Computers and writing software has been a passion over many years. I saw my first computer as a postgraduate student. It was a mainframe Titan computer the prototype of the Atlas 2 developed at Cambridge University and it was big – I wanted to know how it all worked and what these computers could do?
Shortly after I took a Post Doctoral Fellowship at Stanford University in California where I was allowed to “play” on my first computer console with its green screen and entered the fascinating world of learning computer languages to write and run my own software applications.
Shortly after returning back to the UK, we purchased a BBC Microcomputer. for both family and when I could get my hands on it, personal use. This educational computer was developed to support the BBC’s “Computer Literacy” Project which was closely integrated with school curriculums. It is widely accepted that it spawned a whole new generation of engineers and computer scientists including members of my own family.
Webservers and The Internet
With the help of my son, my continuous learning moved over to installing my in house Apache Webserver on an old computer and learning the evolving internet languages and webserver server side software like Linux, PHP and MySQL and onwards to developing hard coded websites.
Computers In Business
After leaving Academia for a career in the Chemical Industry, I became interested and pioneered together with our partner ” Baytouch the use of networked computers to improve both operational efficiency and to police complex ” Management Systems” using bespoke applications over an in house intranet. A task which was greatly facilitated by the rapidly growing use of windows based desktop computers to improve business efficiency. This approach is now in use by a number of International Companies.
Today in addition to my objective of becoming au fait with the new Content Management Systems I have just purchased a second Raspberry Pi 2 computer which is a significant improvement on the mark one version. Much faster and lower power consumption.My older Pi now runs a robot called a PiBorg. I am progresing in learning the Python programming language with the aim of eventually involving and using it in my amateur radio endeavours. The learning will I hope also prepared me to help my young grandchildren in the not to distant future with their studies. See my Personal Tweets to see my progress.
The Promise of the Raspberry Pi Computer
The demise of the BBC computer occurred at the time of a major shift in the teaching of IT in schools away from computer science and programing towards mastering applications – mostly Microsoft Suites. The results of this step, in my opinion, contributed to a shortage of the scientists and engineers much needed today. This has been a wake up call and at last the tide is rapidly turning with the promise of a much needed new IT curriculum in schools which will be greatly facilitated by the availability of this relatively new inexpensive and versatile Raspberry Pi computer.