Hacker, Maker, Tinkerer, Troublemaker
I’m Sam Galope. I live in a small apartment full of computers, books, and plants. Most people see me as a man of many interests but actually, I only have two: technology and art. Whenever I get the chance to combine the two, I will most certainly do. For example, I am heavily involved in the Free and Open Source Hardware / Software movement, I love Linux and microcontrollers, likewise I am keen on self sustainability, especially on food security, thus hydroponics and aquaponics are natural venues for my energies. I am also passionately in love with photography. I love how the camera, as a tool, captures life. I am as fascinated with its mechanics as well its outputs. In this regard, I shoot when I have the time. I also collect manual and digital cameras.
Admittedly, I am a bookworm. I can’t endure ebooks, epubs, pdfs, and what-not formats after 20 pages. I just can’t. A book for me is an experience and without the smell and feel of paper, it’s incomplete. Soul-less even. In this regard, I am very traditional.
I have a special interest in Philippine History, Non-Collectivist Philosophy, and Political Strategy.
In History, I especially love the works of Nick Joaquin and Ambeth Ocampo because they present a non-biased view of what the Filipino then and now. Moreover, they provide well researched insights on Philippine culture during pre-history and colonial times. Of course, the two Antonios (de Morga and Pigafetta) as well as William Henry Scott, as first-hand sources, provide a more complete view of what we were. They are priceless.
In Philosophy, unequivocally, I am indebted to Ayn Rand and Friedrich Nietzsche. It might be misconstrued that I am a right-wing libertine, but actually, what I acquire from them are the importance of individualism in a Laissez-Faire Capitalist environment. They reconcile many questions that plagued me in my youth especially with my personality, and my role in society. They validate my existence by removing the guilt associated with excellence. With the Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, Anthem and Thus Spake Zarathustra, my existence is justified. I owe them a lot.
In Political Strategy, I am much in-line with Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, and Musashi. They are consistent with my Philosophy because, more than anything else, they focus on individual greatness.
On another note, I drive an off-color 1976 W123 Mercedes Benz. Aside from the workmanship put into its exterior and mechanics, the feel and smell of leather transport me into a time where quality and class ruled the world. I just love it.
Lately, I have acquired the love for Vinyl records. At first, I, like some of my friends, thought that all the hoopla about how Vinyl is over rated. However, after acquiring my first record player from an old friend and playing a “Dixieland” record on it, I was hooked. The audio quality is just real. It is authentic. An antique dealer once told me, “Vinyls have soul that digital can never have.” Every hiss, pop, and scratch make it even more – human. And I love it for its flaws.
Probably, I’m an old old soul.
My expertise and my hobbies tend to make me an odd ball in the eyes of many people. They see me as a walking contradiction. I think this is because they can’t reconcile “digital adeptness” against “analog interests.” Honestly, I don’t think of it much. After all, it’s me that I am satisfying not anyone else.
I am an IT professional with 21 years of experience. What piqued my interest in technology was my 1st year high-school class on BASIC (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) programming. At that time, in the late 80’s, computers were very expensive and only the super rich can afford them. I was not one of them. When the school I attended included a computer class in the curriculum, I was stoked. Of course, I didn’t know what computers were and what they can do but I was curious nonetheless. So, when the teacher showed us an ASCII superman she hand coded, I was head-over-heels in amazement. It was almost magical. From that point in time, my fate was sealed.
In college, through my Grandmother, I got my first personal computer. It was a mother-of-pearl colored 386Mz IBM-original computer. At that time, it was already obsolete, but I loved it because it’s the only one I got. It ran Windows 3.11, the first mouse operated GUI. After a while, I experimented with PASCAL and almost developed a whole new Operating System with it. But, fate is not without a sense of irony because due to financial issues, I was drawn to print media.
I was 18 when I got my first real job with the Media and Press. There I learned Graphics design, layout design, copy-writing/editing, and printing press production management. At the age of 20, I was honored to hold the position of Art Director for a well known Filipino-American media outfit. Soon after, I was immersed in Tri-media(Audio, Video, Print), which eventually led to website development.
After the 2004 National Elections, the company collapsed. My services were retained but no longer as Art Director but as the local Bureau Chief. On this post, I was tasked to form and lead a small print production group to handle the States-side newspaper and magazine, and maintain the company website. I retained the post for another two years.
Since then, I have been privileged to work for one of the Philippines’ most esteemed institutions by providing Alternative Solutions to Expensive Problems. And by aiding a visionary whose primary goal is to provide open access to information to those who need them at the most cost-effective way.
In 2011, I left government work to start my own company: Flux, a software development and consultancy firm. It was a very lucrative business but it robbed me of my creativity. I mismanaged my energy. In short, I burned-out. So, in 2013, I called it quits and returned to government service where I can recuperate and replenish my depleted stores. My experience with Flux gave me a lot of learnings. It made me consider my limits as a human being. Moreover, it taught me the importance of getting the right people for the right job. I learned that, no matter how much you push and train people to succeed, if they do not want to, they never will. In the end, greatness is a personal thing. After all, you can not expect an ass to do a monkey’s work.
I don’t consider Flux as a failure, but a source of great learning.
Public Service NOT Self Service. I am no politician, and I haven’t got the slightest desire to be one. But through my skills and expertise as a full-blooded practicing technocrat, I try as much as I can to contribute to society.
I believe that technology need not be expensive to be exceptional. I believe that consumerism is wasteful, and is fertile ground for corruption. I believe that all men have the capacity to learn and adapt. And that necessity is a great motivator. So, I advocate with all my heart the use and utilization of the Free and Open Source Model in All things — Especially in the Government.
I believe that to progress as a people, we need a little self-belief, and a lot of the ‘can-do’ attitude.