All about me...
Ok, so not everything!

[ homepage | welcome ]
[ university ( cs | science | transfer ) ]
[ hobbies ( tv&movies | scuba | reading | music | 'net ) ]
[ work ( nominum | indigo | usgs | homenet | dias | transyear ) ]
[ lori | conclusion | miscellania ]

Welcome Earthlings!
Hello there random web browser! You've been lucky enough to stumble across one of the most valuable vaults of scientifically accurate, linguisticly perfect, philosophically visionary, aesthetically pleasing, and psychologically balanced information sources known to man: my web site! Ok, so maybe not.
Best viewed with visual organs...
Unfortunately, I've given in to the terrible sin of not making all my pages work completely with every browser. I try where I can, but this page, although you can see it perfectly well in Lynx, is really best viewed using Internet Explorer or, if you can handle the rather-too-prevalant bugs, Netscape. Go on, download one of them. Treat yourself. They're free!
Take me to your Leader
My name's Stephen Jacob, but I assume you'd probably figured that out from the huge image saying "Stephen Jacob's Home Page" on, surprisingly enough, my home page, which I assume you got here from. I live in Killiney, a suburb of County Dublin, Ireland. I will be moving, soon, to the San Francisco Bay Area to live (in San Jose) and work (for Nominum, Inc. in Redwood City), assuming that the INS approve my H1-B visa (it's really just a matter of time). This can't possibly be too soon. The sooner I can move over there, the better. Not because I don't like Killiney or Dublin, but because I have really strong reasons for wanting to be in the Bay Area (one in particular, but more about that later).
University: The divine Temple of Knowledge...
I was, until June of 1999, a student of Computer Science at Trinity College Dublin, whence I have since graduated with a II1 honours B.A. (Mod) degree. TCD is both a very modern university (it has one of the world's foremost computer science departments, for example) and very traditional (it's somewhat over 400 years old!). The degree being a B.A. and not a B.Sc. is just one of those traditions which Trinity maintains. The concept of a "B.Sc." is a relatively new one. All bachelor's degrees used to be "B.A." in the past.

Trinity College Dublin is, in fact, a University despite being called 'Trinity College Dublin'. The reason is that Dublin University (synonymous with "Trinity College Dublin") was started up with the intention of it being modelled on the multiple college system that Oxford and Cambridge use, but the only college that was ever created was Trinity. Of course... if you're not Irish or British, I don't know if it would have occurred to you that there would be a difference between a college and a university anyway. We do have our quirks. It must be the Atlantic breeze.

Entry to the World of Nerdity
I completed first year CS in 1996. The courses I took in first year (All of them are prescribed courses. There are no choices until 4th year) can be perused at the Computer Science BA (Mod) Syllabus! I was very pleased with how I did. Subsequently, I was in second year CS, surprisingly enough (unsigned int a = 1; cout << ++a;). That's all done and finished with, and I ended up doing rather well in 2nd year too. Then came 3rd year. Yet more fun and hard work. I didn't do too badly in 3rd year either! I completed 4th (and final) year in June 1999. Oh yeah, my final year project was "Using Frameworks to Implement Distributed Algorithms", and let's leave it at that for now. I had to wait 3 weeks after exams to find out how I did. I received a II.1 overall (the second highest grade one can achieve [the highest being a I], classed as a good honours degree result), so that's the grade on my degree, and I am very happy indeed with it! We had our Commencements (graduation ceremony; entirely in latin) on the 11th of November (a strange concept to Americans who graduate days after finishing university rather than 5 months later), so I now have the piece of paper I spent four years getting!
I used to be mad but I'm alright now!
I used to be a Science student. In fact, I studied Science in TCD for 2 years before deciding to switch to Computer Science. Obviously I'm recovering, but naturally I still retain some of the strange, confusing traits of a scientist. Chemists' jokes still make me laugh. This tends to get confused stares from those members of the general public in the vicinity not familiar with such animals.
[Calvin & Hobbes Cartoon]
Calvin & Hobbes - Bill Watterson
To transfer or not to transfer? That is the question.
People keep asking me "Why did you transfer?". Well, that's apart from the ones who say "I wondered why you didn't do CS in the first place". Why would I? Because I decided I really wanted to do CS, and I wasn't so keen on what I was doing as I had thought I would be. It had also been suggested to me that it was great to be good with computers, but better to study something else and use my knowledge of computing to help with that. I think I possibly didn't consider it seriously because of that. Now, having completed my four years of Computer Science and having graduated with a good honours degree, I'm very glad I did transfer. I've found my niche.
What the heck do you do?

