The journey begins...

I got interested in computing when I was still at school and we had one of the first links to the London Universty computer using an Acoustic Coupler like the one on the left. You actually had to dial the telephone number of the computer modem on the other end, and place the handset into the coupler when you could hear the high pitched whistle of a computer "handshake" modulation tone. The name "modem" comes from this "Modulation" and "Demodulation" translation process.

This process fascinated me and I got more and more interested in how the actual computer to computer communication took place.How the computer communications world has changed since then! I had a varied career in some interesting places but settled down and got back into the swing of a normal life eventually.

Moving forward a few years I was one of a growing community that hosted Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs) that could be dialled into from a remote computer. Mine specialised in modem problems and communication methods - The Eyrie BBS for those that remember.

The BBS was mostly aimed at troubleshooting hardware & drivers and BBS creation tools, but I also had a FidoNet mail system for registered users. Unlike the modern email systems where you type your email, click "send" and it zooms off the the intended recipient immediately, the process was a little slower. First you had to dial into the BBS and logon, then upload your email into the relevant subject area forum and later on (mine was scheduled for 3am) the BBS would dial it's "hub" and upload any emails it had to send and download any replies.

You could even attach a file to the email - although files were a lot smaller in those days.Those emails went from hub to hub nationally and globally and then hub to spur until the BBS with the recipient as a user downloaded them ready for the user to logon the next day and recieve their reply.

If you are interested and want to know more about how it works then I highly recommend visiting BBS Corner It may be a bit old school geeky for some, but BBSing still survives over the web!

My career path so far...

The first job I had in the industry was running a Technical Support helpdesk for a small PC maufacturing company in West London with a customer base of over 5,000 units nationwide. This brought me into contact with Technical Support teams of other manufacturers, which broadened my troubleshooting skills and made me even more interested in the ins and outs of computer hardware and communication.

After a couple of years I left to run the repair and build workshop for a Third Party Maintenance company in High Wycombe with a little customer and engineer telephone support thrown in. My next role was a few months contracting as a roving site support engineer for a newly formed company in Bedfont resolving issues with computer equipment at local schools while training the company engineers.

When this contract ended I took another contract with a well known Trading Bank in central London to perform a desktop PC rollout and migration for the offices and the Trading Floor, which got me interested in application discovery and migration techniques. I also discovered that I had a knack of explaining technical matters in simple English, whilst showing the users the differences with the new Operating System and Application interfaces.

For the next few years I became a bit of a migration, troubleshooting and support specialist with less networking but still expanding my personal knowledgebase. I took on similar contract roles for some of the larger resellers, TPMs and EU Agencies in London and after that at a large insurance company office in Ipswich with some support travelling to the London offices when required.

My last specialist migration contract was at another large very well known Trading Bank in London and, when that finished, I moved on to a great support contract role at an international news company which introduced me to IP and DNS in more detail. My next move was as a support technician at a County Council where I took on the writing of a common faults knowledgebase during the year I was there which made me realise the sheer amount of information I had picked up over the years, some of which I had forgotten I knew until I needed it.

I then moved on to one of the largest insurance companies in the world and soon I was working on the Managed Addressing team supporting the IP address management and DNS systems for over 55,000 staff nationwide using disperate network types and architecture. After a system wide upgrade and a network rationalisation and migration project that took a couple of years, I was also given the role of Domain Administrator which I performed for a number of years, leaving only after the team was outsourced and "downsized" by the company that took over.

I currently work on the Operation team at a datacentre where I still use my troubleshooting skills as well as performing the day-to-day tasks of a busy OPS team with a bit of Enterprise Administration thrown in.

So you can see, I have been working in a technical support role of one sort or another for over 25 years and have a lot to share - not least my problem solving and troubleshooting experience.

Why I did this...

I decided to create this site because I have had many dozens of enquiries from people and a lot of them on the same ranges of subjects. From problems with computer equipment to staying safe on the internet, with upgrades & patches, finding information on the web, dealing with & avoiding virus and malware infections, and using common applications in between.

I decided that it would be better to put all the information for these queries in one place and give this site address to those that need it or will find it of assistance.

It will be an ongoing process to keep it up to date, and I promise I'll try to answer as many queries as I can - as promptly as I can - depending on work and personal commitments.