Computing History

Personal computing started to become available to the average hobbyist in the late 1970's, a number of specialist computers became available to build as kits, Tandy Coporation offered a number of computer kits that could be put together with minimal computing experience. My introduction to computing started a little later when I was passing a local electronics store. The following paragraphs decribe how I got into the computing industry.

The Sinclair ZX81 (1981)

Computing started for me in the 1980's (before the WWW) with my first computer a Sinclair ZX81 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX81. Mostly used for games that one would load using a small cassette tape. My first introduction to programming was 'Basic', typing in code was a chore with such a small keyboard and should the RAM pack (a 16Kb memory expansion pack) wobble even slightly all your code just vanished! Can you believe we actually coded with only 16Kb of memory! Back then this little computer was just a black and white graphics model, later I purchased a ZX Spectrum that offered 256 colours and remember being very impressed.

Amstrad CPC 6128

The Amstrad CPC 6128 was a real step up from the little ZX81, it had an in-built floppy disk drive that made loading software a breeze. I learned about spreadsheets on this machine and remember working out the house budget for a whole year. I also had a black and white dot-matrix printer and so printed out a copy and took it to my bank manager to show him how I could afford to take out a loan with the bank. Suffice to say he was very impressed and I got the loan.

Commodore 64

Next came a Commodore 64, called so because it came with 64Kb of RAM, good for games and a real improvement over the ZX81. To program one had to PEEK & POKE code to access the hardware. Something about accessing memory addresses just did not seem correct to me so I moved on to my next computer.

Amiga 1200

The Amiga 1200 my first computer with a mouse, floppy disk drive, hard disk (350Mb) and a real operating system! This was the creme de la creme of home computers. The games moved up a league and it was possible to program in a real commercial language called 'C'. Suffice to say I purchased my first computer programming book, 'How to program in C' (Dietel & Dietel), and I started my first console application a personal contacts database. Learning how to use various datastructures such as linked lists, datatypes like integers, floating point numbers and the dreaded pointers. Now I was starting to feel like a real programmer! Finally I learned how to use the Amiga OS and re-wrote my personal contacts application with a graphical user interface.

Linux

I had also heard about the Linux operating system and purchased my first version Yggdrasil Plug & Linux. During this time I decided to formalize my developing computing skills and signed up for a City & Guilds computing course at my local college (Stafford College) which I completed successfully.

Windows & PC's

I enjoyed programming more than I did playing games and continued my education by signing up for a computer science degree at Staffordshire University's School of Computing. I had finally found my vocation and especially enjoyed my year in industry at Nova Controls Ltd, during this year I wrote the graphic user inteface for the Kuwaiti Oil Companies fire detection system and the user interface for the Shearwater Oil Platforms electrical control system. These were written using SCADA software programs and I found the whole experience exhilarating, the systems are still out there working away to this day.

Whilst at university I purchased my first Microsoft Windows© system a Pentium 75 that I soon learned to clock to 100MHz. I also learned how to program Windows© applications using the Micosoft Foundation Classes (not my favourite) but I felt was essential so as to get a handle on this operating system.

Finally after four years at univerity in 1999 I completed my degree, I was proud to receive a first class degree with honours in computer science.

Since then I have worked for a number of large corporations in europe including Hewlett Packard GmbH in Boeblingen, Germany. Her Majesty's Customs and Revenue at Telford, UK. Credit Suisse in Switzerland. I have also learned to speak German.

During my time within these organisations I had the opportunity to work with HPUX, Solaris and have worked in many high level projects that helped to hone my skills. It is these skills that I will share with readers of this site.

Current Hardware/Software

My operating system of choice is Linux and I run a number of flavours at my home office, which includes 'Ubuntu', CentOS & Redhat Server. I have a small home network from which I run my inivitiv.com web site, the network comprises of a high end server and two high end laptops running Intel multi-core processors. Using high end multi-core machines allows me to run a number of virtualized environments. A list of my current HW & SW.

  • CentOS Server hosting...
    • Two Kernel Based Virtual Machines (KVM) running RHEL
    • Network File System (NFS)
    • Jenkins Build Server
    • GiT Repository
    • Subversion Repository

  • Two Virtualized Redhat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Servers hosting...
    • Apache WWW Server, with PHP modules
    • inivitiv.com Mail Server
    • JIRA with Agile Plugin
    • MySQL Database

  • Ubuntu 13.10 Development Laptop hosting...
    • KVM Host running Backtrack 5 (Penetration Testing)
    • KVM Host running RHEL (I.T. Environment Server)
    • Full JDK development environment with Eclipse
    • KVM Host running Windows 7
    • PGP encryption, GPG implementation

  • Raspberry Pi B
  • Macbook Pro
  • Zaurus PDA Wireless Pentration Tester
  • iPAD 4

Contact Me

You may contact me using the contact form or alternatively feel free to mail me at peter@gmail.com