Pick Your Poison (newest first)

Franciknow ltd: Self Employed (2014 – Current) Show

I've started this company hoping to employ myself and make a living. That has so far not panned out. I'm doing too many things at the same time. Virtual Worlds, 3D art and -printing, writing fiction, software (and a combination of these three in for instance an interactive graphical novel -WIP-). But I have failed to focus completely on a single project. I create, make available and forget to do the marketing because I'm creating something else. In short, I'm not very good at selling things, not even myself.
But I'm trying and hope to show below that I'm highly intelligent, very creative, verbally gifted.
I hope to demonstrate a firm grasp on a wide range of technologies and thorough understanding of a host of software packages. I am confident to evidence that I can work independently and in a team and that I have done so in various settings; business, governmental, cultural, academic.
That about sums it up, doesn't it?

Glasgow Caledonian University: Project Manager Virtual Worlds (2007-2014) VW for Teaching and Learning Example or Skills/Activities

Even while I elaborate on the concept of Virtual Worlds and in particular it's potential for teaching and learning in the dedicated section I'll summarize some activities here.
  1. Planning: In collaboration with teaching staff the Learning Environment had to be designed and created. Creation includes
    1. Building: Creating environments (hospital rooms, medical equipment) and gear (nurse uniforms etc) using the in-world toolbox of building blocks called prims that look like wood.
    2. Texturing: These collections or constructions of prims need to 'painted' with textures. Textures are image files. Created with the GIMP.
    3. Scripting: Interaction, operation, feedback (from environment to student and tutor), logging (for tutor; who did what when), using the native scripting language LSL (yes, Linden Scripting Language).
  2. Implementation: In collaboration with technical staff the environment had to be made accessible in the labs and this is not as easy as it seems, safety concerns, required updates and the likes considered. Which was one of the main reasons to investigate Open Simulator (see below).
  3. Management: In particular land, user, access management.
  4. Introduction: This learning Environment is new for both students and staff and it's essential that users feel comfortable using it. This requires training.
  5. Evaluation: Effects, results, impact.
An example to show how a Virtual World like Second Life (or Open Simulator, it's Open Source alternative) can assist in teaching and learning:
In the virtual world I can create an exact replica of a piece of equipment in a photo-realistic virtual equivalent of the environment it is situated in. I did so for an X-Ray machine. Using scripts I can have the users interact with this object to rotate it, move it, change height etc. But also change settings like intensity or duration of the exposure and the subsequently resulting x-ray images. There's two main benefits in this. Firstly, students can make mistakes that would have devastating effects if they were made in real life. Secondly, the student gets familiar with the machine, it's interface and operation, in it's environment. This saves some 15 minutes from the time students spend on the actual machine in the real world. Which might not seem like much but for 160 students per trimester in pairs amounts to no less than 60 hours annually the tutor can do something else, or 20 hours per trimester.

which includes Virtual Worlds b) Open Simulator Open Simulator Primer or Skills/Activities

Open Simulator has the same functionality as Second Life but it's a local server and not an internet service with all the costs associated. Meanwhile, local Open Simulator servers can be connected into a grid, using the internet. It's a decentralised system. The server can live on a LAN and the viewers installed in computer labs. But both server and viewer can also run in individual instances on any PC or even run from a USB stick. Which means that every student can have their own X-Ray machine (see example above) to play and get familiar with at the cost of a small memory stick. All the software involved (even the tools used to create the content) is free and open source and once the application is created it can be reproduced ad infinitum.
Every single piece of equipment is created for a purpose and training it's users how to operate it is not that purpose. Time that can be saved on this training is therefore beneficial in more than one way. Saving time means saving money. In the case of medical equipment all time saved on training how to work with it reduces the time for both tutors as medical staff and benefits it's availability for patients.
Using Open Simulator in a professional setting includes all skills and activities mentioned above but also:
  1. Installation & configuration: The Open Simulator server/s has/have to be installed and configured. This is rather technical even while various distributions have made this process easier still requires in-depth knowledge. On the other hand, how to install an Apache Web-server isn't general knowledge either.
  2. User Registration: Current distributions come with web-based user registration. This wasn't the case then so I had to create my own on a LAMP sitting in a demilitarised zone.
  3. Environment: How big a plot would you like? As part of Linden Lab's business plan Second Life charges not only user subscriptions but also the hosting organisations per 'island' (or smaller portions of it) and limits the number and size of prims that can be used. Open Simulator removes those limitations. Open Simulator also allows for more flexibility and it's for instance possible to import height-maps of actual environments.
  4. Scripting: Some of the Linden Scripting Language works, some not yet, some alternatives are available. But more interestingly, it's possible to use for instance external (Python) scripts to fire up actions in the Virtual World.

