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Joe Mabel's home page

For those with no personal or professional connection to me, what will probably be of most interest is my account of a period living and working in Romania, Nov 2001 - May 2002, with a brief return in May 2006 and a briefer one in December 2014, and perhaps my art and photgraphy.

Professional information | Resume | Volunteer work | Art & Photography |
Other personal (including travel writing)


Click for full resume.

I am pretty busy with ongoing contract work for Builders' Exchange of Washington (BXWA) external link and Sound Structural Solutionsexternal link, but in the right circumstances would be open to additional part-time or short-term contract/consulting opportunities.

I live in Seattle, but would consider a good short-term contract elsewhere, and I am open to a position that involves travel.

I've repeatedly worked at the forefront of applied computing: for example, 3-dimensional architectural modeling on PCs in the mid-1980s (when there was no operating system support for graphics), online medical records as early as 1989, various telephony work including integration of PCs and enterprise telephone systems in the mid-1990s, ISAPI DLLs in the 1990s before .NET was available. Most recently, in the 2010s I've used JavaScript and HTML5 to produce the sort of rich client-side web experience (manipulating curves, panning and zooming drawings) that previously required a plugin, and AJAX to allow multiple users anywhere in the world to share content almost instantly.

BXWA logo Current: Since August 2010 I have been doing hands-on jQuery/JavaScript/HTML5 and PHP/postgreSQL development for the Builders Exchange of Washington (BXWA) external 
link. The bulk of this work has been a web-based system to allow viewers to view construction drawings, take measurements, mark up documents, share that mark-up, etc. I've also built internal systems to prepare content for that site, to monitor various aspects of how the site is being used, and for their billing. That work is winding down because I've caught up with pretty much their entire wish list, but work for Sound Structural Solutionsexternal link seems to be growing commensurately.

Previous: I've worked in software development since receiving my Masters in Computer Science from the University of Washington in 1981. I've had a wide variety of roles: I started in the field before there was a separation between hands-on development and project management, and have gone back and forth several times between contract and permanent positions. I've worked in architectural CAD, telephony and messaging, medical records, e-commerce, and in both desktop, web, and back office applications. Besides my recent work for the Builder's Exchange of Washington (BXWA), two other affiliations stand out:

Active Voice logo

Over the course of roughly 6-1/2 years at Active Voice, I played a major role in the design and implemention of integrated messaging systems (voice mail, email, text, fax). These ranged from small-business systems to the enterprise level, and included pioneering integration of telephony with personal computing (e.g. using caller ID to bring up a customer file on your computer while the phone is still ringing). I worked there for 4-1/2 years in the early 1990s, eventually becoming their Senior Software Architect, and returned on a contract basis three separate times in the 2000s for about two more years, both as acting program manager and to help establish a strong offshore relationship with Unidec/RDC in Bucharest, Romania. Around 2010, Active Voice was absorbed into NEC external 
link, which had long owned it as a subsidiary.

Saltmine logo

From September 1997 to January 2001, I served as Manager and later Director of (Software) Development at Saltmine. I successfully led a number of high-profile projects, including several releases of the Microsoft Troubleshooters and the first official online playable version of Magic: The Gathering. Sadly, the dot-com bust hit Saltmine hard, and while the company survived for several more years, my position did not. I left Saltmine on excellent terms: after leaving my permanent position there, I did two UK-based projects for them on a contract basis, and later did several contracts at Lux for two of the founders of Saltmine.

Space Needle with Rainbow

One area I've often found myself revisiting is internationalization and localization of software. This was a big area of focus at Active Voice: internationalizing a "voice snippet" telephone interface is a specialty unto itself. Outside of Active Voice, I internationalized the code base of Tableau Software's flagship product in its early days. On contract at Microsoft, I wrote conceptual-level documents about internationalization and localization and radically reworked their SDK documentation for Unicode, Uniscribe, etc. At Accretive, I did quite a bit of work on international e-commerce.

For more detail and for my earlier work history, please see my resume.
Finding myself out of work in early 2001, I wrote a couple of technical pieces for this site:

Here's an article from 2002, discussing the use and abuse of brain teasers as job interview questions.


Wikipedia logo

From November 2003 to December 2006, I was one of the mainstays of the Wikipedia external 
link, which I still think is just about the coolest thing on the web. I still write and translate articles there, but Wikipedia is now basically a success, and does not need my time the way it once did. In recent years, I've actually been more active in the Wikimedia Commons, which is the media repository for Wikipedia. I've uploaded over 35,000 of my own photos and done an almost immeasurable amount of curation of other people's photos. I remain an adminstrator on both the English-language Wikipedia and the Commons. My user name on both the English-language Wikipedia and the Commons is Jmabel.

To my Wikipedia home page external 

To my Commons home page external 

Crisis Resource Directory logo I edit the Peace Heathens' Seattle Crisis Resource Directory external link. It receives continual updates: if you have information you think belongs there, please let me know.

Personal - Art

photo self-portrait, 2006
Self-portrait, December 2006
Some older photos and sketches.
Sketch from Michel de Ghelderode's Christopher Columbus Children playing in Plaça del Sol, Barcelona Roman statue, Mérida Cross, Bologna Vernazza Harbor Turkish girls, Berlin Dan Iancu, Bucharest Wallpaper for a 1024x768 screen
  In 2006 I started getting into digital photography, and I've placed tens of thousands of images on Wikimedia Commons external 
link. Here are some examples; these are all from Seattle. You can click on these for (much) larger images on the Commons:
Freeway Park Nigel Mustafa Panama Hotel, Seattle St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church
Freeway Park
  And a more geographically diverse batch from Flickr:
James Bond theme party in Bucharest Koi at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Tokyo Gwen from the Tacoma, Washington band Trees and Timber Reworked from a relief over a door in Bucharest
  [My Commons home page external 
link] [My Flickr photostream external 

Personal - Other

Last modified: 28 October 2019

My e-mail address is jmabel@joemabel.com. Normally, I check this at least every 48 hours, more often during the working week.