About Tom Vogels

Who am I

My name is Tom and I was born in Brussels, Belgium during the eighties. I'm not really a sporty person, but I manage to do some occasional sporty things like running to catch a train, walking heavy bags of groceries up the stairs and riding my bicycle like a mad person to get to the shops before closing time.

Trivial knowledge is one of my strong points; see the Personal Interests section below for some examples. I have quite a short attention span, but I blame first person shooter games that I used to play like Counter-Strike and Half-Life:Deathmatch for that. Everyone needs a scapegoat, right?

Hobbies

A lot of my hobbies come down to watching a screen or someone's face. I do not knit, don't do pottery or anything like that. One of my hobbies is watching movies, documentaries and series; playing games on the computer is another one. Many a year ago I began making my own horrible creations what I called "websites". It mainly consisted of copy-pasting a bare HTML template out of a magazine (made of paper!) and styling it by ripping off other websites. Today I luckily know better than that.

Another thing I really like is reading about computer hardware. I started this hobby almost fifteen years ago by reading every possible article about it in every computer magazine I got my hands on. When I finally got a broad band connection about ten years ago, I discovered websites like Anandtech and Tom's Hardware. A pubescent boy's dream came true. *NEEERD*

Today I function as the family's computer wizkid, helpdesk and support. The thing I like doing most is giving my advice on what parts to use when assembling a computer. Interest is waning though, ever since laptops started gaining popularity. Damn those things! Still the potential of a good desktop computer is not to be overlooked when you compare price/performance ratios with those of laptops. You simply get more for your money and you can get sufficient power and capacity for less than you can with laptops. Aaaand it's nice to play with premium hardware that I would never buy for myself.

Education

I have studied at the University College of Ghent, Belgium, where I got my Bachelor's degree in Applied Engineering: Computer Science. I stopped before getting my Master's degree because I really dislike school, I'm not cut out for it and I got sick of it. Working is a lot nicer: you get more appreciation for your efforts, you don't have to worry about anything after hours and most importantly: you get paid for it!

Skills

I'm familiar with most modern programming languages and some scripting languages, but I'm not heavily experienced in most languages. That being said, I have learned to program using the known principles of OOP, reusability, flexibility, robustness, and above all Design Patterns.

Although I'm not a professional graphic designer, I do like to fiddle about with little (mostly visual) details, and in general develop websites and -pages using HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP in a clean and semantically correct way.

Personal Interests

I like science because it is marvellous. I like dinosaurs and other extinct fauna and flora, geological epochs, astronomy, documentaries, knowing about things that don't really matter but are really quite fascinating.

Some scientific amusement: did you know that ...

  • Iron ore was formed during the first billion years after the earth formed? Because the then prevalent algea and bacteria released oxygen as a waste product of their energetic cycle (photosynthesis) which caused the iron that was dissolved in the oceans to combine with the oxygen, form rust and sink to the bottom to form the layers now known as iron ore.
  • During the Carboniferous Period (350 to 300 Mya) there was a big rise in atmospheric oxygen which caused plants and insects to grow to unseen proportions? Dragonflies with a wingspan of almost a meter; mosses and ferns grew to heights of 30 meters. They caused the black, carbon rich sediments that we know today as coal, which are mined for the sake of cooking sausages on our barbecues. I thank you, Carboniferous plant life, for these juicy sausages! *om nom nom*
  • If you enlarge a hydrogen atom (consisting of only one proton and one electron) so that the proton is the size of a golf ball, the electron would orbit the proton at a distance of several kilometers? Talk about a waste of space. It's almost like an Apple Store. *drumroll*
  • Neutron stars are like giant atomic nuclei? They overcame the repulsive force of the electrons that orbit the atoms' nuclei and squeezed them out to whirl in a giant cloud that circles the star itself, letting the atomic nuclei form a giant ball of neutrons and protons, all thanks to the gravity caused by the mass of the giant star it once was. The giant "nucleus" along with the cloud of electrons circling it makes it a very powerful magnet, 1012 to 1015 times more powerful than the earth. If a magnetar (a magnetically strong type of neutron star) was halfway the distance of the moon, it would be able to pull a metal pen out of your breast pocket towards the sky and also erase all our credit cards.

Blog

Blogging is not really my thing if you mean that blogging is a synonym for keeping an online personal diary, so I only blog about technical stuff. Revelations and interesting stuff I find on the internet mostly. Check it out here!