I began this blog in 2006 whilst I was working at EDS to help support my interest in the OOo programme, so that I had a vehicle for making content publicly available outside of EDS strictures. I have used it since then to add some other papers and articles that some readers might find interesting.
I learned to program at 14 years-old and I was already competent in Fortran , PL/I and S/360 assembler by the age of 18. Whilst this is quite commonplace today, this was extremely rare in the late 1960s. I took a year out between school and university working as a commercial programmer, before studying mathematics and operations research at Cambridge. I then had a short spell in the army as an officer in the Royal Engineers before returning to the IT industry and I joined a leading UK systems house / consultancy. I initially worked in mathematical systems modeling, signal processing and real-time programming, and then worked up the consultancy / development hierarchy alternating between technical management and chief engineer on various projects, with the largest having over a hundred developers.
My company was acquired by EDS and so I worked within the EDS organisation for the next 15 years. With its emphasis on IT services, I ended up in its EDS services arm where my last three posts were divisional CTO jobs. Even though I got sucked inexorably into pure technical management, I still kept an active technical involvement in the company; I was one of the founder of the European program for the formal development of EDS system and enterprise architects, and I helped sponsor for the establishment of a formal architects career path in EDS globally. I was one of the first group of engineers worldwide to be awarded the company Distinguished Systems Engineer status in 2005 largely in recognition of my work to help establish the use of virtualisation technologies in EDS, and in leading some major enterprise system performance tuning initiatives.
By 2007, I was the senior Chief Technology Officer for IT Services in EMEA, and my career of over 30 years was brought to an abrupt halt when I was struck down by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This was severe enough to render me totally bed-bound for over a year and also to force me to give up my career. This illness has been a major factor in my life since. However, as I slowly climbed out of this illness, I again used this blog to publish articles on various projects that occupy my interests. I still maintain a passionate interest in IT, and I am perhaps a rarity in that now in my 60s, I think that I can still talk on equal terms with 20 odd year-old developers and engineers, and I regard myself as a current expert in C, Lua PHP, Perl, MySql, as well as LAMP, virtualisation and IoT technologies.
My interests have varied over the years.
- I was an active supporter of OpenOffice.org (OOo) and one of the founders of the OOo user forums, and I ran the OOo forums and the OOo wiki for many years.
- The first version of this blog engine was a customised version of the eggblog engine, which I discussed in my article “The EggBlog Adventure”. I disliked a version upgrade, so one of the first programming projects that I decided to do after I retired was a total rewrite of the blog engine, and this project became the theme of many articles. (I have since bowed to the inevitable and ported the blog to WordPress as maintaining a custom blog with the need to be mobile and tablet friendly is just too much of a PITA.)
- I was a VirtualBox contributor and moderator on the VirtualBox forums.
- I set up a MediaWiki service for a doctor who has been a friend and mentor during my illness, also migrating all of her content from her legacy site into that familiar “Wikipedia” look and feel: www.drmyhill.co.uk.
- I spent a couple of years working as a contributor to the PHP kernel and specifically on its Opcache development.
- Since largely recovering from my illness, my wife and I have built our current house, and during this time I set up and helped administer a self-build forum in the UK, the Buildhub Forum.
- My current interest is in IoT developments and I am a lead contributor on the NodeMCU Firmware project.