I was born on April the 14th, 1977 in a small clinic in Singapore. 9:30 in the morning. It's at that point that things started to go downhill. Even before I was born, I was a pain to my mother; I refused to turn the right way, so my birth date and time was planned. Imagine afterwards! I grew up in Singapore, where I was allergic to the air. At that time, Singapore was under heavy construction; the small island was becoming a major pole for the region and millions were being spend on creating an airport, seaport and all the housing and industrial infrastructures necessary. So here I was, in the middle of an island under construction, looking for a way out. The way out came; my mother moved back to England, and my father stayed in Singapore. I followed my mother, not by choice or by reason, but by legal obligation. Things are still a little bit vague, but it appears I left Singapore at about the age of 5.
The first stop before England was Scotland, where I believe I spent about 6 months. After that; England, from house to house (which had become a habit more than anything else). I finally settled down enough to go to a proper school, and have a good enough education, for a while. Ten years later, that was to change. One peaceful evening, we were watching the TV, and a program was on about the French lifestyle, houses and anything else to do with life in France. My mother fell in love with the country, and decided to move. I started to take private lessons, where everything was in French. History, geography, science, maths... You name it, it was in French.
Life in France was different, but fun. I arrived in France at the perfect age, at about 14. Everything was magical for me, and a farmhouse is an amazing place to live in, when it's hot. Winter isn't fun, though. My life changed forever at this point. My trusty Amiga 500 and the Amiga 1200 were my best friends, and practically my only friends, since I didn't go to French school at the beginning, and I didn't leave the farmhouse. I had tons of educational programs to play about with, to catch up on the previous 2 years and enough to see me through the next 2 years. That's also where I really started learning about programming, starting off with assembly language (68k assembly is fun!).
Being all alone in a foreign country can be fun, but it can also be boring. No friends, no point shopping for magazines since I couldn't really read the language, and TV didn't help. Internet wasn't even there at the time, so all I had to do was to make my own programs, and my own games. Try two years of intensive Amiga development, learning as I went. I must have read the manual a hundred times, learned from the examples and had fun optimizing (on an 8MHz processor, every cycle counts). Computers soon became my passion, finally something that reasoned in ones and zeros, yes or no, on or off. It doesn't get better than this!
The next few years were classic; integrating a school, making friends, learning, and especially getting to know, and love, the French language. I started studying electronics, specializing in digital electronics, then on to computer security. Electronics gave me the fundamental understanding of computer systems, a must for assembly programming where you need to know exactly what the system is doing.
My first "real" job was with Packard Bell NEC at Angers, France. I integrated the beta test team, taking machines off the pre-production lines and testing them, both hardware and software tests. From there I went to different services, mainly the "Vendor relations" team, where we tested software on specific machines. The fact that I speak English was a major advantage, since we were in contact with vendors all over the world. I also had the chance to work with Microsoft, beta-testing Windows XP and DirectX 9. I also got the chance to play with all the latest technology, including PDAs, WiFi setups, the latest processors, and my favorite, a quad-CPU server with extremely expensive RAM modules that had 16 LEDs on them to show what memory was being accessed. 16 modules, each with 16 LEDs? That meant a 16x16 screen! I reprogrammed the machine to play Pong. That didn't go down too well with the server boss... He didn't really appreciate the time it took me to code a quick assembly game on his server that cost a fortune.
For more technical information about my jobs, have a look at my CV.
More to come!
Places I have been
My parents were globe-trotters, my father still is. I was born in Singapore, but I've been to Malaysia, Hong Kong, Scotland, England, Wales, Iceland, Denmark, Belgium, Italy, Spain, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Russia, and a few other places I've forgotten. Oh, and I live in France. I loved Iceland, I'll go back to Singapore as often as I can, the Cayman Islands is paradise on earth, and I don't think I've ever seen so many beautiful girls anywhere else but Russia. I was arrested twice in Denmark. Twice in one hour.
Stuff I've worked on
I've worked on quite a few projects during my career, in different sectors. I did some assembly language for a missile guidance system, calculating sinus and cosinus is fun in assembly. I've worked on CD/DVD duplication systems, and robotic duplication systems. Needless to say, it was reprogrammed to do lots of fun things. Electronic frisbee in the office is fun, but it does come at a price. I think we left a few marks on the wall. I've worked on server applications, embedded systems, PC systems, mobile phones, etc. I've done a few websites, from small businesses to adult content, medical to shameless fun.
List of things to do