I taught myself to program when I was eight years old and progressed from there to graduate from the University of Aberdeen in two thousand with a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Computing Science. I have a broad range of experience in the IT industry from front line support to embedded development with almost everything in between. I believe this broad range of exposure to all areas of the IT industry can give me a unique perspective on problems and projects and that I can sometimes come up with a solution that a specialist may not even consider.
In September two thousand and ten I decided to go freelance so I could work at home to give me more time to spend with my then one year old daughter and to allow me to focus on developing solutions for the ever changing web.
During my time at university I worked in front line consumer support and once I graduated I ended up in a similar role. There, as the only trained programmer, I inherited the small web and database projects. While helping the other support staff with technical questions, effectively becoming the second level support, I took on sole responsibility for our clients in-house applications. From there I decided that I wanted to focus on software development and moved to a role developing C# applications for the mobile platform. Then circumstances changed and I spent just over a year in France where I spent the summer near Paris at an outdoors centre teaching kids to abseil and the winter snowboarding in the Alps.
Up to this point I had been using Linux and other Free software tools personally for years and I knew that by using them, work can be produced more effectively and efficiently. My only stipulation when searching for my next job was to work with Linux. I ended up supporting legacy application, written and C and Motif, on the Linux platform and was eventually moved to developing a web based application using JSP.
Developed by experts and with input from the whole Web community, standards work together to provide the foundation to build increasingly powerful applications. Standards are the result of a lot of energy and expertise and are available for free: don't miss the opportunity to benefit from their leveraging effect!
I believe that on the web, and elsewhere, open standards are not just nice to have and nice to follow, they are a requirement for an interoperable web. Any prospective visitors to any given web site could be using any web browser on any operating system, even mobile phones, to access that site. It is open standards that allow that to happen. They make sites faster, friendlier to search engines, friendlier to users and consistent in different browsers.
No matter what device or browser is used to access a site they are using the same internet, the same language, the same protocols, to show the same content. Without standards to define all those parts of a complex interaction, the internet, and the web on top of it, would not only not be as successful as it is today, it would not exist at all.
I am passionate about and believe strongly in the principles behind the Free software movement as defined by the GNU project. Free software can offer much more than the obvious financial benefits. It helps drive innovation, prevents vendor lock in, increases choice and produces better, faster, more secure code while proprietary software from a single vendor offers none of these benefits.
All the technologies I choose to use for my work are Free (as in freedom) and Open Source systems, together often referred to as FOSS. All my hardware, from servers to desktops, even my phone, run GNU/Linux in one form or another. The software that I use, from the web and database servers to the web browser and office package, with everything in between, are Free to obtain, distribute and modify.
To show my commitment to freedom in software, any code I produce for my own personal projects will be published on my blog here or on the relevant web page, and any and all code I produce for clients will be given to that client. That way, if a client has a need to change or expand on the software in future they are free to take the work I've done to another programmer, though I'm sure that won't be necessary.
When I'm not in front of the computer I spend most of my time with my daughter, watching her grow and learn and doing all the things a stay at home dad should be doing. On the odd occasion that I get some free time I do first aid as a volunteer for the Red Cross, play the drums or just get outside to the mountains.
I am a keen rock climber and snowboarder and I run an internet forum which was inspired by my love of snowboarding specifically, and the mountains in general, where I can often be found dangling off a cliff face or hurtling along on a board or a bike.