About

I’m an eclectic rebel, nighthawk and eco-geek with an off-beat, dark, wickedly irreverent and sarcastic sense of humour, and an especial fondness for puns. Undoubtedly a skeptic, sometimes cynical, I’m occasionally a curmudgeon. I value integrity, honesty, intelligence, passion, compassion, fair play, tolerance, humour, adventure, an open mind, a stout heart, … and a sense of purpose.

I’m a software developer specializing in full-stack web development. Most recently, I’ve been engaged as a software engineering manager and lead platform architect/developer, building a data visualization solution that brings together data analytics, business intelligence, film studio effects and game technologies, content management, and social collaboration into a cloud-based service.

As a freelance software engineer and web developer, I assist individuals, progressive enterprises, not-for-profit organizations, and social enterprises adopt free/libre open source technologies for collaboration, outreach, and to make more effective use of social media A brief summary of my professional services can be found here my personal site. Please visit Witstone Consulting (witstone.com) for a more information about my consulting business. Although I’ve recently returned to the corporate world, I may still be available for some consulting or web development projects.

With over 30 years of software development and business experience, I am well-versed in a wide variety of information technologies. My expertise has been in the architecture and design of information security products and web-based services, particularly identity management and public-key infrastructure (PKI), for secure messaging and financial transactions. My open source software experience began in the 1970s with Unix V6, the first distribution by AT&T Bell Labs to academic institutions and I’ve been using Debian GNU/Linux exclusively for my own systems for about 20 years.

I’m also an avid environmental and social justice advocate interested in issues of ecological sustainability, climate change, population growth, food & water security, consumerism, extreme poverty, and global development. Within the field of information technology, I’m also a strong advocate of free/libre & open source software (FLOSS) and so-called ‘intellectual property rights’ law reform.

For most of the past 25 years I have been a supporter of The Hunger Project, a strategic not-for-profit organization committed to ending world hunger and extreme poverty by empowering women and men to end their own hunger. I served for ten years on the board of directors in Canada and three years as president of The Hunger Project-Canada. I’ve been on study trips to Malawi and Bangladesh, where I accompanied my (then 16yo) daughter who was invited to speak at the official ceremonies for the first annual National Day of the Girl Child.

Philosophically, I’m an absurdist; I admire the works of Albert Camus, particularly The Rebel. (“I rebel — therefore we exist.”) As for religion, colour me an agnostic existential atheist and secular humanist.I’ve softened my former militant anti-theist stance to assume a more accomodating and pragmatic view of (non-proselytizing) religion, with considerable appreciation of the core beliefs in Stoicism, Advaita Vedanta Hinduism, Daoism and Zen Buddhism. Politically, I’m a green democratic socialist with post-anarchist tendencies towards social ecology and sociocracy. My personality aligns fairly well with the Meyers-Brigs INTP type indicator.

I love reading, especially non-fiction (history, philosophy, socioeconomics, science), and I’ve recently taken up reading classic literature. I enjoy alternative music and Toronto’s dark club scene. In times past, I’ve also enjoyed camping, canoeing and sailing (having crewed on the square-rigged brigantine STV Pathfinder in my youth, as did my daughter many years later), although I don’t do so much of that anymore. I have pet degus, little critters also known as bush-tailed rats or Chilean ground squirrels.

The Greater Toronto Area has always been my home base, although I’ve traveled extensively, mostly on business, throughout North America and Europe, with trips also to Australia, Bangladesh, Kenya and Malawi. However, I am contemplating an eventual move to Africa when I retire, to be with my daughter and her Kenyan family in her husband’s hometown of Kisii, where they operate a school and an orphanage.


Favorite Quotations

“I rebel — therefore we exist.” — Albert Camus

“I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say.” — Marshall McLuhan

“Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.” — Søren Kierkegaard

“Religion is for those who are afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there.” — unknown

“If you come only to help me, you can go back home. But if you consider my struggle as part of your struggle for survival, then maybe we can work together.” — An Aboriginal Woman

“Anyone who believes in indefinite growth on a physically finite planet is either mad, or an economist.” — Sir David Attenborough

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

“I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.” — Winston Churchill