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D) Software

Software is an important part of modern life, whether as an out-of-the-box tool for word-processing, etc., or as a means by which engineering analyses can be performed as part of investigations and design work.

The sub-pages of this page outline some of the software with which I have experience.

My interaction with computers started in 1979 with a Commodore PET - a machine that would generate a 'Syntax error' text when a return was pressed after its end of task 'READY' text was displayed, thinking the user had meant 'Read y'.

This was followed by:
  • Sinclair ZX81
  • Sinclair Spectrum (32K memory expansion, Currah speech synthesiser and Kemptson joystick)
  • Commodore 64
  • Amiga 500
  • Amiga 1200
Almost all roles in which I have worked have had task-specific software associated with them, whether for the reconfiguration of aircraft software, finite-element analysis or the scripting of test rigs. All of these have been used with my usual aplomb and various wheezes used in order to extract the maximum possible functionality from them.

"What? That software was never designed to do that!" is a statement that tells me I have pushed things as far as possible.

Whilst comfortable with Matlab, etc., many employers have been unwilling or unable to provide licenses to mere Engineers. However, I am convinced that it is possible to do almost anything in Excel (albeit slowly) and a couple of examples are included. I have used Excel as a parametric design tool, database and even as a ray-tracing engine.
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