Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

A Little About Al

I’ve picked up a number of new readers recently. This is largely because I merged my Mozilla QA blog into the Mozilla category here on my main site. I do have a “Mozilla Only” feed available of just the Mozilla category so people aren’t exposed to my vague ramblings on other topics but I am still seeing a spike in overall traffic.

It seemed like it might be a good time to reintroduce myself to people. I’m Al Billings. As of September, 2007, I’m a 36 year old man working in Quality Assurance at Mozilla in Mountain View, California. I actually live up in the East Bay in the Berkeley/Oakland/Emeryville border area (two houses over is Berkeley, I’m in Oakland, and a block or so the other way is Emeryville). I live with my wife of three years, who I refer to as “R” here.

I used to work at Microsoft on Internet Explorer  (yes, “Boo! Hiss!” and all that…). I moved from my native land of Seattle to the Bay Area in mid-2006 and worked for a startup, MobiTV, for a year doing QA on their “Internet TV on PCs” project aka “PCTV.” In fact, for almost my entire time there, I was the only QA on the whole project, which sucked. A couple of months ago, I dropped MobiTV and came back to my first love, the web and browsers.

I’ve finished and turned in my Master’s thesis in the last month for a Master’s in Humanities degree (with a Philosophy concentration) through one of the California State University schools. When it is approved, hopefully in the next couple of months, I’ll be awarded my Master’s degree. My Bachelor of Arts is in Cultural Anthropology.

My Master’s thesis focuses on a particular area of thought within Western Esotericism, which is a loose collection of philosophical, religious, and spiritual currents in…the West, which have played a significant role in culture since the time of the Renaissance. I could go on at great length about this topic but I won’t. Once upon a time, a not terribly distant time, in fact, I had some personal involvement in such things but these days I’m a practicing Buddhist. My background is largely in Tibetan Buddhism but I became involved with Japanese Buddhism in early 2006 through a temple based out of Ohio. I expect that I’ll either do more graduate work within the realm of Buddhist Studies or Religious Studies at some point but right now I’m pretty tired of graduate school. Taking six to eight years to get a doctorate and quitting my work to do it, isn’t high on my list right now.

Because of interests in philosophy, religion, spirituality (or what-have-you), my being a general geek, and my work in the software industry, my posts tend to be all over the map. I do try to use the categories on the site to mark things and I expect I will get around to using tagging soon.

I’ve been blogging since 2002 so I have quite a few posts in my archives as well. That is probably enough summing up for now.