Oakwood graduate creates 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

NomenChanger takes time out of organizing up to 3,500 digital photos

Oakwood Christian School graduate Nathaniel Heston, 17, recently created a product called NomenChanger in his computer science class, a product which may soon have some market value.

NomenChanger is a program that displays, renames and organizes up to 3,500 digital photos in less than an hour. It is a multi-platform program that is written entirely in JAVA. The program's name is a mix of Latin and English meaning "name changer."

Heston calls his new software line "hillbilly technology." He said the goal of the line is creating programs that are easy to use.

"Look at Microsoft Office: you have to take a class," he said. "I don't have to take a class to find my feet. Bam, there they are. I want my programs to be that easy to use; something my grandparents won't be afraid to use."

After four months of hard-coding, Heston brought the NomenChanger concept to the point of product testing. The testing began on June 14 after the final coding was completed. During the tests, several computers will try to find errors in the program. For several weeks, all functions in the program will be systematically checked before being approved for mass use.

Heston began work on NomenChanger shortly after graduation when he was inspired by his father, Frank, complaining about sorting family photos.

"Dad had counted the number of clicks needed to rename one of the thousands of family photos. 'Select, view, close, select, rename, click to focus, type new name and click OK to finish,'" he said. "I just rolled it up into one big click. Now Dad is happy."

Frank Heston says his son's program is simple, yet sophisticated.

"It really makes sense of thousands of pictures in a relatively short time," he said. "I like it."

The program is not Heston's first experience with developing software. He was worked for the Oakwood Christian School since 2012 doing software programming. He developed a project that links student ID barcodes to a time and attendance program. In his sophomore year of high school, Heston created a grade book program that the school administration can use to enter and calculate student grades to produce grade reports.

Right now, he is working on a project for the school called NFC, the near field communication project, that uses proximity chips to bring up student data, reminders, testing, and academic strategies. Oakwood Christian School Director Alex Filatov says he suspects Heston is on his way to very great things.

"I expect he will go into systems analysis ultimately because of his ability to grasp the intangibles of programming and data flow," he said. "I am very impressed, and that doesn't happen very often. Especially not with a kid who just turned 17."

Filatov says he's talked with Heston about putting the NomenChanger program to market this summer. He advised him to make it available for $4.99 through ZDNet Software Distribution Network as well as an app at Amazon.com.

Heston graduated with honors from Oakwood Christian School at the age of 16 in December 2013. He was the first student to graduate with a degree in computer science. He is now in his second semester of freshman year of college and attends Northwest Arkansas Community College. He has plans to transfer to Missouri Southern State University in Joplin in the spring of 2015.

Heston hopes to start working for his mother Sonya's company, J.B. Hunt, in a couple of years. He says the company has a great internship program to get experience.

"I wanted to be a programmer when I was a sophomore at Oakwood," Heston said. "My mom was my inspiration. She is a super computer analyst at J.B. Hunt. I grew up under her desk in my baby seat."

Heston hopes to have NomenChanger to market as early as the end of summer.

To try a demo of Heston's program, people may go to www.hillbillytechnology.com and click the "help me test" button.

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