This will be all about my time at Serck Contols Ltd and some of the great people there.

Here we have some semi-random collections of thourghts on a number of subjects that i can wander around in a quarsi-expressive manner, basicly stuff that i was driven to write about thought bordem, anger or both.

An Online Hofmann (one f two n's)
Well Michael you got your own section, and you got written about first, mostly cos you were the first person to make an impression on me. At the interview you actually went to my website and looked at some of my code, this might not have been a good thing for my chances but it showed that you were a little diffrent to the rest.

It was pretty clear from the start that you new your outstation stuff more than anyone else, more than that you also new everyone else's stuff better than they did also. If there is a problem that you cant be bothered to work out for yourself then its ask mike time. Sometimes he generates these problems himself by just not documenting problems the first time round.

Most of the time however people (sadly myself also) just use mike as an easy option to get information without doing the work themseles, it strikes me that this i moraly quite wrong. And i can see that at times it does effect mike, its just plain unfair to place that much of a burdon on somebody, more so when they have no real way of dealing with it.

Stone cold Austin Management
Our 'Principal Engineer Team Leader' and FED evaneglist, seems to have an online bullshit genertor to deal with all the crap that gets thrown down the ladder. If ever there was an example of how management (sorry) 'team leadership' should be performed then he was it. If only you could be more forcefull in your ideas you would go far, anyhow enough allready of that.

Widly respected for just having been around for a very long time, infact most of his working life, was spent toiling away at serck. In fact you were a super guy, just for putting up with all the rubbish that i came out with, and the stupid things we did some times.

Super Dupa Builds and the Casey-Fletcher phone
For some time guy had to listen to my constant rubbish just because he sat next to me, if that was not enough he also was stupid enough to let me live with him, idiot. Anyhow, just because i spent so much money on beer that i dident manage to save any, or that we stoped him from building his house for several months, or that we ruined his reputation as a sensible person.

He taught me an awfull lot about windoze and C++ programming, forr that i must be eternaly gratefull, infact he even tried to teach me a disiplined rigoras design methord, of course i was not listning, which was very foolish on my part. The super-dupa builds were something that we worked on together, and got the just silly name, cos we are well - just silly. The casey-fletcher phone is not a 1930's american private detective, but the telephone we shared for a long time, much fun was had pretending to be each other when takeing calls.

There is more, but hopefully i havent finnished yet.

Evil Bob and WindowsCE
How things change, in the begining it was simple Bob was evil and so was windows, however in the end, Bob was one of the few honest men around, and windows was something i can say i had done. Its a long and not particualry interesting story, but it does mean that you should never judge people on rumor or what you think they have done, you really should reserve judgement (or just dont if you cant), untill you know what your talking about. At one time i was the lead 'evil bob' spokes person, but since he went a long way to help me coming back to serck i really cant knock him anymore.

Embedded Develpoment
Well i spent a large proportion of the year doing this so i really should write about it, as i had never done anything like it before, infact its what i was leaning towards before but never realised about it. I was allways into the low-level (or what i thought was so), i was never a GUI programmer, i allways liked to create libraries, system hacks, using asm-debugers and geneally poking around at a low-level, now i was paid to do that job.

The picture to the left is of my desk, showing significant amounts of hardware around, with lots of wires and monitors plugged into them, its great i love it, this is real mans work, its geeky, its hardcore and i seem to be quite good at it. The best bit is that you working at the OS level all the time, you get to write, device drivers, filesystems, task swapers and all the other cool stuff that OS do, i did it, thank god (mike & serck) that i was given this chance.

The Distractions of Upstairs
Well it would happen in the end, it took almost 6 months to begin, and 10 months to kick into a high gear, but the Casey-Fletcher table was definatley distracted by the pleasures of upstairs. Case your not following my obfisicated drift, im talking about girls, (for administrative assistents, sales engineers or business students read secretaries) not that there is anything wrong with being a secretary, we all need them, lest we forget that.

In the beginning there was Ms Rowe, shortly to be joined by Ms Burrows and Ms Scott, what a distraction they provide for overworked firmware engineers, it adds the spice to life that sometimes software just cannot fill. It was more fun with you around and we did appreceate it, we hoped you enjoyed it also as we did. Pitty it could not have carried on for longer but maybe a burn out was better than a fade away, for once im not sure.

The Student
That i was, i was also lippy, big headed, confident and sometimes agressive almost to the point to rudeness. None of these i can be particuarly proud of, what does come as a shock it that the guys at Serck seemed to think i was allways like this, little do they know about my horrible past. When i was once to shy to flag down a bus and so waited for one that somebody else wanted to get off before i would get on. Enough about that, its in that past, all the people who new me then are gone.

Did i really manage to bring anything to Serck ?, did i put in more than i took out, well probably not,.. mainly because i took so much. It was a considerable shock to be placed in an enviroment in which i was clearly not the best and not even close, i had never experienced this before, i was used to being one of the best at anyhting that i did, i did not like having to leach help from people all the time, that really cut me more than anything.

Now for some pictures

The main firmware team that i grew up with.

The Firmware Team, (left to right) Michael Hofmann, Guy Cox-Casey, John Cerdijian and Alex Austin

Ok, so this was the team i new and loved, its the one that was there when i started and lasted almost to the end, god bless em.

These people manged to escape the team photo (by not being there), but thay are captured for posterity nontheless.

Dave Bevin

Beefcake was the student before me and so just missed being in the main picture, he is now captured here in all his sea-going glory, and yes he really is that big.

Nigel Davis

The last of the hardware team, the beginning of the end for serck as a development company, in here because he gave me free ice lolieys, which i never did pay for.

These people are some of the fellow students (and people who dare to hang around with students).

Some Of the other Students, (left to right) Arfa Hassan, Guy Cox-Casey, Dave Tutt, Graham Hunter and James Smith

These poor persons caught before a massive bindge, were some of the hardy remaining students of that cracking 2000/2001 year.

Sadly missing (and missed) are,..

  • Mr Steve Marlow, (thankfully captured in my personal pages),
    Escaped just as quickly as he could back to the saftey of staffordshire.
  • Miss Elizabeth Rowe, (no known photos),
    Again escaped pretty quickly, and although you came back a photo seemed slightly out of place.
  • Mr Carl Harmer, (sadly no known photos),
    Quality chap, we should have got you out one more time.
  • Miss Hayley Burrows, (again no known photos),
    Ok so a photo of the mile high stack of e-mails would have done you more justice, anyway i was allways scared of upstiars.
  • Miss Joanna Scott, (no known photos, thank god !).
    I dident want to give this site an adult rating, sorry.

  • A Year 2006 update

    Well a lot of things have happened, i've drunk alot and learned a little. But as with all good things, it was bound to turn to shit. Yes we got bought by some Australians and although they chnaged there name to ours (they were Hunter Water Tech). It was only a matter of time before they started to take control.

    Well the embedded department is no more, gone, lost at sea and with it any further proteus outstations, ough well. Infact of all the people shown above only, myself, Mr Guy Cox-Casey and Mr Michel Hofmann still are employed.

    So here are some pictures of the embedded office in a state of abandonment.



    Well at least i did some good work the eNet (SCX6e) did kick ass, and we (the embedded team) did it. Unfortuantly it did not have a reset button, all other Serck outstations had one. All our customers moan about this, and to make it worse two songs were released with 'Push The Button' in them at about the same time, which for the curious were.