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Jan 12, 2017
Category: Christmas
Posted by: adrians

64 Lamb’s Lane, Cottenham, Cambridge CB24 8TA, UK
Tel: 01954 204610
Email: adrian.stephens@ntlworld.com

Click here for pdf with pictures.

Christmas Letter 2016

Well, it’s that time of year.  Our American friends have already stuffed, cooked and consumed their turkeys.  We can look forward to the same in a few weeks.  So it is time to cast a retrospective eye on the happenings of the year.

What a busy year it has been.  Two weddings, a funeral and a semi-retirement.

We said goodbye to Aunt Eileen, who lived with my parents.  She had suffered two strokes and found life very difficult.  She died in May.  Adrian and Tina were out of the country at the time, but Sarah and David were able to attend to pay their respects.  She was much loved and will be missed.

Our son David married Eleanor Fountain in Bar Hill (near to Cambridge).  They had a lovely wedding on a hot summer’s day.  They live in Bar Hill along with (from time to time) a cat, a pug, a sister (until recently) and two chickens.  They are also expecting a baby in May next year.  David continues to work for the fire service in London. The photos are here: http://www.chezstephens.org.uk/piwigo/index.php?/category/765.

Our daughter Sarah married Derek Archer near their home in Raunds.  Adrian got to give her away, which meant a ride in a 1932 Rolls-Royce to the hotel venue where the wedding took place.  Unfortunately it rained, but that didn’t dampen folks’ spirits. 

The photos are here:  http://www.chezstephens.org.uk/piwigo/index.php?/category/772. Counting Derek’s two children Jaden and Kyson we now are proud grandparents of 3, 5 (including step-grandchildren) or 6 (including ex-step-grandchildren).  Sarah continues to enjoy her work for the police looking (medically) after those in custody.  She is studying for a master’s.

 

Our daughter Ruth has a boyfriend John, who is in the US air force.  As I write, she is gallivanting round the USA (Chicago, Washington, New York, Maryland) to “meet the family”.  She continues to enjoy her work at the Cambridge Botanic gardens doing things with plant DNA.

 

 

Tina and Adrian are thankful that they are decaying gracefully at no more than the expected rate.  Adrian’s condition is stable. Pity his fashion sense hasn’t improved.

 

Tina’s Aunt Elsie had a fall at the end of last year and spent quite a lot of time in hospital (which was a strain on Tina) as they tried to work out her medications and care package.  We are thankful with the provision of a full time care assistant that allows her to keep her independence.

Adrian was offered a separation package from Intel, somewhat out of the blue.  As big American corporates often do, they needed to do a “headcount reduction” of about 10%.  This time they were “cutting from the top”, and I got offered the choice of taking voluntary redundancy.   I took the offer, and subsequently negotiated with them to support me as a consultant for the remaining 18 months of my commitment as 802.11 chair.  This happened during our May holiday.  He continues to travel about 10 trips a year. 

The separation allows me to spend more time on my own projects, such as building a church sound desk, rebuilding a window, fixing joist sag (painful).  I’ve yet to become idle.  If I do, I anticipate what my colleague Jon describes as “honeydo” projects (“Honey do this,  honey do that…”) to keep me occupied (or I might just buy a large padlock for the office, now christened the doghouse (Tina)).

We give thanks to God for the year past, with its comings and goings.   God bless you wherever you are.

Sincerely/Love/Kisses/Hugs/Manly Handshakes (according to our relationship),

Tina and Adrian Stephens xx

Dec 21, 2015
Category: Christmas
Posted by: adrians

Click here for .pdf version (with pictures).

 

The Stephens Family Christmas letter

Dear friend,

It is that time of year again.  The turkey is getting worried (or, if you are one of our friends from across the pond, the turkey is past worrying).  Christmas present suggestions fill the airwaves. Everybody is making preparations.  I’m wondering just what I can get Tina when she says she wants nothing.  I guess she is wondering the exact same thing.  We’re looking forward to having Eleanor’s family up for Christmas lunch.  Adrian, as, supervisor of the cooking, will try not to poison them.  He’s never actually killed anybody yet.

