Who Am I?

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, Cooper Williams, 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, where I spend my early teenage years. We could easily travel and live between these island nations because of their membership in the Commonwealth of Nations.

My early childhood (the mid-1960s to early 1970s) was between a rented home in New Montrose in Kingstown, St. Vincent, and the Barclays Bank house in Port Elizabeth, Bequia. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents in La Pompe.

I don’t recall the dates, but we lived in Castries, St. Lucia, for a few years before I turned 11. In the late 70s and early '80s, I lived in Antigua and Barbuda during my early teenage years. In 1983, my family moved back to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where I finished high school and completed my O-levels and A-levels at the St. Vincent Grammar School. For a few months, we also lived on Saint Kitts and Nevis. I experienced a different West Indian culture on each island, influencing who I am today. I consider myself West Indian with no particular allegiance to any island1, although I have a sweet spot in my heart for Antigua and Bequia. 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 America in 1992.

I love drinking craft ale and freshly brewed coffee. I buy fresh beans from a local organic fair trade retailer and brew at home every few days. I grind the beans myself, and brew 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 the local traffic of my home. Between Troon Brewing and Flounder Brewing, I am privileged to have 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.

Work

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 multimedia research and development, systems integration and full-stack web application development. I created web applications for various financial services and pharmaceutical companies on Linux, Apache, MySQL, JavaScript, 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.

Computers

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, an iPad Touch, and 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 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 Raspberry Pi. It’s the smallest and cheapest Linux server I have ever owned.

Programming Languages

I started with Commodore BASIC in 1981, learned Pascal during a college course in 1986, and taught myself awk/sed/bash (1992) and Perl (1997), followed by PHP (2001) and JavaScript (2002). I've taken Java and Objective C courses but didn't use either language, and I have not written code professionally since 2013.

Science Fiction

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.

Photography

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 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 own a Fujifilm X-T3 camera, Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 R WR and Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR lenses.

I photograph mostly landscapes and nature, but I have recently tried 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 world's worries.

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:

Most images are shot with the Fujifilm XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR lens. I have a small collection of legacy 35mm lenses.

With my iPhone, I enjoy casual photography, snapping and sharing things with my friends and family, and playing with Adobe Lightroom Mobile. The digital revolution has made photography more accessible.

Auto-immune diseases

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 I had a thyroidectomy at the end of 2018. Graves disease continued to affect my eyes, and a year after the thyroidectomy, I had orbital decompression surgery.

History

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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  1. Oh. I have to admit I have a special place in my heart for the islands of the Grenadines, especially Bequia. 
  • John Saddington
    10th March 2019 at 11:12 AM

    I like how you take your own pictures for your feature images on your posts.

  • Chris Aldrich
    1st March 2019 at 9:13 AM

    I think the bigger issue is that it’s commonly known that Elseiver and others are essentially minting money and not adding as much value to the process for what they receive. They could afford to drastically cut their prices and still make more than comfortable margins while creating more competition and innovation in the space. Their business model is a complicated tangle that includes non-disclosure agreements to University subscribers preventing them from discussing their rates with their peers to prevent better competition. A quick web search on the topic should unearth loads of articles and even government testimonies about their (and other major publishers’) competitive and problematic business practices.

  • Chris Aldrich
    1st March 2019 at 9:07 AM

    The tough part is working together to narrow down the shows that you watch (and share) together. It’s never as much fun when you watch one thing while your significant other is watching something else somewhere else.

  • Michael Immordino
    30th December 2018 at 3:51 PM

    These links only take you to your about page (at least on mobile).

    • Khürt Williams
      31st December 2018 at 10:56 AM

      Something went wrong with brid.gy. Nothing I can fix. Sometimes It just doesn't work. All 404's redirect to the About page.