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About me.

My name is Jakob. I'm a 21 year-old living just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. I'm a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and I'm now working as a systems engineer. I will be pursuing my Master of Science this Fall at Brown University.

I work primarily with the design of secure systems. My research interests are cryptography, distributed computing, symbolic execution, and signals processing. Of these, cryptography is what I worked on as an undergraduate research assistant. The experience was gratifying and greatly influenced my career path.

My free time not spent on chores or being with friends and family is spent working on personal projects, which are outlined here.

If you're interested in game engine tech, my younger brother is working on a game engine + graphics engine of his own. You can read about it on his website. I like to think of him as my protégé, but he's mostly self-taught.

My Interests

(Functional) programming

I was introduced to computer programming at an early age. My parents were given a Nintendo 64 as a wedding gift shortly before I was born, so I spent my early years playing Ocarina of Time and the likes. My young, impressionable mind drew inspiration, and I would go on about how I wanted to make games of my own. My technically-apt father was able to point me in the right direction for learning to do so.

I was writing small games in Python by the time I was ten years old, though I have little to show for it with much lost to failing hard drives. The interest waxed and waned, but picked back up significantly when I turned 14 and began using GNU/Linux.

The renowned Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs was my introduction to functional programming, recommended by several in the "online" circle I hung around circa then. It's an excellent book, but I was not mature enough to understand it at that age. The points about higher-order functions did, however, click for me, and I was inspired to begin using the handful of functional programming tools available in Python, and to learn Common Lisp (because I thought the syntax laden with parentheses was obscure and cool).

This was all prior to learning about the sort of object-oriented style that was taught in my AP computer science class. Having to deal with that programming paradigm really cemented my opinions about why functional is the "right" way to write software.

Nowadays, my favorite programming languages are Scheme, Haskell, and Rust. Depending on who you ask, some subset of those languages are "functional programming languages." It's not a clear-cut term, but what it means to me is an emphasis on immutability and higher-order functions. I consider all three to be functional, though Rust is (necessarily) somewhat of a black sheep.

Computer security

Amid my early years with computer programming, I was briefly introduced to web development and, in particular, PHP. The language has a reputation for the ease with which one can introduce security vulnerabilities, and as such, the book I was using to teach myself at the time expatiated about SQL injection, going so far as to walk the reader through an example. At eleven years old, this piqued my interest, and I soon sought out as much material on computer security as I could, showing my classmates what I could do on HackThisSite.

I began playing capture-the-flag when I was in high school and came across LiveOverflow's early videos, which inspired me to play in the (now defunct) CTF(x). I was on a team of one until I started playing with 0xBU. I was still in high school, only 16, but I noticed them on the leader-board, and I was a train ride's away from the city, so I reached out to ask if I could show up to their meetings. They said yes. So I spent most of my weekends downtown, getting good at pwning.

In my university years, I was an e-board member of the UMass Cybersecurity Club: playing for their CTF team, and putting serious work into the CTF's we hosted.

Permaculture

My parents always had a garden when I was growing up, and I took to the idea of self-resiliency: being able to grow one's own food. I have luck when I try to grow things -- perhaps I have some natural intuition from observing my mother's gardening all these years -- but I am not as dedicated to it as I am to my other interests. I'm happy to throw a few tomato seeds in the ground and weed every once in a while, reaping the benefits of delicious red sauce for pasta and pizza.

Lifting weights

I exercise every day, barring extreme circumstances.

Sports did not interest me when I was young. I was signed up for soccer, and basketball, and many other after-school sports programs, but nothing stuck.

At 13, I joined the Civil Air Patrol, which changed my prior attitudes toward fitness. Now I had to pass fitness tests to promote, and I necessarily had to be in-shape for the emergency response work I was doing, so I picked up a regular exercise routine. I began with body-weight exercises and running outside, and I fell in love with it. Pushing yourself to exhaustion -- until you can barely lift your arms -- is addicting. But I was soon bored with calisthenics and begged my parents for a gym membership. I posed it as something I could do with my dad, so that's how I spent my evenings in high school.

I don't lift competitively. I've had aspirations to over the years, but injuries have prevented me from pushing enough weight to place (herniated disk circa 2017, gluteus medius tear circa 2020). Perhaps my time will come.

I'm selective about the fitness-related content I consume, tending to prefer reading folks in the "evidence-based fitness community," like Greg Nuckols, Eric Trexler, and Jeff Nippard.

Regimen

A given day is cardio xor weightlifting. It's rare that I do both on the same day. This is for the resiliency of my routine; if I know I'm going to be stuck somewhere without access to weights, I can still keep my routine by going outside to run.

At the moment, I do the following push-pull-legs routine, largely adapted from this video. The scheduling is (Push I, Pull I, Legs I, Push II, ...). Four days of lifting per week, with cardio interspersed as the weather will allow.

Legs I

Perform squat at 80% of 1RM.

Sets × RepsExercise
3 × 4Squat
3 × 10Romanian Deadlift
3 × 15Bulgarian Split-Squat
3 × 10 − 12Front Squat
3 × 10 − 12Single-Leg Elevated Hip Thrust
3 × 12Standing Calf-Raise
2 × 10 − 12Decline Crunches
2 × 30sLong-Lever Planks
Legs II

Perform deadlift at 80%-85% of 1RM.

