I’ve never been any good at completing ‘profiles’. In fact, I’m terrible at it! But, as you’ve ventured this far, I ought to at least give you something to read…
One of my earliest memories of computing was painstakingly copying around 20 pages of what seemed like gibberish into the Amstrad CPC, re-typing it when it didn’t work, and then being fascinated by the 8-bit rendition of Chariots of Fire I’d created. I enjoyed using and playing with computers and went on to study computing at college, and eventually ‘computer and network technologies’ at university.
My final project at university was entitled “Home Automation via the Internet” and ultimately boiled down to using an Ethernet enabled PIC controller, a windows server and some relays to turn lights on and off in my student flat using my mobile phone. I love the real world interaction; having computers control physical things that you can see. Given this love, you can imagine the excitement I had working for Waterstons on a chemical bulk storage terminal! Valves, pumps, gates, valves, probes and more valves all monitored and controlled in a SCADA (supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) solution. I provided the link between the engineers, who understood the physical, and the PLC programmers, who designed the control and I managed to get my hands dirty on both sides! Being able to follow and understand the communications path from the application, through Modbus and OPC servers, IP networks, serial converters and eventually signalling through I/O modules, has proven its worth for more than one client.
When I started out, I hadn’t anticipated that telephones would suddenly fall within my remit, but the truth is, as we all know, anything which has a cable attached becomes IT’s responsibility! I suppose I took to telephony because of the real-world interactions again. Tone tracing cables, night bells and door access controls provide plenty of opportunity for fiddling! That plus telephone system programming make real changes that people notice! We do some really clever things with domain synchronisation, highly available virtual environments and network optimisation, but people don’t interact with those things. They’re pretty hard to get excited about unless you’re already a tech geek. Telephony was my starting point along a road to Unified Communications, and I now also enjoy deploying Microsoft Skype for Business for many of our clients. I love Skype for Business, as sad as that might be to say, because of the range of technology that I get work with when deploying it, and for the fact that it genuinely does make connecting and collaborating with colleagues simple and straightforward. Give me a nudge and I'll be more than happy to give you a demo :)
Outside of the office, I still play with tech. I'm in IT… what did you expect?! The house is full of stuff: Servers, NAS storage, my own network patch panel, and devices in just about every room. I don't spend all of my time avoiding the sunlight however! I enjoy ice skating, movies, photography, theatre sound and lighting (there's that real world interaction again!), and there's always plenty of DIY to keep me occupied.