My hobbies are quite varied. I scuba dive and (occasionally) play badminton. In fact, I was at one stage playing badminton every single Wednesday (this had to stop for final year - far too much work to keep up with)! I know, it's shocking. Actual excercise. It is indeed a strange concept for a Computer Scientist. For those computer scientists in the audience, let me present this in comprehensible form:

Humanitarian note: If you are not a computer scientist, you may wish, in the interests of saving your sanity, to skip this section. You have been warned. If you are a computer scientist; what sanity?

#define TRUE 1
#define FALSE 0

int excercise ();

int main ()

    int health, fitness, enjoyment;
    health = fitness = enjoyment = 0;

    while (excercise()) {

      enjoyment = TRUE;

    while (not_at_computer) enjoyment = FALSE;
    enjoyment = TRUE;


int excercise ()

    static unsigned int tiredness = 0;

I've even been known to show my face in a squash court from time to time, but some believe this is just a nasty malicious rumour. Remember, you saw it here first. It's true. Now, what the heck was I talking about? Oh, yeah...

It's a hobby, Jim, but not as we know it.


I watch X-Files and a few other Sci-Fi shows and am a great Star Trek fan (trekker). I also watch some other TV shows, like The Simpsons and Friends, and am in the process of being converted to Buffy, Charmed and Gilmore Girls. Family Guy is incredibly funny... pure genius, and Futurama is pretty funny, but both started since I pretty much stopped watching TV, so I've seen very little of either. Another of my favourite passtimes is to go to the cinema, or indeed to rent a video or watch a film on TV. I'm a bit of a film buff (although not at the worshipped guru film buff Sad AnorakTM level). I really enjoy films (or movies, as they habitually call them across the pond) and my idea of an enjoyable evening can be a trip to the cinema to see a newly released cinematic feast. I see rather a lot of new movies in the cinema, as indicated by my Films '96+ pages.
Where did I put my regulator?
Actually, on the subject of Scuba Diving (which I wasn't, but let's not quibble over semantics. Well, ok, if you must... that is another of my hobbies, now that you mention it. What, you didn't? I could've sworn I heard you mention it. Oh, well, my hearing must be going), I hadn't dived at all in 1995, but I went to the club AGM in order to show I still existed. There were about 20 people there out of a club of nearly 70 members, and half of those were the outgoing committee. Guess what happened. I just wanted to show I existed and they had the indecency to vote me in on the committee!!! I was P.R.O. (Public Relations Officer) for a year, but thankfully, I've passed the torch to someone with the will and the time (hopefully) to do it... and what's more, with a secretary that they can ask to create the newsletters for them! Much as I enjoy diving, for a whole lot of reasons I haven't managed to find time to dive since ... well, probably 1996 or something. Maybe even 1994. I could check my log book, if I could find it, but that would really be too much effort!
Verbal discourse on flattened vegetable matter...
I also read quite a bit. I tend to read a lot of Sci-Fi including Star Trek (although none for the last few years), Anne McCaffrey, Isaac Asimov, and my favourite author bar none, Robert A. Heinlein. I also like Orson Scott Card (Ender trilogy, Homecoming series), Larry Niven and, a couple of authors I've started reading recently: Mercedes Lackey ("Bedlam's Bard") and Neal Stephenson ("Snow Crash", "The Diamond Age", "Zodiac", "Cryptonomicon"). As well as science fiction, I read quite a lot of spy/legal thrillers, etc. like Tom Clancy and John Grisham, the author of the brilliant The Rain Maker which kept me up until 4am... couldn't stop till I finished that last page! Michael Crichton also features on my book list. This is just the more obvious stuff. I also sometimes read weird and techie stuff like The Language of the Genes by the brilliant Steve Jones, and by people such as John Gribbin (who, amazingly, has a home page of his own!). Richard Preston's The Hot Zone is a must if you are interested in microbiology or just appreciate a book that'll keep you reading it until you fall asleep from pure exhaustion! Hey... am I forgetting something? Nah... I don't think so. Hey, wait, how could I possibly forget? Terry Pratchett, of course! Yes, I've read every single Discworld book. On top of all this, how could I finish the section without mentioning J. R. R. Tolkien? As of the 25th of November 2000, I have finished reading Lord of the Rings. I've read The Hobbit a couple of times.
Resonant Wave Forms

