July 29th, 2006


Who are you?

This is the first part in a two-part series provided for the benefit of people who may have just recently arrived at my journal, or otherwise would like to know more about me. I invite readers to either comment as to how they would describe me to someone else or, especially if you think I or others don't know you (or know you, but not by username), to introduce yourself.

This was partly inspired by having someone recently ask me, in a comment, "What do you do for a living, anyway?", which will be the second part in this series.

Now to the meat of it: Who am I?

There is actually a fairly large bunch of information about me and what I've been up to lately on my website. I think it's safe to say that most people who know me would agree I'm a complex person, or at least a person who leads a complex life. This makes me a bit hard to sum up briefly, but then, I hope, so are we all.

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What do you do for a living, anyway?

So, as I mentioned in my last post, recent comments from friends have pointed out that even among people who know me, a lot of people don't know what I actually do for a living. You may think of me as someone who dabbles in politics or someone who does websites and runs conventions for fannish and professional groups, or someone who played Buffy the Vampire Slayer on stage and is now in a Sketch Comedy troupe, but what do I do during the daytime?

I am a Human Factors Engineer.

That link leads to a pretty good wikipedia article about it, actually. Basically, I combine my backgrounds in computer programming, interface design, publications and layout, systems design engineering (control systems, systems analysis, biomedical systems), operations research, and a touch of cognitive ergonomics (the study of mental work) with my general analytical and communication skills to try to make sure that the research and systems we produce at Soar Technology are actually useful and useable for the purpose someone might want to apply them to.

At Soar Technology, I work with Computer Software Engingeers, AI Behavior Developers, and other HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) specialists to design various types of systems for applications as diverse as training, intelligence analysis, and the command and control of heterogenious teams of unmanned vehicles (air and ground robots, mostly speculative Future Comand Systems platforms predicted to be online within the next 20 years, but we're hoping to be integrated with some more modest robots sooner than that). A lot of what I have done in the past year has been work domain and task analysis; understanding the work, and especially the challenges, that our computer systems are supposed to make easier and more possible to succeed at.

Yes, I work for a defense industry contractor. Yes, I am cleared to know some stuff you probably aren't allowed to know. No, I won't ever tell you anything I could get in trouble for telling you.

If you want to know more about my background and how I got here, check out the portfolio section of my website. As with all websites, some things may be are out of date.