I’m Jonathan Russell and this is a little about me.
I am a graphic designer, website developer / website designer, game developer, photographer, voice over artist, t-shirt designer and computer technician.
Overall, I’m a very positive person who always tries to look on the bright side of life. Cup is half full and get back up when you fall down.
I am completely amazed at the pace that technology is progressing at in a shorter and shorter amount of time. I am a child of the 80’s and witnessed the birth of modern day computers first hand. My father has always been a bit of a technoguru and I have followed closely in his steps. When I was 4, my father bought his first home computer, the Apple ][ and I caught the technology bug.
My father was always on the cutting edge of technolgy, and worked on the first Apple Macintosh’s with a CAD firm and a Newspaper when I was around 10. This was my first introduction to the desktop publishing and photo software with Pagemaker (a spiritual successor to Illustrator) and Photoshop. These two pieces of software have been in my blood for over 25 years and looking back now, I can see the influences they have on my modern day skillset.
Fast forward to when I was 14, my father just purchased the brand new Power Macintosh 8100/80 AV computer that had a very unique feature. Firstly it cost $10k for the complete system in Australia, but the second noteworthy thing was it included AV Inputs. This allowed for some creative out-of-the-box thinking when needing to do a school presentation. Armed with the family VHS and some recordings of certain scenes from movies, I spent days importing the video footage I required and mixing it till I was happy with the end results. This was no Windows Movie Maker. Not even Windows 95 was out yet! In the end, I had created a presentation on Global Warming which blew my teachers and classmates away. This was my first foray into combining my love of technology with the love of education.
It was around this time that my brother and I were exploring Games Development with a software package called HyperCard (which has seen a spiritual successor in LiveCode). If you google Rotex Hypercard, you will see my name. Not a glowing review, but still very proud to have my name engraved on the early internet.
Turning 15 was the time in my life where I had to make some decisions about my future. I felt that school wasn’t providing me with the things that I needed so I left after completing Year 10 but not before I built my first PC. Windows 95 was just being released and I was ready to build my first Windows based PC. It was a Pentium 133mhz with (if I recall correctly) 4MB of Ram and a 100MB Hard Drive. Compared to the computers at school, this was blistering fast! I did happen to touch a power wire by mistake, but I learnt quickly never to touch them whilst the computer is plugged in.
This was also about the time of the internet appearing in Australia. I had experienced the internet through the University tours that I had done and saw the potential of learning through all the information available out there (not much in 1995 compared to todays internet). So after some convincing, I managed to convince the family we needed the internet and TPG just happened to be the company providing the internet at the time. This is where I started learning about HTML through reverse engineering the code of websites. I managed to create several websites on the now defunct Geocities which was full of blinking animated GIF images. Those were the days 🙂
Fast forwarding somewhat, I had left school to persue my working life early. I worked my way to running a few different restaurants at which point I realised I was missing the component of my passion. Technology and learning. So I began working for a telecommunications company and a few other odd jobs before I decided it was time to start my own business. This was a great time and a lot of learning about business. I operated the business on the side whilst working for Triple Play as a graphic designer/ website designer but I got some bad news in 2012 right when everything seemed to be going great in my life.
On a Friday in March of 2012, I was at work, extremely sick and had a very sore liver. That day I went straight to the doctors, then in for an ultrasound, and then told I had to have a CT Scan as soon as possible. One hour later, I had a CT Scan and had the doctor tell me that I had Stage 4 Cancer (Metastatic). I had to tell my partner, my boss and then my family. It was the worst day of my life. I spent the next 2-3 weeks in hospital whilst they ran test after test. Coming to terms with dying was easier than I thought and I was the strength for my partner and family throughout the whole ordeal. Prepared to leave this place, I made plans to get everything in order. Funnily enough, the doctor did tell me to get my affairs in order which is generic for “Get ready to die”. After reviewing my symptoms, I came up with the possibility that I could have an auto-immune disease called Sarcoidosis. Telling the doctors the next day, they ordered a test to collect a sample from the liver (biopsy). With only a local, they had to push deeper though the liver which was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. A few days later they diagnosed me with Sarcoidosis. I had Housed it!
So now, with an Auto Immune Disease, Sarcoidosis, I am sick but alive. I packed my partner, dogs & possesions and moved to Wollongong, NSW. I eventually wound the business down to just skeleton work as I didn’t have the time due to my health. With all the medication I have been on, I have gained a massive amount of weight and have started changing my lifestyle to fix this now. Starting out at 135kg, I plan to loose around 50kg in total which I hope to do by late 2016. A big task, but I know I am up for the challenge.
Working from home with Triple Play, I maintain the work website, the work server and design advertisements, rugby league apparel and cycling apparel. This is my primary job and everything outside of work hours is when I like to learn and follow my passions. Currently I own 2 3D Printers which I use to develop new parts to solve problems I encounter. Currently I am designing a specialised mount for a new 3D Printing Hot End which I will be talking about on my other passion which is YouTube. I recently launched a video on my YouTube channel which hit over 16,000 views in less than 2 months. I couldn’t be prouder. Then, I find out that a multitude of 3D Printing News websites have reported on my experimentation which is another huge moment for me. Ther is more coming, so if you want to follow my videos, go to www.techwiz.com.au/youtube and subscribe to my channel!