Stuff about me

Hi, I’m an enthusiastic technophile and technical director of getpepper web and software development.

48K ZX Spectrum

At 14 years old I got my first computer, a Sinclair ZX Spectrum, one of the first widely available home computers in the UK. Aside from playing games of Manic Miner with my mates, I got a taste for programming – my first program was a Pontoon card game on the Spectrum that allowed a player to take on the computer!

But it was as a maths undergraduate, at the University of Nottingham, that I got serious about computing. My tutor back then encouraged me to choose computer science over philosophy as a first year subsidiary subject and after that first year I completely switched to computer science – thanks, Dr. Armour! I finished my BSc (Honours) in computer science and for a while continued part-time work on a PhD, also in an area of computer science – thanks, Prof. Burke!

I began working as a software developer in the early ’90s, first with a small engineering start-up and then with larger companies developing various types of business system. In those days I used C++ and object oriented techniques for development, and Rumbaugh‘s OMT notation, then UML, to express software design. Around ’99 I got into web development using Java – my first web application ran Java applets on the client and interfaced with the server using RMI!

Technologies continuously evolve and come and go, and over the years I have used a variety of languages and assistive technologies. These days Python, JavaScript, Java, PHP and C/C++ are my principal languages, and Linux is my mainstay operating system of choice for desktop and server.

I’ve done my bit to contribute to the internet standards that we all rely upon, co-authoring an Internet Draft specification to extend the SIP internet telecommunications protocol. Outcomes of this work included a production SIP signalling stack which may well have managed some of your telephone calls.

As a software developer I’ve had the privilege to work in a variety of organisations from small startups, to large corporates, and across a range of industry sectors including financial, pharmaceutical, internet telecommunications, and business management. My role has been to develop software that brings efficiencies and ultimately value to those businesses, and I’ve almost universally enjoyed my part in that process.

In 2008 I left my role as Software Engineering Design Authority to start my own software company, getpepper, something that I had wanted to do for a while. It has been good to have more control over my work life, with the bonus of well-earned “sabbaticals” from time to time. I now play guitar, piano and button accordion – more keyboards, although my Vim keyboard shortcuts have proved non-transferable 🙂