Stuff here about Stuart's work with computers:
A catalogue of technological epiphanies
Running GNU/Linux on IBM Thinkpads
My ClaSS project
-- that is moments of great or sudden revelation (not necessarily on January 6th!)
From Beginning: I start in 1974, aged six, with the excitement of visiting my Dad's work place (Newcastle Central railway station) to view the new computer system, noisy punched card sorting machine and a teletype terminal which clunkingly printed my name. The torn off strip of paper an appropriate artifact of wonder for my induction into both print and computing; the technological alliance of language and things digital remains a fascination.
To Languages: In 1981 I started programming in BASIC, along-with millions of others thanks to Sinclair and a Christmas box of infinite possibilities. I coded a word processor for my GCE O-level project, and explored Z80 assembly for graphics. Pursuing Computer Science as a GCE A-level course, I progressed on to COBOL running under MS-DOS, culminating with a database project for the college library.
To Operating Systems: At various stages I've laboured under Microsoft and VMS environments but principally under flavours of Unix since 1991. A scatter of magazines across a wet Birmingham street and the glimpse of a cover CD to make me pick it up, gave a bizarre but serendipitous introduction to Red-Hat Linux in 1997. GNU/Linux has been my preferred resting place ever since. I have therefore a depth of knowledge of Unix systems, and have learnt much about installation, systems management, and Network set-up from running my own Linux system. I've also been following closely the Free Software and Open Source movement's advance with a great deal of delight.
To Power: FORTRAN was an important part of my physics PhD. The incommensurate nature of the materials I studied meant they were not amenable to having their X-ray scattering patterns simulated using traditional methods. The task is made computationally intensive by their lack of translational symmetry. Thus an excuse to go visit the EPCC (Edinburgh Parallel Processor Centre) down in the depths beneath the Physics department in Edinburgh University's JCMB. Parallel Fortran code running on the then world-ranked Connection Machine gave a thrill and met my own grand challenge. I have since continued FORTRAN coding, developing data analysis software for neutron scattering experiments.
To Internet: I first went on-line in 1991, seated at a reliable old, green-screened VT100, to the revelation of an ASCII wonderland of email, Usenet, and FTP resources; nothing has been able to prise me off since. By the time HTML and xmosaic arrived it was already apparent I'd found the technology I'd most hoped for: an egalitarian and unrestricted communication medium. Starting in the community I knew best, independent music, I explored the new possibilities by publishing the 'zine muppet voice. Its aim of showing folks off-line that their struggling in the underground was soon to be given a levelling technology far beyond the photocopier. And thus back to the printed word! Using LaTeX, a 48-page printed booklet of the WWW-based Partial Guide to Independent Record Labels was another of my adventures.
Notes on installing Debian on the Thinkpad 600E can be found here.
Now well into my big coding project called ClaSS. A database-driven web-application for schools, its written in PHP and MySQL. The ClaSS homepage tells more.
This page's home is www.laex.org/stuart/computing/