DIGITAL SIGNAGE FOR INDEPENDENT RESTAURANTS
Triggered by the demands of restaurant owners impressed with a sophisticated online menu publishing system he had produced, Alex fast tracked the introduction of the HEYYU Digital Signage solution. This involved sourcing display hardware from Taiwan, hiring graphic designers and electricians and then installing the HEYYU units themselves. He managed, despite tight deadlines, family health issues, complex logistics and impatient high street business owners.
THE ARTWALKER PROJECT™
LOCATION BASED SCENIC ART
PORTABLE AUDIO REACTIVE VIDEO SYNTHESIZER + VIDEO TITLING SYSTEM
POWERED BY BiT BOPPER™
Compact BiT BOPPER powered system includes some of the most popular features of our renowned Classic BiT BOPPER, providing an affordable solution to your entertainment needs. SONOVISTA was distributed by High End Systems (Austin, Texas, USA) between 1993 and 1995. The Atari Falcon 030 based BiT BOPPER software that powers SONOVISTA was made available until around 2010 to enthusiasts of retro visuals.
The SONOVISTA Vision Control programming system supports multiple users
A NIGHT IN THE LIGHT OF SONOVISTA
SONOVISTA may be programmed to power up with any iCUE or iCUE Sequence. You could start with a custom designed VideoGobo animation based on your logo.
Pre-programmed VideoGobo based iCUEs provide a dynamic video light show, fully synchronized with the ambient music.
Use the iCUE Alarm to automatically insert promotional messages and images at preset times.
Promote next weeks live band using the CyberWriter's PAGE style text which automatically formats your messages providing a professional appearance.
Advertise beverages using the CyberWriter's smooth scrolling TICKER-TAPE style text which can be programmed to wrap around for as long as required.
As the evening winds down, choose more placid imagery such as slowly gliding kaleidoscoped VideoGobo patterns...
...or scenic PhotoImages
Atari Falcon 030 or C-LAB Falcon
AUDIO REACTIVE GRAPHICS + VIDEO
Proprietory BiT BOPPER
DOS Format 1.4MByte
Macintosh II/Macintosh PowerPC saved on MS-DOS formatted disk
VIDEO OUTPUT (NTSC or PAL)
1 volt Peak to Peak Composite to RCA / Phono
UHF (Channel 3 for USA)
COMPATIBLE VIDEO DEVICES
Video monitors, Video projectors, Televisions, Vision mixers, Video Effects Generators, Video Cassette Recorders, Multimedia Computers.
600mv Line Level (using optional attenuator)
COMPATIBLE AUDIO DEVICES
Audio Mixing desk, HiFi system, Compact disc player, Audio amplifier or pre-amplifier, Multimedia computer, Video cassette recorder/player, Microphone etc.
FEATURES + UX Design
Tim Wilson (Lead engineer of final product)
Johnny NG & Nick Baker* (Initial)
*Nick went on to lead the development of the original X-Box.
PHOTO: (C) Mike Scully Photography. All Rights Reserved. Kudos to Craze Communications for all the hard work!
RIDE SHARING SYSTEM
A proposal for a ride sharing system to help reduce traffic flow and benefit the environment. Oxford politics got in the way, but two decades later, we may try again. It may be even harder with so many concerns about personal safety. All said, even in 1991, our proposal and IT system design actually delivered pretty much everything that would be available today, the only lacking affordable technology was a way to track vehicles to protect people. GPS and/or mobile phones now make this possible.
Original 1991 COTRAV membership brochure
4D IMAGINATION PROCESSOR
Originally prototyped on the Commodore Amiga as part of AmigaMagic(tm) and further developed on the Acorn Archimedes with the backing of Acorn themselves, Jenesis was never completed after NeXT ceased to be and were purchased by Apple, Inc.
NeXT were very enthusiastic about Jenesis and it was sad to see them go. To date (2020), no 'pro-sumer' 3D modelling and animation application has been developed with such an intuitive and natural interface as Jenesis.