which led to additional Tutoring 4th Year Honour Students Show Narrative or Skills/Activities

Because the potential for these technologies is generic and not limited to education or health education I proposed and subsequently taught the module “3D Internet & Virtual Worlds” to honours students for two years, in addition to various other applications I was still developing. I'm an expert in my field but I didn't know much about teaching. So I followed a course “Supporting Student's Learning” (Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategies, LTAS) for one year, resulting in associate membership of the Higher Education Society.
In short, combining individual and group work the Module taught how to set up Open Simulator server (and viweres), create content (see elements above). The individual component was a simulation on a usb stick, free theme. The group wortk was a moon base where students would individually create a component (mess hall, dorm room, control tower etc) but together make the base operational 9pathways, linking, power supplies etc). Come to think of it, this was briliant; working with clever, creative youths. Amazing stuff. The potential range of uses for this technology was one of the reasons to leave the GCU in August of 2014 and start my company:
Tutoring involves many things, I'll name a few:
  1. Module Design: Meeting quality criteria, teaching goals, etc.
  2. Rules & Regulations: Privacy, data protection, ethics.
  3. LTAS: Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategies.
  4. VLE: Students use a Virtual Learning Environment (like BlackBoard or Moodle). And so do, obviously, their tutors.

Wintermute: Self Employed, Internet Consultancy and Design (1998 – 2007) Show

Wintermute is the name of one out of two artificial intelligences in William Gibson's cyberpunk novel “Neuromancer.” I quote: “Wintermute was hive mind. Decision maker. Effecting change in the world outside.”
Together with my partner, we were both self employed in a Dutch legal construct called something like a 'single person company', we offered Internet Consultancy and Design. And it worked. I could indeed argue it, then make it work, the back-end while my partner, with her company called Swampwood, could make it look real good, the front-end.

which includes Web-design Show Narrative or Skills/Activities

Starting out with basic HTML then learning and using the rest. The works. FTP, PHP, MySQL, CSS, Javascript, Director which was replaced by Flash. Creating content management systems using PHP, MYSQL, HTML, CSS, Javascript for a photographer client who didn't want to be vendor locked-in before these CMSs came readily available in open source. Creating web portals for the local pubs before the term was invented. Arguing that everybody would have a website, yes, even the shoe shop around the corner because without one you'll loose potential customers to shows who do have a website until you cease to exist in a time the local government, who I stayed in touch with, were contemplating a one stop shop for citizens. A plan which included a drive-through counter but no web pages.
On a side note, I've created this universal JQuery text box toggle script. It's 10 lines of code for all text toggles! I may document this later in a separate page.
  1. Software: FileZilla (FTP client, server), IRC (mIRC client, UnreallRCd server), NNTP (Pan news reader), Office software (Windows Suite, Open Office). Graphics software (GIMP). Director -> Flash. Wings3D, (bit of) Blender.
  2. Internet: Apache, PHP, MySQL, CSS, HTML. Tried various WYSIWYG software and exporters, still prefer source code editors like Notepad++.
  3. Programming: JavaScript (JQuery), Director and Flash Lingo

which includes Director/Flash Animations & Games Show

The most notable projects revolved around Flash.
We created, in collaboration with another company who did the rest of the web design (in this case we only did the Director/Flash) games for the Mars campaign “Must Be Mars” (1999). Three episodes of one game in which the player had to escape Alcatraz. Episode one a first person point and click adventure to escape the cell followed by a top-down platform; avoid the line of sight of the guards and lights. The second episode a first person quest around the island to collect items to build a raft. The third a side scroller, navigating the raft through currents, avoiding sharks and patrols. The games were so well received that Mars decided to, at the very last moment, hire Peter R. de Vries, a famous Dutch crime reporter (think crime watch) to announce it in a number of TV commercials. We also did games for the sequel “Make it Happen” campaign; driving a race car through the Alps, jumping of the Eiffel tower with a parachute etc. For M&M's we made the animations when the new candy M&M's Crispy was launched.

