Welcome to another edition of the PPCGeek Spotlight where we get enlightening perspectives and great insight from well known, successful community members, developers and leaders. In this edition we highlight a highly respected and talented Samsung Epic 4G midNIGHT ROM developer here at PPCGeeks.com, ptfdmedic.

Most of you may remember him from several instances on the site pertaining to ROM’s for the Samsung Epic 4G or his very own personal blog, ”Lost and Tired.” He is also well known for his history in ROM development for the Touch Pro and WM6 or WM6.5. He’s considered tweaking the Samsung Galaxy tablet, purchased one and returned it but may reconsider now that there is more development available for that tablet. Take a look at the biography below followed by a Q&A with our very special PPCGeeks member, ptfdmedic.

A PPCGeek Biography with ptfdmedic:

My name is Rob Gorski (ptfdmedic). I’m the creator of the midNIGHT ROM for the Epic 4G and author of the ”Lost and Tired” blog. I’m 32 years old and reside in Canton, Ohio. I’ve been married to my amazing wife for 8 years and we have three boys together. All three of our boys have been diagnosed Autistic and in various places on the Autistic spectrum. Having three Autistic children is extremely rare and yet it happened. My wife was diagnosed with a really severe case of fibromyalgia and everything that goes alone with it (she basically lives her life in constant pain) as well as chronic daily migraines and a strange sleep disorder.

Life for my family is challenging on the very best of days but somehow we’re still here. Raising one Autistic child for two healthy parents is a very difficult task. Raising three with one parent suffering from health issues is nearly impossible and requires sacrifices most people could never imagine. I was a firefighter/paramedic (hence ptfdmedic) until I suffered a career ending back injury on a call back in 2001. I worked as a paramedic for a few years until my back was too bad to work and my wife got sick and I needed to be at home.

I’m now a stay at home dad out of necessity but I’m proud of that. I really enjoy watching my kids make progress or learn new words ect. It doesn’t come without its problems but we somehow always make due. Now I fix computers out of my house (when I can) to provide for my family. I’m a care giver by nature. But nothing I ever saw as a paramedic ever prepared me for the challenges I would face trying to raise three special needs kids. I can say that my kids have taught me to never take anything for granted. They have also helped me to appreciate the little things in life most people overlook and take for granted.

Autism Awareness is something I’m very passionate about for obvious reasons. I love my kids more than anything and I want to make the world a more compassionate place for them. I started lostandtired.com as a means of sharing our story. I wanted to reach out to others in similar situations and let them know they are not alone. So many families become isolated and I want to help as many as I can not to be. I encourage other to share their story and have started something called Autism in “Real Life”. I interview parents and show the world what Autism looks like through the eyes of those touched by it.

Most of my day is spent taking care of my wife and kids. Either driving the kids to and from three different schools (about 100 miles of driving a day) or taking them to various appointments all across northeast Ohio. If I’m not doing that I’m working with my youngest trying to help him learn to communicate using ASL (I even utilize my Epic to do this).

In my “spare” time I enjoy developing the midNIGHT ROM for the Epic 4G and working with the members of PPCGeeks as well and the rest of Android community. I like talking to and interacting with my users and I do my very best to provide as much support as I possibly can. I find it a very nice distraction from an otherwise stressful life.

I’m a technology junkie. I always have been and always will be. I used to develop for the Touch Pro on the WM6 platform a few years ago. I have since moved on to Android exclusively. Android is open source and is relatively easy to develop for.

My ultimate goal is to make midNIGHT ROM synonymous with Autism Awareness. I want every person that uses the midNIGHT ROM to know a little bit more about Autism then they did before. I will find cool new ways to make the midNIGHT ROM more customizable and user friendly for as many people as possible and MAYBE even develop midNIGHT ROM for other devices like the Galaxy Tab if I ever get my hands on one again). I will of course, continue to incorporate Autism Awareness into all of my development projects.

We hope you enjoyed that biography with ptfdmedic. It’s always nice to get to know someone who’s so dedicated to not only this site but our users and his family as well. Now take a look at the Q&A with ptfdmedic below.

A PPCGeek Q&A with ptfdmedic:

1 ) What brought you to PPCGeeks?

I first came to PPCGeeks a few years ago when I got my first smartphone. I think it was my 8125. I wanted to learn about customizing my new phone. I’m sure you’re aware of that’s all it took to get me here.

2 ) What platforms do/have you cooked ROM’s for?

