Monday, March 05, 2007

A Bit About Me

Ok, here's the obligatory "About Me" post so that people who follow a link here from somewhere I've Registered can actually discover something: I'm an open source software developer (Actually, I part own a software company and officially my job title is director, but I still call myself a developer, and I'll be cold in the ground long before I ever introduce myself as MD).

My work interests center around information retrieval, information repositories, semantic and systems interoperability, systems integation and semantic web / text processing. I develop and maintain an open source toolkit JZkit for developers looking to access or expose information repositories using z3950, SRW/SRU or OpenSearch (Amongst others). On top of that there's a portal application called iNode, but I'll put up a projects category and make some entries for the individual things I'm involved with. I also maintain a really low level asn.1 to java precompiler and ber runtime called a2j which is used allover the place, apparently even in some voip software on mobile phones... Makes me wonder what I was doing when I lgpl'd that one ;). Sector wise, I work mostly in libraries, learning and public information, and recently I'm doing an alarming amount with vocabulary management, which seems to excite some people quite wildly, but not me.

"Academically" (Most people I know would never use that term around me I guess) my interests are mostly aligned with work, IR algorithms and text mining. I've always loved organisational cybernetics tho (Especially the work of Stafford Beer), and have a healthy (Semi-active) interest in general systems theory. I secretly hold a bit of an ambition to go back to research at least in some small way before I'm done, probably just part time. Work takes up most of my time at the moment tho, although I'm currently trying to get to grips with some bioinformatics and I'm reading genetics for dummies.

What little free time I have is split between My wonderful wife, who doesn't get nearly enough attention, my kids (2 boys aged 7 and 9), fun coding, and martial arts (I've sorta seriously practised HapKiDo and TaeKwonDo in the past, along with a superficial smattering of Aikido, Taijutsu and Iado, and I'm currently full on having fun with Sensei Chris Robins at Norton Dojo Traditional Goju Ryu Karate School, I'm trying to keep a dojo blog up to date.

Sometimes I read (Fiction: mostly sci-fi and fantasy, *very* rarely horror, last fiction I read was Excession by ian m banks, and before that The Algebraist. Non-Fiction just about anything. Currently I'm having a go at re-reading Sartre's classic existentalist text being and nothingness, my teeny IQ struggles a bit to keep all the words in my head, but it's quite rewarding on the hole (See what I did there, eh?). The last fun non-fiction I read was The Progressive Patriot Billy Bragg, and before that I read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, which whilst I mostly "Get" I can't say I enjoyed, mostly because whilst the man is clearly bright and passionate, he has the charm and grace of a pubic louse. A friend also gave me a copy of Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid: A metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll which I sometimes take to the winter garden at lunch time in an attempt to look intellectual. I think the furrowed brow always gives it away.. or maybe it adds to the illusion. Next up I'm hoping to read On Formally Undecidable Propositions of "Principia Mathematica" and Related Systems Since it sorta ties together some of my interests in cybernetics (And metasystems as a means to resolve undecidable propositions) and the maths of GEB.

Sometimes I listen to music and I get lots of stick in the office about my marillion t-shirts and 47 minute guitar solos. Generally speaking, I'm shy rather than antisocial, so it's OK to speak to me if you see me out and about. I'm a Crab, but don't believe in any of that crap beyond the ability of believers to use it as a prompt for introspection (How I feel about most systems of belief really). Although I really like the The Desiderata of Hope by Max Ehrmann quote below, I did recently see a friends religions status listed as "I believe in people, not fairy tales", which I also like, although it's a bit strong for me personally, it does kinda sum up how I feel about certain things :)

Well, if you want to know any more you best talk to me :)


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