I'm not totally fanatical about any sort of music really, but I have quite a lot of things that I quite like, and some I really like very much. You could mosey on over to my music page if you want to see some small indication of some of the stuff I like. Ok, so it's actually more of a representation of how little time I bother spending on my music page.
This passtime is printed on 100% recycled electrons
Of course, one of my main passtimes is the 'net itself. I use IRC (Internet Relay Chat) rather a lot (well, I used to, back when I had free time!). Too much, some would say. In fact, these days I don't get the time to IRC or otherwise spend my time on 'net stuff much -- nothing like as much as I used to, to say the least! I use AIM sometimes, and have been known to use ICQ. I sometimes surf a little bit, but not often. I usually only surf the web when looking for something in particular; e.g. researching a project, looking for hardware drivers, etc. Oh yeah... and, of course, I mosey on over to User Friendly now and again to catch up on the often-hillarious cartoons. Especially hillarious for people who've worked in ISPs! I sometimes write stuff like this on my web pages which is probably of no interest to anybody. I have been known to log on to the occasional MUD; such as TrekMUSE and Future Realms. In fact, I've used only them other than some MUD that I forget that I logged onto once. In fact, this is a little misleading, since I used implied continuous present tense when in fact I haven't connected to any sort of MUD, MUCK, MUSH, MUSE, MOO, ... hmm, since about 1994!
What do you do for money?!?
I've worked at quite a range of different places. I've worked for two ISPs, and two scientific institutions (see below), and a software development company ... in addition to short stints in places like an animal shelter, an aquarium shop and a natural history museum. I've done all sorts of different types of work, from cleaning out cages to system administration and C/C++/Java programming! I am currently working for Nominum, Inc. (see below), on a consultancy basis remotely from Ireland until the INS approves my H1-B visa which will allow me to move over and start working on-site.
In mid-November 2000, I started work for Nominum, Inc. as a Software Development Engineer; on a consultancy basis and working remotely (one could say teleworking) from Ireland. They sponsored an H1-B visa application for me in mid-October (the process started earlier than that, but that's when the actual I-129 form was submitted to the INS), so when that comes through, I'll be moving to California (as mentioned at the top of the page). I'm very excited about my new job, moving to the US, and getting to be with Lori when I do move.
Up until April 1999 (when I had to leave to concentrate on my final year project and exams in college), I worked for Indigo, one of the largest (and best) ISPs (Internet Service Providers) on this isle (bought by Telecom Eireann (since renamed Eircom), the largest Irish telecommunications company, until recently a monopoly, while I was working there), as a 'Support Analyst' and latterly as 'Helpdesk Supervisor'. I worked there part-time for 22 months in total, minus a break last summer when I went and worked in America.

The brainchild of my brother, Alan (who works for Indigo now), and I -- we now have a web ring for Indigo helpdesk part-timers, ex-part-timers, and friends... an odd bunch of people if I do say so myself. Here's the all important stuff that'll let you surf your way around the ring from here:

