Jerry Peek's Personal Page

Jerry Peek in front of "Jerry's" (abandoned store in Tucson's Barrio Viejo) (by Meredith Hayes)

History and Career: I grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA, a beautiful place in the Rocky Mountains, famous for the Los Alamos National Laboratory. I liked to hike and explore the mountains and canyons that the city is built on and around. Most of my friends were an irreverent bunch at two Unitarian churches, where I also joined in a unique "teens-help-kids" program as a teacher and camp counselor. (Albuquerque counselors: here's the la_amikoj Yahoo Group. Los Alamos High School grads: here's a link to the LAHS Alumni Association.)

If you're from Los Alamos, or are wondering what it's like to grow up in such a unique place, the book Children of Los Alamos, by Katrina R. Mason, is a good read. The most detailed story of the time before the war is in a book that really took me back in time, Los Alamos--The Ranch School Years, 1917-1943.

As a kid, I did a lot of photography -- and worked at Dan Elliott's photography store and portrait studio, doing everything from maintenance to darkroom work. (I've kept on with photography since then. In 2005, after my photos started to be published, I started an photography website,, which I'm building as I have time.) Don't tell the FCC: I had a little radio station in my attic, which led to my long career as a (real) radio announcer. One radio station I worked at was in Vermont, at the end of a 1600 mile (2500 km) bicycle trip from Minnesota one summer.

I started computer programming in high school (very unusual back then) but got my first degree in Electronic Engineering Technology (at Cal Poly). Working as an engineer (at Tektronix in Portland, Oregon) I taught myself about Unix, email, and more... started teaching other people, and realized that I loved it. So I spent four years developing and teaching Unix courses for Tek employees.

Next, to upstate New York for four years at Syracuse University as a documentation writer and user consultant. One day, standing in the shower at home, I got an idea for a book. That eventually led me to work as a staff writer (among other things) for O'Reilly & Associates (now O'Reilly Media), a technical publisher -- from my home as well as their offices near Boston and San Francisco. Here's a list of my books.

Because my expertise in computing was mostly self-taught, I decided to round out my knowledge and get formal qualification in the field. I got my Masters degree in Computing Science at Birkbeck College at the University of London. ("Why London?," people ask me. I wanted to experience day-to-day life outside the USA, on the edge of Europe, in a great city. It also let me take study breaks with London theatre, museums, and concerts!) Since then, I've lived in San Francisco, Prague, and now Tucson, Arizona. I'm a freelance writer doing books and a monthly magazine column.

Interests, Passions, Distractions: Although I spend a lot of my time in front of a computer, the non-technical part of life takes over after work each day (if not before...). I love the outdoors (especially southern Utah); travel, especially in Latin America and Europe; and good wine (but not snobby wine: as at Navarro and David Coffaro Vineyards). Tucson has a lot of music, poetry and art; it seems like I can't get enough! And, of course, I read (but not enough...).

Thanks for stopping by!

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Last change: 17 June 2009

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