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It started when my dad showed me, at about 5 years old, how to light up a bulb using a battery and two pieces of wire. I then began to explore electrical circuits, sometimes dangerously. He would give me old radios, tape recorders, loudspeakers, motors, magnetos etc. to pull to pieces, which ignited my ability to repair, and later design, electro-mechanical devices. I now design printed circuit boards (PCBs) for a company making mass spectrometers.
I studied electronics through City & Guilds 224 in 1985/6 and BTEC HND from 1987-9. I joined BBC TV as an electronics engineer in videotape recording, and have since maintained an interest in the creative aspect of electronics, i.e. music, video, performance art, toys, games and gadgets.
So my skill includes being able to repair, invent, analyse, improve, understand, teach and coach, in electronics engineering. Let me know how I can help you.
From January 2007
Electronics and Communications engineering
BBC New Broadcasting House
January 1989 - January 1993
As well as growing up with Microsoft OS's and related works, I've gained a very workable knowledge of Linux administration and the free open source software world. Regardless of platform, I can help with individual training and support needs, through to tackling large scale infrastructure upgrades.
A brief history of my computing experience
My first computer was a Sinclair ZX80 kit, with 2,000 bytes of RAM, which cost £88.90 back in 1980. It was less useful than a pocket calculator and if you were lucky you could store and retrieve its BASIC programs on a cassette recorder. I learnt most of my fundamental programming skills on this machine.
A few years later near the mid 80's, my mum bought us a BBC model B, with 32,000 bytes of RAM, colour graphics and sound. It initially used a cassette recorder for storage, which I later upgraded to a 5.25" floppy disk interface. This performance increase was breathtakingly exciting.
At my college's CAD lab in 1987, we were surrounded by IBM PC clones, which you couldn't simply power up and start writing your own programs on. No, this was the point where I realised that a huge corporate takeover had happened: our science and engineering applications were ready-written, bought in, and we were merely the users of these software goods, no longer able to inspect and modify code as easily was we'd done before! This was my shock introduction to Closed Source software. It got the job done, but locked us out of contributing our own improvements. However, we learned to program our own applications in Turbo Pascal next door on a VAX mainframe running some form of Unix.
Later at work in BBC TV around 1990, I began taking an interest in the IBM PC clones of the day, as the BBC-B was gathering more and more dust and I wanted to start tackling more ambitious graphics. So I bought an 8MHz 286, maxed the RAM out to 1Mb, got Windows 3.11 running on it, and started filling up the physically huge 30Mb hard drive with all sorts of home made imagery.
The internet found me around 1992, I got a Demon (£10 per month) contract and a 14.4k dial-up modem. The phone bill was ridiculous, but the excitement of connecting to evermore search engines, repositories and networks was addictive. Remember that this was still mostly done in DOS; graphical internet apps came a little later.
It began to dawn on me that everything computer-related seemed to revolve around Microsoft; you needed their DOS and Windows software if you wanted to do any general purpose work, and this struck me as unfairly wrong. I stumbled upon some discussion of something called Linux, apparently a sort of community DIY version of DOS and Windows. It wasn't until a few years later that I'd download Mandrake 7 and get my teeth right into Linux, with no real regrets.
From then on, dialup modems became broadband routers; phone charges became packaged with the account and less painful; my PC became smaller, faster, cheaper; storage became vaster (and made it easier to destroy entire photo albums at a stroke - ouch), and Linux became stable enough to be popular and industrially reliable.
I now enjoy helping people and organisations with their various computing needs, regardless of the technology age, style or ownership.
the day job!
I currently work 80% full time in PCB development for scientific instruments. I'm just re-discovering the hobby that led to my career, so I'm available to talk about more novel developments such as DIY synthesisers, original electronic toys and games, restoration of old equipment, and so forth.
Qualifications & Certifications
st davids wrexham
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