At 69 (early 2024), I am an accomplished technical writer, having written for many technical magazines over the years, I am focussed on my successful technical blog as well as various video and social media channels currently exceeding 30,000 subscribers and followers. I also occasionally update my Spanish blog and spend altogether too much time on Facebook and Twitter when not enjoying the Spanish sunshine and people.

Meanwhile, my wife Maureen and I have stopped running our various UK-based holiday cottage rental businesses and reduced our presense in the UK to a new home in Bellingham.

As well as having owned businesses spanning many decades, my technical specialities have always included a broad understanding of modern ICT and the ability to explain complex technical issues to the layman. I am now actively experimenting with the likes of ChatGPT and various AI imaging systems simply out of interest.

Over the last few years of my career I was involved in a number of technical projects involving ESP8266, Arduino, the Raspberry Pi and countless look-alike systems. In January 2016 I worked in Spain on an IOT security project for the MOD via a third party.

For 14 years I enjoyed (un-opposed) the role of National IT Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses and as a director I was also involved in chairing or being involved in various other internal groups of this large organisation - roles which encompassed responsibility for organisation-wide IT and general company management.

The FSB role also took me overseas many times also to the House of Commons and Number 10 in London on several occasions. In June 2015, dissatisfied with upcoming FSB organisational changes, though expected to re-stand for said IT role, I made the decision that it was time to fully concentrate on our llie in Spain, enjoying the company of my wife and friends while ensuring my practical IT knowledge stays as up to date as possible - so I walked away to continue our Spanish adventure, a decision I've never regretted.

For two years I held the role of vice-chairman of an EU ESCO group and we met bi-monthly in Brussels, tackling EU-wide ICT-related qualifications (the most all-embracing and hence complex) aspect of the ESCO project, responsible for matching jobs, skills and competences in the ICT sector - exciting and relevant work of which I'm very proud but givern brexit, my departure from that work was probably well-timed.

I have attended a number of meetings of the European Small Business Alliance (ESBA) in Izmir, Gibraltar, Dublin and in Brussels (2013-2014) as an invited guest and in that capacity visited the European Parliament. I've also visited on a number of occasions, the offices of the European Economic and Social Community.

I have represented UK small business in a number of SME-related externally sponsored round tables including Microsoft, Google and others and developed relationships within those companies, for example the Dell ThinkTank event in Amsterdam and previously as a guest of Microsoft at their main HQ in the USA.

For years, I held the role of a judge in the Computing Magazine Small Business Awards and also maintained a blog in that magazine's website as well as having a guest blog on Dell's website, as well as my YouTube channel and various social media which is still very active today. My work has often been highlighted in numerous other postings worldwide.


Partner - Willow Cottage

Willow Cottage was a successful family-owned self-catering holiday rental cottage in Wark on Tyne, in the heart of Northumberland. This was our third family cottage rental business.



Partner - Hollyberry Cottage

Hollyberry Cottage was an award-winning, successful family-owned self-catering holiday rental cottage in Bellingham, in the heart of Northumberland. This was our second family cottage rental business.



IT Chairman - FSB

Board director and National IT Chairman of the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) for 14 years during which time I transformed the IT capabilities of the organisation and helped ensure the organisation's ability to handle the tech challenges of the early 21st century.



CEO - Willow Design

Custom electronics design from concept through implementation as well as custom hardware and software. We empowered small businesses to compete in the global marketplace with affordable tech solutions



Director - Quantech Ltd

General Electronics Research

I formed Quantech in 1982 and spent 19 years in a successful business partnership developing groundbreaking electronic products in the entertainment and PC speech sectors



Head of R&D at Eltech

Electronics Research

I joined Eltech Research in Newcastle Upon Tyne to develop ground-breaking graphics for the entertainment industry after providing consultancy for several months, supporting innovative products which we took to the World's Fair in Tokyo and to America Germany and elsewhere in Europe



Director - France & Co Ltd

General metalwork engineering

I held various posts including technical director of this family engineering firm J. France & Co. Acquired skills included management and accounting but also encompassed engineering (metalwork, welding, lathe and general machine operations)



By the age of 10 I could make simple radios without breaking a sweat. I then learned how to both take and process photographs in my early teans and ran a disco (who's equipment I designed) for several years. My first technical article was released in Practical Electronics in November 1976 and was one of several publishing successes including Elektor, Practical Wireless, Radio Constructor and others.

Years later when the microprocessor revolution began, I started writing software and articles beginning with the design of my own custom FORTH language interpreter - as secretary of the Newcastle Computing Society. I wrote an article on binary trees for David H Ahl's Creative Computing magazine and then went on to create a comprehensive work entitled "Adven-80" which featured on the front cover (and much of the inside) of the November 1981 Dr Dobbs magazine, defining one of the earliest "adventure creation" environments - a considerable undertaking in Z80 assembly language.

While developing a range of office and engineering skills, the hobbies of electronics and computing turned into a career and I was then responsible for the creation of numerous publications including a series of articles in Practical Computing on the subject of home automation in which I have continued to maintain a keen practical interest using Espressif WIFI technology and modern SBCs such as the Raspberry Pi.

People and Places

Between an interest in politics and my work with the FSB I have met with David Cameron, William Hague, Michael Portillo, Vince Cable, Stephen Timms, Patricia Hewitt, Tony Blair, John Redwood and many others. I've met one of the American Ambassadors to the EU (pre-Trump era) and have also met with senior figures in several large companies including Microsoft where I visited their Seattle Headquarters for several days and subsequently became their guest at several functions including the Commonwealth Games. I've also been a guest at the offices of Microsoft in Brussels, London and Dublin as well as those of Google and Dell. I have travelled widely and developed relationships with key figures in other business organisations such as the IOD and British Chambers. I have attended meetings and receptions at 10 Downing street and on several occasions at the House of Commons.

Decades ago I taught BTEC Level 2 electronics part time for a year during which time I taught C programming, basic electronics and foundation studies. I designed and and maintained the cms-based website system and mass-emailing systems used by the UK's then leading business organisation for well over a decade, servicing 33 regions (194 branches) and serving countless millions of emails and web pages. I helped many small businesses via my role as IT Chairman of the same organisation. I also now co-developed our third holiday rental property. I spend my time now simply enjoying being married, the company of friends, writing blogs and travelling as well as continuing to keep up with programming, social networking and general IT and electronics. I maintain a keen interest in science and technology. My current programming interests include NodeJS and in particular Node-Red.

Further Back

Before becoming the National IT Chairman of the FSB I was firstly Vice-Chairman of the Northeast FSB region for 6 years followed by a spell on the National IT Committee where I was encouraged to take on the post I held for over 14 years. As IT Chairman my role included overall responsibility for websites and social networking, business systems, Intranets and just about anything associated with "IT" as well as making sure the FSB's annual Conference was available to the outside world in web imagery, video and social media - a task I performed as a member of the National Conference committee for many years, long before similar organisations caught up. I pioneered the use of Skype, GotoMeeting and general Intranet technology in the organisation and built a wealth of knowledge on the technical and operational issues of said communication tools. I set up a media studio in the FSB's Blackpool head office and developed hands-on experience with video recording and editing equipment and processing software.

Even Further Back

If you wish to go further back into my history then you might find this address of use.

Current Interests

I am interested in solar power and other alternative sources of power, LED RGB lighting and general alternative energy, digital photography and video, writing, general science, space science, and technology. I am currently absorbed in the hardware and software of Espressif's ESP8266 and ESP32, Node.JS and Node-Red and developing on the Raspberry Pi, Odroid and similar devices. More on all of that at the tech blog.