About

I am a programming polyglot with a PhD in cognitive psychology, specialising in software for academic psychology / neuroscience research. Some of the projects I have worked on are listed on my work page. My email address is jamesa333uk@gmail.com. All other conceivable questions you may have are answered below:

A chess opening repertoire manager (beta):
blitzrepertoire.com

A tool for remapping key presses (useful for old apps):
github.com/jamesalvarez/SimpleKeyRemapper

A tool for matching colours when doing oil painting from computer monitor:
jamesalvarez.co.uk/artpreview/
github.com/jamesalvarez/ArtColourPreview

A custom meditation generator using browser speech synthesizer:
jamesalvarez.co.uk/custom-bodyscan-meditation-generator/

I did a BSc at Nottingham, a MSc at Exeter and finally a PhD at Surrey.  My PhD was a series of experiments to explore whether ones language has an effect on the perception of colour.  I conducted many experiments using EEG and psychophysics on people from different linguistic background, and concluded that – no it doesn’t – well it’s a bit more complicated than that :).  After I finished, I realised the potential for a career as research programmer which would allow me to work on many different projects, without ever having to be subject to anonymous peer review.

I began programming on a BBC Microcomputer in school when I was 11 years old.  I learnt how to make an educational game where you send a rocket to mars in BASIC, and would skip lunch times to create my own games based on what I was learning.  Nothing has really changed since this blueprint, apart from that I don’t skip lunch.  I am fully self-taught, originally from tinkering and modding games, and then later more seriously from books.  Aside from experience, I think the qualities that make a good programmer are creativity, curiosity and patience.

 

If you are thinking about learning to program yourself, I recommend learning Javascript, as it’s very common and flexible – you can make web and standalone applications, and the syntax is fairly easy.  I can also recommend a number of books on the general topic:

Code Complete – Steve McConnell

The Pragmatic Programmer – Andrew Hunt, David Thomas

Coders At Work – Peter Seibel

I like reading (history / religion / great novels), scuba diving, walking and camping in the countryside, oil painting and playing chess.

Challenge me on chess.com!

Yes! I have a cat named Borcsa.  She is about 3 or 4 years old and originally from Hungary.  She loves nothing more than biting strangers:

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