"As seen on BBC TV"
my talk to AMSAT-UK Select AMSAT-UK '08 Lect 22 from the drop down
list, click on the Select button, and click on the Play button on the
central video screen.
Direct FLV download
(94MB, but no longer available).
I have always been keen on technical things -
starting with electronics and Amateur
Radio, through all aspects of Personal Computers, to weather satellites and the
environment - which I not only find very
interesting but these interests have also provided me with a job! Having
in the forefront of mainstream PCs - which meant the Web, Windows servers and
networking, deciding on the company's future strategy - I used to earn a living as an independent software developer and consultant, but
am now retired.
Should you want to say
"thanks" for any of my software, here is my Amazon
Wish List or you could send me an Amazon
Gift Certificate for firstname.lastname@example.org
I still enjoy presenting papers, and managed to get a paid trip to the
DECUS Europe conference in Dublin by presenting a paper on implementing Electronic Mail in
my previous company. More recently, we both attended the 2002 EUMETSAT
conference which was also in Dublin, the 2004 meeting in Prague, the 2006
meeting in Helsinki, the 2008 Darmstadt meeting, and the 2009 Bath conference. I have spoken at two
Imaging Group events, in Dover and Leicester, and at a Dutch
Satellite Workgroup meeting in Utrecht. In September 2010 I presented
a paper on Weather Satellite Image processing (zipped
download) at the 1st National Amateur Observers
Symposium organised by the Royal
Meteorological Society. In February 2004, I was a
specially invited speaker representing the UK at the EUMETSAT
"MSG goes operational" event in Darmstadt, and I am a regular speaker
at the GEO (Group
for Earth Observation) Symposia in Leicester and the AMSAT UK
meetings in Guildford. I recently help organise the GEO visit
to EUMETSAT Headquarters in Darmstadt, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all
who attended. Other, more local, excursions have been with the Edinburgh Geological Society
to various parts of Scotland.
I'm quite happy to be a hanger-on, sorry, accompanying person, when Cecilia
attends James Joyce conferences, since they are a good crowd and computers do
come into Joyce studies. I skip her mid-winter Palaeontology conferences though - not
quite the right time of year for the obligatory post-conference field trip, is it?
Und ich habe Deutsch gelernt, aber leider habe ich mehr
In October 2012 I was diagnosed as having Crohn's
disease. This can cause bowel inflammation and despite various drug
treatments in late October 2015 I developed perforation of the bowel. I have been in hospital following emergency surgery
(ileostomy) on 2015-Oct-31. Dec-30: my surgeon is optimistic that
the ileostomy can be reversed, and this should be in Spring 2016.
I have now developed an occasionally rather painful hernia, he is hoping
to fix that at the same time. 2016-March-12, could not urinate, so
catheter fitted at the local A&E, and given some antibiotics.
Operation was on Thursday 2016-March-24 successfully fixing the hernia and
reversing the ileostomy, and I am now back at home.
Only seven days
after what is considered a major operation (I spent four hours in the
recovery room!) I was still quite weak and taking things very easy, but
things have gradually got better since then. On
2016-May-10 I saw the Urology nurses, but the catheter had to be replaced
as I failed to urinate without it. I now have a 16 Ch (larger
diameter) catheter with was even more uncomfortable, but I got used to it
- they couldn't fit a smaller size 12 catheter I used to have.
2016-May-24 got the shakes which is a sign of severe infection, so went to
the doctors who sent me straight to hospital, where they changed the
catheter (with difficulty, three people attempted and it was a Urology
registrar who managed it in the end) gave me antibiotics intravenously,
and sent me home.
2016-May-25 saw my colorectal surgeon and he was completely happy,
although I found it ominous that he said "until the next time"
as I left! A urology consultant appointment happened on June-13,
where it was decided that I would undergo a TURP
operation to reduce the narrowing of the urethra. A 3-monthly
catheter replacement on 2016-Aug-29 also required a urology specialist to
push forcefully enough to get the replacement catheter in. Although
the wait was supposed to be 12 weeks maximum for the TURP, I've still not
got a date although I checked and I am still on the waiting list.
2016-Nov-25 was another catheter replacement requiring a wire guide this
time - painful and produced blood. I don't know whether another
change is even possible. When will I get this TURP operation?
