The Responsible Party

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Jim Karabatsos

Jim has been a regular contributor to AVDF from way back before he joined GUI. In those days he was the Managing Director, Senior Lecturer, Head Receptionist and Chief Cleaner, of Professional Training Institute.

No-one is really too sure what Jim does at GUI except that it tends to involve programming in one form or another. Jim has been involved in both Visual Basic and Delphi since they first became available, and has been known to spend hours discussing the relative merits of the inheritance and containment models for object extensions (and you probably think I'm kidding...). In a previous life, Jim worked with large mainframes in COBOL and PL/1, although he doesn't like to talk about that much.

Photo of Jim

No-one has seen his propeller hat but everyone knows he must have one somewhere.

Personal Programmer Profile : Jim Karabatsos

Jim, you're GUI's Director of Software Development. What does this mean?

Yes, I am. This is a word we use to denote a particular member of a collective, as in this apple rather than any apple. Is that clear?

Seriously, I have no idea what the DSD title actually means. Do you know? It was one of those ideas of Mark's that seemed to make sense at the time. Of course, any similarity between the title and what I actually do is entirely coincidental.

Why don't you like being called a "Guru"? What term would you prefer (and don't be modest)?

It's not that I have any particular objection to the word "guru" itself (note the small "g"), it's more the "self-proclaimed" tag that usually precedes it. That's the part that I don't like. People who don't know me might think I'm full of it. I'd rather they don't form that opinion until after they get to know me <g>.

How about the term "omniscient one"? Too presumptuous, do you think <g>?

Why do you like Delphi so much? Is there some Greek connection, here?

I was one of those foolhardy souls who suggested that VB (Version 1) was going to revolutionise the way we developed software. It wasn't perfect (not even close) but it was orders of magnitude better than anything else we had. The establishment scoffed, because everyone knew that real programmers used C. Delphi is another significant step forward in development tools but now we VB programmers are the establishment.

Delphi gives the programmer the same RAD benefits that VB does but creates significantly faster programs and allows for much more reuse of code and objects. VB is playing catch-up, but is about 3 versions away from being close. I think that VB and Delphi will naturally co-exist in future, just like VB and C++ have for a while. It is only during the start-up cycle that the establishment feels threatened, as if a different language somehow invalidates the one that they have chosen.

Is there some Greek connection? Yes, the GAB (Greeks Against Borland) wants you to know that the correct pronounciation is DELfee despite Borland's official pronounciation (DELfy) <g>

What's more difficult: designing and building software for clients, or designing and building a cubby-house for your kids?

Designing software is more difficult than designing cubby houses (cubby hice?) but building cubby houses is much harder than building software (and, like software, they never actually get completed!)

If you were ship-wrecked on a desert island and could have only one music CD and one book, what would you choose?

Music CD: "O Dromos" which is a Greek album from the 60s. You really need to have been brought up in a migrant home to understand it. Of course, it also helps if you know Greek.

Book: "How to Get Off a Desert Island" <g>. Seriously, assuming you mean non-technical, it would have to be Robert Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land".

You always seem so composed. What annoys you ?

I guess I am a rather low-stress person. I've yet to see a parking spot or a deadline that was worth me getting my blood pressure elevated about.

I've always subscribed to two fundamental principles. The first principle is that there are two types of things you need to deal with in this world: things you have control over and things you don't. Why worry about what you can't control? Why spend time worrying about things you can control instead of using that time to control them so you don't need to worry?

The second principle is that whenever you start feeling that you are going to confront someone you need to ask yourself "Is this important?". The amount of energy (and anxiety <g>) you expend on a matter must be proportional to its importance. In other words, don't sweat the little things.

That advice would cost you a fortune if you got it from a psychotherapist but (in my opinion, anyway) it is the basis for leading a stress-free life.

What really annoys me? I guess people who are afraid to say "I don't know". That really irks me.

Is the political climate ready for a return of Big-M girls?

No, not yet. Not until Jeff goes to Canberra.

Favourite TV news-reader?

Agro, although he's not on too often

If you could invite any four people to dinner, who would you choose?

My wife and three kids <g> (I had to say that).

Let's see. Jesus, coz I'd love to ask him what really happened. Albert Einstein, so I can find out what would happen if I was driving at the speed of light and turned on my headlights. Anders (the guy who designed Delphi), so I could try to get him to go and work for the VB development team. Oh, and the guy who wrote McArthur Park, coz I have absolutely no idea what the lyrics mean and I would love to know what he was on when he wrote them...

Interview conducted by Rod Martin

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