With an academic background in psychology and instructional development, Jon W. Bäckström also has a long history of involvement with leading-edge computer technology. He has been programming microcomputers and performing UNIX systems administration since 1978, working for several years as a user interface engineer, professional computer programmer, and instructional technologist.
Jon graduated from California Lutheran University in 1978 with a degree in Psychology. Heading to graduate school in the mid-west, he developed an extensive background in computer programming and multimedia authoring while completing a Masters degree in Instructional Research and Development at Purdue University and working at Indiana University during the 1980's. This experience led to a job at Computer Teaching Corporation in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Jon helped design and develop TenCORE Producer 2.0, a graphically-oriented authoring tool for computer-based training and interactive videodisc applications.
With experience designing user interfaces and programming multimedia authoring systems, Jon moved to Des Moines, Iowa in 1991 after being recruited to work on the development of CD-i authoring tools by OptImage (a Philips/Magnavox and Microware partnership). In 1993, active development for CD-i authoring tools ended at OptImage, but Jon and his family decided to remain living and working in Iowa.
During the next two years, Jon worked on the PSInet project (funded by the National Science Foundation) at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Originally developed by IBM (EduQuest), PSInet - the People Sharing Information Network - is a batch-mode BBS system for K-12 communications and conferencing. Starting from IBM source code, Jon lead a development team that created both DOS and Macintosh client software and new server enhancements to handle high-speed modems.
Doing UNIX systems administration and Internet research during the development of the PSInet software, Jon discovered the web early in 1994 and began to develop the technical expertise to become one of the earliest and most experienced webmasters in the state of Iowa.
In 1995, Jon accepted a position at Iowa State University through the Department of Economics, CARD, ISU Extension, and the School of Agriculture to design and develop the Iowa PROfiles project (now part of SETA) which provided demographic and economic data for all city and county localities in Iowa. Project responsibilities included UNIX systems administration of an Silicon Graphics (SGI Indy) WebFORCE server, C++, Perl, and shell script CGI development, and the integration of database resources served from a a companion Windows NT server using Microsoft IIS, dbWeb, Visual Basic, and O'Reilly WebSite.
Jon's work on Iowa PROfiles also included graphic design and the creation of user interface standards for navigation. This site became an early successful example of how a large body of information could be logically organized and many of the interface features and graphic design elements found their way onto other large public web servers in the state, including the official State of Iowa web site.
In early 1997, Jon accepted a position in the ISU Department of Agronomy to develop an online Master's degree program, the first full program for a web-based distance education degree ever offered at Iowa State University. Jon was the webmaster and instructional development coordinator for the project and led a development team that will worked with faculty to design and develop the instructional content and student management tools for the program.
To augment his development activities, Jon maintains a web site for information on the development of Open Source Online Education and Training. The current site indexes the development of current projects and tools for web-based and distance education courses at local institutions and around the world.
In 2001, Jon became the Internet Operations Manager for Successful Farming's Agriculture Online, developing web applications and guiding the development of technology for the site. His work includes application development using Perl, Java, Python, C++, and XML tools. Jon also develops Macromedia Flash applications and uses many other software technologies on the site. Jon's reponsibilities include UNIX systems adminstration, management of the server infrastructure, and integrating the site's technology with other Meredith web properties.
Successful Farming was recognized at the 2003 Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Awards for Best Web Site. Hailed as the "Pulitzer Prize of the business press," the Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Awards recognize and reward excellence in independent business publications. Presented by American Business Media, this Neal Award category recognizes excellence in online journalism.
In 2005, Jon joined Wells Fargo as a Database Administrator and UNIX Engineer. Working for the Lending Information infrastructure team in the Wells Fargo Technology Information Group, he currently programs DBA support applications and utilties using Perl, Java, C# (.NET), UNIX shell scripting, and a variety of other technologies.
Jon's first role was working with the Data Services Group (DBA / Infrastructure), creating custom intranet web applications and scripts to automate a number of processes for oncall DBAs and audit compliance. Software tools included Perl, UNIX shell scripts, Java, C#, and C/C++, and a number of programs to update the status of database servers, check software installations, and test infrastructure configurations. He worksd with Sybase ASE, IBM DB2, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL database servers and also installed, tested, and deployed new software tools in the infrastructure as well as createing performance enchancing job aides and custom documentation. Tasks included maintaining a web application that managed a "database of databases" throughout the Wells Fargo infrastructure, used by both DBAs and auditors. He also maintained an HCI (Human Computer Interaction) Resource Center on the corporate intranet using SharePoint, linking research and blogging information for User Experience teams and Interaction Designers across the enterprise.
Jon has recently been accepted as a Ph.D. candidate in the Human Computer Interaction program at Iowa State University. Research will center on the development of distance education and performance technology as it relates to the management and display of business data.
Jon Bäckström can be contacted at the following address: