Jobs I've Had
This is a brief list of things people have paid me to do for
them at one time or another.
- April 1998, to Present
- Research Programmer in the
Theoretical Biophysics Group, at
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology,
located at the University of Illinois.
I'm the main developer of the molecular visualization program
- February 1997 to November 1997
- Senior Programmer/Analyst at Heuris Logic,
(Heuris split off from Pulitzer in February 1997).
I continued my role developing and maintaining the
multiple-award winning MPEG Power Professional line of software,
along with MPEG Power Premiere, and various internal projects.
Much of our recent work has focused on MPEG-2,
DVD, further multiprocessor enhancements, and the use of multimedia
instruction set extensions such as Sun's VIS, Intel's MMX, and DEC's
MVI instructions. I also ported MPEG Power Professional to the DEC
Alpha, under NT. I submitted a paper for the 1997 National Association
of Broadcasters convention, relating to the use of Sun's VIS instruction
set for acceleration of software-based MPEG encoding systems. The
paper is in the NAB "Interactive Insights" multimedia compendium.
- Spring 1996 to February 1997
- Senior Programmer/Analyst at Heuris/Pulitzer
developing MPEG encoding
software. I continued devloping filters, encoder control mechanisms,
porting the encoder to Windows 95, Windows NT, Macintosh, and Unix.
I developed architecture optimized codes for time critical parts of
the encoder, added multiprocessing support for Unix, NT, and the
multiprocessor Macintosh systems. All of this work is what eventually
became the "MPEG Power Professional" software, aka "MPRO". MPRO
is an MPEG transcoding system which converts digital media files
from non-linear video editing systems, into MPEG-1 and MPEG-2
streams for use in CD-I, VideoCD, DVD, and broadcast applications.
- Fall 1995 to Spring 1996
- Still a sysadmin, and doing some contract programming for Heuris/Pulitzer.
I developed image processing and filtering modules, I/O buffering
mechanisms, and did a lot of performance optimization on the Heuris
MPEG encoding system, used for the Heuris MPEG encoding service bureau.
- Summer 1995 - Solaris/Unix consulting for CZ Engineering
- I helped integrate CZ Engineering's Sun systems with their Windows and
DOS based systems, providing FAX, NFS file service, Backup, enhancement
of Unix based Autocad capabilities, and integration of Unix based FAX with
legacy inventory and ordering systems.
- Oct 1993 - May 1996, Student System Administrator / GRA, UMR
- I was employed by the Computer Science department as a student
system administrator for the CS Unix systems. This job was probably the
most stressfull of all of the jobs I had up to that point, but the stress
comes and goes in short bursts. It is similar to being a lab assistant because
you deal with people constantly, either through mail or in person. The problems
that people have are much harder to resolve than simple drafting problems, but
the solutions apply to most users, so once you fix one users problems, you can
fix them for everyone.
- June 1991 - Feb 1993, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Cloud and Aerosol Sciences Lab, UMR
- Since the Computer Center and Engineering Graphics departments didn't need
any lab assistants for the summer and I was renting an apartment and taking
classes, I decided to look for work elsewhere. As it turns out, one of my
friends was doing some work for CASL, and I really needed some $$, so I
walked over and talked to Dr. Carstens and asked if they needed anyone
for things involving my skills etc. Of all the jobs I'v had, this one
probably had the most to do with my eventual desire to pursue a Masters
degree as opposed to just a B.S. This job gave me the opportunity to
present my work at Argonne and see what serious researchers do. I also
learned what makes and effective presentation and what to avoid.
(I saw one pair of presenters go through at least 60 transparencies in under
15 minutes, I'm not sure that anyone had a clue what they were talking about
or what the figures and diagrams on the transparencies meant...
Rule Of Thumb: if you have much more than 15 transparencies in ten minutes, you have too many!!)
- Aug 1990 - May 1991, Lab Assistant for EG10 Lab, UMR
- Pretty much the same idea as the previous fall, but I could help students
taking the EG212 solid modeling classes as well as the regular EG10 students.
I learned how to use the solid modeling and rendering features of SDRC-Ideas,
CATIA, Autocad, and several other CAD packages. Once you learn one drafting
system, they are all fairly similar. I'd have to say that CATIA, running on
an IBM 4341 mainframe, with 5080 attached graphics terminals was the most
unique among those experiences. At the time, the 5080 was able to do real-time
rotation of solids, in wireframe or solid shading, and it was quite addictive
for me to play with.
- June 1990 - Aug 1990, Eng. Support Clerk, Montgomery Elevator, Moline IL
- I worked in the engineering dept at Montgomery Elevator over the summer as
a gofer/filing clerk/etc. I spent a lot of time filing, printing, and locating
engineering schematics, and generating bill of materials reports for both
current projects and for maintenance work. I typed contracts, produced
service manuals, and FedEXed more documents than one can count.
I learned a LOT about what corporate environments are like.
I actually wore a suit every day for the first time in my life.
I spent far too long waiting on IBM mainframes and an HP minicomputer
that summer :-)
Not too bad except for the unbearable heat during the 30 minute
commute to and from Moline and Geneseo.
(gotta love intermittent car air conditioners :-)
- January 1990 - May 1990, Lab Assistant for EG10 Lab, UMR
- I worked as a lab assistant in the Basic Engineering Building for
the students taking Engineering Graphics. My job was to help students
learn to use SDRC-Ideas for 2-D wireframe drafting.
While working here I became very interested in CAD software,
and eventually raytracing. This was also
at the very beginning of my exposure to Unix. We were using Apollo
DN4500's which were pretty hot stuff, at least
compared to the typical PC at that time :-)
- Winter 1987 - Fall 1989, Part time salesperson at Durick's Radio Shack, Geneseo IL
- While a Junior and Senior in High School, I worked at a local Radio Shack
as a salesman, and general purpose handy man. I did a little bit of everything,
from soldering in new cordless phone batteries to installing computers and
software for businesses in the area. One of the most interesting things
I did while working there was to dig out ancient Radio Shack catalogs and
look at how much prices changed from the 70's to mid 80's. Nothing like
multithousand dollar 5Mb hard drives ;-)
- Summer 1987, Detasseler (YUCK!!!!!)
- This is one of those jobs that most people want to avoid. For those
that aren't familiar with the detasseling, here's a brief description.
In northern Illinois where I'm from, there are quite a few seed corn
companies that breed varieties of corn for different purposes. In order
to prevent the corn from being pollinated naturally the tassels are removed
from the corn. The actual act of removing tassels isn't bothersome at all,
but getting "paper cuts" on your arms from the leaves on the stalks is
annoying, and so is having pollen all over you. I had the remarkably
bad fortune to be on a crew of complete psychopaths...