It’s always a challenge to know what to write. What interests me or what I’m proud of doesn’t necessarily hold any interest for anybody else. Feedback is always welcome to help me improve this page.
Who I am
I am 63 (as of 2019), Born in Huntingdon, in the UK. Married for 40+ years to the gorgeous Tina and blessed with three children and six grandchildren (at the time of writing!).
What I believe
I am a Christian and believe that Jesus is the Son of God through whom salvation is freely given. I am a member at Girton Baptist Church which is a small family church containing the usual mixture of odd people! I am responsible for certain aspects of the Music used in worship co-organising the musicians rota and playing keyboard, and bass.
Again, it’s tough to know what to put here. Probably my biggest achievement is to marry someone who has shown her willingness to put up with my foibles for the last 40 years!
I’ve also achieved being made redundant twice.
I’m one of those annoying people with the ability to pass exams (the only one I failed is religious education “O”-level – much to the amusement of all). So I have a BA and Ph.D. from a local university in Natural Sciences (physics) and Physics.
Having completed my formal education, I had a decision whether to stay at Uni and become an academic or to move into the big bad world. Being married to my good woman helped make the decision because it is hard as a penniless academic to set up home. So I became a penniless software engineer. We moved first to Daventry, Northants, where I worked at Software Sciences as a software engineer doing process control and instrumentation. This was our first home, so we mortgaged ourselves to the hilt. Just after we moved, the rate went up several percentage points, and we found the going financially tough for a couple of years. In retrospect, it doesn’t seem to have been a problem.
From there, I had a brief spell as a subcontractor (Consine Dynamometers, Chesterfield) doing process control and automation, and then on to work for the government as a higher scientific officer (HSO) at the joint speech research unit. I engineered research programmes performing speech synthesis from text into a small box. I also did some research on rules of pronunication and human factors associated with the use of and perception of synthetic speech. I then moved jobs (without moving location) and was responsible for some research into secure computer systems and formal methods. I left because the Maggie’s government wanted direct emplyees to be contract managers, not scientists.
Then I moved back to the Cambridge area with the expectation that I could change jobs without having to move. This has worked out well. I have worked in Cambridge for Philips Scientific, EO Computers Ltd, Cambridge Algorithmica, Symbionics (which because Cadence and then Tality), Mobilian and finally Intel. The move to Symbionics also coincided with a concious choice to become involved in communications technologies as Cambridge was showing leadership in this area through its active consultancies. At Symbionics I started as a software engineer creating the software component of a wireless LAN (802.11) stack. During that period I worked on numerous wireless networking protocols and architected 802.11, Hiperlan, Hiperlan/2 and Bluetooth systems. Organisationally I ended up as head of software technology.
Symbionics was acquired by Cadence, which marked the beginning of the end. This company proved capable of ruining a profit making organization, loosing its sense of direction and generally failing to develop it to take account of its traditional strenghts taking it from a position of leadership to financial ruin. Symbionics was shut down and its staff made redundant a couple of years after I left. Having not enjoyed the big-company mismanagement, I rebounded into a start-up “Mobilian” and worked from my shed in the garden doing 802.11 standards development and business development. I also visited with Mobilian developement teams to work on methodology and architecture.
Mobilian started to go belly-up after a couple of years, and I moved to Intel, originally working from an office in the new computer laboratory building. This coincided with their interest in IEEE 802.11n starting up, and they wanted someone to work on standardisation. I performed a standards-development job with TGn as chair of its Usage Model and FRCC committees. I have also been working on architecture development internally and building consensus in a number of fora. I was promoted to a Principal Engineer in 2004 and senior principal engineer in circa 2014. I was technical editor for 802.11n, and also technical editor for 802.11. I was vice-chair of 802.11 for 6 years, and was chair of 802.11 for 4 years.
I have now ended my involvement with Intel IEEE 802.11, and am glad to get off the relentless schedule of international travel; but I will deeply miss my colleagues and friends. I am doing some work as a self-employed consultant on WiFi/802.11 standards.
In my semi-retirement, I have a consultancy business, which you can find here: https://www.adrianstephensconsulting.uk/
I have always enjoyed music in various forms. I prefer to make music (albeit badly) than listen to it. I play keyboard (I have played traditional Organ and Piano) in church some Sunday mornings. I like to start the working day with 20 minutes of piano playing – usually a Haydn or Mozart piano sonata. My first instrument was the guitar – learned when I was 10. (I also tried to make a guitar when I was 14 – which proved a disaster!). I have an Echo Ranger 12-string, which doesn’t get used much nowadays. I also Bass guitar in the church. My Bass technique is rather poor – I have short fingers and cannot use conventional fingering (i.e. I can only stretch 3 frets), but they tolerate me and sometimes we make beautiful music together.
I’m afraid that I like to make music without suffering the tedium of practicing technique. I have never had music lessons, execpt as a singer. This means that my technique is weak, but I have learned to be selective about the pieces I play, and can selectively simplify without it showing too much!
I have also played a little bit of recorder, and have a set of recorders from sopranino to tenor. These don’t get used very often.
The most recent addition was a digeridoo from Australia, brought back from the 2005 holiday. I can kind-of make it work.
In 2019 I started recording public domain audio with the librivox.org organization. My shed was fitted up with sound-absorbing curtains and a decent (Blue Yeti) microphone, pop-filter and stand. You can see the things I’ve recorded here: https://librivox.org/sections/readers/13577
This activity has broadened the range of materials I have read considerably, to include dramatic works, poetry, turn-of-the-century literature, and philosophy.
We have a nice area of land at our house. I used to use half of the back garden to grow vegetables for about 15 years. Then work took me away from home too frequently and I lost the ability to keep things weed-free. Since retirement, I’m slowly increasing the amount of vegetables I’m growing. I also have a “heap” which is attractive to wild-life.
In the other half, we had the usual rectangle of grass surrounded by borders. I have recently remodelled our small pond to make it bigger and replanted new beds to make more of a feature of the planting, and thereby lost some of the grass area.
My shed/office is also in the back garden. This is a peaceful, quiet place to record audio – except when the squirrels are chasing each other around the shed roof.
As remarked elsewhere, I have been involved with photography in various forms for most of my life. I am now enjoying taking *lots* of pictures with my various Canon SLR cameras.
When I get the camera out, there are cries of “Oh no” and people disappear.
You can see my entire photo collection here.
I’ve made a number of items of furniture around the house. The piece de resistance being a side-board made to measure for the living room (family room). My pieces usually show a lot of character – i.e. no really straight edges, no exactly 90deg joints, nothing quite meeting in the intended place. But they are functional. Mostly.