A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
— Robert Heinlein
Criticize by creating.
The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.
— Nikola Tesla
Taran Rampersad resides in Trinidad and Tobago. He has been in contact with almost every level of society. At age 11, he started working in the family printery and with his father on rewinding electrical motors and industrial (electro-mechanical) troubleshooting. At age 16, he graduated secondary school, at age 17 he landed his first job as a contract computer programmer. After some wandering and holding a variety of different jobs which ranged from pumping gas to programming, he ended up in the United States Navy. He enlisted as a Sonar Technician, became a Nuclear Field Electronics Technician, and then became a Hospital Corpsman where he worked in an emergency room and with the United States Marines.
Later, he trained Medical technicians in New York City, then became a software developer for Honeywell in what was the military avionics division – writing and maintaining software related to the testing of inertial navigation units. From there he held a few other programming jobs related to medical transcription, document management and check clearing technologies. He continues programming, but has diversified into writing (including being a former editor of LinuxGazette.com) and adapting existing technologies into new solutions to real world problems. He has gained media mention for this, such as the BBC’s Text messages aid disaster recovery.
He has also been mentioned in the Associated Press, indirectly in the New York Times (for work with the now defunct eAsylum.net), and was part of the original WorldChanging.com team that won the Utne Award.
He has been active in ICT circles within the Caribbean and Latin America and has worked on projects such as CARDICIS and MISTICA. He’s a firm believer in self-sustaining ICT as a tool and mechanism for bridging thedigital divide.
Generally speaking, he believes technology should be used sensibly to improve the quality of life of all human beings. He’s a firm advocate of Free Software and Open Source, but leans more toward the GPL. He’s a firm advocate of Open Content.
Somewhere between all of this he managed to become a published poet, an amateur photographer who has had some of his work published in book and magazine formats, and a person who gets asked to do more pro bono work than he can afford to do. He balances all of this by legal use of caffeine as well as exploring things by traveling, reading, and experimenting. When he can, he plays with rotary engines (of the Wankel variety) and follows his curiosity wherever it may lead him.
There is more to Taran, of course, and some of what he writes about derives from being a technologist who has lived and continues to live an interesting life- some of which he writes about on RealityFragments.com.