Nov 2000

Skills (things I'm good at):

      I'm basically a C-programmer, but of course also familiar with a lot of other programming languages (from C++, Smalltalk and Lisp to assembly programming). I think that the logic behind a program, and the skill of desiging a program in a clear and maintainable way, are much more important than being a guru in the details of one specific programming language.
      I'm more a mathematician than a technologist, and better at logical designing of a piece of technology than at knowing the details of how to use and/or install a given existing kind of technology.
      I think that writing clear and useful manuals might be a more essential and more useful skill than being a good coder.

technical writing:
      I'm good at writing any type of ``manual'' that is intended to convey to the reader the outline of the functionality (the logic, the ``mathematics'') behind how a piece of software (or mathematical method, or even a philosophical method or tool) works internally.
      I regard technical writing, scientific writing, and philosophical writing as basically the same thing. In each, conveying insight is in my opinion the important thing. A text should give the reader the insight that enables him to use a tool (a piece of technology) or a method (a philosophical method of thinking) fully independently to his own advantage, and should fully give all the essential ``secrets'' behind why and how it works, so that an intelligent reader is thereby e.g. enabled to build on to it.
      I think that an idea that is not communicated into the world, or at least into a group of people who actually use the idea, is almost as good as dead. To communicate and document an idea is in my opinion a vital part of the process of generating the idea.

analysis and design:
      I have a significant need to puzzle out any kind of design problem, whether in software, mathematics, designing of a piece of technology, designing of a philosophical method of thinking, or whatever. In everything, I only look at the functionality behind things, I disregard and try to eliminate anything that is not functional (= useful). I have a tendency to hang on as a leech onto any problem that people give me. I have a need to make sense of any input data that is given to me (= to find out ``how it works''), and to solve any puzzle that is given to me, especially if it is a new kind of puzzle and if it is not a trivial thing -- e.g. if the solution to the puzzle could involve finding methods that are generally usable in a wider domain.
      What the actual puzzle is that I'm at any given time working on, is to me much more irrelevant: I do not actively go looking for problems by myself; I tend to just latch on to anything that happens to come my way (or that people toss to me).

English and Dutch: fluent.
French, German, Italian: enough to read without difficulty.
(Currently studying Chinese and Japanese ... but those are rather long-term projects :-).)

cooperational, organizational and communication skills:
      I'm not at all a typical practical ``organizer'', but in the domain of how information flows between people I do have a tendency, and find it appealing, to organize things; namely in such a way that repetitive conversations and modes of thinking within groups are broken open, in such a way that people who might possess information (including methods and skills) that might be useful to other people are reciprocally informed of each other, and in such a way that new possibilities are opened up (e.g. views towards new sorts of information, new ways of gaining feedback, or any other thing that might aid information exchange processes).
      I regard people as walking (and dynamic) libraries; it is in my opinion a very useful investment to try to find out, when meeting someone and also when interacting with people you already know, what unexpected and of more unique items of content might be in that ``library''.

Things I'm not useful for:

Help-desk and maintenance work.
Anything with frequent tight deadlines.
Repetitive work.
Any work that requires short-term operational planning and decisiveness.

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