Q&A Corner

Node.js for the Rest of Us

June 27, 2014

We have the pleasure of working with a great intern this Summer. His name is Nate, and we think he’s pretty great. :) Read on for more about his special project.

1) Tell us a little about yourself. Background, education, personal interest gems… My name is Nate Aeilts. I was born near Chicago and I’ve lived in central Illinois, upstate New York, southern Ohio, southeast Kentucky, and now southern Iowa. I’ve got one degree from Alice Lloyd College (BA in English with Math minor) and am now in the middle of another at Taylor University (BA in Computer Science). I was in the Iowa National Guard for six years and served one deployment to Afghanistan in that time. I’m a big fan of movies, books, and games, and I’m working on writing a book this summer.

2) How did you get involved with MPA? I’ve met David and Chris before, and both had previous business relationships with my father. When I found out that MPA was invested in developing their software programming department, I thought I’d like to be involved as part of an internship. I’m learning a lot and I appreciate the experience.

3) What is your role with MPA? I’m kind of in an interesting place as an intern with MPA. David has shown a lot of interest in Node.js and its surrounding technologies in developing fast, reliable software services for MPA’s customers. I was completely unaware of Node.js (a platform for building network applications), and David asked if I could dive into it all, then blog about what I learned and how I learned it. I think this kind of thing will really help MPA understand the benefits of Node, as well as provide an introduction for customers to the services we’ll be prepared to offer.

4) What have been the easiest things about your project? Getting help and direction from the people here has probably been the “easiest” part of tackling this project. David and the others have been patient and eager to help when I’ve run into things I don’t understand.

“When I found out that MPA was invested in developing their software programming department, I thought I’d like to be involved as part of an internship. I’m learning a lot and I appreciate the experience.”

5) The most difficult? Node is a relatively new and quickly changing new language. Finding a decent introduction to Node.js held me up for a while. It seemed that most places assumed a slightly more advanced knowledge base than I had to start with. Thankfully, there really are useful sites: I just needed to find out where to look.

6) Anything else you’d like to add? I’ve ridden an elephant before.An elephant points the way

7) Bonus Fun Question! I hear you are writing a novel. What is it about and what was the inspiration for it? Yeah, it’s my first serious attempt at something longer than short stories. It’s a “low key” sci-fi concept (I mean, it’s relatively down-to-earth, not Star Wars or Narnia). It covers a few story lines about the creation, integration, and philosophical implications of building truly self aware artificial intelligences. Even with my fledgeling understanding of today’s computing capabilities, I feel pretty confident in predicting that we’ll see “smart” programs capable of mimickingsentience within my lifetime. On the other hand, I find it pretty impossible to believe we’d ever be able to make the leap to anything resembling actual human consciousness. But it’s an interesting question that might have a lot to say about our humanity. I guess that was the inspiration.

Diana Hill

Project Manager / Media Specialist - Diana is our Media Specialist by day, then a performer and music teacher by night. She brings to MPA a deep passion for creativity, and a near-insanity level of organization. Diana attended Indian Hills College and Truman State University, the latter from which she holds a B.A. in Music and an M.A. in Vocal Performance. She loves her family & friends, digs historic preservation, and just appreciates life in general. Being bored is never a problem, and she hasn't quite figured out how to do something “half-way.”

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