Hi, I’m Alex “Skud” Bayley, and this is my personal website.
infotrope, noun, something that seeks out information. Origin: Neal Stephenson, “Cryptonomicon”, 2000:
The place has been well looked after, but as Waterhouse draws closer, he can see black lianas climbing up the brickwork. The root system that he glimpsed in the Underground has spread beneath forest and pasture even to this place and has begun to throw its neoprene creepers upwards. But this organism is not phototropic — it does not grow towards the light, always questing towards the sun. It is infotropic. And it has spread to this place for the same reason that infotropic humans like Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse and Dr. Alan Mathison Turing have come here, because Bletchley Park has roughly the same situation in the info world as the sun does in the solar system.
Born 1975, in Melbourne, Australia, where I lived for most of the next twenty-five years. Employed, 1990-something to 2011, in the technology industry, particularly in the Internet/dotcom/web development field, and in open source software, where I was most closely associated with the Perl programming language (approx. 1998-2007). Along the way I lived and worked in Ottawa, Ontario (2001-2004); Sydney, New South Wales (2005-2006); and San Francisco, California (2008-2011).
In 2011 I left the tech industry to become a sound engineer, a field I had become interested in through volunteering at 924 Gilman Street, a non-profit community-run music venue. I returned to Australia to take up studies in sound production, and since then have been combining school with all kinds of work experience.
My interests are many and varied, and include everything from social justice to sailing ships. I’m one of those people they’re talking about when they say “lifelong learning”, and I pick up new subjects like a particularly thirsty sponge. It’s a rare day when I don’t open dozens of Wikipedia tabs, and if you get me started I’ll probably tell you more about my latest enthusiasm than you ever wanted to know. Sorry about that. I do try and notice when people’s eyes glaze over.
My most hated interview question is, “Where do you want to be in five years’ time?” Answer: wherever life takes me! I may not have a grand plan, but grabbing opportunities when they pass my way has worked pretty well so far, and at the very least, I’ll have a wealth of stories to tell in my old age.
Which do you prefer to be called, Alex or Skud?
Either is fine, but the majority of my friends call me Skud, and more people know me by that name than any other.
Where does the name Skud come from?
It was a temporary IRC nickname, ca. 1993, that stuck.
What’s your accent?
Australian with a layer of North American. I grew up in Melbourne, Australia and I have lived in Ontario, Canada and California, USA for extended periods. My accent often shifts depending on where I am and who I’m speaking to.
What’s with the “I know Skud” buttons?
My friend Leigh Honeywell was attending a lot of tech conferences around 2009, and kept running into people who knew me. It’s not surprising — I’ve attended a lot of tech conferences too, and spoken at many of them, so I’ve made a fairly broad acquaintance in those circles. Leigh joked that she should get buttons made that said “I know Skud”, and I told her to go ahead, so she did. She handed the first batch out to people she met who knew me. I got one given one at WisCon in 2009.
Since then, several more batches have been made, and they were particular popular around the time of the Google Plus “nymwars”. I still have a few, so if you see me and want one, feel free to ask. If you’d like to print your own, I’ve also uploaded the artwork (PSD format), in the specific layout used by PureButtons, who I use to print mine. I recommend them — they’ll do 50 buttons for $12.
What’s with the name change?
In 2011 I changed my name, through legal channels, from my birth name (Kirrily Robert) to my current name (Alex Skud Bayley — yes, Skud is my official middle name now.) You can read the original announcement if you want more detail.