Welcome! I am a freelance IT professional located in rural South Australia (Narungga country). I provide web application and general software development, social media, and consultancy services, which I have delivered to small business, NGO, state government, and enterprise sectors.
- Originally, I am from an engineering/manufacturing/distribution background, segueing into an IT role. Here I was also involved in QA and audit systems (and more). From this, and subsequent work, I gained a knack for familiarising myself with the Big Picture in diverse environments, in order to understand clients' needs.
- My primary work focus over the last few years has been building database-driven web applications, except when I was contracting as part of the Frisk (opens in new window/tab) development team, on their enterprise search software product, which was mostly pure Perl. See my recent skills tab, or grab a copy of my current CV (PDF) (opens in new window/tab).
- My aim has been to design and deliver bespoke solutions to best meet clients' needs, always focusing on accessibility, and security.
- Documentation? So often overlooked, I've got you covered, whether for new or existing material. I like writing documentation!
- In addition to the pure technology side of my work, I am a seasoned user of social media, as a regular user, a RoCur administrator, and an API developer, building applications around the platform, so can assist organsisations with social media campaigns, and also create bespoke tools for those already engaged in social media management.
I can work to your specifications with your team, or alone, or analyse your business requirements, developing a solution from scratch.
There is more detail to be found in the subsequent sections, but I am always happy to answer any questions, in a prompt manner.
This is not an exhaustive list of every language/technology I have worked with, but those I have used the most in recent projects, and with which I have the greatest familiarity.
- Perl - both CGI web applications, and system management/reporting utilities, both command line and through a lightweight UI launched from the command line.
- MySQL/JSON hybrids
- HTML/Web accessibility
- Metadata - have worked with Dublin Core, Library of Congress, and custom schemas to supplement them.
- Talking to various APIs, including OpenSRS, Eway, Twitter
- Creating tools to wrap around Kerberos management functions to reduce burden on users.
- Documentation - I have experience in everything from adding inline technical documentation to existing code (including the analysis required to do so) to describing highly technical systems in non-technical language for the benefit of management, and other stakeholders. I have found this to be a weakness in the majority of technology projects I have encountered, and like to do the Right Thing, when I can, with those with which I am associated.
- GoodBarber - I am currently engaged in assembling an app using the GoodBarber platform, and deploying to the Android and iOS stores. It's quirky, but I know my way around it pretty well and have a good relationship with the support team.
Just as an example, asked to create a web application without any specific technologies being given, I would tend to default to PHP with either a MySQL/MariaDB or MongoDB database backend, depending on the nature of the data, and Bootstrap to take care of presentation.
- I have considerable experience with the Twitter platform.
- Am aware of both benefits and risks, and how to navigate them.
- I can help you with (or even manage) your social media activities.
- Already using/managing social media? I can create applications to get extra value/insights from a platform.
I have been a Twitter user (@smiffy opens in new window/tab) for over eleven years, and in more ways than one. As a regular user, I have networked extensively with the platform, and a considerable amount of the work I have done over this period has been from people who have found me on there (the rest being mostly LinkedIn).
Living rurally, I have found social media to be very de-isolating, and have made many social connections, as well as business. I have met a fair few of the (relatively) local contacts, and number amongst them my closest friends, so have experienced just what social media can do.
As a communication channel, I have witnessed corporate communication on Twitter done very well, including some great personal customer service, and very badly - often by large organisations that should have far better checks and balances on their communications.
Due to the sensitive nature of work I have done recently, and having been under the constraints of the Public Service Act, I have mostly avoided contact with FaceBook (especially given recent history). Now that I have decided to incorporate social media into my portfolio, I am becoming active again on the platform, and looking at OpenGraph, and API opportunities - all the while being mindful of the known risks.
On a personal use level, I am well aware of the dangers social media presents, both in terms of abuse (Cambridge Analytica, uncontrolled data sharing, inadequate controls on harassment/inappropriate user behaviour) and sharing without considering consequences. Having been indirectly in the public service, I have been subject to guidelines from the Australian Signals Directorate, and have adjusted my behaviour accordingly, including using multiple (including locked) accounts.
On the very positive side, I have been close to the Twitter Rotation/Curation (RoCur) movement, almost since its inception, have hosted several accounts, and supported many more, and am currently the administrator for @WeRWorld (opens in new window/tab). Enabling the community building aspect of this account, and providing a safe space for both hosts and followers has been a very gratifying experience.
Taking it Further
That is the social side. I have also worked with and studied the technical side, the APIs that allow applications to be built onto social media platforms. I have built tools to analyse both Twitter feeds and users, treating timeline as a corpus to analyse language used (includes generating word clouds) and also to produce statistics on followers/following, to identify trolls, and 'bots.
As an R&D aspect of my last contract, I looked into how entities from social media platforms and a local system can be connected, drafting schemas and vocabularies that would allow these to be incorporated into a single graph. I still regard this as something that could be of value in gaining insights into clients/target markets, and would be very interested in picking this up again, if there is demand.
I am a great believer in continuous learning; even if working with a single technology that is not changing, the learning habit is a good one.
My daily learning is human languages, the key ones being Swedish and Dutch, with multiple secondaries. Right now, having less time than I might like, I am focussing on Suomi (Finnish).
Learning Goals 2021
- Continue to work intensively on Swedish and Dutch (alternating).
- Learning to use a CNC engraver/laser cutter, including gaining familiarity with Gcode, and developing tools for Gcode generation to create shapes, and objects like gears programatically.
- Update web accessibility knowledge, and become familiar with current good practice.
- Get up to speed on Redis.
- Learn Lua (to complement Redis).
- Learn Python.
- Re-visit R, in the capacity of creating engineering calculators/simulators, also looking at potential for integrating with Redis.
Engagement and Integrity
All services offered are delivered by myself, and are not subcontracted. I will work within whatever framework clients require, whether as an contractor or an employee, or labour hire, if needs be. I usually work through the trading name of Smiffytech.
Whilst my business is non-geographic, in non-Corona Times, I am always happy to visit Adelaide clients.
International clients are always welcome, although I am legally unable to work with sanctioned countries or entities as listed by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) (opens in new window/tab).
I treat all engagements as fully confidential, unless otherwise agreed, and expect to work as if under a non-disclosure agreement, even if one is not in place.
As part of my previous role with Frisk, I passed screening for:
- Background check for the National Australia Bank
- PEIC for the Australian Taxation Office.
My last Australian police check was February 2020.
Contact and Links
Matthew Smith. he/him/they/them.
- email@example.com (ProtonMail users can send direct to smiffytech.)
- I am generally active on Discord smiffy#3293
- LinkedIn - smiffy (opens in new window/tab)
- Twitter - @smiffy (opens in new window/tab)
- Skype - smiffytech (link requires Skype to be installed). (Not always online. Please mail first!)
- Keybase (opens in new window/tab)
- Signal/phone - please contact through one of the above for number.
- Slack (opens in new window/tab) (Not always online. Please mail first!)
Please note that I don't keep traditional working hours (or days), so if you are unable to get an immediate response, please leave a message, and I will get back as soon as possible.
Note Use of this contact information information for commercial solicitations is strictly prohibited.