Like Ryan Gareth I was born in Liverpool. I lived there for the first 18 years of my life before I came to the University of Warwick to study Computer Science as an undergraduate. After graduating I immediately started work here and have never managed to escape. I’ve had several different jobs here, all IT related. At the beginning of 1998 I joined the team selecting, and then implementing, what turned out to be SAP. The rest, as they say, is history.
A few months ago I was privileged to be named an SAP Mentor. I wrote a blog at the time describing my reaction to that news – What does it feel like to be named an SAP Mentor?. In that blog I mentioned some work I’d done with a programming language called C++. I spent 5 years, from 1993 to 1998, working on what turned into ISO/IEC 14882:1998 (now superceded, twice). This was an international effort that let me travel to lots of different places around the world – as far east as Japan and as far west as Hawai’i, and many different cities in the US. Sadly, I had to miss the meeting in Australia 🙁 . For the majority of the meetings I attended I had the grand title of Principal UK Expert (and yes, that does get abbreviated to PUKE) so I have represented my country at something!
Outside of work I am married and have two children – a daughter of 16 and a son of 13. We also have a cat of 6 and a dog of just 15 months. My wife was also a student at Warwick at the same time I was, but we didn’t meet until after we had both graduated. We have been married for 20 years now. We live in Coventry, close enough to the University that I can walk in just about 30 minutes. Coventry isn’t a large city, and we live right on the edge of it. Within a few minutes we can be in open countryside, and yet only 15 minutes drive from the city centre. Despite having grown up in a big city, I’m not really a city person. I love being able to easily get to somewhere green and open. Gareth mentioned that Liverpool has two cathedrals. Coventry does too, sort of. It used to have just one, which was bombed in WW2 and is now just four walls. Its replacement was built right next door. You can see them both in this photo:
I’m going to break a little with BIF tradition now. My remaining photos are not of either my home town or of me. Two of my hobbies are astronomy and photography. I especially enjoy combining the two and taking photos of objects in the sky. Here are a few of my favourites, starting with one of my favourite photos of the moon. All these photos were taken from my garden, so they are cool photos from my home town rather than of it!
This next one is a long exposure (70 seconds) shot taken when the International Space Station was passing overhead – that’s the long streak in the sky. The bright object at top right is actually the moon, not the sun. It doesn’t look it, but this was taken at night!
And speaking of long exposures, I do like trying to make “star trail” photos. As you can see from the previous shot in my part of the world the sky is too light polluted to take exposures long enough. This one is lots of short exposures layered together, but it went wrong and produced dotted rather than solid lines. I quite like the effect, though!
Finally, I’ve recently been playing with using a webcam with my telescope, and getting results like this:
- What is your absolute favourite music album/track of all time and why?
I always find it difficult to articulate why I like particular pieces of music. Sometimes it is about the music itself. Sometimes it is about the context in which I first encountered a piece of music and the memories it brings back. If I had to choose just one piece of music as my all time favourite it would be Elgar’s Cello Concerto, preferably played by Jacqueline du Pré. Whenever I hear this music playing I just have to close my eyes, sit back, and just disappear into it. I have three recordings of it (one by du Pré) and have heard it performed live twice. There’s another performance coming along locally that will be hard to resist…
Just to add a bit of variety, I would say that there are a couple of Dire Straits tracks high up on the list, along with almost anything sung by Eva Cassidy.
- Do you have a favourite quote/saying that perfectly describes your day to day job? I have several quotes that don’t quite describe my day job but come distressingly close. My favourite is, “My definition of an expert in any field is a person who knows enough about what’s really going on to be scared.” by PJ Plauger. (I worked with PJ during my years working on C++, and while I never heard him say this, when I read it I hear it being spoken in his voice!) Not that I’d call myself an expert because “An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” (Neils Bohr). I’m sure I’ve got plenty more mistakes to make yet. 🙂
Onwards and upwards
Now I have to choose the next people to join in the BIF chain. That is hard as most people seem to have been BIF’d already. One I see hasn’t been is Carsten Nitschke, a fellow newbie Mentor. And I’ll choose one from the BIF request list – Akhilesh Singh.
Update: By request, I’m adding a new invite – Karen Jhonson !
My questions to you are:
- What animal would you most like to keep as a pet (however impractical!)?
- What is your earliest memory?
The small print
Remember the rules of the game:
- Follow the Blog It Forward Chain in order to be updated when the people you blog it forward to post the links to their “Blog It Forward” blogs.
- Read Moshe’s blog again to make sure you follow the rules in your own blog:
- Provide an introduction to yourself
- Provide a fun fact about your country or yourself
- Add a cool picture of yourself or your homeland/town
- Answer specific questions that were “Blog It Forward” to you
- Answer 3-4 optional questions from the bank of questions provided below. Or choose to answer questions you make-up on your own.
- Create 1-2 personalized questions you would like to blog forward
- List at least 2 people who you are blogging it forward to. Share why you choose them. Link to their SCN profile by typing @ and then their name (e.g @HisName).Ask the community to follow the Blog It Forward Chain in order to be updated when the people you “Blog It Forward” to post the links to their “Blog It Forward” blogs.