I am a Southern California native who has spent the better part of my life
working with computers. From writing proprietary-language compiler tools
back in college, to security consulting and communications controllers
today, I've acquired an enormously broad background in technology
thanks to a diverse customer base and a very curious mind. I'm a
fantastic problem solver and love technical challenges.
I have outstanding customer references available upon request, and
in most cases can provide them for specific projects described here.
In addition to the topics mentioned here, I've had my fingers in most
of the other bits of important technology and am able to apply that
experience to new projects.
Education, Awards, & Career Background
I took a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics/Computer Science, and was
fortunate enough to receive an introduction to UNIX and C programming
in early 1981. I have been immersed in UNIX and C for the whole of that
time, and this experience encompasses many industries and disciplines. You
can read more of my history.
In October 2003 I was named a Microsoft MVP
(Most Valuable Professional) for "Windows Servers - Security".
This is a retrospective award made to those who have made contributions in
third-party support forums, and I earned mine
in the DSL
Reports Security Forum. This award had been renewed from 2004-2010, though
I took a break in 2011 when I asked not to be reconsidered this cycle.
I believe I was the only Microsoft MVP with unix in his domain name,
and occasionally joke that I was the "Linux MVP"
Internet Infrastructure & Security
I've had a fulltime internet connection at my home office since 1994 and have
been responsible for setting up customer routers and firewalls since
that same year. I currently manage around a dozen customer networks,
firewalls, and internet servers.
Specific areas of practice:
- DNS Configuration and Hosting
- I've hosted DNS on my network of topologically diverse system
of nameservers for years (my Internic handle is SF22,
which shows how long ago it was assigned to me), and I've become
adept at configuring
BIND 9 to run in a maximally secure manner (details in my
- Sendmail Configuration
- I have many years of experience wading through sendmail configuration
files, whether it be for anti-spam provisioning or simply having the
server process mail in unusual ways.
- Internet Security
- My interest in computer security long predates the modern internet.
For many years I was adept at finding holes in UNIX systems that allowed
me to escalate to root privileges. Whether it was breaking root on the
VAX/11-780 in college with the vi editor or writing a mini debugger
to subvert the kernel's ptrace() mechanism on the AT&T 3B2 UNIX,
most systems "have a way" for those aspiring to root to acquire it.
With this background it seemed only natural that I'd move into
the internet security arena.
In addition to UNIX fax, I've created several other industrial-strength
communications controllers using serial I/O and IP networking. I am very
much at home with data analyzers for both media, plus the operating system
constructs that support them. Some of my representative projects:
- Computer Facsimile
- I was the author of the first commercial release of VSI-FAX,
the most widely-used commercial UNIX fax system on the market.
Since 1988, I have been involved in nearly every area of computer
facsimile: from the low-level modem drivers, imaging, overall server
design, and even technical support.
My old business card :-)
- UDP Client/Server Protocol
- I designed a UDP-based protocol and
built the client/server library
used by networked time clocks to report and query the central server.
Both client and server were cross-platform — UNIX and Windows NT — and
the protocol was apparently designed well enough that no changes were ever
needed in the face of multiple revisions to the client and server modules.
- Credit Card Authorization Multiplexor
- This UNIX server software accepts credit card authorizations requests from
retail point-of-sale clients and routes them via a leased line to the
credit card processor. This software reduced the time to run a purchaser's
credit card from 30-45 seconds each to 3-5 seconds.
- Modem-based File Transfer Communications
- I created a
serial-communications module that did X- and Z-Modem transfers via serial
I/O (over modem) and via TCP/IP, and had scripted EDI conversations with
VAN (Value Added Network) receivers on the other end. This software ran
on multiple UNIX platforms and on Windows NT from essentially the same
source code. Written in C++, the customer has reported that my modules
have been remarkably trouble free.
Since last 2008, I've been implementing communications interfaces that
connect payroll systems with Hartford's XactPay
workers compensation platform, and have developed an unparalleled expertise in this area.
both software and consultation available, I'm sure I can help you get
connected with Hartford far faster than doing it yourself.
I've already paid my dues: you don't have to.
Databases / Data Conversion
I've used SQL databases since 1984 and have very long experience with
them on numerous platforms. These include Unify, Informix, Sybase,
C-ISAM, mySQL, MS-SQL, Interbase/Firebird and IBM's DB2. I've used embedded
SQL and db-library style
interfaces in addition to the more traditional "raw" SQL.