Latest estimate is January 2017, but nothing heard, nor could I get a date
estimate when I checked. Due for another catheter change in
February, when I attended the hospital clinic I was rather more forceful
in strongly requesting to know what was going on. They checked, and
discovered there was a confusion over who was going to perform the op, and
I now have a date of 2017-Mar-01 (St. David's Day!). The TURP operation has been
completed and it's looking good at the moment, although it took a couple
of months for the internals to recover completely. The material removed
showed no signs of cancer.
Following an MRI scan
in late March 2017, it's been discovered that some 10 cm of my bowel is
inflamed (due to the Crohn's disease) and after seeing the consultant on
2017-April-20 it's been decided to restart my treatment with Humira
which I've been on before for Crohn's.
Following an MRI scan, I had another colonoscopy on
2017-Oct-19. I find these interesting if you are allowed to follow on the
screen, but the preparation isn't something to which I look forward!
Well, that was most revealing - I could see the inflammation of the bowel
and it looked just like any other inflammation. Diverticula were also
present near the end of the colon (diverticula are small bulges or pockets
that can develop in the lining of the intestine as you get older) and it
was really helpful to be able to visualise these. The consultant
called these "wear and tear"! Post colonoscopy I've still had to keep near to the
loo for several hours, though!
conclusions are that the Humira drug isn't working well for me (after all,
I was on a double dose of Humira when the bowel perforation developed!), so perhaps a
drug change is needed, and that the diverticula are not currently a
problem. An increase in fibre and more fruit and vegetables seems to
be recommended to help with those. Next step is to start on
which targets the bowel inflammation specifically. Vedolizumab was
started Monday, 2018-Jan-08 - I have to attend the hospital for infusions of
this drug, rather than the fortnightly/weekly self administered injections
of Humira, so not as convenient. No obvious side-effects after week
0 (2018-Jan-08), nor weeks 2 or 6. Next is 2018-Apr-16, week 14, and
a consultant review in May. It seems that the Vedolizumab may not be
working as expected, so although I had a further infusion on 2018-June-11,
the experts will review my case and decide how to proceed, and I am now on
a 4-weekly dose rather than the usual 8-weekly. Following a
consultation in December, I had another MRI scan in early January 2019
which showed a stricture, so I am trying another drug - Ustekinumab (Stelara),
and the Entyvio has been stopped. By October-2019 my calprotectin
level had risen, so I have moved onto 4-weekly Stelara, which may be
having slight side-effects, but the calprotectin is dropping. A
video consultation in September 2021 has been my most recent, and I had another MRI
in May 2021 - the outcome being that there was no degradation. In
August 2021 my Calprotectin level was below the 250 mg threshold
(204 mg), and
CPR was also good. A
possible reduction of the Stelara frequency was mentioned but not yet
actioned. However, a later October check showed 327 mg so what that
may, or may not, signify is yet to be discovered.
On a recent visit to my GP he commented how deaf I had
become. He referred me to the local Audiology Clinic who tested me on
2019-Nov-05, and I got two rather neat hearing aids on 2019-Feb-19.
They are free, as are replacement batteries and all my other treatments,
on the UK NHS (National Health System). Thanks, NHS!
Following the 2020 coronavirus pandemic I have been declared
as being at extreme risk, so it's no going out for me. Whether I'll
get out before the Winter isn't currently obvious (I didn't). I do miss lunches
(no restaurants open either, of course) and trips to town, but as I've been
working from home for the past 20 years in that respect it's not greatly
different. I've now had three primary doses of COVID vaccine (two
Astra-Zenica and one Pfizer) and another booster is due 6 months after the
If you have Crohn's or know someone who does, please
consider joining the PREdiCCT
study - it may be available at a hospital near you.
As I will be taking things more easily, please do not expect e-mails and
orders to be answered immediately, but I am continuing to develop my
software. My health must come first - I am sure you will understand.
How did we make these pages?
We still use Microsoft's FrontPage for Web page
creation. Computing-wise we've moved on from Z80 S100 systems (at least with a 16MB hard
disk) through to his and hers Pentium systems, now multi-core running
Windows-10 with 2-32
memory. With these computers I've written various programs some of which I am prepared to give
away, sometimes with the source code so that others may learn from them.
I might ask you to pay for support, though!