As you can probably guess from the format and content of my rather lengthy list of flashlight reviews, I have a scientific research background. I have long been employed as a professional in my field, but have also enjoyed dabbling in various hobby projects that involve quantitative methods, including comparative analysis and testing.
Dabbling is probably not the right word. 😉 As my wife has observed, I have had hobbies that are more work than most people’s jobs! But they have all been labours of love, and am I’m happy to be getting back to some (limited) flashlight testing again.
My motivation for flashlight review testing is unchanged, and described in some detail on my Background page for this site (which has recently been updated to a more modern format, as the original website was built ~2010).
I have always been very much of the mindset that my personal life and views are not what matter (I know, I clearly didn’t grow up in the social media age). Frankly, everything you really need to know about me you can garner from my actual reviews. It is the work that matters, not the worker.
But perhaps with this redesign and return to reviewing, it is time I pulled back the curtain on one aspect of my online persona – where exactly did the name selfbuilt come from?
As with most things there in life, there’s both a philosophical explanation and a more prosaic one behind this name.
I’ll start with the prosaic. In my early teenage years, I developed an interest in computers – both programming and building them. I have always built my own PCs from individually-sourced components (and have spent a lot of time doing comparative performance testing, as you might have guessed). When internet forums start popping up in the early days of the web (mid 1990s), they typically required you to register with a “handle” or nickname/alias. On these early computer forums, I adopted the name selfbuilt to reflect my interest in building my own rigs (i.e., self-built computers).
But there was also a hidden joke here. I don’t remember which humourist said it, but the line has always stuck with me: “The problem with self-made men is that they are often in awe of their creator.” 🙂
I thus choose this name as a reminder to not take myself too seriously. Or more specifically, to take my work seriously, but not myself.
As I progressed through various hobbies, the online handle stayed with me. But I have tried to stay true throughout to the spirit of my original intentions in this regard – focus on the work, not on the self.
I hope you find the work here helpful to you.
P.S.: Many have also wondered about the EU emergency exit sign avatar. That was very prosaic! When I signed up on candlepowerforums, they required an avatar photo. Going through my picture albums, I really couldn’t find anything involving a flashlight. But I had grabbed this hotel hallway pic on a trip to London, England earlier that year (I liked the effect of the light source illuminating the plexiglass from above). As one of the few light related items in my albums, I though it would do for the forum. And I guess this one has stuck with me too. 🙂