NOTE: This website is under development in my spare time. There may be things missing, or bugs, but I'll get to them eventually. This site looks best in Mozilla Firefox. Google Chrome has font rendering issues, and Internet Explorer just fails on several aspects of HTML5 and CSS3.
The Elevator Pitch
Hi, my name is Alexander Abbott. I am a Junior at University of Washington, Bothell Campus, and major in Computing and Software Systems. I am currently the president of the Association for Computing Machinery (better known as ACM) chapter at my campus. As such, I help organize events to help promote and advance computing as a profession, and help connect people with similar interests in computing together.
My interests include programming, Linux, poetry, and art. As such, I view programming as an art form, where, just like with art, if a program is designed designed beautifully, it will last many years and be remembered. I enjoy discussing, implementing, and analyzing new designs for software with others, and strive to integrate this into my work when possible. This can be seen best from my internship last summer with Berico Technologies and Red Owl Consulting, where I helped design the APIs and create the web frontend for their Relational Event Analysis Engine, REVEAL.
The Longer Version
I'll assume if you're reading this, you have more time and aren't just someone glancing over my site in a hurry.
Anyway, yes, my name is Alex, also known as Smartboy or smartboyathome in many places across the net, hence the name of my site. Before you get the wrong impression of me, I do not think I am smarter than everyone else, an impression I heard from one person that name gave them. This name has personal significance to me, it was my first online screen name, given to me by my mother for my AOL kids account when I was around 8 or 9. Thus, I have stuck with it ever since, and I haven't felt like I needed to change it yet, so I haven't.
Another misconception that you may get from the picture of what I call my daemon (term and concept taken from The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman) down at the bottom is that I am a furry. I wouldn't consider myself as such, or at least not in the typical sense that most would with fursuiting and such, or even thinking of it as my true form. Rather, I think of Kyureki (her name) as a part of my soul, just as daemons are in The Golden Compass, and someone I can turn to when I'm having a bad day. Yes, this may be childish, but its part of who I am and so I felt that I had to make her a part of my website, which should be a reflection of myself.
One of my biggest hobbies which I enjoy doing is programming, specifically web development, by which I mean developing the backend and functionality of a website, distinct from its design. I can do some design, I designed this website's theme from scratch, but I'm not nearly as good as a true web designer, and I enjoy working on and deigning the APIs and functionality more. As I stated above, to me if something is well designed, it will last years since it will be easily maintained, reused, and extended. This is part of my challenge of coding, and my changing coding style as I learn more is why many projects don't make it to release stage.
My best example of my work would definitely have to be REVEAL, the Relational Event Analyzer I helped create over the course of three months last summer as part of a team of 4 people at Berico Technologies, including one other intern, a statistician, and a full time developer. We were able to create not just a working prototype for REVEAL, but we actually pushed out a full working app, complete with 4 categories of analysis, a few different ways to navigate the generated reports, and a working platform spanning from Hadoop taking in the most raw data, to the web frontend using ASP.NET MVC3. My role was designing the web frontend, but I also occasionally helped with other aspects of the project, including backend API design. This is the type of project I enjoy working on the most, breaking boundaries with a great team, and I have nothing but gratitude for everyone at Berico Technologies and Red Owl Consulting for taking me on as an intern.
Right now, I am channeling my hobby through my website, trying to develop the functionality to meat the specific requirements I have. At the moment, I am basing it off of MODX, which I am trying because it is said to be developer friendly, and I don't want to make a whole CMS from scratch, which I did try. I will be adding functionality as time and motivation permits. It is high on my priority list, but my classes, of course, are higher.
Due to my love of programming and my favorite languages, I tend to lean toward Linux as an operating system, but I am definitely not opposed to working on Windows or even OS X, though I have little experience with OS X as a platform. In fact, at this moment, I use Windows as my operating system, just because I have it configured how I want and it can do everything I need it to at the moment. Mostly, my choice of OS revolves around convenience and compatibility, by which I mean that my laptop has Dolby Home Theater sound, and when I was setting it up Linux didn't work with that, not to mention the project I was working on was being developed on Windows, so I stuck with it.
However, I still work with Linux in some of my classes and on my server which this site is hosted on, running OpenSuSE. Why OpenSuSE? My reasoning is because I really like how OpenSuSE as a whole was designed, yast and zypper are great tools, and the build service they offer helps keep me up to date on a stable platform. In addition, I fully support Attachemate, the company which bought Novell, especially since they have offices in my home town and have been keeping up the good work on OpenSuSE. That, and one of my friends works for them, too.
Besides programming and Linux, I also enjoy roleplaying, reading, poetry, and art. I haven't roleplayed as much as of late, but I still do occasionally with a select few people to help keep me creative. Reading is just my way of relaxing and transporting me to another world, with my favorite books being those in the series The Wolf Chronicles by Dorothy Hearst, and, recently, the Spice and Wolf series. I have been doing a lot more poetry lately since poetry forces me to analyze my position on something a lot more, and that is mostly how I deal with stressful situations. Art comes in the form of analyzing it, looking at it, and, occasionally, creating some myself, though I overly critique myself and thus demotivate myself in this respect. Both art and poetry can be seen on my deviantArt account.
Hopefully that gives you a better idea of who I am as a person, and hopefully you enjoy the rest of my site.