Important Update: I am currently in the process of phasing out contract work as I seek a permanent position with a small local company. For more information as to how this will effect my availability, or for more information for companies interested in hiring me full time, please look here.

 

 
               
                   
  Here you will find a detailed list of my professional skills and personal interests and hobbies. Each item also contains a brief summary of my relevant experiences.

It should be noted that the line between what is considered a professional skill or a personal interest can be a bit blurry. Generally speaking, I have a profound intellectual interest in both. However, professional skills are those fields which I consider to be useful and am also comfortable with my own ability to perform on a professional level. The personal interests, on the other hand, relate to hobbies and skills in which I have a great interest, but do not consider to be 'marketable' (either as a result of low demand, or a lack of sufficient experience on my part). That said, they may still hold great influence over my understanding of, and approach to, other areas.

 

Professional Skills

 

  Programming - Visual Basic I prefer Visual Basic and, more recently, Visual Basic .NET for rapid development of small applications for internal (non-distributed) applications. I have over 12 years experience working with the Visual Basic language and have written a wide variety of applications in VB. Just a few examples are:
  • GUI clients for online interactive games and applications hosted on WorldGroup server software and sold worldwide
  • Various applications to interface with and automatically manipulate various database systems
  • Multiple file manipulation applications to automate tasks such as file format conversion, data extraction, file management tools, etc.
  • Image conversion applications capable of converting multiple TIFF images (as output by high-speed document scanners) in to a single stitched PDF file
  • Various other applications, typically designed to automate repetitive or complex computer operations for the purpose of drastically reducing (and sometimes virtually eliminating) the required man hours to perform  common tasks
 
  Programming - C The C programming language is the first language I mastered. I have over 15 years experience working with this language, and prefer the C language for development of CPU intensive command line applications for Windows and Linux systems. Originally I used the language to customize the WorldGroup system, and later applied those skills to the development of online games and applications which were subsequently sold to customers world-wide. In more recent years I have used the C language to develop command line applications which require efficient code execution or complex memory manipulation.

I am currently in the process of learning Linux kernel development in the C language, and am also researching the design of programmable hardware devices using the C language.

 
  Programming - C++ My use of C++ has mostly revolved around the creation of small components which require efficient use of computer resources or refined control of system memory, as well as the modification and customization of existing applications developed in C++. Often,  the components I develop in C++ are used to complete an application in Visual Basic.

Recently, I have gained a renewed interest in the C++ language as a platform for large applications intended for public consumption. This interest has lead  me to revisit the language so that I may learn the newest programming methods and deepen my understanding of the language.

 
  Programming - C# I have not had an opportunity to achieve any serious development projects in C#. However, I am quite excited with the potential for the language and am currently learning more about it and expect to pick the language up quickly - especially given my experiences in similar languages.  
  Programming - JavaScript JavaScript is a more recently acquired programming language for me. However, I have used the language quite heavily over the past 3 years - mostly in the development of my personal website, BrokenLeash.com, a Flash-based website which makes heavy use of Macromedia's ActionScript (a variant of JavaScript) to perform a variety of very complex interactive and visual effects. In addition, I have used JavaScript to extend the capabilities of Macromedia's Flash design environment to automate several complex and repetitive tasks. In one example, I was able to reduce a task which originally took nearly a month of manual work to subsequently be done within a period of 3 days.  
  Programming - ASP I have used Microsoft's Active Server Pages (ASP) scripting language extensively over the past 10 years, producing scripts which provide many complex and useful functions, including:
  • Scripts which access, display, and manipulate data within SQL and Access databases
  • Scripts capable of interfacing with various server technologies (such as RADIUS servers, MS Exchange, etc)
  • Scripts providing server-side functionality for Flash web pages (for example, creating dynamic XML pages for client consumption)
  • Scripts providing many other common functions such as message boards, search engines, etc.

I have had few opportunities to use this skill recently, but plan on returning my focus towards it for several upcoming projects.

 
  Programming - Assembly I have studied assembly language extensively and had some limited experience with it for developmental purposes, but have not had the significant hands-on experience with it that I have had with most other languages.

Being quite familiar with the inner workings of digital systems, I find assembly quite straightforward (yet still challenging) and very much look forward to using it in any upcoming electronics projects which may require me to develop code to control the device's behavior.

