In 1966, I was born in the former British Overseas Territory of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Saint. Vincent and the Grenadines became an independent nation from the United Kingdon on 27th October 1979, at which point I became a citizen of an actual country for the first time in my life.
My father was, a banker, and following his career path, we moved around between the islands. During that time, I lived in a few other West Indian islands, including Saint Lucia and Barbados, where my baby brother was born, and Antigua & Barbuda. We could travel and live between islands because of their membership in the Commonwealth of Nations.
In the late 70s and early ’80s, I lived in Antigua and Barbuda during my teenage years. In the mid-80s, my family moved back to St. Vincent, where I finished high school and completed my O-levels and A-levels. For a few months, we also lived on Saint Kitts and Nevis. I experienced a different West Indian culture on each island, which influenced who I am today. I broadly consider myself West Indian with no particular allegiance to any island1. My family emigrated from St. Vincent & The Grenadines to Flushing, Queens in 1986 to attend university, and I became a citizen of the United States of American in 1992.
I love drinking craft ale and freshly brewed coffee. I buy fresh beans every few days from a local organic fair trade retailer and brew at home. I grind the beans myself, and brewing using either a French Press or Chemex pour over with an Able Kone filter. I don’t drink Starbucks.
There are two excellent craft ale breweries within 15-20 minutes in local traffic of my home. Between the Troon Brewing and Flounder Brewing, I am privileged to some highly-rated New England style IPA, American Pale ales, and porters. Conclave Brewing is a little further out is Conclave Brewing, which makes super delicious, and The Referend Bier Blendery, which produces spontaneously fermented ales in the Belgian tradition. I don’t drink Budweiser, and I rarely buy retail.
I’m an information security professional, Apple geek, web developer, and avid photographer. This weblog is where I share my incoherent and random thoughts and rants about technology, photography, coffee, diabetes, and life.
The first ten years of my career were in research and development and web application development. I coded up backend solutions for various financial services and pharmaceutical companies. I mostly used Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl, and PHP. The next ten were spent on information security, vulnerability assessments, log management, security awareness, security architecture, compliance, and advisory for Bristol-Myers Squibb. Since 2013, I have worked independently at Monkey Hill, LLC, a consultancy I started in 2013 after my role at Squibb was eliminated. My current work is in information security architecture.
The journey from Commodore VIC-20/Commodore 64 (1981/1985) to DOS PC (1986) to Microsoft Windows PC (1990) to UNIX/SunOS/Solaris (1992) to Linux (1994) to Apple Macintosh (2005) took twenty-four years. I bought my first Mac, a Mac mini, in 2005 and fell in love with OS X, a Unix with a world-class GUI. Soon after buying that first Mac, I bought a MacBook, then an iPad Touch, then an iMac. Later the iPad was released in 2010, and I had to have one that same week. Then I bought my first iPhone (2012) and then an Apple TV.
The iPad is my go-to computer, but I use my iMac heavily for photo editing. I’m an app junky, and you can find many iOS and OS app reviews on this blog.
I also do exciting projects with the Raspberry Pi. It’s the smallest and cheapest Linux server I have ever owned.
Although that’s not reflected in the content in this blog, I love science fiction, especially cyberpunk, Japanese animation and superhero graphic novels, and dystopian futures. The website’s name, Island in the Net, is taken from a book, Islands in the Net, written in 1988 by a science fiction author, Bruce Sterling. It is a story of
data pirates, mercenaries, nanotechnology, weaponry, and post-millennial voodoo. It represents a future where people can use the Internet to topple governments, change lives, and make history.
I read too few books these days.
My photography adventure started circa 1987 when I took a fine art photography class in college. I bought my first 35mm film camera, a Pentax P3 with an SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 lens, and started to “abuse” Kodachrome, Ilford HP5, and Tri-X Pan film and develop my prints in the college darkroom. At that time, I sheepishly admit I shot anything and everything. I didn’t take a camera seriously again until 2006 when I bought a Nikon D40 and kit lens. I had exhausted what was possible on my point-n-shoot Sony digital camera. I stuck with Nikon, upgrading to new bodies every few years, until 2018, when I could no longer resist the lustful design of the Fuji X series. I bought a Fujifilm X-T2 and Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR.
I photograph mostly landscapes and nature, but I have recently tried my hand at street photography. An obscure word, nemophila, describes someone who loves forests, woods, or woodland scenery and often visits them. That’s me. I love being outdoors, listening to the sounds of nature–birds, running water, the wind in the trees. For me, it’s a form of therapy, a break from the worries of the world.
I’m an avid photographer, and if the weather suits me, I spend my free time outside, increasing my knowledge of landscape and nature photography. I prefer natural light, but I’m comfortable shooting anything that interests me: documentary, long exposure, architecture, and wildlife. I take photos regularly, both for myself and for others. I do almost all of my editing and exporting from my iMac. As far as gear goes, I alternate between a few cameras:
- iPhone 11 Pro
- Fujifilm X-T2
- Asahi Optical Co. Pentax Spotmatic II (SP II)
- Asahi Optical Co. Pentax ES II
Most of my images are shot with the Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR lens. I have a small collection of legacy 35mm lenses.
- Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 55mm f/2
- Asahi Optical Co. Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 28mm f/3.5
- Soligor Wide-Auto 35mm f/2.8 M42
- Vivitar 135mm f/2.8 MC Telephoto
With my iPhone, I enjoy a kind of casual photography, snapping things and sharing them with my friends and family, and playing around with Adobe Lightroom Mobile. The digital revolution has made photography more accessible.
In 2006, I was diagnosed with Type 1 (LADA) diabetes, an autoimmune type of diabetes. I’m learning to live with it. I have a Medtronic 670G insulin pump and GuardianLink GCMS to help me manage my diabetes. I occasionally post articles about my diabetes tech.
In 2018, I was diagnosed with Graves’ thyroid disease and Grave’s eye disease, an autoimmune form of hyperthyroidism. It was a challenge to life with it, so at the end of 2018, I had a thyroidectomy. Graves disease continued to affect my eyes, and a year after the thyroidectomy, I had orbital decompression surgery.
I remember attending a presentation on open-source software by Richard Stallman. I remember getting my first computer, a Commodore VIC20. I remember learning Commodore (Microsoft) BASIC and writing my first video game. I remember when I upgraded to the Commodore 64 and floppy storage. I remember getting my first IBM-compatible DOS PC, an Epson with one floppy disk, and a green CRT monitor. I remember buying and installing a 2400 baud modem to dial into the bulletin board system (BBS). I remember using WordPerfect to write all my term papers. I remember learning Pascal and writing my first text editor.
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- Oh. I have to admit I have a special place in my heart for the islands of the Grenadines, especially Bequia. ↩