but also includes TOSti (Open Source Software) Show Narrative or Skills/Activities

TOSti is an acronym for Tilburg Open Source test initiative. A tosti is also two slices of grilled sandwich with something in between. Anything. You make it up, you decide. Ham, cheese, both, or salami. Tomato. Whatever. There's no copyright on a tosti and everybody can make one.
As mentioned before, I kept in touch with people from the cultural sector and also the government. So when I got wind of an old shop, a massive empty building 5 floors high that was owned by the government because it was going to make place for a parking once all lawsuits were won I approached them with an idea. Why not combine youth, technology, arts and culture and use it as an open access space where technology and art are combined with an Internet cafe / bar and gallery? I'd do workshops, events, exhibitions, demonstrations, the works. And if we sell some beer it doesn't have to be that expensive. Sounds wild, but to combine rock venues with rehearsal facilities and a studio in a brand new building, smack in the middle of town, totalling some 16 million guilders (this was before the Euro) sounded wild as well. And that venue was performing brilliantly.
So I got the building, a bit of money and last but certainly not least, 40 old IBM PCs (without the hard drives) that couldn't run their new operating system. Interested a number of volunteers, both artists as hackers from the local university (the Debian geeks who run the servers in the basements) and an assortment of weird smart people. Redecorated it, various floors for various purposes. Got hard drives, installed a range of Linux distributions and started to give workshops. Not the ones where people sit around tables to discuss subjects but the real ones, where you get things done. Guiding through the set up of a LAMP (Linux - Apache - MySQL – PHP) web server. Streaming Radio. Or various other but local Open Source Software. Like the GIMP for instance. An image manipulation tool akin to Photoshop, without the license fee or the fear to get fined. 3D tools like Wings3D and Blender. Last but not least how to set up a wireless network in your home or office while I was climbing up parking garages in town, mounting antennas and covering a part of the city centre in free wifi.
First it was nerds and geeks who showed up but the word spread, helped by our off- and online activities, and normal people started arriving, some with computers that didn't run anymore and they walked out with a box running Linux or a dual boot. Turned it into a weekly event, on a Saturday. Eventually people in suits were spotted. I thought I was doing well. For a very smart guy, I can be blind to the glaringly obvious. Some of these people in suits were selling the proprietary equivalent of software I was demonstrating and promoting free and open versions of and they weren't happy with the competition.
And then, before I could convince the government to provide me with an alternative (if they were ever going to), the last lawsuit was settled and I had to vacate the premises. Obviously, during this period our normal work, web-design and the acquisition of customers, had suffered. Meanwhile, me and my partner ended our relation, a mutual decision without anger or spite. Our paths (art and tech) had slowly diverted and neither was bending back. We're still friends, stay in contact and visit once in a while. But we weren't that keen on reinvigorating the previous professional collaboration. We both went our own way, into art and a novel technology, respectively.
  1. Distributions: Debian, Ubuntu, SuSE, Red Hat, Damn Small Linux. Etc
  2. Software: FileZilla (FTP client, server), IRC (mIRC client, UnreallRCd server), NNTP (Pan news reader), Office software (Open Office). Graphics software (GIMP). Wings3D, (bit of) Blender.
  3. Internet: Apache, PHP, MySQL, CSS, HTML. Tried various WYSIWYG software and exporters, still prefer source code editors like Notepad++.
    Various Content Management Systems (Drupal, Joomla)
  4. Programming: JavaScript (JQuery), had a stab at Python (enough so I know I can learn it if I need to use it).
The Acronym LAMP stands for Linux - Apache - MySQL - PHP and allows one to set up an Open Source Web-server on any old box, free of licensing costs.

