Paul Howson’s Website

Paul Howson’s Website

About the Author

Hi, I’m Paul Howson the author of this website.

I live in Warwick, a country town in the Darling Downs of Queensland, Australia. Warwick is famous as the home of the Warwick Rodeo, claimed to be the longest running annual rodeo in Australia.

I grew up mainly in Melbourne, Australia, with a few years spent also in Albury and Perth. Childhood interests were influenced by a family culture that revolved around my father’s professional life in theatre, film making, radio, television and electronics. A childhood neighbour wrote once that our house was “… a place of particular delight — they had a movie theatre complete with film projectors and a whole studio full of exotic and marvellous radio and recording equipment — it was a place of wonder”. I also loved making things in our home workshop — with an enduring interest in electronics, which led onto my studying and graduating in Electrical Engineering from Monash University in the 1970s.

Design Work

In the late 1970s I joined a small publishing organisation which had their own electronic typesetting equipment. This kindled an interest in design and typography, which has been my main area of work for over 30 years.

I initially gained experience in graphic design and print production — starting in the era of manual paste-up and darkroom work and continuing right through to the sophisticated software tools of the present day.

With the arrival of the Macintosh and Laserwriter circa 1985–86, I spent my meagre savings on these magical and constantly evolving new toys which revolutionised graphic design.

Websites became a new area of work in the mid 1990s and this aspect of design has now eclipsed design for print. As a website developer, I benefitted from my parallel career in computer programming.

Creating Software

My interest in computer programming started while still at high school, learning a simple dialect of Fortran (using punch cards) offered for high schools by Monash University.

The interest in programming was kindled again circa 1979 when I joined a colleague developing mine-modelling software for underground mines in Broken Hill. We pioneered the use of Ratfor (a C-like Fortran dialect) which enabled development of software that was portable across operating systems (an innovation at the time).

From the mid-1980s into the 1990s I developed software for myself and for clients in C.

Around 1996, my company began using Userland Frontier as a Content Management System for static websites. This lead to developing in 1998 a rule-based translation system for xml documents — almost a year before XSL became a practical tool.

In the early 2000s I decided to develop some software applications, in particular a new kind of structured document editor (see the Structured Editing blog on this website).

These days the Ruby language is my preferred choice for writing software. It’s a wonderfully expressive language that’s useful for many tasks. For web applications Ruby on Rails is my preferred option.

Current Focus

In recent years my professional work has spanned graphic design, website development and web application development. Being fluent in both the design and programming disciplines is an advantage.

In my spare time, amongst other things, I develop, maintain and write content for this website and its two associated websites.

Yoga and Education Interests

While at university, I took up the study of Yoga with the Monash University Yoga Society. Classes were conducted by teachers from the Yoga Education Centre. This became a life-long interest and had a significant influence on my career choices.

Along with many others, I was also a contributor to the establishment and growth of the innovative School of Total Education, a Prep to Year 12 school in Melbourne and Warwick.

Why tdgq?

The domain was originally registered for my company The Design Group Queensland. That entity no longer exists, but the domain remains.

How to Contact Me

Paul Howson
P.O. Box 379
Warwick Queensland 4370

t: +61 7 4661 7720
e: paul at tdgq dot com dot au
skype: paulhowsonwarwick