 

 

Adrian is still gainfully employed at Intel and as chair of IEEE 802.11, and is flying around the world (about 12 foreign trips a year) helping others create fine standards.  Tina likes to accompany him.  And as we meeting once a year in Hawaii, that’s a great opportunity for us to take a holiday.   So we did the usual and enjoyed ourselves snorkelling and eating out on Big Island this year.

 

 

We thank God for continued relatively good health and the opportunity to see the world (or certain bits of it).

Our Children are all getting hitched in various ways this coming year.  Ruth is moving up to Scotland to be with her boyfriend Rory.  We will be sad to see her move away (Tina likes her girls’ nights out), but we are pleased for them both and hope that Ruth will be happy. Rory is a fine fellow – for a Scot. Sarah and her fiancé Derek will be getting married, as will David and his fiancée Eleanor. So next year will be busy.

Tina’s Aunt Elsie had a fall and is currently in hospital with a broken elbow. 

 

 

Adrian’s parents are still growing older gracefully.  He will be seeing them shortly with a hamper of goodies, and will be cooking them an early Christmas lunch too.

Our church called a new minister, and we look forward to his ministry in the Church.  Tina as treasurer has been particularly busy.

 

 

 

We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful 2016.

With hugs, kisses, manly thumps on the back, etc… as (in)appropriate to our relationship.

 

 

Adrian & Tina Stephens

Dec 22, 2014
Category: General
Posted by: adrians

I have been using Menalto's Gallery project for years.  It has now been end-of-lifed.

As a result,  I have moved to Piwigo.  Here is the finished result.

The conversion process took about 2 hours.

Dec 22, 2014
Category: Christmas
Posted by: adrians
Click here for the 2014 Christmas Letter
Apr 21, 2014
Category: General
Posted by: adrians
Changed infrastructure from plain HTML to CMS made simple.
 

Adrian

It's always a challenge to know what to write. What interests me or what I'm proud of doesn't necessarily hold any interest for anybody else. Feedback is always welcome to help me improve this page.

Who I am

I am 60 (as of 2016), Born in Huntingdon, in the UK. Married for 35 years to the gorgeous Tina and blessed with three children and three grandchildren (at the time of writing!).

What I believe

I am a Christian and believe that Jesus is the Son of God through whom salvation is freely given. I am a member at Girton Baptist Church which is a small family church containing the usual mixture of odd people! I am responsible for certain aspects of the Music used in worship co-organising the musicians rota and playing keyboard, and bass.

Achievements

Again, it's tough to know what to put here. Probably my biggest achievement is to marry someone who has shown her willingness to put up with my foibles for the last 35 years!

I've also achieved being made redundant twice.

I'm one of those annoying people with the ability to pass exams (the only one I failed is religious education "O"-level - much to the amusement of all). So I have a BA and Ph.D. from a local university in Natural Sciences (physics) and Physics.

Work

Having completed my formal education, I had a decision whether to stay at Uni and become an academic or to move into the big bad world. Being married to my good woman helped make the decision because it is hard as a penniless academic to set up home. So I became a penniless software engineer. We moved first to Daventry, Northants, where I worked at Software Sciences as a software engineer doing process control and instrumentation. This was our first home, so we mortgaged ourselves to the hilt. Just after we moved, the rate went up several percentage points, and we found the going financially tough for a couple of years. In retrospect, it doesn't seem to have been a problem.

From there, I had a brief spell as a subcontractor (Consine Dynamometers, Chesterfield) doing process control and automation, and then on to work for the government as a higher scientific officer (HSO) at the joint speech research unit. I engineered research programmes performing speech synthesis from text into a small box. I also did some research on rules of pronunication and human factors associated with the use of and perception of synthetic speech. I then moved jobs (without moving location) and was responsible for some research into secure computer systems and formal methods. I left because the Maggie's government wanted direct emplyees to be contract managers, not scientists.

