Stephen R. Donaldson
After years of enjoying Steve's work, I finally met him at a writers' conference in 1996 (WFC, which I now attend each year). In 2002, he asked me if I could help him with his current project: The Runes of the Earth. He needed a reader - someone to critique his work and ensure consistency both within the book and with the previous six books in the series. After he signed with a publisher in late 2003, he asked if I could help him get an official web site up and running.
Morhaim Litarary Agency
I've developed an online client database system for Steve's agent, Howard Morhaim (www.MorhaimLiterary.com ... which was not done by me). It's a comprehensive system to track submissions, contracts, authors, books, editors, sub-agents, publishing houses, payments, ... everything.
I've met many other great people at WFC over the years. Most of them published (several well published), and the others on the verge of becoming so. Some of the best people I've ever had the privilege of calling "friend". I put together a discussion board in 2002 so we could keep in touch throughout the year, and help each other with writing projects.
I've been a volunteer for the elementary and middle school PTAs for years - working mostly with the email network that helps get info to parents in a timely manner (supported by Yahoo Groups). In 2001, I started work on an online database system that allows people from various PTA committees to access information centrally via the internet. Primarily used to generate the phone book each year, its use and capabilities have expanded quite a bit. This system can be used by any school, and is protected so that each user can only access (and/or edit) the information for which they are responsible. I've recently added a way for parents to interact with the system, plus several tools to help manage email networks that are supported by Yahoo Groups. Look for the new version coming at the end of the 2010-2011 school year! (www.StudentDirectoryDatabase.com)
I used to be the webmaster for my community, and sat on the Board of Directors for the homeowners association (after a long war to boot the local bullies out of office - see http://www.KeepWoodrockFree.com). They still have the same layout that I designed, but I haven't been in charge of updating it since I moved away.
Spectrum Diving Equipment
A friend of mine, Dennis Kaleta, developed an automatic wreck reel for scuba diving. I built a web site for him to showcase his new product (which he now updates himself).
Extra Credit Tutors
Tom Sellevaag was one of the many fantastic teachers at Carderock Springs Elementary School. He briefly had his own tutoring business, and I was happy to help him develop his presence on the web.
My wife came to me one day with a problem - how to automate the calculation of interest that is owed a rentor on their security deposit when they move out. The law in Virginia made the calculation difficult, and doing it manually left a lot of room for error. Using Illuminatus, I created a program that made the calculation simple and as error-free as possible. A couple years later I made a New Jersey version of the program, since they have properties in that state as well and the calculation is again not very straight forward.
In 1997, I helped beta test the new version (v4) of Illuminatus. DW thanked me and another beta tester (Steve Henson) in the Acknowledgements section of the manual. After we made contact, Steve and I put together an online meeting place for other Illuminatus users - a discussion board, source code for examples, and lots of other good info. In 2001, DW asked me to be the US distributor for the new version, called Opus (instead of "v5"). I set up a merchant account, and built a secure shopping cart system from scratch (something I thought was well beyond my abilities). In 2003, I put together the framework for DW's US office - DW USA, Inc. Alas, as much as I excel in other areas, marketing and selling are not among them. It's now early 2004, and the next full version, Opus 04, is coming out. Feeling that I'm not doing the program justice, and being pushed again in the direction of writing, I've asked to be relieved.
I love diving! I've been qualified since 1995, Jonathan received his qualifications in 2003, and Alex in 2006. I use a Nikonos V underwater camera, and recently picked up a 15mm wide angle lens. It's a miracle the results an amateure can get when they have the right equipment. In addition to the photo album (click on the pic to the left), you can download an Illuminatus-powered photo album by clicking here (4.5M, Windows compatible required).
I attended Penn State from 1983 to 1988, in the Naval ROTC program. After graduation, I was selected for flight training, and relocated to Pensacola, FL. Unfortunately, medical problems prohibited me from flight (but I did get to spend a year crewing the school's 45' sailing yacht - the NSY-3 Hermes - while the Navy figured out what to do with me). From there we came to DC, where I spent some time at the Bureau of Naval Personnel, and then moved into satellite communications at the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Command. At NCTC I primarily managed the UHF satcom resources (Gapfiller, Fleetsatcom, Leasat, and UFO) but then moved onto the EHF satcom systems. I left the Navy as a Lieutenant, and worked as a government contractor with Semcor, Inc., supporting Naval Space Command. I authored several documents on the EHF LDR and MDR systems, and played an important role in the interim polar EHF system (to get communications to submarines in the extreme northern latitudes). You can read my grossly-out-of-date resume by clicking here.