Biography

introduction

my shadow with a flowerI've been using this personal website as my digital home (here's an old postcard of my real home town) since around 1998; adding to it, leaving work in progress lying around, and rearranging like the rooms in a house. For some reason, I occasionally get over 7000 hits a week, so if you read this (and can be bothered) contact me saying what you like or dislike. Feedback might just (and often does) encourage me to update the site.

I'm probably a creative generalist (and I'd say an art of any kind is the medium for a creator), mixing special interests and long-term lines of inquiry with artworks, university (paid) and private (err… unpaid) research and freelance work, a process that recursively spawns new directions and ideas.

This site is arranged in three main sections (containing more than first appears) plus this biog, each with it's own coloured links throughout the site. I like the tradition of easter eggs, so some links might not be obvious. Other sections exist only as web peninsulars with maybe a single link from some page or other (like this one), and not much of a way back (you can find the back button :-)

what I do is lightweight glue

These are the people who inhabit the intersections of the Venn diagrams. They believe in ANDs rather than ORs. They're a member of more than one subset, more than one tribe. The reason these people are important is, just like merchants who go between real tribes, they carry ideas from one intellectual tribe to another. I call these people "glue people", because they not only join themselves to a tribe, they join tribes together.

- Larry Wall, Perl, the first postmodern computer language

I produce art, music and text (mostly short stories) in an order that varies constantly. I'm a self-taught dabbler in certain areas of mathematics, a doodling programmer, and an information addict with a huge interest span and an almost pathological aversion to specialisation. I've stopped worrying about appearing naïve in any one sphere - focussing on one discipline is admirable but I just can't do it; I'd miss the multi-threaded connections. Other artists working with technology have highlighted this issue of disciplinary homelessness for 30 years or more; the venerable Leonardo magazine is testament to their tenacity. From 1998-2002 I was a visiting researcher at CCRS with many other artists, and exhibited a heartbeat-driven interactive artwork in 1999. I've delivered seminars on emerging interfaces and their implications for artists/audiences and accessibility, and for some years had a special interest in art-technology and disability, being one of the people turning DisabilityArtsOnline into an independent site under Arts Council England funding and reporting on emerging technology and disability, delivering seminars to various special interest groups. I research techology and culture, and teach under- and post-grad web technologies part-time.

what I'm interested in and doing right now/recently

music and literature
  • Collecting a catalogue of songs and short instrumental pieces
  • Editing a body of short stories and flash fiction for live readings and publication
  • Working on two finished (well, until I got to the end) and one unfinished short novels
  • Thinking about that difficult third album for the band I sing and write with
research (papers, essays)

There's a 2011 video of me describing what I do at the IOCT, De Montfort University (UK), where I'm an eternal part-timer and senior research fellow.

My research profile and publications are on Academia.edu

  • Thinking about the best way to teach technology skills to successive generations who have grown up with the gaming and Facebook, but don't understand the technical background or the practice of programming
  • Starting a spin-off company to maintain the energy-tracking web app we built for the NUS
  • Writing up notes on the cultural history of magic squares in preparation for a longer work
  • Preparing learning material for a new third-year module on front-end web development
  • Designing an online system using magic squares to examine how pattern might influence meaning
  • Thinking through a basic outline of crucial concepts for the 21st century, partly to counter popular misconceptions and to encourage clearer thinking about ideas that shape culture
research (projects)
  • Coming to the end of an 18-month project (0.6 post) at the IESD that began in March 2013, investigating the use of social engagement in energy management and awareness (and building things like this public display and (now=discontinued) test app we did earlier, which won the Green ICT category in the EAUC Green Gown Awards)
  • Making a 'decision-maker' app in Meteor
  • Temporarily shelving (original collaborator too busy) a project that aims to track individual movement accurately within sizeable human groups in a defined space at a finer resolution than offered by current GPS. This is an issue in Social Science, and aims to contribute in some small way to the Research Councils UK grand challenge What distinguishes the identities of individuals and groups, and what makes them cohere?
  • Examining two ways to reduce the complexity of magic square sets and how they relate, and writing software to help in the process.
  • Working on an online system to evaluate creativity intuitively, with my partner Fania.
research (previous papers, essays)
See Academia.edu
research (previous projects)

Professional work is under the Eco Consulting Partnership (download resume).
You can download my artists' statement and Condensed visual portfolio (PDF).

Social links

I sometimes use a Tumblr microblog (it pulls in posts from Tumblr), as if you're interested, with all the billions of acres of bloggery out there, competing for eyeball time. Or scan my Delicious bookmarks, or even my Facebook page or (mainly for professional use) Twitter account.

Technical background

View through the kitchen windowThis site is big, but not clever. Hand-coded in 'emergent' spidery style (no site plan here :-) in mostly valid HTML & CSS (plus archeological early HTML). Like a lot of busy people I neglect my own website. But (as an early wiki user) I think in-text links are essential.

My first grey box was a 1980's green-screen Amstrad PCW 8256 running CP/M. Logo (and BASIC) got me into 'graphic programming' with the turtle and Logo. The venerable HyperCard's HyperTalk on the Mac took me much further; I joined the HyperCard mailing list for a while; it had some distinguished yet friendly thinkers and programmers. Hypercard inspired a generation of programmers and was a brilliant rapid application development tool at the time.

The best modern Hypercard successor is RunRev's open-sourced LiveCode (which I supported on Kickstarter). It enables you to create apps in a friendly visual environment. Also, here's a list of graphic programming tools I use for students.

Apart from a dumbly persistent passion for programming, I'm best as a technology-watcher, information architect, design and web technology educator, and translator between programmers, clients and end users. In the past I left heavy-duty code to Greg Turner, who got a Computer Science M.Sc. 1st for his Java work on cubeLife and Ben Daglish, my Perl-monk (and Golang advocate) partner on various projects under Eco Consulting. Frustrated that experts and specialists take the complexity of their knowledge for granted, I try to write helpful beginner's guides and promote the agile philosophy in general.

How I made/make a living

Before I gave up being an employee to start a business and go freelance, I used 80's Apple Macs in my graphics and DTP profession. My Dad (a lecturer in typography) bought home one of the first Macs in the UK. Macs also have a documented history in the origins of digital art. Of course, OS X is now BSD Unix-based, which opened up more potential and made the Mac a programmer-friendly tool, yet also complicated the original "for the rest of us" ethic.

As Eco Consulting (established 1992) I have advised arts, educational, ethical and voluntary organisations on web technologies, and like to promote Open Source and Free software. We also do website hosting on two Linux servers (London: Debian, Dallas: Ubuntu) which (usually) pay for themselves.

Since 1998 I have also researched, published and taught part-time in creative computing and web technologies; first at Loughborough University HCI dept. and now at De Montfort University in Leicester.

I do standards-based HTML(5)/CSS(3) with JavaScript and recently co-developed in Angular but abandoned it for the well-managed Javascript framework Ember, and am also trialling Meteor. I used to use Apache's SSI (from which I once made CSS variables), and know enough Apache, NGINX, SQL, Python, Ruby, Perl, PHP etc. to survive and work with other developers. I have had a Django dabble (abandoned at the painful deployment stage), and once supported _why's tiny Ruby framework Camping. I like Ruby as a language (try Ruby was the first of its kind) and currently use Denis Defreyne's excellent static site generator Nanoc.

profile for Dave Everitt at Stack Overflow, Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers


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