About


About Me

I graduated from Boston College in 2001 with a degree in German Studies. Thanks to this degree, I'm now fluent in three languages, and I've had the opportunity to live in Germany for a semester while taking classes at the university in Eichstätt.

After graduation, I decided I wanted to work in Information Technology. My German degree actually came in handy while I was working for TASC as a software developer, as a great deal of the documentation for the interface we were customizing was in German. I've also used my German skills to do freelance translation and proofreading for various companies. More importantly, every job I've had to this point has come to my attention through my connection to the German department at BC.

BC has a very small German department, and they don't have too many majors every year, so it comes as no surprise that I became very close to my German professors. I keep in touch with them to this day, and they always are interested to know what I'm up to.

About This Site

This site is essentially a sandbox where I can experiment with different web technologies. It started out as a static HTML site where I could play around with CSS and attempt to develop code that was up to W3C standards and grew into a more dynamic site. A lot of the development that I've done has been behind the scenes: I've learned about Apache 2 directives and virtual hosting, PHP scripting, and even a little bit of Python to talk to my router, although a Perl script is now doing that. At first, I ended up with a site that looked much like my old static site. Eventually, I added some server-side scripting in PHP to help make maintaining the site easier. Then I added MySQL access, just to show that I could do it. Most recently, I've moved this site to the Wordpress blogging platform.

The structure of the original site was a result of my desire for a table-less, XHTML standards-compliant layout. The table-less layout is accomplished by using CSS positioning; using CSS also helps make the site compliant with the XHTML 1.0 strict standard, as it lets me separate content and presentation into HTML and CSS, respectively. I've listed the pages that helped me design what you see here in my links page; take a look if you're interested in HTML/CSS development.

Originally, all I was trying to do was to use CSS to lay out a page of content. My biggest accomplishment on the site then was a nifty menu that was entirely CSS-controlled; no Javascript onmouseover events, no multiple GIFs to load, and you still got color-changing, scrolling goodness. Since moving to Wordpress, I've become much more pragmatic when it comes to using Javascript and tables in limited situations. For example, if I've got tabular data, such as a calendar, it makes sense that it go in a table. It's not like XHTML strict deprecates tables; it just prefers that CSS be used to position things. As for Javascript, without it, many of the AJAX-y things I'm playing with wouldn't work at all: my access map (which uses the Google Maps API), my Wordpress poll or my Wordpress calendar.

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