About LSN


I’m Lisa Slater Nicholls, a very-independent-minded software professional. I am trying but failing to retire, and still consult as a Principal Solutions Architect across a very wide spectrum of BI and application development scenarios.

I like to make things, and I like to see folks smile when they get to use the things I’ve made.

In my full-time career, I most recently worked as Solutions Architect for Dominican University of California. At Dominican, I also served as Director of Institutional Research and a DBA at various points.

During my tenure at Dominican, along with my better half, Colin Nicholls, I also served as co-CTO for Poseidon Saltwater Systems, Inc, until August 2020.

I served in the role of Principal Software Architect at Infor, for Enwisen HR Service Delivery, for three years. I served as a DBA and BI/Integration expert for the Santa Rosa City Schools District from mid-2010 through the fall of 2012, after working for EC|Wise in the San Francisco Bay Area from late 2007 through mid-2010, as the Microsoft Technologies Team Account Manager and Solutions Architect.  Previously, with Colin Nicholls, I provided enterprise data integration and analysis services using XML in a variety of environments and languages (dba Spacefold).  Before forming Spacefold, Colin and I served as integration engineers for Acxiom Corporation for four years, designing solutions for Oracle, Siebel, IBM, and other Acxiom Alliance partners.

I have a consuming interest in XML-XSLT techniques, data-centric environments, and reporting engines. The various environments in which XML, databases, and reporting are coming closer together – which include SQL Server, Oracle, Java, and Visual FoxPro, and just about anything else I’m likely to encounter as a developer – are my idea of a perfect storm. I’m a happy camper these days; the technologies I like most have been converging rapidly.

In past years, I’ve written and deployed a comprehensive SQL Server Integration Services framework, designed .NET intranet and and internet sites to make BI fun and useful with these techniques, developed a SQL Server Reporting Services utility that exploits them, and served in project management, design, and Xbase development roles for Visual FoxPro 9.0’s Report System features, using equivalent strategies.

I began working with FoxPro in 1989, and began blogging about FoxPro development before blogging had an interesting name. I have a special passion for the development of peer-to-peer support mechanisms in the programming community, and was one of the original Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals, serving as a professional coach and mentor to development teams as well as a volunteer on many support forums.

You can read my rants from that early on-line period on the retired portion of this site; judge for yourself whether the details of application development that have changed are more, or less, significant than the ones that stay the same. 

The protoblog was called FoxSpoken because my original company name was SoftSpoken. (I did a lot of technical writing, and still do.) I occasionally referred to the protoblog as Radio SoftSpoken in the rest of the original site, not having any idea that there would eventually be a proper term for broadcasting one’s thoughts electronically, whether about programming or anything else. And now you know how this blog got its name.

You can read my résumé for more details about what I’ve been up to.