and led to Virtual Worlds a) Second Life Show Narrative or Skills/Activities

During one of the sessions in which I demonstrated Wing3D and Blender, Open Source Software for 3D modelling and, in case of the latter, also animation a visitor asked me if these objects (or files) could be imported into Second Life. I didn't know, I answered, but I was going to find out. I'd been in Second Life before a couple of years earlier, when it was new, but I couldn't create the surname of my own character or avatar, which I didn't like and the lag was atrocious while content was lacking. So I forgot about it. I returned. Turns out these 3D objects or files couldn't then be imported but now can, to some extent. It did provide it's own tool shed, however, to create content.
Linden Lab 's Second Life is a massively multiplayer, on-line 3 dimensional environment and generates scenery comparable with games like World of Warcraft, Rift, ESO, Fallout, Skyrim etc etc. Contrary to those games however it isn't a game (there are no set goals or things to achieve) but it's a sandbox with user generated content. This can be free or it can be purchased with micro transactions. So it is the biggest game of all; make money. A subscription costs money but you can also sell content. If you sell more content than you pay for your subscription you make a profit. If you make enough profit you make a living.
And off I went, creating content using the tools available. There are tools to create objects, combining primitives that can be shaped (a bit like Lego on acid) and a scripting language to allow users to interact with these objects. I'm good at these things. Very good. I created content for companies in Brazil, the USA and the Netherlands while I had already moved to London. Unfortunately, while I was making a profit, I didn't make a living so I started browsing the Internet for related jobs, preferably freelance. Or work from home. And I bumped into an advertisement from a Glaswegian university looking for exactly my skills. But it was almost 3 months old so I didn't bother to apply. A couple of days later I saw that advertisement again. Now one day old. These people had been searching for skills and experiences that closely matched mine. Not all of them. I didn't think for instance running an underground music venue would score many points, but I was wrong. Communities of practise and all that. Which shows you don't know what you don't know.
I jumped for the job.
The university was already arranging my flight from Amsterdam, having overlooked that I resided in London which showed me, and the recruiter who worked for them as intermediary, they meant business.
Using the native, Linden Lab viewer & toolkit it provided:
  1. Building: Creating environments (homes, offices) and gear (clothes, shoes) using the in-world toolbox of building blocks called prims that look like wood.
  2. Texturing: These collections or constructions of prims need to 'painted' with textures. Textures are image files. Created with the GIMP.
  3. Environment: Rocks, trees, plants. It's also possible to create visual effects (light, smoke) with a particle system.
  4. Scripting: Interaction (movement, feedback) and the particle system are enabled using the native scripting language LSL (yes, Linden Scripting Language).

Bat Cave, stg Popcluster, 013: Youth/Music Cultural Venues (1990-1998) Show Narrative or Skills/Activities

