Benjamin John Whitmore
Born 1977, NZ citizen, father of two.
I enjoy finding elegant solutions to complex problems, and translating complex ideas for non-experts to use and make their own. I’m deeply interested in how people perceive and learn, and ways that software can be made to meet people rather than the other way around. Good code communicates with people, not just machines.
For me, good software is built on clear language and concepts reflecting the real world. That lets you capitalise on people’s intuitive expectations and understanding; and it also gives software a better chance of changing and developing in step with the real world.
Managing property construction/subdivision to form a rural eco-village and intentional community. A wide variety of responsibilities: working closely with our engineer, workers, council and lawyer; building a community and community structures with a group of purchasers (supporting strong interpersonal skills and consensus governance); marketing, legal and technical writing; technical drawing; Permaculture design; farm management, animal husbandry and large-scale tree planting and weed management.
Heavy involvement also in business strategy and marketing.
Software Engineer for Brainz Instruments Ltd., May 2003 – Feb 2010:
Brainz produced the world-leading neonatal EEG monitor. We successfully tailored agile development to the highly regulated medical industry.
Software was initially written in C++ running on the QNX OS on a touchscreen PC; we later rewrote it in Java for Windows and Linux. I saw the team grow from 2 to 7, and I contributed heavily to all levels of planning, architecture, coding and team management, in an agile environment. The software involved multiple inheritance, complex threading issues, templating, etc. I also worked with signal processing and digital filters; planning our testing and documentation regime (in a highly regulated industry); porting code (we did substantial ports between C++, Java and LabView); and finding strategies to keep the architecture clean even under severe time pressure. I also programmed an embedded ARM microcontroller to generate waveforms, control ADCs, send and receive packetised data, etc.
Apart from software, I was praised for my GUI design work, and for my technical writing, which included helping document a highly complex seizure-detection algorithm for US FDA certification.
C++, Java, Eclipse, JUnit, QNX, Windows, embedded C++ (ARM micro), Agitar, LabView.
- Excellent written English; a skilled technical writer.
- Photoshop; CorelDraw; Gimp; Inkscape; FontForge and OpenType.
- Colour theory; studio (and other) lighting; perspective; theory of perception; composition; drawing.
Other people’s words:
“Ben was one of the star performers in an excellent team. Not only did he have substantial programming skills but also contributed positively to the group culture and was sensitive to other peoples needs. Ben never seemed to have a problem: his easy going disposition was infectious.”
“Ben has strong beliefs of personal and intellectual integrity to which he holds himself. His treatment of co-workers is exemplary, and I have come to value his advice in addressing interpersonal matters. Much of Ben’s contribution on architectural or strategic matters stems from this integrity, as in addition to possessing a keen intellect, he is adept at spotting areas which are unclear or illogical and will tactfully and persistently insist that they are appropriately addressed. Ben is the best interface designer I have worked with.”
“Ben was a skilled C++ developer, with keen architectural insights. He worked well with the domain experts we engaged with, often serving as the bridge between the mathematical and medical experts.“
- I have served a number of clubs and incorporated societies, including as Chairperson and as Secretary, and have several times helped develop rules and constitutions.
- Keen morris dancer and mummer: I have been Squire of three morris groups including two that I founded.
- I have been leaseholder in six dwellings, for a total of 11 years.
- Certificate of Permaculture Design, 1999.
- Six weeks of training in clown and mask theatre with world-renowned teacher Giovanni Fusetti.
- Regular 5Rhythms dancer.
- Ecovillage Project Manager, Turanga Farm Ltd, Feb 2012 – Aug 2013.
- Software Engineer, Trade & Exchange Feb 2009 – July 2011.
- Software Engineer, Brainz Instruments Ltd, Jun 2003 – Feb 2009.
- Website maintenance contracting; Trade & Exchange Mar 2003.
- Computer graphic design work for Express magazine, 1997.
- Graduate Certificate in Arts (Anthropology), Massey University (2011–2012).
- Bachelor of Science (Computer Science), Otago University (2002). Straight A’s and one A+ (in Artificial Intelligence) in my final year. I received special commendation for being the only student ever to complete all exercises in the ‘Effective Programming’ paper, and I was runner up for the 2002 HP Award for most promising IT professional. I came top of the class in most of my papers, including Computer Graphics.
- Transferred to Otago from Unitec where in 1½ years I had nearly completed a Bachelor of Computing Systems (2000–2001). By special permission I undertook 150% of the usual maximum workload (216 credits over three semesters). I was only two papers away from finishing my Unitec degree when I matriculated to Otago.
- Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting) and Diploma of Photography, Whitecliffe College of Art and Design, Auckland (1995–1998).
- A in Bursary Chemistry, B in Bursary Calculus, A in Bursary Statistics, Edgewater College. I had been home-schooled and only attended a few subjects at high school.