PCW STOP PRESS
DESIGNER DESKTOP PUBLISHING APPLICATION FOR THE AMSTRAD PCW
Cover story review in 8000 Plus Magazine 1988
The revolutionary DIRECT ACCESS CONTROL PANEL
Used to operate all PCW STOP PRESS functions, the control panel is activated instantly by simply holding down two of the three mouse buttons. By clicking the appropriate icon a feature would be activated. In addition, if the user preferred, the GRID REFERENCE letters & numbers around the edge of the panel allowed a co-ordinate to be punched in to activate a feature. For example:
To draw a circle, simply key in [I-4] (or [4-I]) and the CIRCLE tool will be selected. A great way to work if you did not want to keep having to activate the control panel. And unlike today's Windows and Mac based key commands, our Direct Access system allows ALL features to be operated using key commands, while the grid reference around the edge of the panel provide a reminder. PCW STOP PRESS included a range of other innovations including a built in graph plotting system (see icons [J-1] to [J-8] ), and the ability to capture LIVE video DIRECT to the screen using an attached video digitizer. (Yes, this was 1987, and no one else had ever done it before.)
The PIXEL EDITOR (Zoom)
See the letter 'R' in the word WAR in the headline? This is shown enlarged in the zoom window on the lower right of the image. Most pixel editors for the next decade or so did NOT allow you to see the area you are working on at its original size. With Stop Press, you do. In addition, the pixel editing window automatically re-positions itself around the screen depending on which part of the image is being edited.
Cover story in 8000 Plus Magazine - The Shootout
"... a superb package, well thought out and fun to use" Computer Shopper magazine, December 1988
"The one thing that Stop Press, Tecnation's new desktop publishing package, can show the software industry is that even when a market looks over-crowded you can still find a niche by taking a new and imaginative approach." 8000 Plus magazine, February 1988
"All things considered this is an excellent package. The program is fast and powerful, easy to use and flexible." Computing with the Amstrad PCW magazine, February 1988
"At a fraction of the cost of big DTP packages, Ross Blackman considers is fantastic value for money." Personal Computer World magazine, March 1988
"I have used all the DTP packages for the PCW ... but have always been left feeling that they were not so good as I might have wished, nor so comprehensive. Stop Press fulfils all my wishes and more. Your Amstrad PCW magazine, April 1988
"I can strongly recommend Stop Press" Personal Computer World magazine
"the best graphics available in a DTP package" 8000 Plus magazine
"I have been totally satisfied with its versatility and performance" G. Saunders, Stafford (user)
"May I add a genuine unsolicited commendation on Stop Press, an excellent package with a splendid selection of utilities" B. Orr, Leigh-on-Sea (user)
INTERACTIVE RETAIL DEMO FOR THE COMMODORE AMIGA
Surprised that the Amiga was not being given an opportunity to show its full potential, we approached Commodore in 1987 with an offer to design and develop software for dealers to use to demonstrate the machine's remarkable capabilities. Commodore accepted and AmigaMagic was born.
The AMIGAMAGIC main menu
Starting with a blank background, the oversized diamond shaped icons fall like raindrops onto the screen. Clicking an icon activates the appropriate demo or feature. The lower left icon allowed the Amiga dealer to input the name and address of his or her store, along with a slogan. This was then automatically displayed as an advertisement on the oBLITTERator interactive newspaper. The ? icon leads to the Information Retrieval System that in this case acts as a searchable User Guide and was one of several experimental ventures developed in the 1980s and to our PiCosm ecosystem.
The oBLITTERator interactive newspaper functioned in a similar manner to today's dynamic web pages
The heart of AMIGAMAGIC, the oBLITTERator was named after the BLiTTER chip inside the Amiga and demonstrated the smooth graphics and multi-tasking capabilities of this incredible machine. The whole page scrolls up and down very smoothly. The keyboard arrow keys may be used to manually scroll the newspaper too. In addition, the pictures in the windows are actually animated. The cube spins in 3D, and the spreadsheet works too! Clicking on the spinning cube runs the 3D demo, while clicking on the musical keyboard runs the 4 channel DIGITAL SOUNDJAMMER.
The dealer's advertisement appears in the middle left after the information is entered from the AMIGAMAGIC main menu. To show off the Amiga's multi-tasking ability, the Amiga mouse can be used to literally drag the oBLITTERator down the screen, exposing the actual 3D and sound demos running in the background! Has to be seen to be believed! (For a 1980s app, this was ground breaking and only made possible with the BLiTTER.)
The AMIGAMAGIC 3D animation demonstrator
This fun to use utility allowed the user to independently move and transform the cube and the tile. The TIMECODE based sequencer at the lower left made it possible for short animations to be created, saved to disk and played back in real-time (with all calculations done on the fly) or as a sequence of pre-calculated views. At NO time were scenes individually saved as frames. Only the mathematical vector calculations where performed in advance when in PRE-CALCULATE mode. This technique was quite unique. It saved a considerable amount of disk and memory space when using computers that have the power to render simple graphics on the fly - such as the amazing Amiga.