Sybase Application Data Extraction
- A customer needed to extract data from a Windows-based application that
ran on top of Sybase, and I was able to do this via a pcAnywhere remote
connection in several hours having only used Sybase once before. I created
a set of scripts that cleanly extracted the data to CSV files such that the
customer could run the process without my help. The link above is the Tech Tip
I created from the process.
A customer in the payroll business bought another payroll company,
and needed to transfer the data from the new company's system to his own.
I wrote software in perl to parse HP PCL output and extract the key
payroll data in an easy-to-import form in a fraction of the time that
manual data entry would have taken.
C/C++ and UNIX/Win32 Systems Programming
I have been using UNIX since January 1981 and programming in C since
the summer of that year. I have used nearly every UNIX machine ever made
save for a Cray, and have ported to something like 50 platforms over my
career. "Portability" is my middle name.
I also have extensive experience with the Win32 platform, particularly
under Windows NT. I am generally as comfortable with OS-level work on
NT as I am in UNIX.
Representative projects include:
Windows NT Color Print Driver
For a medical-grade color imager, I created a printer driver for Windows
NT 3.51, and it was very full featured. About 30,000 lines of C++, it
supported many sophisticated scaling and color matching algorithms as
well as extensive output-formatting options.
UNIX Process Control Manager
- On a Solaris system, I created a daemon that regulated the
running processes during a critical data transfer operation: during
this window, I/O heavy processes were throttled to minimize SCSI bus
usage, and this was done via a the /proc process-control interface.
This general area (rather than a specific project) has been part of
my skillset for 20 years: I've worked on nearly every UNIX system
ever made, with additional experience on Win32, CP/M and MS-DOS. This
has given me an enormous sense for "what ports" and "what doesn't".
Most of my work has been on more traditional computer platforms, but I've
done a number of embedded hardware and software projects as well. In
college I did extensive development on the 8051 platform on hardware of my
own design, and though I'm long past the point of being qualified for any
real hardware design, I still keep my hands in the software end of it.
Notable projects include:
Embedded Linux Bootstrap/Installation System
For a manufacturer of medical equipment that ran the Linux OS, I
created the system that allowed for failsafe bootstrapping and software
installation. The machine ran on PC-like hardware, had a hard drive
for system software and storage, and a ZIP drive for installations
and software updates. I created an extensive system for building boot
- Wire Printer Controller
I created a hardware and software system to integrate a PC with a Domino
ink-jet printer that imprinted customer information and foot-measure markers
on audio speaker wire.
Training / Technical Writing
For several years I travelled to teach week-long classes in C and UNIX
programming to such companies as IBM, BellSouth, Goldman Sachs, plus an
Efficiency, Portability and Maintainability class at AT&T Bell
Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey. I routinely received outstanding reviews
for my clarity and enthusiasm: my students could tell that they were learning
from a real, live, firebreathing developer.
I was also a volunteer English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor
for many years, and I'm very comfortable in front of a crowd.
I have also been a technical reviewer on dozens of books, some
with more involvement than others. I've been credited in at least
There are many more, but most of them don't seem to be on the
shelf at the moment.
Languages and Technologies
In addition to the project-related information above, I have skills in
these more general technologies:
I'm very strong with perl, having used it for many years. My early work
had been text processing, but of late it's grown to include web applications
and network tools. Many times I'll prototype an idea for a customer project
in perl to get a feel for what's involved, then use this as a base to
move forward with the "real" project.
- But I'm not anywhere nearly as good as my brother Jeffrey, who wrote
Mastering Regular Expressions
for O'Reilly and Associates. The second
edition is out now, and I've performed a full technical
review. It's an epic work on the subject.
- I'm not particularly strong with Java, but I have
written a bit of real production software that talks to an IBM DB2 database via
JDBC. It's all backend work, though, no GUI. I have excellent outside resources
for Java help.
- I have years of experience with Postscript: writing it by hand,
debugging it, and even maintaining an interpreter.
- Pick BASIC
- For many years I had quite a few customers
who ran the Dataflow manufacturing system from Data Works (now Epicor),
and I found that even UNIX enthusiasts can find plenty of things to admire
about Pick BASIC. This was quite a surprise to find such a well done system