email: ben at ocothought dot com
phone: (503) 406-8192
I’m a software engineer who is keenly interested in the human side of computing. I like working on projects that enable people to leverage technology to help them in their tasks without having to get bogged down in the details of the technology itself. I write code and build systems that not only solve the problem at hand, but that also are easy for other developers to understand, use, and extend.
I have special interest in topics related to user-centered design, information visualization, human-computer interaction, and user interfaces.
Senior Software Engineer
Gist (acquired by Research In Motion in 2011)
After Research In Motion acquired Gist in February 2011, I worked to scale up Gist’s cloud services to handle millions of users for RIM. I was responsible for the architecture of the Contacts database and infrastructure in the BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 release. I split my time between QNX-based mobile development in Python, and SQLite, and Linux- based server-side development in Ruby/JRuby, Java, and Cassandra.
Software Engineer, Lead Software Engineer
Managed a team responsible for supporting partner websites based on the Jobster technology platform (a service-oriented architecture involving multiple Ruby on Rails and Java applications using XML-based interfaces to communicate). Designed and implemented features for the jobster.com job networking site involving user-generated content, tagging, social networking, AJAX, and Facebook integration. Developed features for Jobster’s social recruiting tools using Java, JSTL, Spring, and Tomcat.
Software Development Engineer
Amazon.com, Ordering and Monitoring Teams
Designed information visualization tools for automatically discovered relationships between software and hardware components, integrated with both high-level and detailed visual displays of the “health” of all hardware and software components. This tool used AJAX to provide fast access to more detailed drill-down graphs and data from the server on demand and allow the user to explore the distributed software network. Responsible for development of many features in the Your Account section of the customer-facing Amazon website, including past order history and password recovery.
Terra Lycos, Mountain View Office
Implemented a fault-tolerant service for handling customer-purchased add-on features in Lycos Mail using Java, XML, JDBC, and TIBCO Rendezvous. Built an internationalized web development environment that allowed non-programmers to build the interface for software that was implemented and translated independently. Designed and developed a single-sign-on and registration service for integrating login for applications built on different technology platforms by companies inside and outside of the Lycos Network.
University of San Francisco, Dept. of Computer Science
Designed and taught one- and two-unit classes about Unix and Perl over 3 semesters, including general usage, system administration, TCP/IP networking, and security concerns.
Build Support Engineer
Apple Computer, Global Software Release Operations
Enabled faster turnaround of software build requests by extending the automated build system for all Apple application and operating system releases. Automated the process of assembling internationalized installers using both file fingerprinting and heuristics to map between filenames in different human languages.
Network Applications Specialist & Webmaster
University of San Francisco, Information Technology Services
Maintained University of San Francisco web site and assisted university departments in providing content on the web. Maintained and administered other network services, including mail, news, ftp, and DNS servers.
Specific Technology Experience
Platforms & Environments:
Linux (including kernel work), Mac OS, Apache HTTP Server, Cassandra, mod_perl, CGI, DBI, JDBC, MySQL, Oracle, Postgres, MPI, XML, HTML, CSS, AJAX, Prototype, script.aculo.us, REST, ActiveRecord, Rails, Web Services, SOA, mobile development.
EducationB.S. in Computer Science from University of San Francisco (magna cum laude)
Certificate in User-Centered Design from the University of Washington