In 1983 I fulfilled my lifelong ambition and joined ICL in Bracknell doing third line support of the communications sub-system of the VME mainframe operating system. I thought fixing bugs in operating systems was the ultimate in system programming, after all some very clever programmers had cocked up their programming and I had to fix their code!
I moved from third line support into more client facing roles, but I still retained my technical knowledge. I still carried on systems programming (writing tools for our support use). I could see how the IT industry was evolving, so I moved away from mainframes and into Unix. This opened up some great opportunities for me which I was sensible enough to grasp. I literally travelled the world trouble shooting issues on ICL Unix systems and supporting complex sales bids.
I was headhunted by an ICL fellow to be his Unix man. I designed and implemented a cutting edge real time performance monitor based on client server technology (Windows 3.1 and Unix SVR4). I didn't just do high level design, I wrote most of the code! I then designed a couple of products in response to the Y2K threat; a software inventory and a Unix sandbox testing environment (I guess it was a crude virtual machine). In the late 1990's, ICL appointed me a Distinguished Engineer.
The year 2000 was a relatively damp squib, so what next for me? ICL was getting big time into security so I was approached to use my technical skills. After all I understood operating systems, I knew all about communication protocols...so could I hack systems (ethically of course). From being an ethical hacker I moved onto being a security consultant (designing solutions to stop hackers getting into systems). The next major step was becoming a Chief Security Officer. I had the privilege of managing and leading a dedicated team of security professionals in protecting the infrastructure of a nummber of Fujitsu's major clients.
I'd been diagnosed 15 months earlier with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. The scans revealed I had a lesion on the brain, a bad one between C3-C7 and another at T10. It wasn't just the reduced movement, the fatigue can be cronic and you also get a brain fog. Sadly I had to give up work.
As A Person
I've ridden motorbike's since I was 16 but due to a degenerative medical condition, I've ended up in a wheelchair. But what great biking memories I have.
I'm a huge music fan with a considerable music collection. I still buy CDs and very occasionally vinyl (I do own a Technics SL1210 record deck). I have an amazing music system which wouldn't be out of place in a night club.
I'm a very black and white person and logical thinker with a high stress tolerance. I'm a pragmatic realist, who converts problems into compartmentalised challenges.
I gave up the red wine when the multiple sclerosis started to get worse. I haven't had any alcohol for 2 years.
In conclusion, I went from being at the top of my game with a great job (Fujitsu had just appointed me a Distinguished Engineer) to being unable to work. I'm not bitter and I have no regrets (about the decisions I have made in the past). I'm just grateful that I've had a full life and for every day that I am alive.
Last Updated 15/02/2019