It was a good run for a few years but for a very smart guy I sometimes fail to spot the glaringly obvious and I found myself out of machines. I had translated all there was to be translated and hadn't seriously looked into additional work. I figured it was too late to now start with acquisition.
So I moved to a bigger city and loaded garden furniture into lorries for a while. Me and a colleague would talk about music during breaks, both liking the same genres. And I knew a thing or two about this, since I had lived next to a guy who ran a mail-order for alternative music so I would have access to the newest of the newest before anybody else. The colleague worked as volunteer for an alternative, underground (metal, gothic, punk, industrial) concert venue called Bat Cave and invited me to DJ some night. And so I did. After which I started to volunteer in that venue as well, moved up in the organisation and shortly after, with a few other key people, ran the show. We started to improve and professionalise this organisation and it's operation. From selling beer from bottles we got ourselves a bar system. From renting the PA and light system we used during concerts we bought one. This increased profit margins substantially and allowed us to book bigger and better bands, which increased the numbers of visitors, which in turn increased profits again. It also increased workload and responsibilities so we needed and could eventually start to pay some key staff members, create a limited number of (half time) jobs. But this also taught me everything about running a place like this and I followed all courses required to manage and own a leisure venue in the Netherlands, which aren't valid in the UK.
Then the local government, which partially (some 20%) funded this organisation decided they needed to investigate the entire cultural sector and see if there were wasteful overlaps or redundancies. And everybody in the cultural field panicked.
These are collaborative skills. I didn't do everything all by myself but being a member of the board I was involved with the complete package of bar, club or concert venue management, especially the decision-making and prioritising. (The venue was a foundation consisting of volunteers with a 'working' board who, after consultation, made the decisions.)
  1. Planning: Which activities when to meet targets in both reach (audience) as finance (surplus). Which volunteers work when.
  2. Finance: Where to allocate yearly and monthly budgets. Some activities needed more publicity than others, for instance.
  3. Organisation & Professionalisation: The organisation was a volunteer collective with everybody talking about everything. We re-arranged into working groups with a lead (programming, publicity, finance, etc) and a monthly general meeting to improve efficiency while maintaining a collective spirit.
  4. Equipment: Gradually acquired essential equipment instead of renting. Technical specifications, prices, operation (skills required) maintenance. Return on Investment, Costs of Ownership. I was the driving force behind this improvement.

which includes Collaboration and Public Relations (Venues, Government).. Show Narrative or Skills/Activities

Almost everybody. Somebody (not me) had the brilliant insight that this crisis was too good to waste. We got together, four organisations active in the field of youth culture and music. Two support organisations (MuziekKantenWinkel & Studio Chateau) and two venues (Noorderligt, a venue with a capacity of 1000 and Bat Cave, with a capacity of 250). The initiative was Noorderligt's. I was delegated because of my skills with language, both verbal as written. We talked and decided we shouldn't fight each other over the theoretically available funding as the government intentionally or not had caused some others to do but to collaborate. We all had some problems with our location. For instance, Bat Cave couldn't get bigger or operate more often, Noorderligt lacked a smaller capacity and was on the outskirts of town, bordering an encroaching residential area. So the vision (again, not my idea) proposed and presented was that we, as a sector, didn't argue or wanted to patch these problems. We boldly, collectively proposed an entirely new venue, dedicated to popular youth and music culture, smack in the centre of town.
We started with a small working group, project team, consisting of three people, myself included and set up a new foundation (Popcluster) which aimed to a) realise this building and b) realise the organisation to operate it, which included a merger of the 4 founding partners. It took, in total, some 5 years to make it happen. One partner dropped out. Countless talks and proposals to and fro, working with the local government on all levels and all subject areas. The building itself, the business plan, the organisation, the budget. Sponsors. Beer. Public relations. During this time there were also other interesting things happening, I could go on and on but I'll just mention two relative highlights, both originating in our membership of Trans Europe Halles, a Paris based umbrella organisation for cultural institutions across Europe.
The first is a multi disciplinary production "Working Overtime at the Factory" (music, dance, video) I was responsible for as our contribution to Copenhagen Cultural Capital 1996 (time does fly) and was very well received. The second is an exchange of volunteers between 7 cultural organisations across Europe which I coordinated together with the head office in Paris. This Youth Exchange Project made me interact with the European Commission for funding. But it also involved flying or training across Europe to end up speaking three languages simultaneously.
In the end, we pulled it off. We got ourselves this massive new building housing (then) 3 venue capacities (2500/1500 -two capacities made possible by a balcony-, 500, 250), rehearsal facilities, recording studio. The works. The first and biggest new built venue for youth and music culture in the Netherlands. The place was named 013; the land-line area code. Indeed smack in the centre of town. But then it was done. The battles were over, the system was operational. Not a lot of challenges left and I didn't see myself managing a venue or producing events for eternity. Besides, I had been messing around with that new thing, The Internet they called it. I thought that to be much more interesting.
The three organisations participating in the new foundation 'Popcluster' each delegated two members of staff to the board and one member off staff into the project team (which could not be the same people). This team would support all elements of the development. Being a full time team member and responsible for feedback to my organisation I was involved in all these elements.
  1. Business plan: Ranging from vision to SWOT analyses, investments, budgets.
  2. Organisation: The merger of three organisations, differing in scale and reach into a single one, maintaining (parts of) individual and on occasion very different cultures.
  3. Finance: Part of the funding and budget was provided by the government, part of it raised by the participating organisations (revenue, sponsoring) for which commerce and culture and to be combined. These were interesting and sometimes tense meetings.
  4. The Building: Starting with broad criteria (capacities, rehearsal facilities) to actual specifications, internal (3 venues in one building had to operate simultaniously) and external sound insulation, bar placement, required toilets, storage. The works. Highly interesting.
  5. IT: Both in existing venues as planning for the new one. An element with little historical background (and possible animosities) so an excellent starting point for collaboration and integration.
  6. Activities: New, innovative activities. Conception & implementation. Cyber Simulation Event (Band plays in the attic, streamed into the basement). Multi disciplinary productions. Nachtschade (Gothic dance nights). Midnight Moves (after concert dance nights, extending opening times, increasing revenue).