The AMIGAMAGIC Digital SOUNDJAMMER
Further showing off the Amiga's unique capabilities, the DIGITAL SOUNDJAMMER was a fun to use 4 channel recording studio, complete with a selection of sampled sounds ("voices"), a drum machine and a mixing desk! Notes were entered using the mouse by clicking on the piano style keyboard. And to make it impossible to play the wrong notes, pre-calculated chords can be played too.
The Information Retrieval System (Used as the AMIGAMAGIC User Guide in this case)
The SOUNDJAMMER attracted the attention of the CEO of Datel Electronics, the world renowned speciality video game cartridge manufacturer. They were keen to turn the AMIGAMAGIC SOUNDJAMMER into a fully fledged digital sampling and playback studio. Et Voila, Datel SAMPLE STUDIO.
Datel Sample Studio (1987)
The Datel SAMPLE STUDIO was based on the AMIGAMAGIC SOUNDJAMMER with added sampling hardware plus a revolutionary sound sampling and editing interface designed by ourselves. We conceived for Datel the world's first 'cut and paste' digital audio editing interface. The left of the two screenshots shows the unique zoom windows where the sound waves are displayed graphically and could be manipulated to digitally "splice" sound samples. For example, you could take: "I, John Smith, hereby promise to pay Peter Jones ten thousand dollars."and alter it to say "I, Peter Jones, hereby promise to pay John Smith ten thousand dollars."
SAMPLE STUDIO was designed by Alex Blok and co-engineered by ourselves and Datel. Datel designed the hardware.
"The display is very pretty to look at, making good use of the Amiga's graphics capabilities"
- Your Amiga, June 1988
"The screen displays of the Datel software are beautifully designed"
- Amiga Computing, February 1989
Interactive retail demo for the Commodore Amiga
1987, England (PRODUCT NOT FOR RESALE)
Commodore Business Machines (UK) Ltd
UX DESIGN + PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Professor Stephen Belcher
(Now director of the UK Met Office)
AMIGAMAGIC once again proved our ability to conceive ideas and designs that were ahead of their time and set trends that were subsequently followed by others world-wide. The concepts behind the "bas-relief" 3D interface and oBLITTERator interactive newspaper were introduced to the mass market nearly ten years after AMIGAMAGIC.
The EXTRA! EXTRA! Box coverThe bas relief (3D effect) graphical user interface was radical in 1987
The PAGE COPYING control panelPerformed file handling on AMX Pagemaker pages
The CUSTOMIZER control panelUsed to setup AMX Pagemaker preferences and select printer drivers and other utilities.
AMX Pagemaker Utilities, Fonts & Clip-Art for BBC Micro AMX Pagemaker
Neil Lee (Machine code programming)
John Simpson & Joe Lavery (Artwork)
Alex Blok (UX design and additional software development)
MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION
Advanced Memory Systems Ltd
(Subsequently acquired by Logitech)
BBC AMX Pagemaker
DESKTOP PUBLISHING FOR THE BBC MICROCOMPUTER
Advertisement for Pagemaker (1986)
One of if not the world's first desktop publishing application, AMX Pagemaker was our first complex commercial product that really did change the world - giving people the power to publish from their home, small business, parish or school.
Blending never seen before functionality with an intuitive interface and ground breaking real-time technology, Pagemaker achieved with an 8bit microcomputer something that many thought impossible.
The Pagemaker MAIN EDITOR
The 'mode' icons on the right allow the user to select tool categories. The paint pot icon provided a complete design studio with features (such as airbrushing) that are found in today's dedicated photo-retouching applications. How many page layout applications around today offer the ability to edit a graphics within the document?
Another technical innovation was the real-time virtual memory: While each page was being worked on, the user could scroll up and down the bitmap in real-time. Pagemaker would read and write the areas off the screen area to disk, allowing pages larger than the computer's memory capacity to be created. The application could only draw upon 32K of RAM in total!
The innovative AUTOFLOW(tm) flowed text around rectangular images. AutoFlow was improved in our next product to allow text to wrap around irregular shaped images.
The AMX Pagemaker FONT DESIGNER
A separate module, the font designer allowed the user to create or edit complete typefaces (at 16 x 16 pixel resolution!) and then immediately use them within Pagemaker. Unique at the time.
The MODE CONVERTOR
This intuitive module converted a variety of BBC Microcomputer images into the format accepted by Pagemaker.
With an innovative graphical interface, the printer selector provides actual illustrations of every printer that Pagemaker can drive – including one of the world's first personal laser printers from Canon.
