I was born in Enniskillen, Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. For most of my life I lived in Bangor, Northern Ireland, where I moved to when I was a little over one I guess. Bangor is about 13 miles from Belfast moving round the coast to the East. As places to live go, Bangor is pretty good, it’s beautiful in its best parts (which is all one can hope for ;-)) with a lot of green areas, and right by the sea. It would seldom be considered warm enough to be worth swimming, but it does happen occasionally.
After some time away in other places in Northern Ireland I am back in Bangor at present.
Skills & Employment
I am a mathematician by training, with a degree in Pure and Applied Maths from Queen’s University Belfast (1993) and a Ph.D. in Pure Maths from Queen’s again in 1997. I have a significant amount of self taught expertise in computers however, having programmed since I was 11.
I work as Head of School in the School of Engineering, and Professor of Engineering Education at the the University of Ulster, mainly teaching mathematics and computer programming. I also have some research interests there, mostly in cardio-vascular research. More details are on my work website.
I have lots of hobbies, far too many in fact.
Probably my biggest “hobby” is simply science and technology. I have a deep interest in maths and physics in particular. My Auntie Viv bought ne a junior encyclopedia on space when I was young, and astronomy is the root of most of my interest. I have my own 8″ reflector (SCT) telescope, but what with work and the weather here I don’t get much time to use it.
I have long been fascinated by the theories of relativity (special and general) and really intended to study physics at university. I saw the light, but I still studied some of this good stuff in applied maths.
Computing is a major hobby, over the years I have played with all sorts of computers and programming languages.
I used to run quite a big BBS but it’s down at the moment, largely due to an astonishingly irritating run of bad luck with computer equipment since I moved. It’s still my intention to put it up and running again, but I need a lot of time to essentially rebuild it from scratch, which is hard to find at the moment. I used to spend a lot of time developing comms software with Chris McCandless mainly, but also with many others including the folks at Definite Solutions. I find it quite difficult to maintain an effort writing software on my own. It gets rather dull, so I’m not getting much of that done at the moment either. We wrote under the name of Piglet Productions and we released most of the code at foss @ ulster .
For about a year I wrote a series of articles on Fidonet and its technology and BBSs for the magazine Internet & Comms Today (Now Internet Today), and wrote other InterNet related articles for NetUser, How To Get Online and NetDirectory. I was elected to the FTSC (Fidonet Technical Standards Committee) for a time, which attempts to document current technical practice in Fidonet as a service to developers. In the end I was elected to chair the FTSC, but I think I found that as difficult and frustrating as my predecessors, when it is almost impossible to get spare time at the same time as enough members to make real progress.
I also enjoy reading books, both fictional and factual, and have quite a large (and ever growing) collection of books (in what seems like an ever increasing amount of shelf space ;-)) including science fiction, fantasy, mathematics, physics and computing, with a smattering of books on history, english etc. In terms of fiction my favourite authors include Terry Pratchett, David Eddings, Anne Rice, Raymond Feist, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, Anne McCaffrey, Douglas Adams and C.S. Lewis, in no particular order, but perhaps my all time favourite author is the late great J.R.R. Tolkien.
And the rest…
I am a “certified” diver, and have been since I was about 12 or 13. Unfortunately someone stole my cylinder and diving just hasn’t been as much fun since. I still dive on holiday from time to time.
Here are some personal links to my pages on other sites.