Welcome to alanmckay.blog

Hi, I'm Alan McKay and this is my personal website - A digital garden with various things that I find important and interesting.

About this website

This website exists as a repository of information pertaining to the various experiences of my life. I have a fascination in observing how systems interact. In this context, the term "systems" is abstract - a system can be something mechanical or it can be something that exists in the natural world. This fascination would lead me to the study of Computer Science; A science that is ultimately a study of the abstraction of systems.

This website is divided into two primary sections of content: Writings and Projects. Writings involve discussions of existing in the natural world; my experiences as an individual within social and environmental contexts. Projects involve discussions pertaining to the creation of systems while being a Computer Scientist. The articles within both these categories often include a preface or a concluding notes subsection that add extra context. These subsections often allow the reader to more closely know my motives and attitudes as an individual.

The ultimate motive for creating this website was to host a portfolio of projects in hopes of impressing a future employer. It has evolved into a website that has a greater emphasis of personal experiences. The effect of this does not violate the original motive; I would argue it enhances as it gives an impression of quality soft skill and ability to communicate.

What is communicated through this website is intended for both those seeking to learn something about me and for those who who are seeking to learn something about a relevant topic. The minimalist design complements my minimal attempt to appease an automated agent that seeks to learn where this site ranks within a web index. There are no hamburger buttons here; a closer look at an image will take the user to a different URI instead of some resource-heavy modal, a user may have to recall the trivial fact that the browser has a built-in back button, and so on. All stylistic choices on my part.

There is an attempt to make the website mobile friendly, but only leveraging means that are personally interesting in design and implementation. The CSS developed will help ensure a pleasant experience and any Javascript-based features will have a contingent element in its place should scripting be disabled by a visitor's web browser preference.

Web code produced for this website is self-produced; no libraries or content management systems were used to expedite the process of development. This provides a good amount of experience in terms of handling the core technologies. Don't assume this to be a rigidness on my part - learning a new language or framework is trivial; I have learned and practiced many.

It is on the docket to produce a set of web pages that describe some of the functionality at work in terms of the front-end. As time progresses, they will be linked here in a relevant subsection whilst also being referred to wherever else they may be applicable.

The minimalist design of this website is a merge between the old and new internet design ideologies. It is disheartening that most only socially network via proprietary platforms within the internet. I think these platforms take away agency and personality from the individual. Thus, I am a proponent of the indie web/small web for sharing ideas. Information discovery is arguably made easier within these often ignored realms of the internet. Here, the systems in place for discovery aren't solely motivated by monetary gain.

As this digital garden grows, it will help spread ideas presented in others. Expect a section which refers to and discusses other web spaces that exist within the small web.

About myself

I am a computer scientist. My study of the field began in January 2015 where I started working on an Associates of Applied Sciences (AAS) in Web Development and Programming. This journey began as a result of a lay-off from a factory job which would lead to a realization that I enjoy academics and solving problems with code.

The newfound enjoyment motivated study at a university to work towards a Bachelor's of Science in Computer Science after earning my AAS. I would like to emphasize that the prospect of a well paying job wasn't the primary motivation, (contrary to many of my academic peers). I was in it to learn it. Prior to beginning my studies at the university, I was interested in learning how a computer operates at the circuit level. This interest would lead to my excelling of the study of abstraction and the algorithm.

Graduation would occur in the fall semester of 2020 amid the covid pandemic. Uncertainty in industry would encourage me to pursue a Master's Degree of Computer Science. Acedemic emphasis would involve teaching the discipline. An emphasis that would cumulate after graduating in the spring semester of 2023 by taking on an adjunct instructor role.

Other than academic pursuits, I enjoy experiencing my time outdoors by camping, kayaking, cycling, and hiking.