Yet another innovation, the page previewer provided reduced sized versions of the pages, and could be programmed to print different quantities of each individual page. Something that no page makeup or word processing application available today (AD 2000) is capable of.
AMX Pagemaker demonstrated on the BBC's Micro Live TV show (1986)
"A straw pole of computer journalists saw the AMX Pagemaker voted the undisputed hit of the November Electron & BBC Micro User Show"
The Micro User Magazine, January 1986
"Pagemaker is phenomenal ... this product is worth every penny"
Educational Computing Magazine, January 1986
"As a journlist, I was very impressed with Pagemaker, and as an AMX Mouse user I was absolutely enthralled."
Pete Lee - Journalist.
"... I like this package. In fact this is one of the most professional packages I have seen for the BBC Micro" "All I can say is go out and buy it..." "This is an excellent package and well worth the money."
A&B Computing Magazine, April 1986
"So, the big decision: Fleet Street Editor or Pagemaker? My choice would be Pagemaker ..."
Acorn User Magazine, June 1986
"... an exciting package like Pagemaker, can be used with great results by mentally and physically handicapped adults" Learning to Cope Magazine, 1986/87
"Pagemaker is brilliant."
R.K.N., Warrnambool, Australia
"Hi! I suppose you've had many such messages, but I would just like to say that Pagemaker is a masterpiece! I use it for business purposes in the office and to produce weekly newsletters for my son's football team and for the school at which my wife teaches. I never fail to sing PM's praises to any one who cares to listen. I look forward to additions to the PM range with great interest and impatience. Cheers, Clive"
(The Griffin Family), Wed Oct 22, 1986 via MICRONET e-mail.
[D]IGITAL [O]PERATION of [R]EHABILITATION + [I]NDEPENDENCE [S]YSTEM (1984)
A morse code word processor operated using a four button controller. Real time voice feedback was provided via an easy to comprehend speech synthesizer as each character was input.
The late Doris Page with Countess Mountbatten of Burma and Alex Blok at the public unveiling of the D.O.R.I.S. system in 1985
Foot operated controller
Acorn BBC Microcomputer
RPS Speech Synthesizer
4 button controller
Canon Bubblejet Printer
Software design and development
Initial Morse Code algorithm
Letter of July 21 1984 from Association of Wrens
BASIC CAD FOR THE BBC MICROCOMPUTER (1984)
The very first product from our founders, Artsystematic was used by British Airways, Cray Research and many others at a time when creative software applications and computer graphics were still in their infancy.
Pi 25 39
An energetic creative visionary, entrepreneur and product guy, Alex enjoys making life easier and more compelling for people through the application of thoughtful design and due process.
During his youth and onwards, fascinated with nature and how things work, Alex would digest National Geographic, Electronic Engineering Times, EDN, Scientific American and other journals and encylopedias. He gains inspiration from technical journals on how the latest technologies can make new product categories possible, from flexible displays and artificial muscles to next generation power systems.
Alex also enjoys being involved in the creation of marketing materials, originally influenced by the work of David Ogilvy and Apple, Inc - blending a clear value proposition with creative branding and crafty copy writing.
As of October 2020 - Until retirement, co-running YAIR ENERGY LIMITED, engaged in multidisciplinary design and engineering along with PiCosm, a unique service focused on compelling applications of user managed structured data.
KEY ATTRIBUTES + SKILLS
Spatial Imagination + Clarity of Vision
Product + UX + Graphic Design
Copy Writing + Slogans
Talent Spotting Engineers
Consumer/SME Business Analysis
Database Scripting (Including prototyping functioning apps in Filemaker)
Making things including model aircraft, furniture and go carts
Various project management tasks covered elsewhere in this bio
As captain of paintball team in Sacramento Valley, California, lead team to two capture the flag victories in 95 degree central valley heat!
Treasurer + Chairman of Newbury Computer Club
School house captain (Alex's house won in sports that year)
Cox of a rowing four
Alex takes an interest in the following organisations for the reasons given:
Amazon.com - Superb use of hypertext concepts since the day their book store went live all the way through to today. Kindle + Whispersync are a mix of hassle free technology and a predictable consumer friendly business model.
Apple - Highly effective marketing and copy writing. Attention to detail, such as the sound and visual effects that accompany deleting a file or other action in MacOS and Apple's more recent mobile OSes.
Dyson - Robust design and engineering. Not listed on the stock market, so able to focus on products and staff wellbeing - IE, stakeholders, not shareholders.
