I’m Kevin Hawkins, your average supergeek living in Idaho. I’m about 6 feet tall, about 160 lbs, short brown hair, gray/green/blue eyes (I get different responses from different people), athletic build (I work out every week), fit, clean, don’t smoke, don’t drink, and I’m insane enough to ride a motorcycle in traffic. At night. In the rain. On the freeway.
I can convert pizza directly into code with deadly accuracy. When I get into what I call “the zone”, I churn out code like crazy. I just hack out projects like I’m on fire. Trance music will often put me into “the zone”.
I’ve been fooling around with computers since the Commodore 64. I remember I helped my school set up their computer lab. Then I learned BASIC and helped others learn it also. After that, the Atari 800XL. I hacked BASIC on that, too. But it was mostly used to play games.
Finally, I graduated to the PC. I got my first IBM DOS PC, an XT I think it was, with 64K of RAM and TWO 5 1/4″ floppy drives. Oh yeah, I was cool. Next, I got upgraded to the 286 with a hard drive and everything. Wow, that was amazing!
And so on and so forth, upgrade after upgrade. I ran my own BBS (Bulletin Board System) on my DOS computer connected to a modem (14.4k baud!). Oh yeah, I was cool.
My first experience with the Internet came when I started working for Earthlink. I learned the TCP/IP stack, relationships between the server and the client, some HTML. And then I got into something called CGI (Common Gateway Interface). That made web pages DYNAMIC! Wooo… wierd.
I learned a lot of Perl and made it run websites (via CGI). About this same time, I started on my first database experience with PostGreSQL. I had a lot of fun with that. Now that I look back on it, it was very strict in it’s relationships.
Soon after that, I learned PHP and switched over to MySQL. Been hacking L.A.M.P. (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) ever since. I’m nearing expert levels of PHP, MySQL, linux, Apache configs, and all other systems related to putting things online.
I have set up a few qmail installations (not easy). Once they are set up and working correctly, they are bulletproof. One such system, which I still help out with, is still running along just fine; it’s been online for over 1178 days (over 3 years).
Speaking of uptime, my own personal dedicated server (running this website) has been online over 451 days. My own personal workstation was up and online for over 751 days until I took it down intentionally to move to where I live now.
I have set up Postfix servers to handle email. These servers had specific filesystems for this purpose, special scripts interfacing with a MySQL database, SpamAssassin, blacklists, graylists, DKIM, limits, and a bunch of other things I can’t think of at the moment.
I wrote my own email sender system. The back-end part which actually does the sending is written in Perl and designed to run as a daemon. The front-end is written in PHP. Both parts access the same MySQL database. The system doesn’t send more than one message per second, has special “include” codes for personalizing each email (like a mail-merge), has a “job queue”, has a letter manager, handles multiple lists, strips duplicates upon sending (even when sending to multiple lists), can track unique “email opens”, plus some other stuff. I wrote it all for a non-profit, then ended up giving it to them for free.
I have written a lot of technical documentation over the years. Most recently, I set up a wiki for Explore Talent and wrote almost everything in it. I detailed how a lot of systems work, tips & tricks, procedures, etc. My writing style is professional and easy to understand.
My operating system of choice is (of course) Linux. But I still have a Windoze machine set up, mostly so I can play games.
Some pics of my workstation over the years…
Nov 11th, 2001, at this stage, I did not have the dual-monitor setup going. I did, but somehow I lost a monitor when I moved from work to home.
I like this shot because my big black furry kitty happened to be up on the desk at the time, and this is kinda rare. The monitor on the left is a 19″ CRT, and it’s connected to my linux machine. The one on the right is a 17″ CRT, and it’s connected to my windows machine. All backgrounds from Digital Blasphemy.
Apr 15th, 2004, this is how my workstation looked just before I moved to Hollywood. Both 19″ monitors in the middle are connected to my linux machine, and the 17″ LCD on the right is connected to my Windoze game machine. I mostly just use it for games or for apps which don’t run in linux. All backgrounds from Digital Blasphemy (except the one on my Windoze machine).
September 9, 2011. All computers have been re-built and upgraded. I build all my own machines. Yes, I’m good with hardware. Both the linux workstation on the left and the Windows game machine on the right are clear acrylic cases. They are completely clear, held together with stainless steel screws in special acrylic blocks. The linux workstation on the left has two green cold-cathodes. The Windows game machine on the right has two red cold-cathodes. Search this blog for “game machine” for details on how I put together my game machine.
On top of the linux workstation are a smattering of USB devices, including an Archos MP3 player, Slimline ClickVoice MP3 recorder, universal card reader (all of these are connected to the USB Octopus), some external drives, and I also connect my rooted Android-powered phone there.
On the left wing above the linux workstation: Cordless phone, green laser pointer, two binary clocks, and one ThinkGeek epoch clock in Roman mode. All three clocks are set to the same time. Can you read them all?
The two main monitors are connected to both systems. The DVI inputs go to the linux workstation, the VGA inputs go to the game machine. I can switch them with a button on the front of each monitor, but I usually leave them on the linux workstation as that’s where I do most of my work.
The monitor on the right is exclusively for the game machine and it is amazing. It’s the brightest, most colorful, highest-res, most beautiful monitor I’ve ever owned. You see that folded-up pair of headphones under the monitor on the desk? Those are 5.1 surround-sound headphones. With that beautiful monitor, those headphones, and the Blu-Ray reader in the system, I have a full-res Blu-ray (1280×1200 / 16:10) surround-sound entertainment center right there in my computer. I love it!
On the floor in front of the game machine is a very small computer case. It has just enough room for a motherboard, one hard drive, one optical drive, one expansion slot, and the power supply (which is actually half-hanging out the back). I use that old, little thing as my dedicated SpinRite station. The hardware was so old that it did not have any SATA connections so I used the single available expansion slot to add a cheap, simple SATA controller. The power supply is just barely good enough for one drive (100 Watts). You can see the SATA drive power and data connectors hanging out the front. The IDE connector is still tucked inside. This little thing is perfect as a dedicated SpinRite station, so that’s all I use it for. I boot up from the USB drive in the back and use the VGA connector to dual-purpose my game machine monitor. I think it’s a good use of old hardware.
UPDATE: This little “SpinRite Station” is now also a “Drive Cloning Station” and is positioned behind my desk. See this blog post for details.
Going across the top, 4-in-one Printer, fax, scanner, and copier, digital thermometer, lava lamp, LumiSource Sculptured Electra Lamp, 101 disc CD changer, walkie-talkies, Laser Stars Projector, and a very bright rechargeable flashlight. On the top-left corner of the game machine monitor is a little Logitech webcam for Skype or Gizmo or Google Talk or any other video-conferencing.
Contact Me, if you want
You’re welcome to email me:
jedihawk (at) gmail dot com
Need I say this site is constantly under construction? I think not!