Ring Home Page Previous Site Skip Previous Next Site Skip Next List Next 5 Random Site
This Indigo Part-Timers site owned by Stephen Jacob.
In the summer of 1998, I worked in California for a bit over three months. I was lucky enough to end up working for the US Geological Survey, Western Region Earthquake Hazards Group in Menlo Park, CA. I spent the summer working on an application (now called QDDS) to enable the many US seismic networks to share earthquake data in near-real-time. It was decided to work at a socket level, using Java for its support of easily verifiable programs and platform independence. I also contributed ideas and helped come up with a scheme for transparently doing load balancing on one of their web sites (multiple servers, same content, didn't want to use a www. scheme) which gets a crazy number of hits normally, and an utterly ridiculous number of hits when there's an earthquake. I again worked for the EHZ of the WR of the USGS in the spring and summer of 2000, this time for four and a half months from mid-April to the end of August. It was in this second period working for the USGS that I became involved in the sfbay-ufies community (a group of UFies in the San Francisco Bay Area) and, through doing so, met many new friends and, best of all, my wonderful girlfriend, Lori.
I worked, before that, for about 9 months as a Technical Support Administrator on the "HomeNet Hotline". HomeNet was one of three services (HomeNet, WorkNet and InterWeb) of ISI (Internet Services Ireland). Since a lot of people these days go "Huh?" if you mention HomeNet, and nobody really ever knew the name ISI since the services were branded seperately, a little explanation is in order. ISI went on to buy the much better known EUnet Ireland (or maybe it was still called IEUnet back then -- anyway, that's beside the point), and the combined company traded under the EUnet name (presumably due to the far better branding power of the name of the first Irish Internet Access/Service Provider). More recently, the whole lot was bought up by Esat (the second-largest telecommunications company in Ireland), becoming Esat Net.
I've done a fair bit of work during summers and part-time, also, for the Geophysics Group of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies School of Cosmic Physics, and in fact I worked there full-time from June/July 1999 to April 2000. Everything from software design and coding (an application, co-authored with Donal O'Connell, to allow the audio playback of and event picking from digitally-recorded seismic data; a facility that was lacking and sorely missed since they moved away from analogue recordings) to troubleshooting, software and hardware installations of all kinds (SunOS, NT, PC installation/setup, networking, ...), web design, hardware recommendation and purchasing.
Transition Year
I worked at three places during my 4th year of secondary school (3rd last year before university; equivelant to sophomore in American high school) as part of "Transition Year", a year between exam cycles (1st-3rd year = preparation for Junior Cert [well, it was actually Inter Cert for most people back when I was in school, and Newpark Cert where I was]; 5th & 6th year = Leaving Cert). In transition year, they try to do things a little differently, less academic classes, and more life skills orientated courses. Part of it was three one-week voluntary work experience sessions. You had to find people willing to take you on for a week at something that interested you. Way back then I was heading towards zoology, and so the three places I arranged to work were: Aquaria (an aquarium shop; working with customers and maintaining aquaria, feeding fish, etc.), the Natural History Museum (part of the National Museum; assisting the academic behind-the-scenes staff research, cataloguing of specimins, etc.), and the DSPCA Cats and Dogs Home (this one's fairly obvious). While somewhat sharing a bit of a theme, they were all three very different types of jobs both from each other and from any of the other work I've done since. I enjoyed all three very much.
Goddess of my heart...
Almost last, but not least (infinitely far from least!), I mention my wonderful, beautiful, charming, loving and incredibly intelligent (this is but a small selection from the host of complimentary adjectives which I could mention) girlfriend, Lori, who I had the amazing good fortune to meet on the 27th of June, 2000, and have been with since the 2nd of July, 2000. I was working in Menlo Park, CA, for the USGS for a few months at the time. We met at a small gettogether of UFies of the sfbay-ufies variety in Los Gatos, CA, and were attracted to each other straight away although we didn't know the other was then. If truth be told, I've never been so immediately or strongly attracted to anyone before. She is a Software Engineer for IBM, working on DB2 internals, who had only recently moved down to the Bay Area from the Seattle area when I met her. She has degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics, and a wealth of knowledge on many topics. She is amazing. I am very much in love with her, and can't wait to be with her again when my H1-B visa comes through. I consider myself a very lucky man (I'd consider myself luckier still if the INS would hurry up and give me my visa in record time). She visited me in Ireland for a week (as much as time off work would allow) back in August 2000 after I returned to Ireland, and I have since visited her for 3.5 weeks in October and November 2000. I'm expecting my visa some time in late December or early January. I can't wait.
I've had enough! Kill me, please!
You are probably wondering who this guy is and why he has such a large number of web pages. Well, the second question first... Why so many web pages? Well, because I'm totally disorganised when it comes to making them, and so instead of updating, I just add more. What looks like a hell of a lot of work is actually less work than if there were less pages but kept in a more organised way. Anyway, tough luck. Disorganised is what you're getting, so there! Hah! As for the first question, do you really want to know? I doubt it, so I'm not going to tell you. Feel free to complain by e-mail if you think that I should bother.

General Bits & Pieces:

    Home Page:

    Well, it may surprise you to hear that I have a home page on the World Wide Web. Hmm, ok, so probably not seeing as this is a part of it. If you didn't realise it, you're in for a shock! You're browsing the WWW right now! Yes, the Internet, that thing they keep telling you about in the media! Careful. Don't overstress yourself. Everything will be ok. The doctors will make it all better. Yes, they'll let you have your teddy bear. Honest.


    If you want to send me any corrections, amendments, suggestions, comments, notification that you've s-mailed me a large cheque ('check' if you're American), death threats, messages of devotion, or just simply want to tell me "Shut up. I hate your stupid web pages", this is how you go about it.


    To finger me click here. Don't get any funny ideas. We're talking about the network application/protocol. :P

    Signature file:

    The information you get at the bottom of any e-mail you might be (un)lucky enough to receive from me. Now you can see it without even having to go to the trouble of getting me to e-mail you. Oh, the wonders of modern technology.

    Plan file

    This is one of the things you get when you finger me (See above. Again, we're talking about a network application/protocol!). It's just a general collection of Useful InformationTM and Shameless AdvertisingTM.

    Deja News Author Profile

    Well, Deja News have helpfully provided a service so that I can show you all how rarely I every get near UseNet newsgroups any more. A previously news-addicted type when I started out on the 'net, I now hardly ever even start up nn/tin at all, let alone post anything. Rather pointless? Yep!

    Geek Code:

    Version: 3.1
    GCS/S/M d-(+) s: a-- C++(++++) UL+(++)>++++$ P++>$ L+>++ !E--- W++(+++)$ N+ o? K? w(+) !O M- V-- PS+@ PE Y(+) PGP- t+++(++) 5(+) X+(+++) R-() tv(+) b+++(++) DI@ D(-) G+ e>++++$ h(!) r- y?
    ------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------

© Copyright Stephen Jacob, 1995-2000.