So Jezz tagged me with this "5 things" meme that's doing the rounds.  I don't normally subscribe to this sort of thing cos I'm a curmudgeon, but seeing as all "teh cool kids" (even Rory) are doing it, here goes:

  1. My claim to fame is that Paul McCartney once marched up to me and asked me if I knew where he could find the BBC Radio DJ who was supposed to be interviewing him.  Why he thought I'd know, I have no idea.  I was hanging around in the foyer of BBC House at the time trying to gatecrash filming of the annual charity telethon Children In Need.  Later that day I got my first close-up on national TV.  Sadly the offers didn't come flooding in but I did get some funny questions at school the next day as I'd claimed to be sick.  There's an earlier blog post that might give you a clue as to the slightly embarrassing reason I was there at all.  Oh and I suppose my techie claim to fame (as if these five weren't techie enough already) is that I once commissioned the biggest touch-screen in the world (at the time).
  2. I failed the 1st year programming workshop at university.  To be fair, I didn't exactly fail, I just didn't bother doing it.  We had to write Pascal on a Honeywell Multics machine and the keyboard response on the terminals had about 5 seconds lag - more than my patience would stand I'm afraid, so I just opted out.  I had to buy a Pascal compiler for my Amiga to catch up over the summer vacation which started me off on Amiga coding and gave me a reason to learn C and avoid going to lectures.  Such slightly random events seem to have contributed significantly to my association with software all along really; I got my first proper programming job by talking about the Dune novels of Frank Herbert and once accepted a new job largely on the basis that the interviewer was wearing a "The The" T-shirt.
  3. I love and spoil my two cats, Theo and Shadow far, far too much.  I can't really imagine life without a ginger cat somewhere nearby.  Strangely, my ex-wife's ex-husband is to blame for this due to an incident with a packet of potato crisps and a small ginger kitten in a rented house in the Netherlands.  I'm not quite at the level of cooking the cats personalised suppers just yet, so Deric Longden hasn't got anything to worry about. However, I have been known to spend large amounts of time throwing Shadow's supper around the kitchen floor one chunk at a time so she can pretend she's hunting.  Hmm - perhaps I should concentrate on cooking my own supper - I'm damn good at that by the way - you should try my Thai monkfish curry.
  4. After 15 years in one relationship, I'm single again.  Girly geeks please form an orderly queue, bringing your hand-made cat toys and non-vegetarian recipes with you. Oh, and a bottle of red wouldn't go amiss either.  I can play the base line to Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus on a six-string guitar if you need entertainment...
  5. OK, back to computers - my first was a Commodore Vic-20 which I persuaded my grandmother to buy me after learning Basic on one of the two Commodore Pets we had at school;  I think I was either eleven or twelve at the time.  6502 machine code came pretty immediately thereafter (multiply operators are for wimps).  First published software was probably a lot of message text and some hack code I wrote for a text adventure game that my friend Chris Shrigley wrote on the C64.  The hack pretended that the computer had rebooted - after a while it started to talk back at you in the voice of the adventure.  We thought it was pretty funny at the time, but most people probably thought it was just a bug and switched off - happy days - I should try that trick again now ;-)  Oddly enough, I had some other much more dubious firsts hanging out with games programmers in the eighties but they're probably not the sort of thing one mentions on a company blog ;-)  At least they never persuaded me into breakdancing.

So I gather that I have to tag a bunch of folks in return.

How about Martin, Ian, Stuart, Neil, and Pat (even though he says 'no cats')?