Interests

By davy

I have a few interests outside of work.   These are – music, robotics, playing in a rock band, flying small aircraft, restoring old telephones, open source software and San Diego…

Robotics..

I studied robotics at University as part of my course – which was very interesting and I also have an interest in electronics generally. I’m currently working on some small robotics projects.  I recently discovered the Arduino board .  Absolutely fabulous technology and all open source software.  I’m using it for a number of things – but mostly for teaching my children what else they can do with a computer other than play games or FaceBook….

Music and Guitar Stuff

During the summer of 2007 I decided it might be a good time to try and fulfill the seemingly ubiquitous ambition of learning a musical instrument of some kind.  I did get a guitar as a present in 1981 but I sold it in 1982 to buy a beat-up 1964 Volkswagon Beatle.. Never got round to actually doing anything with it.  So anyway now I know what you need to learn music when you are young – you have the time.  I had to spend up to three hours a day for two years to even get a squeak out of it – but eventually I manged to start to play.  A bit like sawing a Californian Redwood….

Together with a couple of equally virginal talents – we formed a small rock band.  One thing I did discover is that when you get to 40 – there is a dearth of drummers and bassists that want to play with you – mostly because they know their own value.  So I combined my software knowledge with sequencers and drum machines.  I was then able to provide a good quality backing of drum, bass and synth using pre-programmed midi sequences.  All generated with the superb Guitar Pro application software.  Rather than use set drum and bass patterns – we developed entire songs with drum solos ( Born in the USA ).  Its not a replacement for a drummer and bass but its pretty darn close.

I did this on my personal blog.. neat – allows us to have a complete set of songs – we are up to 60 now!

I have a small band page on MySpace with a few photos to give you an idea….

Flying

Back in 2000 I wanted to fly.  I did consider a late career in aviation – but as the commander in Top Gun said – “you screw up this much and you’ll be flying rubber dog sh1t out of Hong Kong!”  I figured that might actually be not too bad – but then again… So the flying career was modified to be a pleasure activity.  I learnt to fly in San Diego – the worlds very finest city at what was the Anglo American Aviation flying school..  I can only recommend it and the flying school – San Diego is a really fantastic place – AAA – is a top school and I’d recommend it to anyone..

I gained a CAA Private Pilots Licence – I still fly but I can honestly say the experience was amazing…

DAXCAD

My first real job was writing a software package called DAXCAD – it was blast and I really enjoyed it – I was very lucky to have been offered that opportunity.  The company went bust in 1990 and that was that.  But in 2001 I found a copy.  You can read all about it here…  A most entertaining and educational experience…

Old Telephones

About a billion years ago in 1974 my parents got a phone extension put in.  The GPO engineer who came round just happened to be leaving his job that day and he gave me the most enormous pile of bits of wires and old phones.  That sparked a long time interest.  About 5 years ago I started to restore old phones from the 20’s and 30s – I have a small collection and sell a few per year.  They are objects of functional beauty I think… Not made in China..  I doubt whether you’d want to restore any of the modern stuff.

I did some blog on a  restoration here… Bakelite – way ahead of its time…

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