Showing posts from December, 2020

Living in a commune

 I posted something on twitter, in response to a question about living in a commune. It's just a spontaneous twitter 'thread' but several people liked it so I thought I would share it here, as it refers to a short period in my life that was, in retrospect, special. When I left school I was idealistic so wanted to join Voluntary Service Overseas - but had no useful skills so they didn't want me. My granny - who seemed to know all sorts of people - suggested the kibbuttz movement in Israel (no, we're not Jewish). So my parents, who were wonderfully liberal, somehow let 18-year-old me go to war-torn Israel on my own, not knowing to where I might be allocated. I worked in a factory making photo machines to save the money to afford it, and flew out to Israel with no idea where to go. From Tel Aviv airport I took a taxi to the kibbutz organisation office, slept on the pavement, and finally found I was to go to Kibbutz Mahanayim in the Golan Heights. Neither my parents, my

Rockaway Beach

 I like Rockaway Beach. It's one of ten small communities down south of San Francisco, strung out along CA-1 - the Pacific Coast Highway - that are collectively known as Pacifica. Each is individual, all are small, and very different from the big city to their north. I discovered Rockaway Beach when I used to fly to San Francisco a lot - usually to Sunnyvale or Milipitas, centers of hi-tech silicon design - and once looked for somewhere to cool down and relax before the long flight home. 'Pacific Coast Highway' sounded promising, and 'Pacifica' sounded nice, and Rockaway Beach had a big sign so I stopped there. One of the shops at Rockaway beach used to be - and I hope still is - Christmas Cove. It sells Christmas decorations and toys all year round - that is all it sells. I walked into Christmas Cove, in high summer, and the lady greeted someone who must have come in behind me: "Hi! How are ya?? Great to see ya!" and I looked to see who she was greeting b

Accidental running

I have helped to create two happy accidents in running.  I devoted much of my career to Digital Signal Processing - a highly mathematical branch of real-time, high-speed, computing whose subtle and complex nature fascinated me, and in which I loved being involved. Late in that career I wrote several books, encapsulating insights I had been privileged to have explained to me by many great people I worked with, and that I felt were valuable to pass on to others. I didn't write them as text books: I wanted to inspire others to enter or continue in my field, and I wanted to help change that field from a dry mathematical purist academic study accessible only to those with a specialist education to PhD level, to a living, fascinating, human endeavour accessible to anyone with the diligence and motivation to pursue it. It is a passion I had, to change that little part of my world - to push aside the traditional academic gatekeepers and the worthy but dull mathematical approach to it, and