I used to cook WM6.xxxx and WM6.5.xx for the Touch Pro. That’s where the midNIGHT ROM first got started. I have since moved on to bigger and better things. Now I develop the midNIGHT ROM for the Epic 4G running Android. Android is definitely where it’s at.

3 ) Who has contributed to your knowledge or have you done all the research yourself?

I did a lot of the research on my own. I learned a ton also by reverse engineering other ROM’s, what most developers do. With that said there are 2 Android developers (I want to mention) that I have really learned a lot from; Mammon88 and Randy_T are the geniuses behind the Bonsai ROM series.

I currently use the Bonsai ROM as a “base” or starting point for the midNIGHT ROM. They are amazing developers and are always willing to lend a hand to anyone. I can’t say enough about them. I also have learned a lot from the PPCGeeks members themselves. I can’t tell how much easier development is when you have an open line of communication with the people that use your ROM.

The members here at PPCGeeks always leave great feedback and ask questions that force me to re-think what I am doing and require me to do more research. That’s a good thing. On more than one occasion members have stepped up and helped me work out some problems either by testing for me or in some cases providing the actual fix. In the end I think we learn a lot from each other. Thanks guys!

4 ) Most of us Geeks are familiar with your midNIGHT ROM. How does it differ from others in your eyes?

First let me start by saying, that all the developers put out truly amazing work that is light years ahead of what comes stock. I guess where midNIGHT ROM is different is in its simplicity. I don’t personally like things heavily themed. I want as much control over what goes on my phone as possible. I like to have a pretty clean slate to build from. So I stripped the ROM down to a point where it’s functional and clean. Turns out there are a lot of people that like the same thing. I like to give the user as much control over what they have on their phone as I possibly can. Why should I dictate to them what they use? midNIGHT ROM gives users a choice by giving them the freedom to basically build from scratch or use a pre-built version (built based on feedback from everyone.)

5 ) Did you develop the midnight theme all by yourself or did you have help?

I did physically create the theme myself. It’s basically a loose port of the gingerbread theme with a side of EVO. With that said, amosher13 was a ton of help. We have worked together on a few things and he’s a very talented themer. He also helped me move to Edify scripting.

I also did run into a reoccurring issue with a version of my midNIGHT theme and received help from MysteryEmotionz. He helped me to re-think what I was doing and figure out what was wrong. Another helper, a454nova provided some of the battery mods as well. When I find some time I would like to put together a new theme.

6 ) Are you going to make your own custom kernel once Froyo source is released, if that ever happens?

I would love to say yes. However, I don’t have a huge amount of time to dedicate to that. Doesn’t mean I won’t get around to it but for now I would say probably not. I will certainly use custom kernels in the midNIGHT ROM but they might not be created by me.

7 ) Compared to stock, what advantages do you consider your ROM to have over stock, including BYOR and AIO?

With stock ROM’s the carrier and/or the manufacture FORCE their software on you and many times to the detriment of the phone and the user. With midNIGHT ROM I have removed ALL the “pre-installed” bloatware. The midNIGHT ROM is faster, cleaner and more stable than the current stock offerings. With the midNIGHT ROM BYOR Edition I have handed over control to the user.

You, as the user, can decide what goes on “your” phone and what doesn’t. Isn’t that the way it should be? If you go with a pre-built version of midNIGHT ROM you get all the advantages above but with a few useful pre-installed applications (which I make sure are un-installable) most people would choose to install anyway.

8 ) What made you decide to go with an Epic over an Evo?

I had an Evo when it first came out. It ended up being defective and I couldn’t get it replaced because there was still a shortage at the time. I opted instead to try the Epic 4G out. The Evo is an awesome phone but the hardware on the Epic is superior to the Evo. The screen is simply amazing and the hardware keyboard is must have for an avid blogger like myself. Did I say the screen is AMAZING?!?

9 ) How do you feel about Sense? If the porting is ever successful will you be cooking Sense ROMS?

Honestly, I don’t really care one way or the other. If it gets ported I might look into it. The funny thing I have noticed is that if you have an Evo you want it to look like or run Epic stuff. If you have an Epic all you want is stuff form the Evo. I find that a bit amusing.

10 ) Are you interested in cooking AOSP or CyanogenMod ROMs for the Epic?

I don’t have a lot of experience in either one but I think AOSP or CyanogenMod is by far the way to go. When they get ported and we can finally be free from TW, I’ll be all over it.

11 ) Most of the Geeks here know you very well. How do you possibly manage to build custom ROMs, themes, troubleshoot and your personal life all at once?

