About myself

I worked for most of my career as a university teacher and researcher, but in 2007 I switched careers and became a technical writer for a software company that writes Java software for corporate and industrial information systems. After a few years, I changed to Java developer for a short time, and then to technical writer in telecom software and IT infrastructure, alternating between working as a consultant and as a senior technical writer at large telecom companies. I retired in 2019, and enjoy every minute of my retirement. I feel I was literally born for the freedom that retirement gives me.

This shift from the academic to the commercial world is less drastic than it seems - I used the very same skills that I developed for learning and communicating in science, only for a different purpose (see a more detailed discussion here). A large part of my academic work was in connection with software development, so I did not feel like I changed to a new field. The main difference is that afterwards I was working in conditions far better than I was used to in universities. I am still doing research as a hobby (although not just in paleontology), and I might take temporary research fellowships in other countries now and then, like I used to do earlier in my career, but since I left the academic world I have had no desire to return to it on a permanent basis.

Except for occasionally publishing papers in science, I do not carry out unpaid work in science - not even now that I am retired. This is a matter of principle to me. I will never work for free in journal editing, ghost-writing grant applications, PhD supervising, scholarship sponsoring, or as an external resource attached to a research group. If you are reading this page because you need these types of help, don't bother to ask me. You should instead consider hiring a young scientist if you need to get the job done, and pay him/her a decent salary. I need no help in writing my own science papers, either. I might only be available to participate in the type of informal science networking, preferably among emeriti, that does not involve significant work obligations. Be aware, however, that my commitment will be limited by my many other interests, which in no way I am willing to give up.

Judging from the choice of journals and books in which I publish my scientific research papers, I am a paleobiologist (or paleontologist, if you prefer the older term). However, my research lies at the borderline between paleobiology and biology. In fact, in the past, it has been regarded as too biological when I was applying for jobs in paleontology, and too paleontological when I was applying for jobs in biology. This stems from my conviction that fossils, being the remains of living organisms, cannot be treated as distinct from the latter. My preferred research fields are the functional morphology of the invertebrate skeleton and the morphogenetic and constructional processes used by invertebrates to build their skeletal structures. I work mostly on bivalves and gastropods, but I published also on brachyuran and anomuran decapods, stomatopods, inarticulate brachiopods, serpulid polychaetes, insects, symbioses that involve marine invertebrates, and some of the problematic Ediacara-type fossil organisms.

My professional interests in computers and programming include a long affair with C++ (mostly Visual Studio for Windows native GUI applications) and, more recently, Java and C#. My favourite OS is Windows, in spite of Microsoft. For a couple of years I was forced to use OSX at work, but I tried to learn as little as possible about Apple OSs and Apple computers - just enough to get the job done.

I also have several years of work experience as an IT manager in a university environment, and two professional certifications in data networking. Interestingly, while I was working as a university IT manager, there never was any money for my IT training, and I was supposed to train myself in my free time, or to just "know the stuff". Once the university decided to fire me to save money, they discovered that they were forced to pay one more year of salary for my (re)training, plus three months of saved vacation I had not bothered to use. It was of course a complete waste of money to them, since I was leaving in any case. This is how I got my IT certifications. They were useful qualifications when applying for jobs, and I had a moderate practical use for this knowledge in subsequent work, although I already knew most of it. On this web site, I provide a few pages about privacy and cryptography in connection with personal computers and the Internet.

An additional interest of mine is technical aspects of digital photography, especially macrophotography in connection with my research in palaeobiology, and nature and bird photography as a hobby. Since 2006, I am also interested in technical aspects of UV and IR photography with modified consumer cameras. The largest section of this site contains pages on my interests in photography.