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  • jhammel's dwelling

last modified May 7, 2008 by k0s

Member, The Open Planning Project .

Always a little bit (or sometimes more than a little) off the beaten path, Jeff grew up in the humble days of DOS 3.whatever, when he thought he would NEVER fill up that 40 meg hard drive. When he first saw Windows 3.1 he thought, ``Well this POS will never catch on''. So his predictions for the world of tommorow haven't always been on par with marketing strategy [never understood why OS 2 never caught on, either. but is equally amazed that advertising actually works on some people]. Going from DOS -> linux was a great match for him. He loves to customize minutae and loves all the techie details exposed -- must be why he hates drop ceilings. He's been a big fan of free software (free as in speech AND as in beer) from the beginning, as he also never quite grasped how information could be owned. Sometimes he envisions a future where memories are wiped from you if you don't pay a renewel license fee [don't might seem funny now, but when you are strapped down to that table i doubt it'll be humorous].

Jeff went to school for mechanical engineering specializing in aerospace and had hoped to help humanity by colonizing other worlds. Oh, what a naive young 19 year old! After being fascinated with non-equilibrium `fluid' dynamics, went into a research program for plasma physics at WPI. After getting his M.S., this led him to Berkeley for his Ph.D. [in progress] in computational plasma physics.

The Berkeley of reality wasn't like the hippie good-will and all of that. Very competitive. Very money-driven. He spent five years in a plasma research program that he should have loved, but woke up every day facing the fact that the only jobs in plasma physics were through the DoD or companies that only valued the $$$ (as they all do). On top of that, he faced continuous frustrations regarding development of plasma simulator software that is was developed only enough to allow today's work being done. How many hours were lost dealing with buggy and incomplete software (that there was no time to fix or complete, due to grant pressures -- always time for type-setting a presentation though) will never been known. Towards the end, he cared less about researching plasma (which he never got a chance to do anyway) but mainly about quality code design.

Frustrated, Jeff stumbled into a TOPP info session at Berkeley. He was inspired by the hilarious ``don't be a dick'' poster. It had been a long day. He was tired and wanted to go home to prepare for yet another day's work. But he knew would regret it if he didn't check it out. So he went, loved it, and applied. And now he's here. Yea! Happy ending!

Oh, and he beat zelda with the white sword and blue ring. Something the wonderfully written manual said wasn't possible. Take that, reality!





love & war