Greenpeace - Highly effective and apolitical, therefore the only such charity Alex donates to.
John Lewis - Consumer and staff friendly business thanks to good training and profit sharing, and like Dyson, do not have to cater to shareholders.
Quora - Fascinating, thought provoking & educational.
Tesla/Space-X/Solar City - Prime example of how engineering lead management leads to ground breaking technology that works reliably after robust iterative development, including exploding rockets.
INTERESTS + HOBBIES
A clean sustainable economy
Aircraft + Aerospace
Blogging, with a focus on fighting dystopia + unnatural toxic social engineering
Building + Flying* radio controlled electric aircraft
Garden Cities + National Infrastructure
Video gaming, with a bias towards PUBG Mobile + Battlefield + Battlezone + Rocket League
Intelligent + Slapstick movies/TV
Inline + Ice hockey
Music theory + Practice (Keyboards)
Photography (Videography only now)
The effects of technology on society
Writing short stories
"Alex has a superb insight into product conception & execution"
- Lowell Fowler (CEO High End Systems, Austin, Texas)
"A unique (spacial) imagination"
- Mr Tabor (Social studies, General Studies, English lecturer and early mentor)
May reference some products listed above.
2020 July 4 - Alex's releases to friends and family initial concept renderings for POLO MARCO, his design for a space ship to tour the solar system in around 2040. The lack of confidentiality associated with this venture means it can be used by Alex's employer to showcase their creative design skills and pragmatic (‘no Sci Fi’) approach to engineering problems.
2020 - Finally, a dream come true, Alex was able to attend CES in Las Vegas and meetup with key OEMs.
2012 - Designed, took photographs for and developed the world's first walk through ('PhotoWalker') UX for a retail store.
2007 - Produced GONUMBER.COM, a unique directory that made it easy for people to access and share information on businesses. The value proposition exceeded that of indirect competitors, such as Yell, who subsequently suffered massive losses, despite receiving billions in funding from 3i. Alex worked with Alan Whiting to design a clever logo that was featured in advertising (above). Ten years on, GONUMBER was rebranded PiCosm to better reflect its long term ambitions. PiCosm is Alex's slow burn venture to simplify all manner of every day tasks whilst handing user data management and ownership over to you!
2002 onwards - Despite the odds and obstacles, saved the life of and organised the rehabilitation of a close relative, including managing diet and putting together a reliable home control / iOT (Internet Of Things) system to enable a safe, dignified and independent lifestyle. This included customising Android tablets and mobile phones.
2000 - Alex conceived of and produced early designs for the world's first circular mobile communications device (side elevation shown above), drawing considerable demand from friends and colleagues who saw the realistic renderings created by Alex's colleague Alan Whiting. Over 16 years later, the circular display technology is maturing (thanks to smart watches), and after several iterations of the mechanical design, Alex hopes to develop the device (codenamed 'TUiT') in the 2021 timeframe in conjunction with a manufacturing partner. Motorola have expressed written interest in TUiT. Space this watch!
2000 - Designed invite for party on roof of his flat in San Francisco (above).
2000 - Contracted by Sun Microsystems to produce artist's impressions of how Java may be used out in a real world future.
1998 - Produced FONE427, a system for delivering voicemail messages to users of the ICQ instant messaging service. Designed the web UX (above). Project abandoned after potential partner closed down.
1997 - Artwalker wins Sony and Yahoo site of the year awards.
1996 - Logitech gave Alex one of the world's first digital cameras to use for an experimental project to create a 'photowalk' through Palo Alto, California via a series of hyperlinked street scenes. (Way before Google's Street View.) This inspired the creation of The Artwalker Project - Art To Explore(tm), where fine art fans navigate through scenic locations via a series of interconnected paintings or drawings that they can admire and purchase. Back then, Artwalker was hand built, with no CMS (Content Management System), so today, Alex is managing the development of a custom smart CMS to speed up the generation of 'artwalks' and will relaunch Artwalker in due course or sell it to an online gallery.
1995 - Alex and his colleague Brian Christman (who went on to design the UX for TiVO) used Alex's design concepts to win the contract to create the logo and visual identity for Macworld Online. Alex designed the above ONLINE logo that you may have seen on t-shirts and baseball caps.
1992 - Conceived PiN, The People's Interactive Network. Supported by Apple. More details to follow. A fascinating project that was killed off by the introduction of a minor global venture known as the world-wide web.
1992 - Alex was contracted by Books That Work to design the UX for a ground breaking series of CD-ROM based multimedia DIY guides.
