Hello, I am Daniel Nash. My main interests are Computer Science, Cyber Security and systems Implementation. I also enjoy swimming and generally attempting to offer assistance wherever possible.
The main event that sparked my interest in computer science was learning about computers at age 3. As a blind toddler, while exploring my home environment, having only the senses of sound and touch, I came across a curious object which I would later learn was called a computer. It resembled a large box that emitted a quiet humming sound. At the time, my father was working in the computer field and was my guide on the journey into the world of computers. I started with simple things, such as learning to play simple games such as battleship and blackjack, later on, thanks to the text to speech subsystem, completely independently. At first, my mother appeared to be afraid, but once she saw what was possible, she was very supportive of me learning more in this field. Over the next few years, mainly throughout elementary school, thanks to the computer, I was on the same footing with my sighted peers, able to both play the same games as well as do the same work, but instead of pen and paper, for obvious reasons, I would use the computer and a printer.
Over the next few years, after switching from public to a specialized school which was able to better meet my needs in 2006, I developed my first program at age 11. This simple program, when executed, would simply beep and print a message if you could administer the system. Since then, I have focused on designing universally accessible software solutions to various problems that either I have encountered or in cases where a universally accessible solution is not readily available. For example, one of the first practical pieces of software that I have written was a talking and visual battery monitor which turned from doctor Jekyll, quietly and patiently waiting for you to ask it your power levels, to mister Hide, by constantly flashing and loudly proclaiming to the world that the battery was low. Later on, I coded a standalone front end to the same TTS system that was used to adapt the accessible games during the beginning of my journey, some User Defined Functions(UDFs) to call and manipulate the ETI Eloquence formant speech synthesis system. One of my last projects that I worked on, at least on the Windows platform, was a talking alarm clock that could speak messages and play sound files at a specific time, and although it only supported one alarm, it still has several active users, at least based on the optional statistics that it sent to my server.
Throughout middle and high school, while maintaining honors status, I have written several miscellaneous projects to keep my skills sharp. While teaching myself Linux shell scripting, over the past few months, I have been working on my largest project to date, a universally accessible arch Linux live environment that will both automatically install and configure a Linux system for both those who need access and others, the fruits of which can be found on my projects page. This project, while never complete for lack of a better term, now contains a program called access stick install, which will convert any 64-gigabyte or larger flash drive into a complete solution for accessibility, containing a set of preconfigured windows accessibility tools such as a screen reader and magnifier, along with a completely accessible Linux system that takes up the rest of the drive. Another project that I have completed is a program that makes any android device, including watches without audio output, completely accessible to the blind. This program relies on the user having sighted assistance to temporarily change settings on the device, such as adding a Bluetooth audio device if needed, as well as enabling the USB debugging mode that allows the computer to send system commands and new application software to the android device. My newest project is a self-hosted nextcloud instance. In simple terms, my web server not only allows you to download my projects, but it allows you to register for a free account, allowing you to synchronize your data, such as files, calendars, contacts, and other information with mobile devices, computers, and other types of systems.
In Terms of Cyber Security, the system that powers this website runs my customized hardened version of Arch Linux which is secured with such features as disk encryption, login counters which protect against password cracking by locking the user's account out of the system if it has been incorrectly entered multiple times, and two-factor authentication, which requires a user ID, password and a code which changes every 30 seconds which would be received from an authorized user's smartphone or watch. During my free time, I set up accessible, secure, multi-use systems, ranging from servers to desktops for clients and fix software problems, as well as attempting to teach visually impaired individuals how to effectively use mainstream devices, including smartphones and tablets. Another mainstream device that I have found particularly useful is the Raspberry Pi $35 single board computer. This credit card sized motherboard contains the braudcom BCM2710 System On Chip(SOC), along with wireless N, Bluetooth 4.1, four USB ports, and a 10/100 Ethernet NIC. On my web server, I have created several installable operating system images, such as a pre-made accessible media center using the Kodi software with a built-in screen reader, as well as a version of the arch Linux system that runs on x86-based computers. Using the Raspberry pi, a USB GSM Modem, a webcam for video and audio input, a Bluetooth keyboard, a portable battery pack that is usually used to charge a mobile phone, and any pare of off-the-shelf headphones, I am able to type my work in my college classes using the vi editor, convert the file from plain text to a Microsoft word format using LibreOffice, send the file through email using the mutt mail user agent, and securely upload the files back to my home system using the scp(secure copy protocol), all from a text console on the pi.
Other than technology, I enjoy reading, swimming, and generally helping people, in whatever way I can. In terms of reading, I particularly enjoy the fantasy and science fiction genres, but I will more or less read anything that captures my interest. In terms of swimming, I was on the special Olympics swim team throughout my younger years, around 2004 to 2006. Since school and life have taken up most of my time, I have not been able to participate in many competitions recently, but during the summer, I usually find some time to keep my skills sharp. In relation to the general help category, for lack of a better term, a few summers ago, I worked at the Nana's place Family Daycare in the summer of 2012, reading to children aged 3 to 5. Before the end of the school year,I found an age appropriate book from the school library, The Tail feathers of Mother Goose, that was written in both braille and contained tactile imagery, both allowing me to read to the children and to show them, at a young age, that despite my lack of physical vision, functionally, I was able to do the same things that they were able to do. From July to August 2012, every week, I would find a day that would work with both the supervisor and I and would read to and mainly entertain children aged between 3 and 5. I view this as a moment of influence because after each session, when the parents took their children home, the supervisor, who I had known previously, would tell me that the parents had asked about me reading and afterward read to their children themselves. All in all, my journey to develop universally accessible and secure software projects, along with attempting to help others started at age 3 and will continue to hopefully, someday, make the world a better place.
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