John Hicks

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I've been working as a software developer much of my life, now specializing in web applications (primarily using the LAMP platform: Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP). I'm looking forward to being able to get into hardware design with LVL1 to complete the circle.

In a prior career I did dabble in hardware a bit, building an early interface between an 8-bit PC and a typesetting machine. (I was editing a weekly newspaper, the "microcomputer" had just come out, but desktop publishing had not been invented yet.)

My brothers and I grew up making things with Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, and Erector Sets, not to mention A.C. Gilbert Chemistry Sets, and Lionel model trains. Our grandfather was a tool and die maker at Henry Vogt Machine Co. and kept our curiousity healthy with his little toolshop in the "cellar" of his home in the Highlands. Our father encouraged us by keeping us supplied with dry cells, spark coils, and various broken gadgets to hack. As a result, my brother went to Speed School, getting a degree in electrical engineering (the closest thing to computer science at the time), and had a lifelong career with IBM. I got afflicted with a case of politics in high school, wound up with a degree in political science, and have not yet fully recovered.

One DIY project I'm currently involved in is WXBH-LP, an FCC-licensed low-power FM radio station in Fern Creek. I've developed a Linux based system for automating the programming and streaming it to the transmitter and the rest of the world (using cron, bash, PHP, mpd, icecast, etc.) We need volunteers ... both DJs/producers and techies.

I'm a big fan of Linux and open source software. I helped form KYOSS, the Kentucky Open Source Society. If you're into open source (or want to be) I invite you to sign up for our mailing list and come to our next monthly meeting.

Philosophically and politically, I strongly support the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) philosophy implicitly embodied in LVL1. In my mind the DIY movement combines the virtues of self-reliance and voluntary cooperation, and these qualities are critical if we are to have a humane future on this planet. (I probably take this way too seriously. Buy me a beer sometime and let me tell you about it. :)

My interests include communications (both interpersonal and media-based), group dynamics, computers and the Internet (especially personal networking software), political theory, voting systems, the future of local community, economics, education, anthropology, history, music, photography, nature, travel, health (the human microbiome), etc. Oh, and bicycling.