June 5, 2003

Bio / Profile

Category: Personal Stuff

My name is Aaron Mahler and I live in Sweet Briar, Virginia with my wife Elisabeth. I am the Director of Network Services for Sweet Briar College where I build and maintain the network infrastructure and most of the systems that make the place tick. My job involves the usual network administrator duties, lots of programming and tons of other projects that range from the somewhat related to the completely off the wall. Sweet Briar is a geek's dream come true since it is large enough to have exciting technical demands but small enough to have a true sense of community. It's something of a digital ecosystem unto itself...

I'm tapped into that ecosystem nearly 24 hours per day due to a dedicated 11 Mbit wireless link I put in place in 2002 (updated to 54mbit in 2005) atop a 130 foot tower I erected in my back yard. I often describe my office as being just over a mile wide since my house is ethernet bridged into the campus enabling me to do virtually anything from home that I can do in the office. I drift back and forth between my campus office and my home office constantly, mostly based on how much contact or peace and quiet I need for a given task (programming is best done at home with louder music and less human traffic). I keep my Marble Madness arcade in my campus office to set the proper mood. :)

I live a very Linux-centric life with a strong dose of OS X and a minimum of Microsoft products whenever possible. My primary desktop machines are all Linux systems running X11 with my current Macintosh (a Titanium Powerbook) nearby for the more creative outlets. My office system hasn't had Windows on it for two years, though my home system dual-boots into XP for gaming. At work I am surrounded by Linux systems that run much of the campus infrastructure (e-mail, web services, file servers, DNS, BGP, bandwidth management, etc) with the occasional NT server lurking in a corner somewhere. The Linux boxes are like a digital family and have names like Lazlo, Ripley, Cartman, Indy, Grendel, Gryffindor, and Farquaad (to name just a few).

Elisabeth and I live in a 80+ year old hunting lodge named Merrywood I bought from the college a few years ago. It has high ceilings, two gigantic stone fireplaces and a porch built for having outdoor parties. We rattle around in here all the time starting (but rarely finishing) renovation projects and being entertained by our bizarre white (and not deaf) cat Squinky. Our wedding was scheduled for May of 2003 in France, but due to a war, SARS, and a hideously inefficient government agency formerly known as the INS we had to postpone to September 2003.

In addition to gaming, I'm quite fond of cooking and baking (artisan breads are my preference), digital photography, watching movies, reading good novels and travel (when you can get me out of the house).

Arcade Collection

Category: Personal Stuff

At the moment my collection is somewhat thin after having owned in excess of 30 machines at the peak of my collecting craze. I sold the vast majority of my collection recently including many of the spare parts I had in the attic.

I do have a tremendous number of original ROMS and EEPROMS I have collected over the years that are all readable on my ancient 80's era EPROM burner. I've even read semi-damaged EEPROMS and dumped them into MAME to watch it reproduce the real machine's flaws in the emulator. Now that's accuracy. :)

At the moment I own these remaining classics:

As well as two pinball machines:

At one point in time I owned these machines:

I had the machines that I sold most recently listed on a website that is still online. It has some nice pictures of a few of my favorite machines before they were sold.