 
  MS Access Database Design I spent many years working with Microsoft Access databases, but have had little opportunity to use them in recent years. Occasionally I would design these databases within Access for very simple data needs. More often, however, I would create the databases to work with custom applications capable of more customized behavior. I also would frequently use Access as a temporary database solution while developing an application which would eventually be configured to use the more robust SQL engine instead.  
  MS SQL Database Design I have had many chances to use Microsoft's SQL server (as well as many other third-party SQL systems) for a variety of reasons. The greatest example of this was during the 2 year period in which my online service ran a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) server. All player data was stored in a complex SQL database structure which I was required to backup and maintain regularly. In addition to the database administration, I also developed custom applications to interact with the database - such as an ASP script, which allowed users to monitor the server's statistics from the system's website.  
  Graphics Design - General I possess all of the 'core' skills that are critical to the graphics design process. I am experienced with many different raster and vector design and manipulation applications, which I use for a variety of reasons - both to create completed graphics as well as in conjunction with other, more advanced, methods of graphics design (such as the creation of texture maps for 3D modeling).  
  Graphics Design - 3D Modeling & Animation Over the past 5 years I have developed great aptitude for designing, animating, and rendering 3D models using the 3DS Max software developed by Discreet. I have completed many projects in this area, each more complex than the last. The results of my most recent endeavor can be seen on my personal website at www.brokenleash.com. There I have not only perform the process of creating, rigging, animating, and rendering an animated character, but have also optimized the output for conversion to Flash using Electric Rain's Swift 3D rendering engine along with a self-created project workflow.  
  Web Design & Development My first website was created over 12 years ago - well before the World-Wide Web was a household term. Since then I have spent many years mastering many new technologies which allow me to design eye-catching graphics as well as develop functional applications to provide useful features to the visitors of my sites.  
  Macromedia Flash Design & Development Macromedia's Flash application has been one of the most commonly used technologies for me over the past few years, and as a result I consider myself extremely skilled in its use. In addition to the traditional design capabilities Flash provides, I have also master Flash's ActionScript language (a variant of JavaScript) which allows pre-programmed user interaction and visual effects to occur at run time. In addition, I have recently begun extending the capabilities of Flash itself by developing plug-in tools and scripts to automate and enhance various parts of the design process.  
  Windows Network Administration During the past 15 years I have persistently administered networks based on Windows server technologies. Originally this included the constantly expanding network which ran my online service and later grew to include a web server, and dial-up ISP functionality. After being hired at Martek USA, I designed the new company's network, which included T1 connections to offices in Nashville, Little Rock, and Houston. To this day I maintain a network of at least 6 machines handling my various personal and professional projects.  
  Windows Machine Operation I have nearly 20 years experience working with various flavors of Microsoft's Windows operating system and use several Windows systems daily. I am intimately familiar with all of the inner workings of these systems and am completely comfortable with their administration and operation.  
  Linux Machine Operation My experiences with Linux have generally been limited in scope to specific applications for focused purposes. As a result, I am familiar with the basic day-to-day workings of Linux machines, but have not had the opportunity to perform any in-depth administration of a Linux system.

I have studied Linux extensively and am currently learning about Linux kernel development - which should provide significant insight in to the inner workings of Linux operating systems.

 
  Macintosh Machine Operation I have been a Macintosh owner for approximately two years, and am very comfortable with the daily operation of the system. I have also performed basic configuration and administration functions, including configuring the network, application installation, and other common tasks. However, I still feel I have a bit to learn about the low-level operations of the Mac OS.  
  Wide Area Networking In working with various network technologies I have had several occasions to develop and/or maintain wide area networks (WANs). My greatest experience with WAN technology occurred at my last employer, Martek USA. There I designed and implemented a wide area network which used dedicated T1 connections to link branches in Memphis, Nashville, Little Rock, and Houston primarily using products from Lucent.  
  Wireless Networking I have designed and set up countless small and mid-sized wireless networks using 802.11b and 802.11g technologies, but have not had the opportunity for a large scale deployment of the technology. I have also done significant research and testing of the various security protocols currently available to wireless networks.  
  Computer Hardware Troubleshooting A necessity for anyone working in computer technologies, I have well over 15 years experience working with basic computer hardware systems. In addition, my interest and resulting research of digital electronics design and engineering provides me with a far deeper understanding of the technology than the average hardware expert.  
  Network Security A strong understanding of both wired and wireless network protocols, a long history in working against hacker intrusion, along with frequent experimentation with known security flaws and exploits gives me a detailed understanding of network security requirements.

