Alexander Saint Croix is a graduate student and a staff member of the University of Minnesota. He graduated in 2003 from the University of Minnesota's College of Liberal Arts with a degree in English Writing, delivering the salutatory address to his classmates at their graduation ceremony. Since 2008 he has been enrolled in the University's Masters of Computer Science program.
Alexander has been employed since January 2008 as a Network Analyst for the Office of Information Technology at the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus. His professional duties revolve around monitoring and maintaining the University's communications network infrastructure and helping OIT's customers achieve the communication goals of their various departments.
From September 2004 until January 2008, Alexander served as a helpline and training consultant for Academic and Distributed Computing Services (ADCS). He taught classes on wiki basics and safe computing, provided network and telecommunication support, and was one of the leads for the University's Residential Network support team.
In the distant ages prior to that, Alexander was a freelance technology journalist for an array of technical publications of varying fame and disrepute. He has written for journals such as O'Reilly & Associates, TheServerSide.com, TheInquirer.net, Java.net, and for a time he wrote the monthly Enterprise Java Tech Tips newsletter for Sun Microsystems.
Alexander is an avid technologist and programmer, with a passion for Java, LISP, and Scheme, and budding interests in other languages such as VDM-SL, Perl, Ruby and the forthcoming F#. He knows better than to ever get excited about C or C++. He is also an accomplished database designer and EJB3/JPA developer.
Since the spring of 2010 Alexander has devoted his full attention to massively parallel and concurrent programming in the Scala programming language. Scala is a fully functional, object-oriented programming language that runs on the Java Virtual Machine. In many ways it answers the concerns that he has long held about the Java platform, while extending the life of Java well into the 21st century. This has been nothing short of a complete revolution for his software development efforts.
Though Alex will always look fondly upon Java as his first love in software engineering, he has long since outgrown it in many areas of his research. Since 2008, Alexander has maintained that the addition of a high-level functional programming sublanguage to the Java platform, as well as IEEE longdouble support, and other recognized numerical and real-time computing utilities would immeasurably improve the long term prospects of the language. He owes this shift in attitude to the influence of his professors in the CSE department, and is extremely eager to master and make intensive use of the JVM's real power, as unleashed by Scala.
Alexander was one of the lead developers for the Drools rule engine project which, to his regret, was absorbed by the JBoss corporation and then later, as a partial relief, re-absorbed by RedHat. He maintains an active if private interest in declarative logical frameworks, all forms of modal and deontic logic, and the study of aporetics.
Prior to being a software developer, Alexander was a web designer and a student in the electronic art program at the U of MN. He started designing web sites in 1993, when he was 14, and really grew up alongside the Internet. In that sense, he feels plugged into it at every layer of the OSI model, and has an ever-evolving grasp of how it works, exactly. He's an accomplished animator and flash designer, but revolted against Macromedia in 2002 or so, and will not go back to Flash until Adobe releases fully operational Open Source editors for it. Until that time, Alex keeps abreast of OpenLaszlo and continues to research UI design frameworks in Open Source Java.
Alexander has built enterprise online commerce portals, programmed and animated children's video games using Flash and XML, instructed web developers, and built interactive multimedia sites for various legal and accounting firms in the twin cities area.
Before his years in technology, Alexander found employment as the senior secretary for the curator of the University's internationally renowned Children's Literature Research Collection, cooked shrimp for a chain restaurant, led horseback expeditions, an archery range, & a swimming instructor for the Boy Scouts, a dish washer at a pizzaria, a rope tow operator at a ski resort, and in hauling glacial till for a two-man landscaping and aquaculture restoration company. He paid for his first car in high school by cutting, splitting, stacking, & selling firewood. (This gave him plenty of time to consider whether or not trees make sound when they fall down and nobody's around to hear them, and indirectly led to his keen interest in philosophy) While a woodcutter, he kept his gas tank full by pushing a mop at a small town coffee shop on weekends, and by guarding lives at the public swimming pool in a nearby town. He briefly owned and operated a snow-shoveling business when he was 12 years old, and when he was 10 he held down a 1-man parking lot sweeping gig, cleaning up restaurant parking lots in a small town in Wisconsin for twenty dollars a pop. Prior to that he mostly just helped out in the garden and looked forward to camping in the summer, both of which he still does with great enthusiasm.
None of the contents of this weblog are to be construed as official or representative of the University of Minnesota, the Regents of the University, the Office of Information Technology or any of its subdepartments, or any other official body of the University. These opinions belong solely to the site's author.