Who?

It’s pronounced Av-uh-ruh-GAR-doe.

No, not Avogadro. Not, not Spanish or Portuguese.

Where does the name come from?

Some time in the pink-and-grey disaster area of the 1980s my brother was bored and writing a pretty useless program on my ZX Spectrum. One of the pointless things it did was display “Avaragado’s number: 7” on the screen – he meant “Avogadro”, whose number is slightly larger.

I stole it when writing my own programs – I’d say “Copyright so-and-so Avaragado” or “Avaragado so-and-so”, where “so-and-so” was some famous name vaguely related to whatever program I was writing. A paint program would be by “Avaragado da Vinci”, for example.

When I went online it seemed the obvious choice. One (dis)advantage is that it’s easily googlable – they’re all me, almost certainly.

Non-fascinating but true facts

  • My first published piece appeared in the September 1985 issue of Your Spectrum magazine. I was 16.
  • I have pieces of myself in small pots. Some slivers of spine and a couple of angry-looking gallstones.
  • I’ve met Marvel Comics demigod Stan Lee.
  • While at college I just missed out on being a year early to win a half-blue in the hugely popular sport of Korfball.
  • I made a fruit-based video for one of the world’s foremost raw food practitioners.
  • I’m not actually a perfectionist. Not in everything. IT’S TRUE DAMMIT.
  • I wrote and designed a book in a month for a freelance project. I’ve also edited and designed books written by others.
  • I’ve worked on three web browsers, none of which you’ll have heard of.
  • Snowblades rule. Proper grown-up skis are for people with backs that work.
  • All the signs were there but it took me a while to decloset.

How about an actual biography and stuff?

I was born in 1969 and three months later propped up in front of the Apollo 11 landing, thereby cementing my lifetime space nerd credentials.

A friend introduced me to the sparkling world of computers in 1980. I wrote a massively unpublished text adventure game called The School in 1983-4, and helped out “tape backup” specialist Lerm Software in 1984-6 by writing tape-to-ZX-microdrive programs and instructions. I hacked and mapped ZX Spectrum games for fun and occasionally pocket money.

I studied at Downing College, Cambridge from 1988-91, leaving with a BA in Computer Science. My final-year project on Active Badges, in conjunction with the then-Olivetti Research Labs, showed real-time location information for badge-wearers across suitably wired-up parts of Cambridge.

In 1993 I joined software company IXI in Cambridge as a technical author. I stayed there for ten years, as it first joined with Leeds company Visionware and morphed into a division of SCO, before finally becoming Tarantella. At various times I was New Media and Documentation Manager, UI Architect and Product Manager, sometimes all simultaneously, while still writing words and occasionally code and with a bit of graphic design for good measure.

Since 2003 I’ve had freelance and full-time roles with ANT Software (as Creative Architect, writing demo software and evangelising while also writing documentation) and I spent nearly four years with Azuro (UK) Ltd creating and upgrading a dedicated suite of intranet tools and resources to improve the effectiveness of the engineering and QA teams, and occasionally ranting about processes.

As of 2012 I’m freelance and currently concentrating on writing and publishing. The award-winning children’s illustrated book Edward Hopper and the Carrot Crunch by Mike Smith (disclosure: brother) is available on iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch; and Till Undeath Do Us Part, a novella about zombies in Cambridge by Anthony Camber (disclosure: my pen-name) is available on Kindle. Other platforms and works coming soon.

2 responses to “Who?

  1. Susan Foster

    Hello
    I came across your old blog about your spinal surgery with Mr Peter Kirkpatrick at Spire lea hospital in Cambridge. I’ve just had this done a week ago, same hospital, same surgeon. Thanks for writing about it, its made me feel better and gave me a good laugh especially about the anaesthetist. Hope you’re well from it, it sounds like he did a good job on you – do you still have your “remains” in your jar? I did think about asking for them! My op went well, so much so that I was at centreparcs 5 days later. (perhaps not the wisest move with an energetic 2 year old.)
    thanks
    Sue

    • Glad your surgery went well too, and that you enjoyed reading my experiences. One of the reasons I wrote about it was to give people like you some reassurance before the surgeon got stuck in.

      I do still have my ‘remains’, along with another jar containing two gallstones. I’m gathering quite a collection.

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