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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

Time to cap off the week with another interview. I spent some time with Jim at TechEd (Developers) 2008 and was quite impressed with not only his VB knowledge, but also his enthusiasm for sharing it. If you've ever worked with LINQ, you've probably been to his website ( at some point. So without further introduction on my part, I give you NINE Questions with Jim Wooley...

image 1. Where are you from?
I've been living around Atlanta, GA for the last 9 years. Most of my formative years were spent on the US East coast, primarily North Carolina and Delaware. We moved around quite a bit when I was younger with the worst being a 10 year period after high school where I moved 18 times (and had 23 different employers). Spiritually, I feel more at home among the Rocky Mountains than around the rolling hills that are called the Appalachians that I have lived around most of my life.

2. Who do you work for? What do you do there? 
I'm currently an architect and team lead for Generation Mortgage Company. They sell Reverse Mortgages to seniors (which is why you aren't old enough to buy their products yet). They started business less than 2 years ago, but already are one of the largest reverse mortgage companies in the country. Although they aren't a technology company per-se, working there affords me the opportunity to continue stretching my skills and playing with newer technologies. I also work as a consultant in my spare time primarily as a trainer, clinician and author.

3. That's impressive, how did you end up there?
I was working at another mortgage company where I designed a system that could handle forward and reverse mortgages. I was ready for a change when I was approached to write a system for Generation. Since I was only one of a handful of people in the country who knew how the loan calculations worked, I decided to leverage this expertise and pass the knowledge on to more people.

4. Ok, shifting gears a bit... a lot of folks know you mostly as "the LINQ guy" but that's just one side of you. What's something the world doesn't know about Jim Wooley?
I don't have any formal training in computers. I started my professional career in Music with degrees in Music Education. I even worked toward a Ph.D. in Music Theory before embracing programming as a career choice rather than just a hobby. I actually find a lot of parallels between the analytic nature of music theory and programming. Now instead of spending time trying to decompose the works of others, I spend my time solving puzzles and learning new ways of thinking which is why I love programming so much.

5. We spent some time hanging out at the Visual Basic booth at Tech Ed (Developers) 2008. Was this your first Tech Ed? Worth the trip?
This was my first TechEd. Since I had the conference fee paid for by working at the booth, it was worth every penny I spent. Honestly, it was a blast and I look forward to doing it again someday.

6. While on the subject of Tech Ed, lots of folks find value in different areas. Some prefer the presentations while others go for the networking opportunities. Where do you stand?
As I progress in my career and participating in numerous user groups, I find I learn less from the sessions. Often the subject matter of the presentation is less important than being in a different environment which makes me think about things in slightly different ways and inspires new ideas toward problem issues I am encountering. That being said, I spent most of my time at TechEd this year talking with attendees and more importantly product team members directly about the technologies they are working on. I actually found that there was more access to the product teams on the floor of TechEd than the MVP's have at their summit. Because many of the conferences out there now have the content available online (often in video format), the real value is in the networking.

7. Your book, LINQ in Action, seems to be doing pretty well. Congrats. What's the coolest LINQ to foo you've seen?  (i.e. LINQ to Amazon, LINQ to ebay, etc...)
The book has been an interesting experience and we continue to get positive feedback from lots of people. LINQ to Amazon holds a fond place in my heart since we discuss it in the book and it provides an understandable introduction to building a provider. I'm also impressed from what I've seen with the LINQ to SharePoint implementations. Perhaps the coolest LINQ implementations I've seen are from people who have thought significantly outside the box of database access to do LINQ to ASCII art ( and Luke Hoban's ray tracing LINQ query (

8. Any non-technical hobbies?  What are they and why?
As I said above, I have a musical background. Unfortunately, I don't have as much time as I would like to pursue that as much. I also haven't found the time to install a pipe organ in my house yet. I also enjoy cooking and have collected over 3000 recipes using chocolate alone. I have to satisfy my insatiable sweet tooth somehow.

9. Last of all, any tattoos?
Well, chocolate can work wonders. Oh, wait a minute, you said Tattoos not Taboos. No, I don't drink or ink, I just ThinqLinq.

Posted on Friday, July 25, 2008 8:26 AM General Interest , NINE Questions | Back to top

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