and includes Computers and The Internet (early stages) Show Narrative or Skills/Activities

When I started to volunteer at Bat Cave I brought in my old, first but still operational 80286 IBM clone, having inherited a 80386 with a colour graphics card. I wrote a program to manage stock and calculate turnover so that even the most ignorant volunteer could use it. Count the bottles. Enter the numbers. The figure that appears should be in the till. Wrote an additional functionality so we knew exactly what to order when. I showed it to a regular visitor, a nerdy guy who studied computing and philosophy at the university, somewhere in 1991. We talked about The Internet, Usenet, IRC, E-Mail. Some of it was only accessible to students at the uni or at home, provided they had a modem. He shared his password and I soon found myself in the Library of Congress but I didn't know Unix so I was lost. But I was highly interested so kept track. And once HTML was under way from '94 onward I started to create web pages, for the venues, in a plain text editor even before HTML could embed images or a table. And I thought it epic. Truly innovative. So I decided to start a business and work with my partner, an artist, to whom I had introduced these various things. And the World Wide Web got massively more interesting when HTML could embed images. I figured that I could make it work and my partner could make it look good. And so we were off.
I knew more about computers than anybody else and I was soon responsible for the IT in both existing as planned venues.
  1. Programming: Had a stab at various programming languages. Created some inventory management software.
  2. Software: Office software (word, excel) for reporting, planning, etc. Desktop publishing software. Windows 3.11. Paint. Tetris.
  3. Internet: IRC and Usenet. Tried implementing email but the PR manager and Program Manager already had a fax. Immediately registered www.013web.nl (at that time a URL could not consist of numbers alone) at xs4all, the first ISP in the Netherlands. Hand coded HTML pages before images or frames were supported or CSS invented.
  4. Hardware: Responsible for new hardware. Executives always got the newest machines, their previous ones trickled down the organisational pyramid. They didn't know I swapped their processor so people needing them more (graphical designers for instance) would get the latest one.

Merlin Gerin: Field Service Engineer (1984-1987) Show Narrative or Skills/Activities

