My name is Michael Hall and dot unplanned is my weblog.

I was born in Houston, Texas and I’ve lived all over the place:

  • Greensburg, PA
  • Oak Brook, IL
  • Berlin, PA
  • Goshen, IN
  • North Manchester, IN
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Harmony, MN (briefly)
  • Covington, IN
  • Bloomington, IN
  • Assorted military posts, including Ft. Knox, Ft. Gordon, Ft. Bragg, Ft. Benning and Camp Carroll, Republic of Korea.
  • Charlottesville, VA

and lately Portland, OR, where I’ve been since 2001 … the longest I’ve ever lived in one city.

I went to high school in Goshen, IN and college at Manchester College in North Manchester, IN (but I’ve also taken classes at Portland State University). At Manchester College, I majored in philosophy and kinda-sorta minored in journalism. Most of my extracurricular activity was with the school paper. I was managing editor then editor-in-chief before leaving MC to work for a small newspaper in rural Indiana.

I’m married to Alison Dunfee, whom I knew from my pre-army time in Bloomington, IN but reconnected with while I was stationed at Fort Bragg and she was teaching in Charlotte, NC. She’s in school for a master’s of social work. We have a son named Ben.

We lived together in Charlottesville, VA for four years after I left the army. During that time, I wrote a book called The Joy of Linux. Slashdot liked it. It inspired one reader to call me “a literary, journalistic, liberal arts kinda regular guy who gives off good karma,” and another described it as “the real shit about the Linux user experience,” which would be more true if you had to spend a few months learning how to read it, then several more reading it with another book balanced on your knee.

We moved to Portland in 2001, got married in 2002 and Ben was born in 2004.


I’m currently a technical writer and toolsmith at Puppet Labs.

Past Work

From 2010 to 2012, I worked at Social Media Today as the technical lead and briefly as acting CTO.

For a number of years, I was a senior managing editor at QuinStreet, where I ran four sites:

I had been with QuinStreet since late 2009, but came over to the company when it acquired the internet.com network from WebMediaBrands. I was with WebMediaBrands in one form or another since early 2000, when I was hired as a freelance editor for LinuxToday.

In September of 2000, I got a staff position and took over as managing editor of LinuxToday and Linux Planet. In early 2002 I asked to be transferred to another site and ended up at Crossnodes, which eventually became ENP. I took some time off for school in 2003 and 2004, stayed on as a freelancer writing the Enterprise Unix Roundup column at Serverwatch. In late 2004 WebMediaBrands rehired me to manage ENP and Instant Messaging Planet. Besides editing, I work in a few Web publishing related areas, including SEO, social networking and analytics.

Regarding those military posts

I enlisted in the army in 1993 and went to basic training at Ft. Knox in early 1994. I did advanced training at the US Army Signal School at Fort Gordon, GA then got a little more fired up than I’d thought I would going in and volunteered for airborne school, which I went to where every paratrooper does: Fort Benning, GA.

Once I was done with all the training, I was sent to the Republic of Korea where I worked as an FM retransmission operator then a driver with the 307th Signal Battalion. From Korea I went to Ft. Bragg, NC, where I started out as a signal systems support specialist and ended up as a training/operations NCO and sometimes FM retransmission team chief with the 51st Signal Battalion (ABN). I left the army in 1998.

© Michael Hall, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.