William Walton Kimball, Jr., M.B.A., M.S.I.S.
Nice "alphabet soup" on the end of that rather long name, but who is the person behind it? So much about him is already deeply documented at FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn, so this page will focus on the more fun and hobbyist aspects of his persona.
First and foremost, William is a geek (3rd Definition). There's just no avoiding that truth. When it comes to electronics, he's a total feature-freak, compelled to get the biggest, fastest, coolest, most feature-rich gadgets he can possibly afford (or try to afford). His reasoning is simple: electronics aren't free and the really fun ones aren't cheap. If you have to pay for a new one, buy for the long-term. Get something maxed out so it won't become entirely obsolete within the first year. This is true for everything from home entertainment center components to laptops, tablets, and personal computers. On the other hand, don't pay unnecessarily for a brand name. The best-of-the-best may not be the one with the highest price.
One of William's passions is video games. Peruse the collection he shares with his wife.
Japanese Anime and Manga
Would you learn a foreign language because of a hobby? Would you travel to the originating country of something you’ve purchased? William did both because he has a passion for Japanese Anime, Manga, and culture. He even spent an entire college semester performing research on the subject for a term project! William and his wife have even been seen at conventions to catch up on trends, learn new tid-bits and trivia, and pour money into their obsession. Geek? Yes. おたく? Check!
An oft-outdated list of the Anime titles William and his wife own is available if you’re a fan and like to compare collections.
William grew up with computers before the Internet reached into homes. He was hacking code before computers had hard-drives or flash memory. For him, it started on a "Commodore PET 64", which was state-of-the-art around 1985 when he was just ten years old. He learned by hand-copying printed source code into the screen, then tweaking it to see what would happen. At the time, it was only curiosity. "What was this thing and what does it do?" gradually turned into, "Look what I can make it do!" That curiosity-turned-control never ended for William and he continues to write code today.
Never mistake William for a programmer who likes to shut themself in a closet and be left alone for many hours every day. On the contrary, William is a social programmer. Left alone, programming is exhausting for him. Without an audience to see his finished work, William loses interest fast. Like an actor on stage, William performs code for the benefit of others. To this end, he writes "text-book quality" code at all times and follows a very strict style which he has developed over very many years of writing code in many -- sometimes vastly -- different languages, adopting best-practices, and evaluating the long-term advantages of one technique over another. Put simply, this is because he fully expects someone else to read that raw source code and have an opinion about it; an opinion which he always works very hard to ensure will be positive.
Computers As Tools At Home
If William were just a for-pay computer programmer, he might escape the “computer geek” label. Alas, there’s more. He loves toys and computers are just another type of toy, especially when he can makes these toys work together! At home, he has his desktop and laptop, like so many other people, but he also has several servers hooked up. Why? Because of what they do for him, his family, and his other toys.
First, most people like to log into their computer and have immediate access to all of their personal documents. This is especially true for a home with a single computer. But when there are many computers within reach, it becomes a valid desire with a non-obvious solution. Other people are content to deploy a "sneaker-net" solution whereby they use intermediary storage devices (like flash drives, external hard drives, or -- for the really old-school -- floppy disks) to copy files from one computer to another. Well, that's just not good enough for William because better technology exists! He has a central file server to which all personal files are transparently stored. At his home, you can turn on any computer and have every file you ever made within reach, and you don’t have to do anything special to have them in the expected place; just open “My Documents” and there they all are!
Second, he has five Xbox 360s, each equipped with the Media Center application. In addition, William and his wife enjoy certain television shows which they can’t always sit down to watch at the scheduled show time. So, they enjoy a media server which can record two television shows simultaneously and hosts MP3s of every track on every CD they ever purchased. No matter which room they are in, they have immediate access to their recorded television shows and vast music library!
Finally, the remaining servers exist due to one axiom, “If you want something done right, you sometimes have to do it yourself!” Internet web-site hosting isn’t free. Even the free ones impose their own rules, maximum file sizes, or forced advertisements in your content. William couldn’t see paying for web hosting, so he has his own web server. While e-mail may be free at some sites, truly spam-free experiences aren’t part of the free experience. Since 2001, William and his family have enjoyed near-zero spam and virus messages. The secret? One mailbox per person with hundreds of aliases pointing to them. Each alias is unique to a point of contact. When an alias is no longer useful -- or worse, becomes compromised because the other party sold or inadvertently leaked the address to nefarious third parties -- it is destroyed. This simple policy kills spam dead because it can’t be delivered to an address (alias) that simply doesn’t exist.
William loves what computers do for him and his family, but he hates keeping up with them. Updating them is a chore; rather, a necessary evil that takes time away from family and friends. And the experience of doing so can be vastly different depending on the machine’s operating system. In his own words,
Windows is expensive, but super easy. I love the price of Linux and Open Source, but I absolutely hate the pain involved in getting everything to just work, especially when performing updates! I cringe every time I'm about to run a 'yum update' and I shouldn't, but the people who produce these update packages simply don't work hard enough to ensure that every update always just works, leaving the system at least as functional as before applying the update! As a matter of simplifying his administrative duties at home, all workstations (except one dual-boot laptop that also sports Ubuntu) are Windows. Updates very rarely break Windows machines like they break Linux machines.
William is an accomplished college student. He is a member of an international honor society and the recipient of several academic honors from two colleges. William holds degrees from community college (Associate of Science), baccalaureate college (Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a Minor in Computer Science), and two master's degrees (Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Information Systems, specialized in Web and Mobile Computing). In addition, he is informally a student of everything he comes across. He’s always watching, listening, and absorbing. This is not to say he agrees with everything, because to know William is to know that he’s not shy to share his opinion about something, especially if he disagrees!