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Greg Holmes

As a freelance consultant since 1983, I have created information systems and provided client support and training in various programming languages. My specialties are mobile computing, data replication, client-server technologies, and sensible user-interface design.

When asked for my job title, I often reply Information Architect. Lynne Duddy, Director of Information Architecture at Agency.com, says "IA specialists should be able to demonstrate how to humanize technology, focusing on people, plus operate with a high degree of intelligence, show an extraordinary empathy with others, make connections and see patterns not evident to many, adapt their communications, as needed, using words and pictures, passion and composure, and maintain an objectivity that allows the true essence of a solution to emerge." Right on!


North American partner for BassLab Guitars of Germany. Also exclusive Canadian dealer for AccuGroove speaker cabinets and other quality music products.

Designed and developed the Ontario Hydro (now Hydro One) MMISpc system, a 24x7 billing and equipment maintenance system with a distributed database architecture involving mobile laptops and NetWare servers, which has been in operation continuously since 1991. The system features an integrated data dictionary, screen form painting, database transactions, secure modem communications, automatic record-level data synchronization with audit trails, version control, E-mail, networking, data compression, encryption, and real-time off-site incremental backup. (Whew!)

Re-designed the Ontario Farm Fresh web site using the custom GH Services Site Engine to present dynamic pages. The client can manage all of the content, including member lists, website links, coming events, newsletters, and classified ads using a simple administrative tool.

Developed an application in CA-Visual Objects that provides a query-by-form interface to allow the user to select prospective retail companies, according to various criteria. The queries are stored in project files using structured storage techniques, which allow the query specifications and the query results to be stored in the same file. The user-interface is an enhanced MDI implementation where each "project" consists of three simultaneously active client windows (the query, the list view, and the detail view).

Created a program to control the movements of a 20 metre long mechanical dinosaur in response to human interaction. This monster moves by a system of hydraulic cylinders, has blinking eyes, and makes many different roaring sounds. Check it out at the Pumpkin Farm.

1997 - Present   Freelance consultant working on numerous projects.

Began serving as North American Partner/Distributor/Importer for BassLab Instruments of Germany, and other related products.

Created the web site for the Howell Family Pumpkin Farm using a page template methodology. This allows the client to add pages, and even sections, without assistance. The core page elements (such as menu graphics and logos) are well optimized, but the photographic images (which the client places on the site) are allowed to be larger in order to show the beauty of the Farm in October.

Worked with Minett Solutions on the AccounTier application, which is a DOS CA-Clipper application that uses Advantage Database Server as the data engine. A Windows reporting tool was created to access the same data via Advantage. The tool reported off a sub-total database, which was dynamically assembled in response to user-input. CA-Visual Objects was used as the programming language. The system was populated from an Oracle accounting application for a large America drug store company, and provided the manipulation of 7 full years of historical accounting data (as well as current data). The Advantage system performed better than the Oracle system and contained more data while using fewer resources, to the surprise of many traditionalists!

Created several data-driven Web sites for various clients. A key feature of these sites was the ability for the clients to update pages and catalogs easily for themselves, without relying on assistance. This was accomplished through various "control panels". For more, see the Projects page.

Created a Web site for Panalpina that provides reporting of sea shipment activities. The reports are generated entirely by Perl code residing on the Web server which sorts and formats the data records and presents them in multiple groups and sub-total levels. The user can also create custom reports by selecting fields, groups, and totals. An optional JavaScript query interface is available for those browsers which support it, but is not required.

Developed a similar site for the same client where the reports are generated totally by the client browser using reusable JavaScript code with no server-side components. To support browsers without JavaScript ability the reporting engine can generate HTML code for pre-formatted reports, rather than displaying directly to the browser's window.

Continued support for MMISpc and other projects.

1991 - 1997   As Senior Systems Analyst and Lead Trainer for Delcom-Deltranik International, I created and taught various programming courses, like CA-Clipper, CA-Visual Objects, and Microsoft Visual Basic. I also created applications and provided support for various clients.

Created a secure software communications mechanism to transmit records across an X.25 network between the head office and worldwide regional offices of a shipping company. Also designed numerous documents, reports, and input screens for several of the client's systems.

