thebellman

It may be that writing a truly great opening line has been lost to a more elegant age, one where both the author and the reader had the time and leisure to savour text that distinctly has a beginning, a middle, and a definitive end. In place of any of those things, allow me instead to introduce myself.

I make software and information systems, and have been doing it for over 30 years. My interests lie in the realms of large amounts of data, large numbers of transactions, and fast processing. I feel strongly about security, but do not claim expertise in that area. I prefer working in the Unix space, and have spent quite a lot of recent years working with Java and related technologies.

If I was challenged to identify one factor that characterised my thinking about software and system development, it would be “simplicity”. The business of building software has now been around for 60 years, give or take a decade, and yet we still tend to make things harder for ourselves than is needed. Simplicity isn't easy, and is ill-defined, but it is simplicity that lets people go home on time, and reduces the risk of unpleasant surprises. It's not the simplicity of a sheet of paper that I seek, but rather that of an elegant piece of raku ware.

My politics are broadly liberal and toward the left. I categorically and unequivocally reject racism, sexism and inequality. I strongly support and encourage inclusivity and representation, and particularly seek to improve the imbalances present in STEM. Access to education, housing and healthcare are dear to my heart, and I would love to see peace, finally, be given a chance.

Despite this, I fight with swords, studying Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) with some seriousness. My primary interest is late 16th and early 17th Century rapier, with a particular interest in the Spanish schools and the work of Girard Thibault d'Anvers. I'm not particularly fast, nor strong, nor agile, but train with the hope that one day I might understand these arts.

Historical fencing has shaped and continues to shape my worldview. It takes a certain chutzpah to believe that I can face someone in play, sword in hand, and defend myself while striking them. Swordplay requires focus, and demands that you pay attention to what is really going on, instead of being distracted by what you think is happening. HEMA requires trust — trust that you can do something inherently risky without hurting your training partners, and trust that they in turn care for your safety. Finally, fencing requires quick thinking, and the willingness to commit firmly to a thought-out decision.

My preference is for jeans and sneakers, but you will find me in a suit when the occasion warrants it. I am not comfortable with the idea that we should try to rigidly separate “work” from “life”. Time and energy are precious, now, and if there is a general acceptance that work spreads beyond the bounds of the office, and sprawls outside the 9 to 5, then we must accept that “life” similarly is not constrained to happen outside the walled garden. The dream of “8 hours labor, 8 hours leisure, 8 hours rest” is gone, for better or for worse.

So there I am, and here we are. You will find more details here should you need them, or have an interest — some contact details, a resumé, and a variety of intermittently updated writings.

Welcome.

Contact

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  • +44 (0) 7961 524810
  • Skype: rahook

Resumé

I am a software engineer with over 30 years experience in a broad range of industries, and with a very broad skill set. My passion is creating robust, high performance software, with a desire to create the right solution first time, every time. I am particularly excited by and interested in the problems involved in extracting knowledge from large volumes of data, and in building complex, high availability, high performance server-side software.

A more complete version of this resumé is available here

Expertise