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Hello, and welcome to my website. Please allow me to introduce myself: I am John Skinner, database programmer and computer consultant. My company, Skinner Consulting, is a virtual company based in Stuttgart, Germany. Rather than trying to be jack-of-all-trades (and master of none), we work in flexible teams of experts brought together for a particular project. It's not that different from Mercedes buying their car headlights from Bosch: why should a car manufacturer need to know about manufacturing headlights?
My expertise is in three fields: 4th Dimension database programming, Apple Macintosh hardware and operating system software, and Microstation CAD software. I am also proficient at QuarkExpress, Photoshop, Adobe GoLive, RagTime and the Microsoft Office suite, through use on a weekly or daily basis.
Although I describe myself primarily as a database programmer, I see it as part of a greater system. Few clients want a database, they want a better way to get their work done. The most important and most difficult part of my service, is to determine just exactly what "better" means in each particular case.
My current development project is ArtFiler (in German): a database application for cataloging and managing art collections, with modules to support artists, public institutions and the art trade. We plan to release an english-language version in 2003. I have also written several utilities for 4D which may be downloaded here.
I have twice won the 4D Expert award (in 2001 and 2002) for contributions to the german-language Developer Help Forum. To be recognized by fellow developers as an expert, is a great honour.
I offer system-management services to companies which are too small to need a full-time system manager. Once a month, or when problems arise, I go to my clients' offices and deal with their problems. In whatever form that takes: training staff, installing software or hardware, reconfiguring recalcitrant computers, adding Macs to Windows networks or vice versa.
My consultancy work can be summed up as integration: making sure all the pieces fit together. My work with a client often starts with discussing which operating system would be most appropriate to their needs, and develops over years with them. All my original clients from 1994 (when I moved to Stuttgart) are still clients.
Many of my clients come from architecture and the construction industry, because I share their background and know their needs. Through my work on ArtFiler, I have recently acquired several clients in the arts (galleries and collections, artists, publications).
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Copyright © John Skinner, 2002. All rights reserved.
Last updated 2002.11.05