Hello, prospective groupmates!
My name is Paul Arezina, and I'm a master's student in the Department of Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh. You probably knew that, but an introduction has to start somewhere.
Born in Pittsburgh. Raised in Pittsburgh. I think I've been outside Pennsylvania for somewhere less than a month in my 25 years of life, though I'm racking up the count now, going on the road to test software I'm writing for Lockheed Martin and the Air Force. (There's a large man in a black suit who says I can't say any more than that.) Got my first computer at about 8, a hand-me-down C64 from my grandfather, and started programming at about 8 and three months. Finally made the switch to Windows in 1993 or so (but not on my C64), built my own system (also not a C64) in 2003.
So right now, I'm living from day-to-day working my way through a master's degree. Eventually I want to do something with the biochemistry degree I got from St. Vincent College and the bachelor's from Pitt, so that means bioinformatics, so that means biomedical informatics here, but exactly what form all this will take I don't know yet.
- User interfaces. And users. What makes a good interface? How can they (interfaces, that is) be made better? Why do people prefer one interface to another? Why are some people resolutely computer-phobic while others (people, that is) dive in with all their heart and assorted other organs? This is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night.
- CSS. Well, compartmentalization in general (you can fit the DOM into this). Having a bunch of tiny pieces that you know will work, and melding them all into a much bigger piece that you only hope will work. Easy on maintenance, heavy on the nerves, but I love it when a plan comes together.
- XML. Well, descriptiveness in general. Part of this is out of my love for compartmentalization, part of it's a fascination for breaking down a massive monstrosity of a concept (that you know will work) into discrete and classifiable pieces (that you only hope will work).
- C++. It is continually making me bash my head into a brick wall because of various interoperability issues that the large man in the black suit will stop me from discussing, but I've been working with it for about 10 years. It's like an old glove, and, like an old glove, I keep having to make my own patches for it.
- Java. It is comparatively new, foreign, and strange, since I've only been working with it for a year, maybe a little more. But I am in awe of its power and portability, even if occasionally I wish that everything wasn't an object.
- SQL, CLIPS, COBOL, and a bunch of smaller, less-used languages. They have their good points, they have their bad points.
- Image editing. Just because my mouse hand is twitchy and a lot of images are exactly one pixel away from both utter perfection and sheer catastrophe.
- The CSS Zen Garden. You should go here. You should go here NOW.
- WestCiv's CSS guide. And after you go there NOW, you should go here at some point in the future.
- O'Reilly's Manuals For Darn Near Everything. And after you get done going there, and the other there, if you have any more questions you should come here. These books are great.
- And finally, Bash.org. When the internet stops being polite, and starts being real. Caution: not safe for work, labs, or anywhere, really.