by matthew

Researcher, Developer, Architect, Administrator

not necessarily in that order…


I find it pretty tough to peg myself into any particular hole. As a general rule of thumb, I’m pretty interested in how our planet will do over the next few hundred years and how society and technology intersect.

During my day life I’ve worked as a system administrator and software developer. I love designing, implementing and managing systems – especially ones that educate, enlighten and give resources and tools to users to help empower them in their journey.

Aside from building systems, figuring out policies, wrangling networks, writing custom software for business and consumers, and tinkering with IoT type stuff – I’ve also worked on civics emulation software used in the classroom, hacked on game engines, devised crowd sourced intelligence and operation systems and the usual things like ecommerce and web stuff.

Skills wise – I have a bunch of them on a variety of plains – and I pick up new ones as I need and/or want to. I’m pretty agnostic when it comes to technology and work with whatever I need to. It’s all about learning, discovering and working to build a better systems that interconnect with others.

I’ve long been fascinated by Information Communications Technology and telecommunications. When I first discovered the electromagnetic spectrum in the 90s I was instantly hooked. I realized right away the massive opportunities for connectivity between humans through ICT. Since then my hobbies and general interests have been related to how technology connects humans and the affect such connectivity has on our planet at large, especially for how we move forward as one planet amongst many others.

I’ve also long been interested in Governance, Law and Human rights and I see security as being a function to protect those 3 critical tools that will guide us forward.

Just as I started entering my high school years I studied for my Amateur Radio license and began my exploration of the radio spectrum. I have fond memories of listening to autotel and radio telephony into the wee hours, learning about trunking radio systems and was quite intrigued by the MF crosstalk I’d hear on my landline BBS phone line. I started exploring software and systems more through my dialup BBS (SuperBBS and later Remote Access) along with helping friends maintain dialup systems to help shuttle messaging and file transfers in the wee hours of the night over wide areas via the PSTN.

I discovered TCP/IP through amateur radio – first playing with KA9Q NOS via Amateur Radio satellite. At the time I was also experimenting with AX.25 mesh networking back when local amateur radio networks still ran IP over the air (before APRS was more common) at a dreary 1200 baud. Indeed, I still have a PK-88 kicking around.

My first “Internet Protocol” job was working for a local ISP where I helped develop Internet access software for our customers to easily get on board and helping to maintain backend systems. I cut my teeth on a lot of UNIX in this era – working with Xenix, SunOS, IRIX, BSDI, and then FreeBSD. I also worked a lot with OS/2 and Windows NT. At one point I even hacked together an NDIS IPX stack over SLIP so that we could play Doom and other id software games over dialup. It was truly a terrible idea – but it worked(tm) 😉

Later on, as spread spectrum began to take a foothold in industrial applications, I began experimenting with 802.11 and license exempt spectrum. Friends and I started a community wireless project – an experimental organization to research and develop new ways to communicate and build community through wireless telecommunications. I had some pretty interesting experiences through those projects including:

  • helping to develop an international E.164 registration and verification system to help facilitate SIP and IAX trunking over the Internet
  • working with Government and First Nations to provide resources to local community champions to help build their own Internet services
  • developing processes and governance systems to help coordinate volunteer resources that would help interconnect adhoc and independent infrastructure
  • roaaaadddd trippppssss

We mapped out networks, built our own systems, met people and helped them understand the technology and challenges they would encounter, and pondered the meaning of civilisation and how mobility and contextually aware media and content could change the way we interact with meat space[0] – all while searching for the best nachos we could find.

Some things worked pretty well, others not so much – and it was an amazing time. I greatly enjoyed our research while asking the question of, “What if every individual ran their own network and we had to connect them all?”.

I am pretty interested to see how the evolution of ICT will further the interconnectivity of our planet. We used to quip about tracerouting to your keys by bouncing through the light switch via bluetooth or some other mesh protocol – and the predictions of telemedicine and ubiquitous access to a global planetary network are unfolding all around us.

The opportunity to provide opportunities for everyone to be part of a greater society and live autonomously and interdependently continue to grow and I’m incredibly enthusiastic at where we’re going as a species.

So that’s a bit about me.

Interested in getting in touch? I’d love to hear from you.

    [0] The Wireless Spectrum: The Politics, Practices and Poetics of Mobile Media. University of Toronto