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saintly's Expert Profile

If it's a question about computers, I can probably answer it. I currently work as a programmer and network administrator at the University of California. Computers have been my consuming interest since only a few years after I was old enough to read. I've been programming since 1988 and I've grown up with computers older than the first IBM PC. I've put together and cherished 286s, tweaked, installed and cursed every bug in MS-DOS 3.3. I'm particularly familiar with repairing, troubleshooting conflicts and upgrading software and hardware, having made every mistake in the book at least a few times. Buggy and broken computers have been known to start working as soon as I walk in the room to fix them.

After 5 years of programming in BASIC on the Sinclair ZX81, 286s and 386s, I moved on to C and C++. A few years later I immersed myself in PERL and haven't looked back. I've been working with UNIX (BSDI, FreeBSD, Linux and Solaris) since about 1996, and am familiar with most networking issues relating to UNIX/WinNT/Win95 TCP/IP networks, including getting them all to play nicely in the sandbox with each other. I've been an avid Internet user since before the Internet became so popular and am good at hunting down information by now.

I am familiar with most applications, but I tend to do things the old-fashioned way so much that I don't use things like Word, HTML editors (I hand-code HTML) and Excel much. About the only applications I feel comfortable answering questions on are Internet browsers, Photoshop, ICQ and FileMaker Pro.

Computers and the Internet are my profession, my livelihood, and my first love. I have a few other talents and hobbies, and in the last few years have been trying not to be such a computer addict. I'm good at mathematics, physics, role-playing games (since 1993), debating religious & philosophical issues, and (believe it or not!) relationships! What does a self-professed die-hard geek know about relationships? That being totally consumed with computers is bad for them. Let my geekiness work for YOU though; exploit my knowledge to satisfy your burning computer questions, or see if I can fetch your homework answers!

I can answer most computer-related questions off the top of my head, and research medium-complexity questions in a few hours. I have a fairly fast response time, and I don't charge anything for most questions. If your question would require me to invest a significant amount of time, like debugging code or troubleshooting a nightmare then I'll probably turn it down, although I might consider doing it for-pay.


A burning focus on computers for over 12 years. The start of my formal experience opens with me volunteering/interning at an Internet provider for 2 years. Handling tech support to help others get on the internet and resolve problems, programming in the UNIX environment, learning about networking issues and doing R&D programming with new technologies to investigate possible new services the ISP could offer. I liked tech support so much that I opened my own business and did it for profit for a year (about a dozen regular clients, but word-of-mouth advertising only) before I left the area. Close curtain and reopen on me working in a PC repair shop as a 'Field Network specialist' fixing all manner of PCs and a little bit of network repair (small shop). I couldn't stay longer than 6 months before getting snapped up as a programmer for a major Chicago law firm. There I programmed on Macs and SunOS/Solaris UNIX machines and worked with the network administrator to fix major problems as they occurred. It also fell to me to support and repair the few PCs running NT or 95 that were there too. After a year there, drop curtain again and reopen on me in my present job, working as a programmer/network admin at the University of California on our mixed NT/95/Mac/FreeBSD UNIX network.

All told, I've been programming for a living since 1995, and have 7 years prior to that as a computer junkie.


I've taken college courses in Assembler and C (during my Junior year of high school) to refine what I'd already taught myself. I passed them all with a 'B' average to earn a 'C language programming certificate'. I have a few years of college, and lots of college credit earned by demonstrated proficiency in English, Mathematics (Calculus) and various of the prerequisite computer courses. I've been fortunate to have most of my experience earned through hands-on experience as a volunteer and from some highly skilled teachers. I have also managed to learn from just about every mistake I've made, which alone seems like my head should be radiating knowledge vibes by now.

I also taught courses on Internet and computer-related topics, with a focus on new internet users for about a year. I've helped many other professionals use and learn about their computers. I'm good at speaking clearly and helping others understand computer-related subjects, and teaching children.

Some of the public-domain software I've written is in use at a wide range of sites on the internet. One of my eMail filtering programs is distributed on the CPAN CD, and I've made lots of contributions to other open software efforts.

Other points of interest:
I've lived in lots of different places around the world, including Sri Lanka and Guam. I might be able to answer some travel-related questions relating to Asia. Current member of Mensa. Dying to know more? Visit my home page at:

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