I supported the IT needs of a small charity called ACE Cardiff starting 2011. ACE Cardiff are based in Butetown Cardiff, offering additional learning support to school children as well as adult “improve your English” classes. I am currently supporting all the IT needs of another small Cardiff based charity, The Mentor Ring (TMR). TMR is a small mentoring charity, also based in Butetown, Cardiff. My work includes:
- Maintaining computer hardware. Repairs and upgrades.
- Installation and complete overhaul of PC operating systems and software.
- Setting up Windows based file and printer servers.
- Purchase, installation, and configuration of network attached storage (NAS) solutions.
- Setup and maintenance of printers and scanners.
- Network configuration. Installation and configuration of third-party routers. Wi-Fi security.
- Building, maintaining, and updating entire websites.
My recent work has included the complete redesign of the website for the charity The Mentor Ring (TMR). The original design is about 5 years old and already looks dated and is limited for cross device support.
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• HND (Higher National Diploma) in Applied Biology
From The University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC). Topics included:
- Cellular biology.
- Applied biochemistry (a more practical approach).
- Industrial microbiology (e.g. testing the potability of milk, establishing freshness, detecting harmful bacteria and antibiotics).
- A large end of course project. I chose to write a computer program that tested nervous response/reaction times to visual stimuli. The most basic test presented the subject with a colored window and measured the time it took them to respond with a key stroke. I taught myself the Microsoft Visual Basic programming language in order to implement this.
• HNC (Higher National Certificate) in Computer Science
From The University of South Wales. Topics included:
- Information systems development (how and why we store information and make it available, from paper telephone directories to large organizational computer databases).
- Relational database development.
- Networking theory.
- Web development.
• BSc. (Hons) IT
From The Open University in 2010. My IT degree covered the following topics:
- Object orientated programming theory and practice, using the Smalltalk and Java programming languages.
- Software systems planning. Project management, including development time estimates and costings as well as hardware and ongoing running costs (software/hardware maintenance, license costs, consumables etc.). Developing new as well as updating and managing older/legacy systems, team management, calculating time and cost, etc.
- Concurrent systems (e.g. managing issues that arise when multiple users are accessing the same database at the same time).
- Relational database theory.
- Artificial intelligence.
- CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) network configuration etc.
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• PC Building
I have enjoyed building my own PC’s for the last 20 years. I have built two systems in the last 6 months. The first for work related projects, and the second for music production. Both were carefully researched in terms of component cost and performance requirements. My work PC was designed with heavy multitasking in mind. As a web developer I often have 6 or more programs running simultaneously and constantly switch between them, so I have multiple monitors, a large memory capacity and a powerful multicore multithreaded processor. For my music production build I spent a lot of time investigating and researching technical writeups and then opted for the most suitable and powerful hardware I could afford. I built the system into a sound-proofed case with silent and passive cooling options. I am happy to offer my help and opinions regarding custom PC builds. Please contact me if you would like some assistance.
• Music Production
As a keen guitarist, I am currently recording some of my own hard rock pieces. I also like to produce electronic dance music (EDM), with a focus on 90s style Trance and House. The ability to record and produce music at home using a computer has become possible in the last few years. It is no longer necessary to have a designated recording studio with a large cumbersome mixing desk and specialist analog hardware to process and record audio. Traditional recording on multi-track analog tape can be replaced by digital recording onto computer hard disk drives. Most studio hardware can now be digitally simulated in software known as Digital Audio Workstations (DAW’s). Physical synthesizers are no longer essential; these can now be replaced by Virtual instruments. Professional artists and studios will use a combination of both digital and analog solutions, but it is now possible to record and produce professional sounding music using a minimal setup at home. I have spent a lot of time learning the technical requirements of home music production/recording. I have enjoyed studying the theory as much as the creativity.
Cycling was a childhood interest. I really found what I love most about cycling at the age of 18 when a friend joined me in a tour of Wales. We spent 10 days loaded with camping gear travelling to Snowdonia and back from Cardiff. Recently I have done this journey twice more, as well as a tour of Cornwall. A couple of summers ago I packed up my bike and flew to Lyon, France with my stepbrother and a friend. We spent two weeks touring the French Alps. The only fixed part of this trip was the flight home! Where we went, how far, where we camped or stayed, was all decided on the spur of the moment? The whole experience was very freeing! We were also fortunate enough to see the Tour de France as it passed through Grenoble. This happened to be the first day Geraint Thomas spent in the yellow jersey before going on to win the tour that year!