My name is Alex Howland and I was a fourth-year Software Engineering student at Rochester Institute of Technology, but am now currently employed at Alstom Signaling, where I write and test software to keep trains from hitting each other. Once I’ve made enough to afford school again, I’ll be returning to finish my degree. Or that’s the plan, anyway.

I frequently stay up far too late working on projects outside of class and work. I lived for about a year and a half on Computer Science House, which seemed to encourage this behavior, so I stuck around as an Off-Floor Member even after I moved out of the dormitories. Last year I was director of House History, which is basically Head Storyteller and Chief Alumni-Wrangler combined, but now I just hang around with some pretty cool people and make some pretty cool things.

Technically, I have a strong background in a variety of platforms- HTML/Javascript, .NET, and LAMP mostly, though I’ve recently been playing around with Processing/C on the Arduino microcontroller. I also work with a lot of electrical and computer engineers, so I’m starting to get a better foundation in x86 Assembly, C, and C++.

Outside of all that, I enjoy writing and writing music. I play guitar, mandolin, and piano, none exceptionally well, but I get by. I also have a soft spot for natural sciences, including geology, meteorology, and astronomy/astrocartography.

But really, I like to think of myself as a futurist. I love thinking about new technologies, possible applications, and how to push the envelope even further. I’m a hobbyist- MAKE Magazine would call me a Maker- who loves finding ways to hack and adapt things to do stuff it was never supposed to do, or stuff I was never supposed to do.

Lastly, I tend to get really frustrated with idiocy and hypocrisy in politics. While I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, I feel there tends to be a higher level of “bat-shit insane” on the right. Sometimes I just watch Fox News commentators for hilarity’s sake, but I inevitably start punching nearby objects in frustration at how so many people actually believe this stuff. Say what you will about MSNBC, but at least Keith Olbermann isn’t crying onscreen about how “the America he grew up in is lost forever” just because a liberal dude happens to be President right now.