Biographical

  • Gary QuigleyI'm Gary Quigley, otherwise known as Quiggles.

    I've "worked with computers" since my early 20s. I started in IT programming ruggedised mobile computers in the 90s, so you could say I was an early app developer! From there I moved through systems analysis, project management, post sales implementations and nowadays I work primarily in a pre-sales technical and management role with a nod to product development.

    Currently I work as a Solutions Consultant/Technical Pre-Sales Manager for Nuance Communications, (a role that is sometimes known as a Sales Engineer). This job means that I work alongside a sales team as a product and solutions expert, assisting in the technical side of closing their business. The products that I look after include a number of imaging products, but the product with which I do the most work is Dragon NaturallySpeaking and its Mac equivalent Dragon Dictate. I help the sales team communicate the productivity capabilities of speech recognition software, but we also understand that it is a product that is a boon for those with various assistive needs including RSI, dyslexia amongst other issues.

    My role also means that I interact with the product development team, so I have a little sway with creating future versions of the product. Naturally, there will be blogs I create on this website that talk about how to use speech recognition more effectively, so bear with me on these insights into the "day job"!

    At home I'm the proud father of 2 and equally proud husband of artist Jo Quigley, (www.quigleyarts.co.uk).

    I have project managed the build of an extension to my house and participated in a huge amount of the building work myself. This wasn't a small job, as we added over 100m2 to the floor area of the house.

    I have a keen interest in all kinds of technology, I create websites for others, and really enjoy motorsport, particularly Formula 1 and the British Touring Car Championship.

    I'll add more to this page, as and when I can think of it!

  • It soon became clear that Symbol were going to change the base language used in their new generation of terminals, (the PDT3100, PDT3800 and WS1000), to C, so I had to start learning that. This is where you start to understand that as long as you are familiar with certain base features of programming, that it's not that difficult to learn new languages. So as long as you understand the role of variables, arrays, comparitive functions and various kinds of loops, you pretty much know the core of programming.

    So I started to learn C from a book and looking at some other code, and I did attend a night school class for a while. The night school was interesting because it showed to me that most computer science taught was behind the curve of how we actually used computers in a proper IT environment. I think the course reinforced a few base points but didn't really teach me anything, I hadn't already learnt for myself.

    What you also have to bear in mind is that this was around 1991 so I didn't have the Internet available as a "goto" resource. We actually had to read books and talk to colleagues - there was no pinching of great lumps of code from the Internet!

  • Another language that I learnt along the way at Datapens Systems was DataFlex by Data Access Corporation. This was a 4GL, (a fourth generation programming language), which really was a data management type of language. 4GLs were meant to cut down on the amount of coding required by 3GLs such as BASIC and C, and to the greater degree it did so you had to think less about the presentation of the program, but you would have less flexibility on occasion. It wasn't a difficult language to learn and had the huge advantage that it could be tied to virtually any database without any changes required in the front end code.

  • Although my work life is in a specific area of IT not specifically related to programming, it would seem I've always had some level of involvement with this side of computing.

    In fact I started my working life as a programmer back in 1989, but the reason I got that job was because as a kid I'd learnt to program my ZX Spectrum. Over the years I've programmed various languages like Basic, C, DataFlex, HTML and PHP, and somehow have always found a reason in any non programming jobs to use my programming skills to make various work flows easier.

  • The first programming language I learnt was Sinclair Basic for the ZX Spectrum. I got my first ZX Spectrum for Christmas in 1982, (although I had to pay for half of it myself from savings!), so I was 14 years old. We bought the 16K version, because the sales guy in WH Smiths told us that no-one would ever need the full 48K version, however by my birthday in March I'd bought the memory upgrade to 48K! As the Spectrum was just the computer itself, you had to attach it to a TV screen and had to supply an audio tape player to load and save any programs.

    I loved this machine and this new world of programming it created for me. Sure I went out and bought all the classic games like Manic Miner, Jet Pac etc, but I also liked the idea of buying the monthly Spectrum magazine, (I forget it's name), to get the code listings. You would laboriously retype these code listings in to your Spectrum, with it's weird multi function rubber keyboard and hope that the program would run! If you got any of the code wrong it just wouldn't run, so you would have to painstakingly run through it all to find the error! Of course there would be the odd occasion where they printed something wrong, and you wouldn't find out until a month later...

  • I joined Datapen Systems in 1989 thanks to my mate Dave Meehan, (a school friend from the age of 11), at the age of 21, who knew I was fascinated by computers and technology and obviously knew my background in programming my ZX Spectrum. At that stage I was a Financial Consultant, but frankly was bored by the monotony of it all, and when I was offered the chance to be a trainee programmer I jumped at the chance.

    As Datapen was a small company, the "training" amounted to be given a pile of books and some old listings and the occasional bit of advice from the rest of the team! However, as I was motivated to stay in this new world of "IT" I worked hard to comprehend this new challenge. The language I first learnt was Symbol MSI UBASIC, and I think I eventually was sent on a course to learn it, but by that stage I was already pretty conversant with it and writing programs. It was not so different from Sinclair Basic - but how different could variants of Basic be?

  • So I guess any blog has to start with a post of some kind, and obviously this is going to be mine… There you go; my first statement of the obvious!

    In principle I don’t actually get blogs… Now there’s a good statement to start a blog with. Why don’t I get them? Well who’s interested in what I have to say?! I guess, in principle no-one is and everyone is at the same time – it just depends on what you have to say. I did start one a number of years ago, but  I didn’t do it for very long.

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