I am an I.T. person and a tabletop RPGer - currently dealing reading about running RPGs.

My Information Technology page has some articles that I have written over the years. It also has a snapshot of my current skills.

I have some pages about Free Software with some dedicated pages - one for Linux and one for Windows.. I use Linux so I'm pretty much OK for free software. Also on the main Free Software page I mention special disc images to be used when something has gone terribly wrong - they're called "live CDs" which means you boot your computer with them.

My Role-playing games page has some notes I have written over the years.

My Sinclair QL page is there with some odds and ends left over from my QL days.

My Health page has some of my writings including "HOWTO - The Brain" and "Mental Health Presentation".

Also, I have schizophrenia. My medication heavily sedates me, leading to me sleeping a lot. Fortunately, Contact is very accommodating. Due to the general lack of information, I started this blog. I am getting back up to speed with programming skills whilst keeping my schizophrenia under control. During that time I have done paid work and voluntary work. I have found that voluntary organisations and projects are more accommodating to my circumstances so that is what I'm doing at the moment. Being in a low stimulus hospital, and possibly medication, demolished my ability to concentrate. With a lot of effort I have got my concentration back. So I've been studying in depth.

Once upon a time... over 10 years ago... I approached Cynthia Livesey in Contact with a view to taking in unwanted computers, formatting the hard drives and re-installing Windows 95/98 and then passing them on to members of Contact or their parents or children. So, the PC wombling / refurbishing project was born. Contact won a prize for that and Cynthia had a trip to London to pick it up. Later on, computers which could not run an up to date edition of Windows started being donated to the project. They were, however, capable of running a modern distribution of Linux. I'd been using Linux alongside Windows for years. When Canonical started their Ubuntu project, I applied for a free disc straight away. Eventually Contact moved and no longer room to look after old computers so I sorted that out as well. Instead of putting Windows on computers, I wipe the hard drives with dban, test the memory with memtest86+ and then install lubuntu. Finally, I install my illustrated guide to lubuntu, certain packages and configuring things just right - I have written that up - see the bottom of the Free Software. page to read the PDFs. Canonical make pre-release editions of their work available and I regularly test them and feed back the results accordingly. When a system is ready to be shipped, it gets "blinged up", with a sticker either for FSF/GNU or Ubuntu.

Many C++ books recommend that the reader learn other languages. So I volunteered to review a MySQL and PHP book for the ACCU. Then I discovered I needed to read another book first. That book was "Learning PHP, MySQL, Javascript, CSS & HTML5". Little did I realise that entailed learning 3 programming languages and 2 markup languages. I have had three articles published on this topic - a book review (printed), a "from the coalface" article and a "LAMP on Ubuntu" article. I am also an Ubuntu Q.A. volunteer.

After dealing with PHP5, I decided to dabble with Ruby - how hard could it be? Well, I volunteered to review "Effective Ruby - Live Lessons" and, as a result, bought (and heavily studied) "The Ruby Programming Language" (O'Reilly), supplemented by the "Ruby Pocket Reference (2e)" (O'Reilly). This took a long time and a lot of effort. The review appeared in the September 2017 issue of CVu magazine. So, having become familiar with Ruby, I decided to learn some of the supporting libraries. I read, very carefully, the book "Ruby Cookbook (2e)", also published by O'Reilly. I submitted my book review in late January to the ACCU's CVu magazine.

At the moment I am studying "How Linux Works" in detail - making notes - and trying things out.

I have a lot of C programming experience. Sometime in the future I will be learning about the 21st Century changes to C and becoming acquainted with the GNU C compiler and its supporting utilities.

I am still reading these days. At any one time, I have a main study book (How Linux Works), an evening book (Grit by Angela Duckworth) and a night time book (Gamemastering - Kobold Press).

A word about file formats on this site.

My first computer articles were written using Psion Quill on the Sinclair QL. Initially my scribbles on PCs were stored in Microsoft Word (.doc) format. After that I started using free office suites - initially OpenOffice and later LibreOffice, still saving stuff in Microsoft Word format. Then I started saving stuff in ".odt" format - both OpenOffice and LibreOffice can handle that format (and Microsoft Word format) - for free!! However, I have had a change of mind. Lots of devices these days support PDF straight away. Which is why I am now uploading stuff as PDF files