Sets × RepsExercise
3 × 3Deadlift
3 × 10 − 12Goblet Squat
2 × 15Single-Leg Hip Thrust
Nordic Ham Curl; Back Extension
3 × 8 − 10Single-leg Calf-Raise
3 setsWeighted L-Sit Hold
Push I

Perform bench press at 62.5% of 1RM. Egyptian Lateral Raise and Cable Tricep Kickback should have a MYO set.

Sets × RepsExercise
3 × 8Bench Press
3 × 12Standing Dumbbell Arnold Press
3 × 12 − 15Dips
3 × 8 − 10Eccentric-Accentuated Skullcrusher
3 × 12Egyptian Lateral Raise
3 × 20 − 30Cable Tricep Kickback
Push II

Perform overhead press at 80% of 1RM. Cable Crossover should have a MYO set.

Sets × RepsExercise
4 × 4Overhead Press
3 × 10Close-Grip Bench Press
3 × 10 − 12Cable Crossover
3 × 10 − 12Overhead Tricep Extension
3 × 7/7/7Lateral Raise 21’s
3 × 10 − 12Neck Traning
Pull I
Sets × RepsExercise
3 × 6Weighted Pull-Up
3 × 10 − 12Dumbbell or Cable Row
3 × 15 − 20Kneeling Cable Pullover
3 × 8 − 10Hammer Cheat Curls
2 × 12 − 15Seated Incline Dumbbell Curls
Pull II

Vary grip between sets on Lat Pulldown.

Sets × RepsExercise
3 × 6Lat Pulldown
3 × 10 − 12Chest-Supported Row
3 × 15 − 20Rope Facepulls
3 × 15 − 20Incline Dumbbell Shrug
2 × 15Reverse Pec Deck
3 × 10 − 12Curl-Bar Curls

Music

I don't really play or write music at the moment.

My parents signed me up for drum lessons when I was 10, and I did that until I was 18, eventually getting a summer job as a drum line instructor. I didn't have time to keep up with practicing when I went off to college.

I tried to pick up the electric guitar in 2020 as my "pandemic hobby", but stopped a few months in because I was incredibly burned out with school and couldn't even find the five minutes to practice.

I love to listen to music, though, especially when I'm exercising or working. Old punk rock, in particular. My favorite bands are the Descendents, Black Flag, and Minor Threat.

Technologies I use

My preferred software stack:

Operating SystemGentoo GNU/Linux
initdOpenRC
ShellBash
Window ManagerAwesome
Text EditorGNU Emacs
Email Clientgnus
Web Browsereww, Mozilla Firefox
Torrent Clienttransmission-web
Keyboard Remappingxkeysnail
Version Controlgit
Hex Editorradare2
DisassemblerNSA Ghidra

Humorously, I went: awesomewm → i3 → dwm → exwm → stumpwm → awesomewm

My Emacs configuration can be found here.

Machines (In-Commission)

Epsilon (Workstation)

I built this computer with my father when I was 12, and I still use it today. Of course, I've upgraded it a few times since then.

HardwareCustom
• CPUIntel(R) Core(TM) i5-2500 CPU @ 3.30GHz
• GPUAMD Radeon RX 460 Graphics (POLARIS11)
• RAM16GB DDR3
Operating SystemGentoo GNU/Linux
Lambda (Laptop)

My daily driver. Despite the abnormal hardware, it works perfectly fine for all I use a computer to do.

HardwarePinebook Pro
Operating SystemGentoo GNU/Linux
Phi (Server)

It's little more than a wireless hotspot at this point.

HardwareRaspberry Pi 3 Model B
Operating SystemGentoo GNU/Linux
Theta (Cellphone)

Blog post soon to come detailing my thoughts on this phone. So far, I like it enough to look past its rough edges.

HardwarePinephone Braveheart Edition
Operating SystemPostmarketOS (Phosh)

Other

I've a TL-SG105 as the switch for my bedroom and I wear a Casio CA-53W. The rest of my dragon's hoard is only in semi-regular use:

Machines (Out-Of-Commission)

Upsilon (Laptop)

This was a nice piece of hardware, albeit incredibly bulky and having meager battery life.

HardwareLenovo Y50
• CPUIntel(R) Core(TM) i7-4700HQ @ 2.4 GHz
• GPUNVIDIA GTX-860M
• RAM8 GB DDR3
Operating SystemGentoo GNU/Linux
Zeta (Cellphone)

This phone would be fine if it were capable of running something besides Android. It served me the few years where that wasn't an option.

HardwareHuawei Honor 5x
Operating SystemLineageOS
Digamma (Server)
HardwareRaspberry Pi 2 Model B
Operating SystemGentoo GNU/Linux

Other Bits and Pieces

In general, I dislike politics, and don't associate with any broad political categorization. I'm registered as an independent voter in the state of Massachusetts. In terms of issue-specific stances, I'm a vocal supporter of open access and the free software movement.

My political view is that, in general, government should not infringe upon individual's civil liberties... however, corporations are not people and should not have comparable protections.

I would be a classic liberal if not for globalization. The "free market economy" model is enticing, and probably did work at some point, but nowadays it just leads to consolidaton of power. Corporations should not rule people.

I am a licensed (general class) ham, but I am rarely active. My callsign is KC1KAS.