About

Photo of me Geoff, a good friend of mine, once described me as:

"A maverick, freelance cognitive science researcher/rogue hacker programmer/aristocratic poet visits previously colonial countries trying to repent for his nation's past crimes."

It's not a bad description, really, but you might prefer more details. My name is Adriaan (yes, that's a total of three a's) Tijsseling (pronounce the 'ij' as a 'y' in 'why'), although I'm often called Ado (the 'do' as in 'dough'). I'm a Doctor of Philosophy, but have swapped academics for a career in software development. Currently, I'm Senior Software Engineer at Sanoma.

I was born near the end of 1969 in the Netherlands. I obtained a Masters Degree in Cognitive Artificial Intelligence from the Utrecht University in 1995 and a Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Science at the Southampton University in England in 1998. The professor supervising my doctoral study was the brilliant Stevan Harnad. My dissertation explored the subject of connectionist modelling of categorization and symbol grounding. The logical step after getting a PhD. attached to your name is to work as a postdoc, and so I did for a year and half in the States, at the Rutgers University in Newark, NJ.

Before I went to the university I had actually never touched a computer. During my Masters course I got acquainted with the Apple Macintosh and have never looked back since. Obviously, programming was an important part of my studies and it sort of became a hobby. I wrote a few Mac applications and played around with anything Internet-related. I quit my postdoc at Rutgers to try to build a career on this hobby and took a job at a new dot com company in Manhattan in 2000. But the dot com bubble was deflating quickly. Even though I had a great time living in Hoboken, NJ, and working in Manhattan, after only half a year I took an opportunity to do another postdoc at AIST in Tsukuba, Japan.

This country felt like home right away. I met my wonderful wife soon after, got married and have a just as wonderful daughter and son. My academic attention span was pressured again, however, with the growth of the blogosphere. I started blogging and even wrote a desktop client to facilitate my blogging workflow. This app, Kung-Log, became widely popular to my surprise. It even attracted attention from Joichi Ito. We stayed in contact and when I felt it was not the time to be in academics, Joi offered me a job. I rewrote Kung-Log into ecto, produced more software and did a range of consulting jobs for clients, such as Six Apart and Technorati. During those years I was an active promoter of standards and the use of UTF-8. In August 2006, I followed Joi to Digital Garage and became a Senior Technology Manager. I was part of the Technorati Japan team and was involved in various Twitter-related projects, not the least of which was the now defunct Tappit iPhone app (with a Hello Kitty variant). Although I had a great time in Japan, I chose to relocate back to the Netherlands with my wife and kids to work for Sanoma. That was in 2011 and I've been in the Netherlands since.

Nobody's perfect and my biggest malfunction is probably my hearing impairment (although the lack of talent for playing basketball could be considered another suitable candidate). The hearing aids I use function decently; I can listen to music fine and hear enough of the sounds around me (subjectively spoken). I fail terribly, however, in hearing people speak. Listening to podcasts or making phone calls are meaningless. I can hear the voices, but cannot make sentences from the auditive information, apart from the odd word. For communication I therefore rely heavily on my speech-reading skills and on any other helpful nonverbal methods, in particular, instant messaging.