Welcome to the website of Stephen Howell. I (Stephen) am a student, computer programmer, and musician. This website is/will be the place where I store information and downloads to projects that I do in my spare time. I might also put up some music that I have written. Most of the information on this website, currently, is a biographical stuff until I get some projects up here.

Since I was young, I have always had a burning interest in writing computer programs. My childhood dream was to write my own operating system. I've "written" a few kernels, but nothing beyond that.

I started out with learning HTML, being tutored by a friend of my dad. While web pages are cool, it's not really a programming language, but a markup language. I was given an old Epson laptop that came with DOS, Windows 3.11, and QBasic. QBasic included a complete language reference and tutorials. BASIC then, became the first programming language I learned. Later, I received a copy of Visual Basic 6.0, enabling me to write GUI-driven applications. Along the way, I picked up a little JavaScript. I also attempted to learn C++, but due to the major differences in syntax, paradigms, and level of abstraction, I couldn't get my head around the concepts and couldn't teach myself how to use it.

It wasn't until high school that I learned decent programming languages. The first one I seemed to grasp was Objective-C. My family had an iMac and I installed the developer tools, which included Xcode. I also picked up a book on Xcode 2 and one on Objective-C. I think it was the freedom of not having to deal with memory management (for the most part) that I was able to understand it over C++. Later, a CS professor at a local university tutored me in the language of Python. He taught me the basics and I picked up the rest from there. Having a language to write Mac apps (Objective-C) and a language to write Windows apps (Python), I said goodbye to BASIC and haven't touched it since. In the later years of high school, I picked up CSS, JavaScript, and PHP.

In college, I primarily wrote in Objective-C since my primary machine was a MacBook Pro. Whatever need or problem I had, I would write a solution to it. I also happened to pick up Java in a matter of two days. I am currently attending George Fox University and studying computer science. My goal is to graduate and find a career where I can be a computer programmer. I view myself a bit like Steve Wozniak: I don't want to be a person manages a computer company, I want to be an engineer. I want to be the guy that writes the code for a product and/or solution. Thus, my dream job is to sit at a desk for eight hours and write code. I hope that one day I'll write the software to a program that you find invaluable to your workflow or daily routine. Of course, it will be bug free and without any problems :)

When I'm not out coding up the latest project on my mind, I like to express myself in music. Whether it be as a way of expression emotions, exploring a theoretical concept, or practicing how to strum in 5/4, music is an art that I enjoy. I started playing guitar about sixth grade and was the entry-point into the world of music for me. About a year later, I picked up the electric bass guitar. I played a little jazz in eight grade, which gave me the opportunity to play electric bass in the high school concert band.

My band teacher wanted people in the lower register and my instrument was in that register. I not only played classical and concert band music in high school but also some jazz and where I learned to not just play the "bass" note but to move around the chord via thirds, fifths, and octaves. My band teacher, from day one of freshman year, wanted us, the students, to not just be able to play music but to understand how music worked. So our first assignment freshman year was to learn how to spell every major chord starting with F♭, going up by fifths, up through D♯. Once we knew that, we essentially (but didn't know it at the time) could spell any chord or any interval for that matter.

This foundation really laid the groundwork for me to be able to attend Simpson University. Simpson was the only college that worked out for me to be able to attend. It didn't have a computer science degree, but it did have music. I absolutely loved music classes, especially Music Theory and Music Theory Lab (ear training).

I attended Simpson for two years before transferring to George Fox University and studying computer science, but Simpson was definitely the place where I was to be for those two years of my life. Even though I am not pursuing music, I have a much wider appreciation and greater understanding of what music is because of my studies in music.

Stephen Howell
Email: stephen@stephen-howell.com
Phone: +1 (253) 234-4695

Student | Programmer | Musician