1991 - Initially for a 5 week break, Alex flew to the USA to see some family friends and explore Silicon Valley. Loved it all so much, remained there for just under 10 years. Note, this was not a business trip, but a vision quest. Leaving the fish bowl.
1991 - Introduced to the world, the UDiS Media proposal. (More on this to follow.)
1990 - Classic BiT BOPPER featured live on BBC's Tomorrow's World, drawing an audience of 17 million viewers. (Verified.)
1987 - Originally conceived for the Commodore Amiga, designed and began development of intuitive Jenesis real time 4D 'Imagination Processor' on the Acorn Archimedes. Acorn kindly supplied Alex with the hardware following the success of AMX Pagemaker on the Acorn BBC Micro. Jenesis was designed to make the creation of 3D objects and worlds using the same usability concepts as tangible workshop tools, such as a lathe and milling machine. Alas, the project proved too difficult to engineer and was abandoned. The real time graphics routines were used instead in Alex's only white elephant, the Classic BiT BOPPER. Jenesis was re-started and supported by NeXT, but that platform was abandoned so Jenesis died again. Much sadness. Alex may re-awaken Jenesis now that virtual and augmented reality is a thing, although there exists much competition today from Microsoft Hololens, Google Daydream and Autodesk 360.
1987 - Surprised that the Amiga was not being given an opportunity to show its full potential, Alex approached Commodore with an offer to develop software for dealers to demonstrate the machine’s remarkable audio visual and multitasking capabilities. Commodore accepted and Alex expanded his software development team to produce AmigaMagic, a remarkable mashup of ahead of their time UX concepts and true multi-tasking technology.
1987 - Designed and project managed development of PCW Stop Press, the world’s first ‘designer’ desktop publishing application featuring a unique single control panel UX that allowed specific features to be activated with an icon grid reference, such as H5 for the line tool. Won multiple awards and lead to the collapse of all competitors. Alex considers PCW Stop Press as the best product he has ever designed.
1986 - Using a mix of BBC Basic and 6502 Arm machine code on his Acorn BBC Micro, Alex wrote prototype software for audio reactive visualiser. (Footage is on 8mm video cassette in a wooden box.)
1985 - Developed D.O.R.I.S. Morse Code Word Processor for polio victim. Organised donations of equipment from various suppliers. Praised by both the recipient and the charity that organised the venture. Featured in the press during the public unveiling of the system by Countess Mountbatten of Burma.
1984 - Invented, designed and produced Europe's if not the world's first Desktop Publishing application, AMX Pagemaker. Engineered by Alex's good friend, Neil Lee, AMX Pagemaker went on to win multiple awards and ignited the consumer and SME electronic publishing revolution. Alex sketched out the designs for AMX Pagemaker within a few hours on a notepad. It took a year to develop. The screen print above is of the font designer - the only component of the app that Alex also had a hand in coding - a horrible experience and what made him abandon software development and focus on UX design!
1984 - Alex's first commercial product Artsystematic was published - A basic CAD application for the BBC Microcomputer featuring a unique 'perspective aid' to help with drawing 3D shapes. Used by British Airways to create some presentation content.
1984 - Reluctantly quit Quantel/Micro Consultants, Newbury, England, where over 5 years Alex progressed from trainee technician through to an electronics test engineer. Whilst testing PCBs for it, he became fascinated by the world famous Quantel Paintbox, triggering an interest in computer graphics and UX design.
1984 - At 3am during a major thunderstorm, Alex's parent's home was hit by lightning that destroyed all of his gadgets, including the Sinclair Spectrum. With the insurance payout, Alex purchased a BBC Microcomputer, allowing much more sophisticated software to be developed.
1984 - Whilst on holiday in France, Alex wrote a submarine hunter video game on IBM PC to help teach a friend (above) to program. Hard copy of software is to right of the PC above the printer.
1982 - Alex wins International competition to design a computer of the future. The prize of a Sinclair ZX Spectrum was awarded by Sir Clive Sinclair himself, who went on to hire Alex to put together some conceptual industrial and functional design ideas for what became the One Per Desk.
1981 - As a college project, Alex wrote a tank battle game on the Sinclair ZX-81 (above in his Lego organiser) and received 100% for the work.
1977/8 - Won school photographic competition two years in a row.
During his childhood, Alex spent most of the time outdoors building things, such as go karts (with winter ski attachment!), model planes and even a three story tree house in the depths of the great Penwood where many adventure was had with friends.