Welcome to the home page of Marek Vokac. I use these pages to present myself, my work and some of the companies and other organisations I’m affiliated with in some way.

I’m a professional programmer, and have been one for all my working life (see my CV if you are curious about the details). It has been a rewarding profession in most senses of the word, and I fully expect it to continue - there seems little chance of programming becoming obsolete or the market being saturated within the foreseeable future.

In November 2005 I completed my PhD dissertation, On the practical use of Software Design Pattern. It is a work in the field of Software Engineering research, i.e., research into how software developers go about their business.  I always felt that knowing my profession both from the inside and outside would be more interesting than either one of those standpoints by itself.

A PhD degree is first and foremost an education in how to perform research. That was most interesting, and kept me occupied for three years. I spent those years mostly at  the Simula Research Laboratory, a new research organisation set up as part of the IT Fornebu project at Oslo’s old airport. I was fortunate enough to be offered a position there, which gave me some of the best conditions for study that are available in Norway. However, I also found that I am more of an engineer than a theoretician at heart (not a big surprise), and that making software was more interesting than researching how to make it. After some part-time work at Simula after my degree I decided to concentrate my time back at SuperOffice, which makes some of the world’s most user-friendly software (at least the best in Norway, and we have the awards - two of them now - to prove it).

We’re currently in the process of recreating our product, simultaneously solving the problems involved in making an application that runs on the Web but is interactive like one on your own computer; is snappy for one user but scalable to thousands; work perfectly right out of the box but can be customized almost indefinitely; has a stateless service-oriented architecture but is a true application (not just a set of pages); and is a world-class SDK as well as being an application. All this with a compact team (six developers for most of the time), on a new platform (C#, ASP.NET 2.0). If you’re in the business you’ll understand that success here requires and extraordinary team, and I have the privilege of being the tech lead for what is probably the best team in the country. I’ve been there for nine years and love the place. If you’re thinking about offering me a job, be warned – I don’t come cheap, and I’m choosy. On the other hand, I deliver.

Life is not all work, and having two children aged 9 and 11 tends to remind one of that fact rather continuously. If you are planning to have children yourself, be warned - there is no bigger project. So there is a lot of play in my life as well.

Speaking of play, the difference between men and boys is the price of the toys, right? In my case the toys may not be very expensive, but the expedition to Ellesmere Island certainly was not for free. Being away for almost 5 weeks speaks volumes for my wife and her infinite kindness and patience in letting me go. I have a lot of pictures from that trip on these pages, look in the left-hand sidebar. My latest expedition was to Castleguard Cave, to climb a 200-foot aven (that’s a 68-metre high vertical shaft for those not in the jargon). A first ascent of something that has been known since 1968 was worth years of planning. You can read all about it in my comprehensive report: Castleguard Cave, first ascent of the 200-foot aven. A high-resolution version of this report is available on request.

Why is this text in English? Well - it’s the primary language of the Net. I have friends in far-away places who prefer English. And it’s easy to write.

Men, det er noe for de norske her også, selv om jeg ikke har tenkt å vedlikeholde alle sidene på to-tre språk. Jeg prøver å avpasse språket til stoffet, så norske hendelser kommer på norsk, mens ekspedisjoner til Canada typisk vil være på engelsk. Klager mottas... på både norsk, engelsk og tsjekkisk.