Ben "Obi-Wan" Hollingsworth

(Self portrait)

* Contact Info

Lincoln, NE, USA
Twitter: @PrairieRimBen
Google+: +Ben Hollingsworth

Design Data
A software development company catering to the steel construction industry.

Prairie Rim Images
A photography studio specializing in events, fine art, real estate, products, and candid photography.

* Education

I finished my B.S. in computer science (minor in electrical engineering) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May 1994. My course work concentrated primarily on hardware, systems, graphics, and image processing.

I finally finished my M.S. in computer science, also at UNL, in December 2004. My original thesis topic was automated cloud cover assessment from satellite photos, but later changed to comparative visualization for two-dimensional gas chromatography under the direction of my advisor, Dr. Steve Reichenbach. You can read my masters thesis here (52 pages, 2.1 MB PDF). A shorter version was published in the "Journal of Chromatography A" (vol. 1105, issues 1-2, pp 51-58, 10 Feb 2006). An earlier version was presented at the "2005 International Symposium on Capillary Chromatography and Electrophoresis" (15 pages, 480 KB PDF). The preliminary work for my original topic (automated cloud cover assessment from multispectral satellite photos) was published in the August 1996 SPIE Image Spectrometry II proceedings, and can be read here (13 pages, 1.1 MB PDF).

* Work

My first 4.2 years in college were spent working at MicroImages, a local software company, writing mapping and image processing software in C and X/Motif.

For two school years I had a teaching assistantship in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at UNL. Other income came from the Nebraska Space Grant Consortium fellowship, which I received for doing research with Dr. Steve Reichenbach on automated cloud cover assessment for NASA. The assistantship expired 1 June 1996, but the research went on for a while.

I'm also co-founder of Internet Nebraska, a local Internet service provider offering high-speed Internet connections to anyone in Nebraska since the summer of 1994. While I'm no longer a part of the company, I'm proud to have had a hand in introducing Lincoln to the Internet. For the lighter side of this job, check out Dear MAILER-DAEMON.

For a while, I worked part time at Hickman-Kenyon Systems writing patient tracking software under NeXTStep in Objective C. This was intended as a replacement for the assistantship while I tried to finish up my remaining school work.

For 6.5 years, I worked at Nebrask@ Online. They provide state records over the Internet via a web or batch interface. It was nice to get the state holidays and benefits, but dealing with the state bureaucracy eventually got to be too much for me.

The implementation of the research I did for my masters thesis was part of the GC Image software package published by GC Image, LLC (a company owned by my thesis advisor), so I was technically an employee there for a few months as I finished my MS degree.

After 19 months as a professional bum / grad student, I finally broke down and accepted a new day job as a systems programmer at BryanLGH Medical Center, a hospital just six blocks from my house, in January 2005. It's a decent place to work if you like system administration, but I eventually grew weary of fixing stuff all day long, so I quit in August 2008 after only about 3.6 years.

In September 2008, I moved back to full time programming, taking a job with Design Data. They're a local software company that specializes in connection design software for the steel construction industry. Still, I'm always willing to listen to anybody who wants to offer me a job. Download my resume (50KB PDF).

In June 2010, I turned my all-consuming hobby into a side job and started Prairie Rim Images, a photography studio specializing in events, fine art, real estate, products, and candid photography. Be sure to follow the Prairie Rim Images blog for all sorts of information to improve your photography skills.

* Interests

My latest all-consuming hobby is photography. I've become somewhat burned out on Jeep stuff (see below), and this provides a nice diversion with plenty of new things to learn. It also affords me an outlet for what little creative side I may have -- something Unix system administration does not. I bought a Canon EOS Rebel XTi digital SLR camera in March 2007 to replace my old 35mm Rebel G and to augment my tiny Canon Elph S400 point and shoot camera. The camera models have changed over the years and my collection of gear is now larger than I can recite from memory. The ability to throw a tiny point & shoot camera inconspicuously into my pocket is wonderfully convenient, but, they just doesn't allow enough control over the photograph to satisfy my creativity. We still use it, but for less than 1% of our photos. I've started a collection of web pages with photographic topics here. My commercial photography site is Prairie Rim Images, and I have personal galleries on both Flickr and Photo.Net.

In September 1995, I parted with my '83 Mustang (my baby for 6 years) and bought a brand new '95 Jeep Wrangler. The four wheeling bug bit me hard shortly thereafter. This is my obsession. In October 1999, we bought a '77 Wagoneer to keep my YJ company and use as a family cruiser and tow rig for long wheeling trips. In August 2001, we became a 3-Jeep family, buying Micah his own Power Wheels Jeep so he could drive around like Daddy. We've since acquired 2 full-size parts Jeeps, bringing the total to 5. In January 2004, slow progress fixing up the Wag forced us to relegate it to "project" status, and we replaced my wife's 1991 Accord with a 2001 Chevy Tahoe, which now handles the family cruiser and tow rig duties.

On 1 November 1997, my brother Andy and I began the arduous task of swapping a new 302 V-8 into his '76 Ford Bronco. You can follow our progress (or lack thereof) until we gave up in May 1998.

I used to be involved in the Berean Church College Group, aka Campus Impact, until I got old and married. Check it out their web pages and let them know what you think!

Computer interests include graphics, animation, vision, image processing, and Unix system & network administration.

Other interests include playing volleyball, basketball, football (when possible), and other full-contact sports. I also enjoy playing darts, pool, biking, skiing, four-wheeling, and listening to classic rock and blues.

And then there's my incredible wife, Stacy, who no longer wants to be referred to as a "time sink." ;-) We got married 26 Apr 1997, and married life just keeps getting better every day. I highly recommend it to you poor single slobs out there.

We bought a house in 1998, which has eaten up much of our time and money. Built in 1892, it's got a lengthy history that I've been trying to unearth.

Our first bundle of joy arrived 27 Jan 2000. We call him Micah John. Parenthood is a lot of work, but the rewards are worth every bit of it! We enjoy it so much, we brought home Noelle Anne on 9 Jan 2002. Simon Benjamin arrived on 6 Oct 2006.

Since every boy should have a dog, we got a Vizsla / Springer Spaniel mix puppy in late May of 2000. We named her Shazam! after the super hero, not the Gomer Pyle saying. The name fits her. Here she is at one year old.

I'm cleaning house now (Jan 2010), and have some unassembled plastic models to sell that I accumulated 30 years ago.

This, in a nutshell, is my life.

We bought a Canon Photoshot S110 Digital Elph camera before Noelle was born. Here is a review of the camera and instructions for supporting it under Debian GNU/Linux.

I made myself a router table in 2008 that doubles as an extension wing for my table saw. Here's how.

We took a family vacation to the Black Hills of South Dakota in fall of 2005.

We took a working vacation to California in August of 2006. This included the San Francisco Bay area and Disneyland.

Our summer vacation for 2007 was to Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park for some hiking and camping.

Our summer vacation for 2008 was camping at Niobrara State Park in northeastern Nebraska.

Our summer vacation for 2009 was camping at Fort Robinson State Park in northwestern Nebraska.

If you're interested in buying me something, either as a token of your appreciation or because an obligatory gift-giving holiday is approaching, you can view my wish list here.

* My Favorite WWW sites or an older version

* Miscellany

I've become a bit of a Third Day fan, and Stacy and I have been to a couple of their concerts.

Here's extended lyrics to the most perfectly compiled (not to be confused with my favorite) album ever released: Pink Floyd's The Wall

And, just for NiteBird, Wish You Were Here says I'm a Kinda Dorky Nerd King.

last updated 28 Sept 2011
Obi-Wan (

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