About Tom Fakes

I'm a Senior Software Engineer and I've worked with Ruby on Rails since 2005, more recently using PostgreSQL and MySQL before that. I work across the full stack (alhough my front-end design skills are...not my strongest point). I often focus on the performance aspects of my Rails apps, as Rails can hide those problems behind the ease of implementation. Although there are great tools inside Rails to write performant code too!

Since 2017 I have been working at Mystery Science. We run a service, and create the curriculum, for Elementary school teachers to teach science.

We also run Mystery Doug, which is a weekly short video that can be used to learn about something interesting for teachers that don't have the time for a full lesson.

Previously, I ran a weekly newsletter called FHR News that provided subscribers with information about the free night offers that the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program often has available.

In the wild-west years of Facebook games, I co-founded a company called Offbeat Creations that created several successful games on the Facebook platform using Ruby on Rails. Starting with Be A Tycoon, and adding Super Farkle and Fanglies.

Offbeat Creations was acquired in 2010 by Disney as part of their purchase of Playdom. Subsequently, they published Disney's first branded Facebook game, Marvel Avengers Alliance

Previous to Offbeat Creations, I worked at a small company called 21st Century Music where we worked closely with a record label to provide all their digital needs in-house, again using Ruby on Rails. Although we didn't have much success, I did get to meet and work with Ben Curtis who later went on to co-found Honeybadger and a number of other Rails based projects.

Before Ruby on Rails was a thing, all the non-Microsoft people seemed to be using Java. I too worked with Java at Loudeye Corp, where we built the very first online music store that you could use on your phone. Sadly, bandwidth charges in 2005 prohibited the actualy downloading of those music files. This was before the iPhone, and therefore the dark-ages of cell-phone UI where the phone company controlled all access to apps.

I worked for 10 years at a small startup in Redmond, Washington called Microsoft.

I started there in 1994 working on the soon-to-be-shipped Exchange product that still took another 2 years to get out the door. During that time, the mail client api - MAPI - was also shipped as part of Microsoft Bob and Windows 95.

During my Microsoft stay, I also worked on Site Server, a small product called Internet Explorer and was part of the Windows Media Player team. I came away with a number of patents, the first of which US5793970 recently expired!

Before I moved to the USA, I worked in London for a small software company called Finansa, where I was one of two founding engineers that built our Windows email client, WinMail that used Novell's Message Handling System (MHS) as a mail server. We also developed a Mobile version of WinMail that fully implemented the MHS protocol through reverse engineering.

Email: tom at craz8 dot com