calls we'll need, and to do graphics and layout to wire together functionality you dream up that makes this place that much better to use to explore the universe.
Let's build something great together.