Hobbies and interests
When I'm not at my main place of employment, there are a number of things I enjoy doing. Most of them seem to revolve around my computer. This may sound a bit sad initially, but the use of my computer is extremely diverse! My use of computers goes back quite a long way.

All the "IBM compatible" computers I have used for home affairs have been built by myself. There was a time you could save a bit of money by doing this, but looking at some recent adverts for computers, you can barely put a system together now cheaper than you can buy a ready made one. The only thing you can gain now is by upgrading a certain component when it becomes outdated. This can at times seem to be a real mugs game, because the rate of development by far outstrips the budget!

One use for my computer is for doing silly things like producing web sites (the stuff you are reading now!) A big use for me is also for R&D for various projects I may have on the go at any time. Some of these involve electronic gadgets.

One project I have on the go at present is a remote control system to control a "physically operated" light dimming system using a motor. This light is a table lamp type thing, but instead of actually chopping the mains supply to the bulb (as with a normal light dimmer,) there is a shutter system to actually close and open apertures to dim or brighten its output! The project originally started with an infra-red link. This worked okay, but is limited by the transmitter having to be virtually "direct line of sight" to the receiver. Mach 2 is going to be radio controlled, so the lamp could be potentially controlled from anywhere in the house! I must not take credit for the idea of dimming a light in this fashion. All credit must go to Santiago Munoz-Barbosa for this actual application of electronics! Santiago, or Santi as he's affectionately known is a work colleague of mine, and is always full of great ideas!

I have a keen interest in electronics, and have dabbled in this ever since I can remember. When I was young, my parents used to curse me for taking various bits of electronic gear apart, in a vain hope that I would glean some knowledge of how it worked (I was possibly as young as six or seven at the time!) The main problem I had at this age was that I couldn't always remember how to put the thing back together again. Some of this knowledge I gleaned must have sunk in, as 5 or 6 times out of 10, I can repair any electronic gadget given to me!

To carry on the computing theme, I am into software development (possibly not quite so much now, as I've not had any serious projects recently.) The most serious project I have ever worked on was to co-write a software package to record in real-time, performances played on pipe organs, then to actually be able to play the performance back, also in real-time. It's quite uncanny to hear a large organ being played, but not having anyone at the keyboards. Pretty spooky, especially in a large darkened building!

My input was mostly in Assembly language (for the raw speed,) with a bit of C as well.

The latest thing in electronics!

One past hobby I had was bell ringing. This is a perfect combination of physical exercise and mental agility.