A UPS system, Uninterruptable Power Supply, sits between the mains power and sensitive electronic equipment to protect the latter from disturbances like outages and spikes. Power electronics; managing and manipulating high voltages and resulting currents with circuit boards you could replace and still repair in the workshop with a soldering iron. These machines come in various sizes or powers, usually sit in the basement of office blocks making that high pitched (400 Hz) noise. They are quite expensive. The people making the decision to buy one, and which one, were hardly ever the same people who operated them. And the focus of most documentation, in English, was to market these machines. The operating manuals, as thick as a baby's wrist, were written by people who knew these machines by heart since they developed them. Which means they frequently elaborated on technical details not required to operate those machines but worse, sometimes omitted basic but essential instructions.
So I frequently found myself in my car in the middle of the night driving halfway through the country to solve a problem that originated in the fact that somebody pressed the wrong button at the wrong moment in time. I started to write very simple operating instructions, based on that manual, for the operators. This significantly reduced the number of failures which my boss thought was a good thing, for obvious reasons.
  1. Driving: A lot of mileage. Zero accidents. I'm an excellent driver. Zero points on my UK license.
  2. Troubleshooting Electronics: Power Electronics (manipulating high voltage & currents with Electronic Circuit Boards.
  3. Repair Electronics: Find, using schematics & equipment, and repair the faulty elements in Circuit Boards (usually transistors / triristors)
  4. Reporting: What caused the error, how can it be prevented in the future (use better transistors at manufacturing)
  5. Costing and billing: Time and components. The actual legwork (invoicing etc) by supporting administative staff.
  6. Software:The first word processors and spreadsheets (Word Perfect, Office Assistant) on a PC without a hard drive, swapping disks. Changing the 'autoexec.bat' so that colleagues could only access their PC after entering 'Ferdinand is Lief' ('Ferdinand is Nice')
  7. Network:Dragging cables through suspended ceilings to install the first LAN in the company. Configuring the network cards.

which led to Translating & Localisation (1986-1989) Show Narrative or Skills/Activities

My boss subsequently asked me to translate more, the complete manual and all commercial information that could be translated and localised with references and examples.
I liked that a lot but also suggested that I could do this from home. After all, office space was limited and we had been goofing around with dial-up modems. Upping the ante my boss suggested that I could even be self employed, with some guaranteed work. I was open to the idea but I didn't have a personal computer at home. Not a lot of people had a PC at home, in those days. Remember, this was around '87 when an 80386 processor was quite the thing and the then current DOS version couldn't format the then new newest and most expensive 40 MB hard drive in one partition but had to create two; one 32 MB and one 8Mb.
  1. Language: Improving my Dutch and English to high, professional levels.
  2. Planning: Deadlines have to be met.
  3. Costing, billing: Now also responsible for the administrative side.

which included First Computer and -games (1988) Show Narrative or Skills/Activities

My boss then offered to buy that computer for me and my stint as freelance translator (English and French to Dutch) began. With a Taiwanese clone of an IBM 80286 and a spare 8 MB D: drive on which I could install the then newest Graphical Adventure Games like Police Quest, Kings Quest, Leisure Suit Larry. An interesting side note is that these games required Colour Graphics Adaptor Cards (CGA, EGA, VGA) and while I could argue the case for a 40 MB drive to my boss, I couldn't argue for one of those and my machine was equipped with a Hercules graphics card, and that infamous green on black display. And I had to learn how to fool the machine and make it think it was equipped with something it wasn't. Also, these games came with a copy protection so you couldn't share them with your friends which obviously had to be removed so you could share them with your friends.
  1. Software (Office): Using Word processors to create macro's for returning phrases. Using desk top publishing software to create final (print) products.
  2. Software (Games): Messing around in binary files to remove or circumvent copy protection.
  3. Logical Thinking, Problem-solving: This is before the World Wide Web. Solutions to puzzles couldn't be found, had to be discovered. Stuck is stuck.
  4. Hard- and software, configuration: Messing around with autoexec.bat and config.sys etc to increase or change memory size (upper, lower) and emulate graphic cards. I could run Doom on a toaster.

Eduction (1970-1984) Show Narrative

After my primary education, which in my case included Dutch, English, German, Physics, Mathematics and Economics I embarked on a Technical Education in what would compare to a Polytechnic School. The first two years consisted of a general foundation, for the third year one selected a specialisation. I opted for Electronics. The fourth was a practical year in which you'd intern in three different companies for a total of ten months. Luckily for me my third company bailed out at the last possible moment so I was allowed to return to the first company for my last period. That company was Merlin Gerin and after the intern-ship it immediately hired me as Field Service Engineer for the French built UPS systems they were selling in The Netherlands.

On a side note, I've created this universal JQuery text box toggle script. It's 10 lines of code for all text toggles! The script doesn't change, no matter the number or content of blocks. All it requires is a naming convention in HTML and some CSS to support it. I may document this later in a separate page.

© Ferdinand Francino, Franciknow ltd, 2015