photographing infrastructure on the PCT

Some things I’ve done…

I grew up in a small town in northeast Georgia. I was educated in the local public school system, where I played the clarinet (in the symphony), the bass drum (in the marching band), left midfield in soccer, was a proud member of the national art honor society, and was, much to my chagrin, voted ‘Most Academic’ by my senior class.

I love traveling – especially if it involves camping and hiking – and computers.

I once went on an epic five-month road trip through most of the lower 48 US states, hiking and camping in over 20 different national and state parks.

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I thru-hiked the 2176-mile Appalachian Trail in 2008 (Photos: on Flickr); and, five years later, returned to the mountains for another thru-hike, this time of the 2650-mile Pacific Crest Trail. I have no plans (yet) to pursue a Triple Crown ;)

I first learned to program in Logo when I was in kindergarten, definitely had a very cool Geocities homepage as a teen, and eventually grew up to be a computer science major at Georgia Tech.

I also care a lot about how technology matters for people’s lives, and pursued these interests as an undergrad through minors in sociology and a philosophy-based cognitive science program.

Graduate school first took me back to Georgia Tech for an MS in human-computer interaction (HCI). Working with philosopher Nancy Nersessian and cultural linguist Wendy Newstetter, I studied the role of computing in scientific creativity, and first learned to practice ethnography.

I later completed a PhD at UC Irvine in the department of Informatics where I studied people’s eperiences of mobile technologies – and nature! My dissertation examined the affects and experiences of variously ordinary people in time period marked both by the arrival of ubiquitous computing and the emergence of a popular conversation about disconnection and unplugging.

@jplisten <3

Day 112: charging stations at shelter cove

Day 31: highway 14 crossing

In between my various academic and traveling pursuits, I’ve also lived in Santa Fe and San Francisco, where I worked in design and user support.

In Santa Fe, I worked as a designer for Seret & Sons where I helped clients and sales people imagine and design everything from hand-carved bed frames to custom woven carpets to unique inlayed mosaic tables. I also managed the store website, the WiFi Network, a NAS device, a store inventory system (in FileMaker Pro!), and whatever else the small 10-or-so employee business happened to need at different times.

In San Francisco, I worked as a contracted user support engineer for Microsoft’s then recent acquisition, Tellme (via staffing agency Aditi Technologies) and as a help desk clerk at the US Census Bureau where I was thoroughly entertained by the deployment of new “hand held computing (HHC)” devices within the strictures of an impressive government bureaucracy.

Along with my partner, Luke Olbrish, I currently live in Portland, Oregon, where I still get up to a little bit of hiking, a fair ammount of Thorns soccer game watching, and a lot of work involving people and computers.