As you may or may not be aware of already, I’m a father to 3 special needs boys. All 3 of our kids are Autistic (FYI, having 3 Autistic kids is a statistical anomaly). My wife is chronically ill as well. Building the midNIGHT ROM has been a welcomed distraction. I have to admit that the response has been overwhelming. When I went into this I never thought anyone would really be interested. I just wanted to share what I was doing and at the same time spread Autism Awareness.

I do my best to manage everything (if you read my blog you know that I often don’t manage everything very well.) I think a lot of people are following along with my blog (www.lostandtired.com) and know when things are more difficult at home for me. I always try to keep the thread updated as to what is going on so people know why I may be hit or miss. I use Twitter more now to make little quick announcements and get feedback. I told everyone from the start that my family’s needs come before the ROM building. Everyone has been very understanding and supportive so I never really feel any pressure and I truly appreciate that.

12 ) What can we hope for in the future as far as midnight ROM series for the Epic and maybe any other devices?

I really like the idea of the BYOR Edition. I think most people do as well. I want to continue to streamline the process to make it easier for newer users to make their own version of the midNIGHT ROM. I want to continue to come up with cool new ways to give more control to the users as well. I’m also very passionate about Autism and Autism Awareness. I will continue to try to incorporate that into my builds. For example, I modified the update script to show facts about Autism during the install process. So instead of watching just the progress bar, users now learn a few things about Autism they probably didn’t know. I’ll let you in on a secret. I have a plan in the works to not only help raise Autism Awareness, but also raise awareness for things like cancer, domestic violence and other worthwhile causes. These will be simple things that WON’T affect the phone or the user experience in a negative way but at the same time raise awareness.

As far as other devices go I only have an Epic. It’s tough to develop for devices you don’t have physically available. That said, I did play with a Galaxy tab for a few days. I was using it as a communication tool for my youngest. I ultimately returned it but I would love to develop on the Galaxy Tab if I ever get my hands on one again.

13 ) Have PPCGeeks members shown you support for your great work so far?

The PPCGeeks community has been AMAZING!! After some prodding from members I did put up a donation link. Members have donated and that really helps out a lot. I don’t ask for anything in return for my work except learning a bit about Autism. I have received so many messages and emails from people thanking me for my work or wishing my family the best.

At one point the midNIGHT ROM development was going to stop because I had to sell my Epic in order to cover some expenses that had come up. The community really tried to help out by sending donations or simply supporting my decision to sell my phone in order to help my family. I ultimately had to sell my Epic but because of the generosity and support of this community I was eventually able to replace it and get back up and running without really missing a beat.

There are members that have even gone so far as to design Autism related banners to put in their signature. Words can’t express what that means to me!! I have honestly been humbled by this amazing and compassionate community. Thank you everyone!

14 ) If there’s anyone that could help with even the smallest thing in your life right now, what would you ask for?

Honestly, reading the blog and helping spread Autism Awareness is all I’ve asked for. I hope people can somehow relate to my story and maybe reach out to someone in their lives that may have been touched by Autism with a better understanding of what Autism is.

With that said, the donations do really help. They help cover the costs associated with building the midNIGHT ROM (internet, hosting, bandwidth and even different devices to develop on) and it goes a long way towards helping my family. I only bring this up because you asked. I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to donate in they want to use my work. That is one of the main reasons I don’t ask for donations.

15 ) Do you consider PPCGeeks a home for all your smartphone needs?

I love PPCGeeks and I consider it an awesome community for smartphone users. This is where I learned to develop and where the midNIGHT ROM was born. I love this site.

16 ) Do you feel like your work is appreciated here by the users? We ask because we know for a fact the users really appreciate and respect you. Keep up the good work!

I feel my work is appreciated. The midNIGHT ROM has been downloaded thousands and thousands of times. I think people may forget to click the “Thanks” button but I am overwhelmed by the posts, emails, PM’s and tweets I receive from community members wanting to say Thanks. I have a ton of respect for the people here. I truly appreciate the support for my family and the midNIGHT ROM that the PPCGeeks community continues to show.

The end of the PPCGeek Spotlight with ptfdmedic.

Well Geeks, I really hope this Biography and Q&A touched your heart as much as it did mine as well as giving more insight on the ROM developing process. This also shows me that different ROM’s have different benefits as well as features, some are more suitable for our needs than others.

Check out our Epic 4G section and browse around the midNIGHT ROM. Don’t forget to give it a shot and if you have friends who may benefit from the features, spread the word. This is one amazing ROM for everyone to take advantage of. Also, leave your comments and any questions you may have in the comment box below. Thanks for reading!!