I received my degree from Trent University in Philosophy in May of 1991. My fields of interest within that discipline involved studies in perception, social and cultural interaction, and pedagogical methodologies. My major influences were drawn from Eastern and non-classical bodies of thought, as well as from concepts found within the Science Fiction genre of which I am an avid fan.
Outside of these studies I pursued my long-time fascination with computers. Although I received little formal training in the field, I devoted much of my time to learning as much as I could about them on my own. Other interests included creative writing and film production. It was at this time that I met my good friend, and current business partner, Glen Campbell with whom I co-founded Inferno Enterprises in late 1994.
I have an extensive, and growing, collection of speculative fiction books. I have most of these titles in a database but an unfortunate accident resulted in the loss of several years of data entry, so it’s not quite complete. I have just made the list available online in static form, but am working on converting it into a queryable database.
In addition, I’ve started building a collection of DVD movies. This format appeals to me more than VHS ever did, and I only got addicted to movie collecting after I bought a DVD player.
There was a hiatus of a couple of years after I graduated during which I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself and was unable to find the opportunity to pursue my interests within a viable work situation. I was finally employed at York University, where I was able to follow a couple of those interests in terms of the education of technology but, for the most part, I was restricted to the secretarial job I had and could only infrequently indulge in my main interests because of the setting I found myself in. Also during that time I was one of the founding Schools and Universities Co-Chairs of the Toronto Free-Net, and had some involvement with SchoolNet.
In July of 1994, I was hired as the Systems Integrator of Nicholls-Radtke Ltd. (now Aecon), a construction company in Cambridge. While there I devoted my time to maintaining and improving their computer systems. I was also given the opportunity to go on several training courses, thereby receiving the kind of formal education within the computer field that I had missed in University itself.
In January of 1997, I accepted a job offer at ZENON Environmental Inc., which led to my position of Systems Manager. ZENON offered me a chance to improve upon the skills and knowledge that I had picked up while working at Nicholls-Radtke.
From March of 2001 until the start of the next year, I worked as a Systems Engineer with MicroAge. Unfortunately, I was laid off at the end of that period due to the shortage of IT clients at that time.
I did some piecemeal work for a couple of years through Inferno Enterprises, but it wasn’t enough to pay the bills. Just when things were getting really desparate, I got hired by the technical staffing company Volt to work as a support engineer at Microsoft Canada in December of 2003. The pay was terrible (Volt took about half of what Microsoft paid for themselves, giving their employees only the other half) and the 90 minute commute each way for me was far from pleasant. Things weren’t all bad there – I liked the people – but I wasn’t very happy and wanted to move on.
10 months later, in October of 2004, I got lucky and was hired by VMware here in Burlington. I believe the experience there to be much more in line with the kind of actual career that I haven’t had since I left ZENON.
My personal life took a dramatic turn for the better back while I was still working at ZENON, when I met my wonderful (to be) wife Michelle in 1999. We lived together for a couple of years until we finally got married in a hot air balloon over the Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona on April 23rd, 2001. (This was very shortly after I started working at MicroAge – I told them when I was hired that I’d need a week off for the wedding.) We were happily married for a while but, as these things go, ended up divorcing and going our own ways 13 years later.
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to develop my expertise with computers and related technologies over the past years but I miss the academic studies I pursued while in University. I still think about returning to school and working on an M.Ed. in the Philosophy of Education, although I am not sure if this opportunity will ever present itself, given certain financial obligations.
Some time ago, I installed phpBB and used it to create the technical Q&A site Ask Virgil. I also added Horde to my Linux server so that I could have Web based access to my email when I was away from home.
Some personal projects of mine include:
Converts Mozilla’s throbber into a home button.
Installs a better visual style for Windows XP.
A modification to phpBB that lets you send encrypted messages to other board users.
Quick Reply (JasonB)
Another modification to phpBB that adds an input box to the bottom of all of the posts in a topic, so that you can quickly reply to what’s been said. I didn’t like the way that the original modification looked – so I rewrote it. I based the new look on a customized version of the same modification that MozillaZine had started using.
September 13, 2001: My thoughts on some public reaction to the World Trade Center terrorist attack.