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About me

I’m the developer of the DSM Add-In for Visual Studio (that’s probably why you’re here)

I’ve 17+ years’ experience spanning all phases of software development from requirements analysis to user support – I am currently Software Architect and Scrum Master at

Projects I’ve worked on include Airport Operations and Flight Information Systems at Hong Kong, Toronto, San Francisco and Los Angeles. For those who have passed through TBIT at LAX you’ll probably recognize I wrote the bit that writes the flights to the board. Went out to deploy it. The bit that wasn’t too great though, was when I was out at LAX installing a new version of the flight system – a new version that deleted all the flights five minutes after displaying them - wasn’t a bug of mine I hasten to add. That was the first and only time I’ve seen an adult do a jumping-up-and-down-tantrum.

Since 2003 I’ve been living in France and spent several years working as a contractor at the SNCF (French national railway). Initially I worked in a cross-department group that required me to juggle a number of tasks at the same time: quality assurance and technical assistance for a number of projects of various technologies, maintenance of the ticket reservation system API and the developement of tools and components  During this time I enjoyed some old-school debugging of reservation requests: it should have been an 0xF2 instead of an 0xFF in the GDS stream!

It was my time in quality assurance at the SNCF that got me started with the DSM Add-In.

At the SNCF I also worked as technical consultant on the project Accelio which equipped the 10000 train controllers with a state-of-the-art mobile PDA app.

For those thinking it’s surely very different working in France than from the UK or US then I can say – not really despite what The Grizz says. I did join the SNCF at the time of year though when there are lots of Bank Holidays (April and May). It seemed each week there was somebody leaving the company and hence a 'pot de d├ępart' would be held during and beyond lunch. So for quite a significant time I did seem to have a near three-and-a-half day working week. I do remember a colleague once having to cancel his afternoon meetings due to shall we say, light-headedness. Not recommended.

I did at first find myself spending a lot of time trying to reason to people why we should do this or do that only for them to ignore anything I’d say as the French ignore anyone who is not their boss - hierarchy rules. I soon learnt though if you say that’s what it says in this book they do tend to come around immediately. I usually find myself quoting Martin Fowler.

Before all this computing business though, I grew up near Manchester UK and went to Alty' Grammar School For Boys (we used to have to wear a sickly green and red uniform). Notable alumni include members of the StoneRoses and the founders of Games Workshop .

I moved to Edinburgh Scotland to study Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics and had pretty much the time of my life. Edinburgh is a great place by the way, my favourite city.

Spent a summer vacation working at the Black Dog Bakery on Martha’s Vineyard, MA - my muffins were quite good apparently.  Had a number of temporary jobs afterwards – one of which was a day at Edinburgh prison. They forget to tell me to present myself on arriving at the front door; I literally just went in ‘round the back – I kid you not.

So, did a Master’s in IT and ended back up in Manchester as a Software Engineer. The rest is history as they say.

Married, with two daughters and a son and live in an eco-friendly house in the village of Vay half way between Nantes and Rennes