Everyone in their world has their own hobbies, passions, and loves. Here are a some of mine:
Burning Man: Every year, approximately 50,000 people spend about $300,000,000 to spend a week socializing and creating in some of the most hostile desert conditions on Earth. Together, we build thousands of pieces of art ranging from the decorated bicycles we ride to elaborate “art cars” to enormous multi-storied structures. I contribute time and finances to the popular “Charlie the Unicorn” art car.
User Interface Design: The insight and testing provided by even a novice usability professional can make a tremendous difference in the usability of any application. Making an application or website easier to use means that more people will use it as intended. For businesses using the Internet as a source of revenue, better usability results in higher revenues. Surprisingly, usability review and testing is most often overlooked in the smaller organizations that can least afford to ignore it.
Photography: One of my passions is photography. I own a Canon 5D Mk II (including enough “L” glass that I often exceed airline carry-on weight limits), an Argus/Cosina 35mm, and a Yashica-A medium format camera from 1950. I particularly enjoy portraiture, gigapixel panoramas, and timelapses. You can enjoy some of the results of my work in my photo galleries.
Backpacking: I greatly enjoy spending time in the wilderness. In the summer of 2002, my good friend Laura and I volunteered for the USDA Forest Service in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. We spent about 11 weeks acting as docents in a remote historical cabin and patrolling the wilderness educating users about “Leave No Trace” ethics. You can see photos from our summer in my Trinity Alps photo gallery.
Computers: I adore my 17″ MacBook Pro, my 7th Apple laptop. I’ve been using computers as part of my daily life since my early childhood. I particularly enjoy finding creative things to do with old hardware. I’ve created an electronic installation piece out of 5 IBM 730T tablet computers, formerly used as insurance adjustment tools well before the “Tablet PC” became popular. I’ve also resurrected my 15″ PowerBook G4 after its untimely demise as part of a “Digital Hub” named Mishima. It provides a source of music (streamed to my home stereo via AirTunes) and displays graphs that show how much bandwidth is being used by my primary servers.
Coffee: My first meetings with my good friend Laura were at a now-closed coffee shop named Hava Java in Manhattan Beach, CA. My undergraduate honor’s thesis mentor, Professor McIntryre, would occasionally make Illy espresso for me during our meetings. When I graduated I received a Rancillo Silvia espresso machine as a gift. Since then, I have been drinking espresso nearly every day. I modified my espresso machine with an industrial temperature controller that is considerably more accurate than the factory-installed thermostat.
Cerbumi.org: Cerbumi.org is an “open-source network approach to real-world problem solving. It is an amalgamation of social networking and group-ware tools that gives nonprofits unmatched access to experts and allows volunteer experts the opportunity to donate a small amount of time in a highly leveraged environment. This environment generates a wealth of ideas that are refined and tempered by a community of expert volunteers. For more details, visit the site, or read the executive summary and/or the pilot proposal.