Then I moved back to the Cambridge area with the expectation that I could change jobs without having to move. This has worked out well. I have worked in Cambridge for Philips Scientific, EO Computers Ltd, Cambridge Algorithmica, Symbionics (which because Cadence and then Tality), Mobilian and finally Intel. The move to Symbionics also coincided with a concious choice to become involved in communications technologies as Cambridge was showing leadership in this area through its active consultancies. At Symbionics I started as a software engineer creating the software component of a wireless LAN (802.11) stack. During that period I worked on numerous wireless networking protocols and architected 802.11, Hiperlan, Hiperlan/2 and Bluetooth systems. Organisationally I ended up as head of software technology.

Symbionics was acquired by Cadence, which marked the beginning of the end. This company proved capable of ruining a profit making organization, loosing its sense of direction and generally failing to develop it to take account of its traditional strenghts taking it from a position of leadership to financial ruin. Symbionics was shut down and its staff made redundant a couple of years after I left. Having not enjoyed the big-company mismanagement, I rebounded into a start-up "Mobilian" and worked from my shed in the garden doing 802.11 standards development and business development. I also visited with Mobilian developement teams to work on methodology and architecture.

Mobilian started to go belly-up after a couple of years, and I moved to Intel, originally working from an office in the new computer laboratory building. This coincided with their interest in IEEE 802.11n starting up, and they wanted someone to work on standardisation. I  performed a standards-development job with TGn as chair of its Usage Model and FRCC committees. I have also been working on architecture development internally and building consensus in a number of fora.  I was promoted to a Principal Engineer in 2004.   I was technical editor for 802.11n,  and am now technical editor for 802.11.  I was vice-chair of 802.11 for 6 years, and at the time of writing, have been chair of 802.11 for 2 years.

Hobbies/Interests

Music

I have always enjoyed music in various forms. I prefer to make music (albeit badly) than listen to it. I play keyboard (I have played traditional Organ and Piano) in church some Sunday mornings. I like to start the working day with 20 minutes of piano playing - usually a Haydn or Mozart piano sonata. My first instrument was the guitar - learned when I was 10. (I also tried to make a guitar when I was 14 - which proved a disaster!). I have an Echo Ranger 12-string, which doesn't get used much nowadays. I'm also learning Bass guitar, which I play in the church. My Bass technique is rather poor - I have short fingers and cannot use conventional fingering (i.e. I can only stretch 3 frets), but they tolerate me and sometimes we make beautiful music together.

I'm afraid that I like to make music without suffering the tedium of practicing technique. I have never had music lessons, expect as a singer. This means that my technique is weak, but I have learned to be selective about the pieces I play, and can selectively simplify without it showing too much!

I have also played a little bit of recorder, and have a set of recorders from sopranino to tenor. These don't get used very often.

The most recent addition was a digeridoo from Australia, brought back from the 2005 holiday.  I can kind-of make it work.

Gardening

We have a nice area of land at our house. I used to use half of the back garden to grow vegetables for about 15 years. Then work took me away from home too frequently and I lost the ability to keep things weed-free. I let it grow back to grass which is kept mowed occasionall. I also have a "heap" which is attractive to wild-life.

In the other half, we had the usual rectangle of grass surrounded by borders. I have recently remodelled our small pond to make it bigger and replanted new beds to make more of a feature of the planting, and thereby lost some of the grass area.

My shed/office is also in the back garden. This is a peaceful, quiet place to work - except when our cat is having a territorial dispute with the neighbor's cat!

Photography

As remarked elsewhere, I have been involved with photography in various forms for most of my life. I am now enjoying taking *lots* of pictures with my Canon EOS 350D camera.

When I get the camera out, there are cries of "Oh no" and peole disappear. Luke, our grandson, has not yet learned this, and so is a usually willing photographic model.

You can see my entire photo collection here.

Woodwork

I've made a number of items of furniture around the house. The piece de resistance being a side-board made to measure for the living room (family room). My pieces usually show a lot of character - i.e. no really straight edges, no exactly 90deg joints, nothing quite meeting in the intended place. But they are functional. Mostly.


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