Bletchley Park, Little People, Job Change and broken bones.
By Jon Archer
So, it’s been a while since I wrote anything on here, mainly because I couldn’t find the time to do so.
Since I last wrote a lot has changed in my life, found out my wife was expecting our second child, visited Bletchley Park and the National museum of computing, got a new job and broke my toe just to name a few.
Back in May, the LUG I’m Group Appointed BDFL for, RossLUG, took a daytrip to Bletchley park. As most of you know Bletchley is
mecca for geeks in the UK, especially with it containing the National Museum of Computing, the day out was a fantastic experience for everyone who went (including some non-LUGers) and we still speak about it at meets.
We arrived fairly late morning due to a lengthy drive in a speed limited minibus, that and multiple pitstops, but arrived to a wonderful display of 40’s memorabelia, fancy dress and re-enactments. The 40’s weekend at Bletchley was in full flow! I managed to see a couple of re-enactments take place, the best detailing how the WAF provided an essential service to the pilots and field crews ensuring that bombing raids were known about. It was a fantastic insight into something I’d never really heard much about, nice to see the service women being displayed as an essential part of the war effort, and a lot of effort it was!
A nice stroll around the park followed and a look around the various stalls and the mansion itself, it was great to see the replica enigma machine in one of the “offices” in the mansion. Lunch on the lawn outside was great, watching everyone go by in their 40’s attire. The best of it being, 2 little kids dressed up wandering along and spotting a camouflaged soldier in the bushes and running off to find a bobby on the beat, he seemed to really enjoy entertaining the kids.
After all this, we still had the National museum of computing to visit, so trekked off to find the hut which contained this treasure trove. Seeing the talk about the Collosus machine was enlightening, absolutely amazing technology which, although we have far surpassed in terms of todays computing power, still managed to be mindblowing both in terms of how good and precise the technology was but also how it seemed to have stood the test of time (even though it was a rebuild).
Next stop was the collection of equipment in the museum itself, first part was business machines which although I thought would be quite boring (get me to the micros) we bumped into a chap working on a machine called the Elliot 803. The reason we ended up chatting to him was that I spotted he was running a PC with Fedora 14 installed. This was essentially a glorified terminal emulator into the Elliot. The chap, Peter Onion, was absolutely fascinating and I could have talked to him for hours although there were a few moments where I felt my head would actually explode. He explained the system he was working on in intricate detail, logic boards, memory units… The works.
Moving on, it was amazing to see all the old tech - room sized units, old micro computers, Next Cube was there, spectrums, amstrads etc etc etc. All in all a great day.. finished off by purchasing the customary t-shirt!
Following on from there, I also recently started a new(old) job, I’ve moved back to a previous employer. It’s a bit of a surprise move from my long targetted job as a Linux Sys Admin to working in the world of mainly Windows, but its a good move. I’m now predominantly dealing with Virtualisation and storage so it suites me down to the ground really. It’s closer to home, which is a bonus with the new addition on its way in December. I’ll definitely miss my job (and the people) at the last one, but onwards and upwards.
And yes as the title of this post suggests, I’m currently hobbling around with a broken toe, but that’s less than interesting.
Anyway thats enough ramblings for now, I’m hoping to now find more time for this thing now too!