About Me, Jeff Keller


I was born on May 21, 1976 at the Kaiser hospital in Redwood City, California. I was the first of two children, with the other being my younger sister Stephanie. My parents Ron and Sue, have roots in Ohio and Texas, respectively. Had I been born a few years earlier, I would've been Hawaiian!

I spent the first 18 years of my life in Foster City, a quiet suburb about 30 miles south of San Francisco. I went to Foster City Elementary School, where I did such things as place second in the spelling bee, get called "a loser who would never make it in life" by a substitute teacher (the whole class got that speech), and serve nasty food in the cafeteria. I was also a computer genius back then (hey, I started young), and was often called in to bail out the adults. In fact I was once called out of class by the principal to help! And finally, a guy named Samer threw up on me in 5th grade (talk about something you don't forget!).

Grades 6-8 were spent at Bowditch Middle School. Aside from wrongful imprisonment in the detention room, there's really nothing exciting to tell about those years.

Next up was San Mateo High School. SMHS has some famous graduates, including Merv Griffin, Kris Kristofferson, and my classmate, Alicia Silverstone. Believe it or not, I actually did a social studies project with Alicia in my freshman year, and that was the most that I ever spoke with her.

Beside taking the usual classes, I was also on the cross country and track teams. It's hard to believe that I went from running miles and hurdling to laying around at the computer all day! For the last two years of high school, I was involved with the yearbook, usually as the technical guy (some things never change). In my senior year, I was the coeditor-in-chief, on an otherwise all-female staff. Talk about missed opportunities!

Sadly, the nearly 100 year old school was torn down late last year.

After I graduated, I worked a summer at UC San Francisco in a cancer research lab. Even though I was chopping up rats and growing cells, it was still the most interesting job I've had thus far.

When it came to going for college, I applied to ten places (if I recall correctly), including three private schools. The school I wanted to attend the most was Northwestern University (the other two privates were Rice and Pomona). Needless to say, I didn't get in to any of the private schools, so I was left with the state schools. In the end, I had to decide between UCLA and UC San Diego, and I ended up choosing the latter.

Overall, my UCSD experience was a positive one. I can say this, though: high school did not prepare me for the rigors of college. I met many people during those four years, some of whom are still good friends today.

I started off as a pre-med, as did most Revelle College students. Upon reaching organic chemistry, I decided that it wasn't for me, so I decided to try computer science. Well, that didn't last long either -- you had to qualify to get into the major, and when I realized that I probably wasn't going to (chemistry and physics kicked my ass), I decided to try something different.

I knew that I liked biological and computer science. I was also into psychology. Then I found a major that combined them: cognitive science. When people ask what CogSci is, the usual answer is "the study of intelligent systems". It combines neuroscience, psychology, computer science, and more. I took classics ranging from neuropharmacology to neural networks to language development. Many of which weren't terribly useful after college, but they were certainly interesting. I minored in Art History.

Other activities in college included eating bad cafeteria food, getting in trouble, and throwing fruit from a 4th floor balcony. There are many other stories (crazy suitemates, water pouring out of the lights) that I'll save for another time.

In my junior year, I started a site called PowerWatch, which was a news and support site for owners of PowerComputing computers. For those who don't know, PCC made Mac "clones" -- at least until Apple shut them down. That was an interesting experience that soon led to bigger and better things.

That better thing was my Digital Camera Resource Page, founded in November of 1997. At that time, I was just getting into digital photography. I worked at the UCSD Bookstore, and was able to play with old Apple and Casio cameras. I ended up buying myself an Olympus D-300L, which was 1 Megapixel and cost $1100! Cameras after that included the Olympus D-600L, Olympus E-10, and now the Canon EOS-D60.

Back to the story: I started the DCRP site, and worked on it in my spare time during the last two years of college, which wasn't easy. Funny thing is, my grades were better in those years! Despite being the first site of its kind on the 'net, the DCRP didn't take off. On many occasions, I was ready to shut down the site and forget it. Boy am I glad that I kept it going!

Jump ahead to June 1998, and it was time to say goodbye to UCSD and San Diego. I really enjoyed living there -- especially in La Jolla -- and hope to end up down there again in the future. A month or two after I graduated, I got a job at Netscape Communications Corp. as a "content specialist" -- a nice term for web developer. I arrived at Netscape too late to get rich, unfortunately. But the corporate culture was still intact, at least for a while. Dogs at work; raiding conference rooms for catering leftovers; beer on fridays. But then AOL bought us, and it was all downhill from there. It got to the point when you weren't afraid to tell people that you were interviewing elsewhere.

My next job was at Miller Freeman, which later became CMP Media. It was pretty much "just a job", though I enjoyed working with most of my coworkers, and I learned many skills that I still use today.

In May 2001, I decided to call it quits, and work full-time on my DCRP site. I also started up a site about camcorders called dvspot. And I've been working for myself ever since. I also wrote a column for Macworld Magazine about digital cameras for several years.

I lived in Noe Valley in San Francisco for four years and it was great. In fall of 2003 I moved to a brand new home in Brentwood, CA:

While my house was great, being far from friends and family was difficult, so in late 2005 I moved to the Oakland Hills. Unlike with my house in Brentwood, this one is filled with outdated things that I need to replace! But that's the fun of owning an older house, right? Anybody?

My new house is in the Montclair district of Oakland, high up in the hills (920 feet up or so). I've got two big, old oak trees in the backyard. It's like living in a park!

So what do I like to do in my spare time? I enjoy hanging out with my friends (not many left in SF though!) and family. Playing with gadgets of all types: cameras, computers, electronics. Taking my car on long trips to nowhere in particular, even though I really shouldn't put so many miles on it. Exploring the city or the great outdoors. Listening to music of all types. I can't understand it myself, but my musical tastes have changed in strange ways over the years, and my CD case is filled with pretty bizarre mixture (my friends can vouch for me).

I don't get to travel much anymore due to my work, but I hope to do some more of that soon. Here's where I've been in my life so far:

As you can see I have a lot of work to do!

Where do I want to go from here? That's a question that I ask myself a lot -- I wish I knew! My plan is to take things a day at a time, and figure it out as I go along. It's worked pretty well thus far!

(Updated 7/29/06)

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