roberts is currently certified at Apprentice level.

Name: Robert Smithson
Member since: 2004-02-06 22:45:04
Last Login: N/A

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I'm 40 years old, living and working in Buckinghamshire, England. I've recently sold up and found a house closer to work in a suitable location but still waiting for the sale to go through. I have a wife and two sons, my wife has two cats. I own a kit-car and a motorcycle, both off the road for different reasons component failure and big accident, respectively. Something to sort out as soon as the house situation is resolved.

I am working as a software engineer for a large anti-virus and security company, most recently on content security but before that on email server protection and I've had software development, team lead and development manager roles along the way. I'm pretty happy with my situation but I'd like to contribute more to the development community than I have to date.

Previously I was working for an international aerospace company where I carried out research into onboard maintenance systems, real-time digital chart display and situational awareness for the intelligent cockpit, in reverse order. I also worked for a startup company in the late 80's where we were developing expert systems based CBT software. This followed an academic career where I sat a Master's in Intelligent Systems following a Degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering.

I entered the commercial software industry through industrial software research after using object oriented techniques in Common Lisp and Zetalisp on Symbolics Lisp Machines, I even spent 6 months working at their UK offices developing a military logistics planning system to prove how easy it was to learn how to program something complex with no prior knowledge of the hardware or software they were marketing. In my opinion, the Symbolics operating system, Genera, had a tollset with level of integration that was way ahead of the offerings that we have today. Okay it was slow, but then we were working with machines that were no more powerful than a 25MHz 386 but somewhat more expensive.

My software language skills include 9 years knowledge of C++, 5 years in commercial software, 9 years Lisp with a bit of Perl just recently. Object oriented software development since 1987. 3 years MAPI and Microsoft Exchange development, 2 years cross-platform development in Win32 and Linux. Developement and debugging in Visual Studio and debugging under Linux. A working knowledge of COM, the Win32 API, the standard C/C++ library, RPC and multi-threading. Outline knowledge of the standard template library.

What motivates me is feeling that what I do matters in a for-the-good-of-man kind of way.

Recent blog entries by roberts

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A new day dawns, maybe it'll be a false dawn maybe not. As I write my eldest son, Anthony 2.5 years, is lying in bed with a temperature and I'm checking him every half hour or so to see if he improves. My youngest son, Thomas 9 weeks, is being nursed by his mother downstairs infront of the telly. Too much information I know but it'll put you in the picture as to why I'm sitting infront of my machine thinking and maybe doing something about the future. I've been considering a lot of things recently, like where am I going and what am I doing, probably a case of mid-life crisis. Still I'm only really examining my situation and thinking about what I'd like to be doing from here on in.

For a couple of years now I've been increasingly aware of and making use of open source software, I'm fairly familiar with RedHat, Debian, GCC, CVS, ICU, and Xerces-C from a user's perspective and have an interest in Faq-O-Matic, MySQL, and cpptools at home. The trouble is I don't see how I can best approach anyone to offer any services I may have.

I've recently bought the Feller and Fitzgerald book, Understanding Open Source Software Development, and found a link to this site from their support pages. On first look, 2 hours, this seems to be just the kind of place I have been wanting to find, without really realizing it.

I'm going to certify myself as an Observer for the forseeable future because I can't rightfully say that I've knowingly contributed anything to the community so far. There are a couple of bugs I'm planning to report in CVS but I'm going to do some more research before possibly entering a duplicate.

I'm also about to update my personal details to provide a little more detail about myself incase anyone is interested in what I do and where I've been.

I won't guarantee to come back here too often, it depends upon the family situation, but I will endeavour to check back once a week to update my diary and make it more relevant.


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