Initially these skills were a necessity as I was required to prevent system intrusion on my public online service, I have increasingly pursued network/system security as a hobby over the past 15 years.

 
  Electronics Engineering Although never used in a professional context, I have spent several years studying electronics design and have completed many basic projects and experiments which require a detailed knowledge of the inner workings of digital circuits. I have found these skills greatly aid in my understanding of hardware systems, as well as many aspects of software development.

My primary achievements in this field revolve around the design of basic circuits to achieve relatively simple results. However, I am currently in the beginning stages of an experimental project to use VHDL to design complex behaviors to be implemented in programmable logic (specifically, on an FPGA). This is a significant step for me and should open the door to many projects which I have been interested in for pursuing for a while, but have not had the experience to tackle.

 
  Sales During my time as an independent contractor, as well as with my previous employer, I have often been required to perform a variety of sales functions and have done so with great success.

That said, I must confess that this is a skill born of necessity rather than any actual driving interest in the sales field. As a result, I prefer to avoid the role of 'salesman' whenever possible.

 
       
       

 

Personal Interests
  Robotics Given my programming and electronics background, it should come as no surprise that I am extremely interested in robotics. I own several robots, and have researched robot design, building, and various robot-related technologies quite extensively. Unfortunately, lack of free time and a proper workshop have prevented me from embarking on any serious robotics projects of my own so far.  
  Quantum Theory Quantum physics has been a long-running interest of mine. I find it fascinating that the behavior of matter at very small scales should be so incredibly different from the laws of classic (Newtonian) physics we observe in every day life. I believe these strange and amazing behaviors (which Einstein considered 'spooky') will be the driving force behind many unimaginable future technologies. So while I am hardly an expert in the field, I tend to spend much of my free time trying to learn more about this bizarre field, and wrap my mind around its complexities. (As the famous physicist, and pioneer in the field, Niels Bohr said: "Anyone who can contemplate quantum mechanics without getting dizzy hasn't understood it.")  
  Lasers Since I was a child I have been extremely interested in both the function and application of laser technologies. In fact, my interest in lasers predates even my interest in computer technologies. As I recall, this interest took root when I encountered my very first hologram (on the cover of a National Geographic magazine, I believe). I became intensely interested in holography and, as a side-effect, lasers. While I still have a passing interest in the field of holography, my focus has expanded to include virtually all of the applications of laser technology. In addition, my increased understanding of the science behind lasers, has given me insight in to their operation that I would never have been able to conceive of at such a young age.  
  Science (General) I have always had a curious mind and, as a result, an innate interest in science. Since my teenage years I have been particularly drawn to the more exotic sciences - perhaps because they consistently present me with intellectual challenges, or maybe because they appeal so readily to my imagination (it could also be that attempting to explain string theory to the uninitiated makes one sound far more impressive than is actually the case!) Regardless the cause, I frequently find myself reading scientific literature covering completely arbitrary topics. It is easy for me to envision that, had my life taken any number of alternative paths, I could easily have ended up specializing in any of a hundred different fields - all scientific in nature.  
  Cryptography While I have always had a passing interest in cryptography (mostly as a bi-product of my network and computer security skills), this interest has really blossomed recently, as a result of my reading Simon Singh's excellent book on the history and science of cryptography, titled The Code Book.

My hope is to continue to learn more about encryption technologies, and incorporate this new knowledge in to future programming and electronics projects.

 
  Mathematics Calling mathematics an interest of mine might be a little misleading. Unlike many of my 'math geek' friends, I do not always enjoy the monotony of math as much as I do my other intellectual pursuits. However, mathematics plays such a key role in so many of my other interests that I have often found it necessary to exert tremendous effort towards enhancing my mathematical prowess in order to further my understanding of other (dare I say 'more interesting') sciences and technologies.  
  Art (General) As both a creative and technology-minded individual, I have been interested in computer art since the early days of personal computers - when systems were capable of only 16 colors at a time. I now apply my artistic vision in a variety of different ways - from 3D modeling, animation and effects, to digital photography and photo manipulation (see 'Professional Skills' above). In addition, I have begun to express my talents in a variety of non-technological means, such as acrylic painting and sketches. While strictly amateur in nature, these low tech endeavors provide me with an additional outlet for my creativity, and I enjoy them greatly!

Future artistic projects may include combining artistic principles with my technology skills to produce high tech art!

 
       
       

 

 
     
  Clayton's Personal Page