Created a tool to assist users of a GIS application in choosing the route of Toronto's new Highway 407 in the proposed corridor in the environmental assessment stage. The tool queried a database of environmental information and extracted matching records to be imported into the CAD software. The data was then graphed, showing density, distribution, and other factors relevant to the construction.

Enhanced a tow truck dispatch system to support dashboard-mounted printers, which communicate over radio frequencies. Designed an automated truck dispatch module that responds to trouble reports without human intervention.

1988 - 1991   Network Supervisor for Bell Canada Time Reporting and Payroll Group.

Installed and administered the network, which consisted of multiple Novell NetWare servers. Provided training and support, created presentations, and provided output services for various groups within Bell.

Was a member of the software development team of BIS Line Support, which developed IS/2, a Time Reporting tool written in CA-Clipper. Took over as Project Manager for the MUSAC program, a program that was used for input of Service Order activities. Both systems were completely overhauled to work on the network, and to increase ease of use.

Created assorted Windows programs in C with the Microsoft Windows Software Developers Kit and Asymetrix ToolBook.

Wrote User and Technical manuals, performed user support role, and provided on-site assistance and training.

1983 - 1988   Computer Music Specialist and Synthesist with Versafilm Ltd.

Greg Holmes and the Fairlight Studio
Greg Holmes and his Fairlight studio, mid 1980s.
(Click image to view full-size.)
All of this equipment (except for amp rack, speakers, and TV) could be, and often was, relocated to recording studios on a moments notice. Not portable, but at least transportable!
Left to right: 1/2" 8-track reel-to-reel, 1/4" 4-track reel-to-reel, amp rack on wheels (with phono and pro VCR on top, and cassette tape, tuner, surround room simulator, power amps), Fairlight CMI Series II CPU, Fairlight keyboards and monitor, amber PC-compatible monitor and keyboard, road-case rack unit (top to bottom: Korg MS-10 mono analog synth, MIDI routers [Roland MPU-103/104/105], Roland SDE2500 digital delay, Yamaha REV 7 digital reverb, Dynafex D-2B noise reduction unit, rack-mount PC-compatible XT computer behind grey faceplate, Yamaha TX 816 FM tone generator [equivalent to eight DX-7 sound modules], two Ashly SC-50 peak limiter compressors, patchbay), A-frame keyboard stand (top row: Roland SBX-80 Sync Box, Roland TR-707 drum machine, middle row: Yamaha DX-7 direct from Japan, bottom row: Tascam M-216 16-channel mixer, MP180 8-channel mixer). On the shelf in the background are Bose speakers and a large JVC TV/video monitor.
Note the light grey flight cases for the Fairlight under the desk and keyboard stand.

Worked with the Fairlight Computer Musical Instrument, a digital sampling system. Also worked with analog and digital keyboard synthesizers, MIDI instruments, and traditional instruments. Was responsible for the design and installation of the studio, including setup and maintenance of the synthesizers, mixing consoles, and amplification equipment.

Provided composition and performance services for many clients, which included Rush, The Irish Rovers, Platinum Blonde, Honeymoon Suite, and numerous young bands.

Composed and recorded classical-style soundtrack for a 70mm 3-D movie at the Science North Science Centre in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Composed music for CTV's The Last Frontier nature series.

Created and performed sound effects for movies and TV series' such as The Care Bears, The Hitchhiker for HBO, and Lucasfilm's cartoon series' Ewoks and Droids.

Developed a CA-Clipper application for the pioneering Colorization process that tracked the color image overlays for the thousands of individual black and white frames in a typical film.

Other Interests   I was a founding member of the Clipper Developers Association of Toronto, which is a group of CA-Clipper and CA-Visual Objects programmers at all skill levels with the aim of disseminating knowledge and promoting these tools as the premier database application development languages. I was the original editor of The Navigator (CDAT's newsletter), and created the name "CDAT", which is a "developers association" rather than a "users group".

As a youth, I was interested in Tai Kwan Do, the Air Cadets, Star Wars, and making films. Early friends and inspirations were: Adam Thornton, Manuel Ballesteros, Joe Csermak, Steve Kyskiras, Brian Huggins, Ziggy Guerrero, Deni Delory, Karra Syron, and the Duckworths.

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