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Ian Kirk's Home Page

"I'm the best at what I do. But what I do isn't very sensible."

This site is still under construction, and will be forever more
What's New? · News · Oxford · Software

All About Me

Well, bits and pieces, anyway...

Background

Nothing too dramatic here - amongst other things I haven't: Instead I've had a fairly routine upbringing in Derbyshire, in the Midlands region of England, spent a moderately excessive amount of time at the University of Birmingham (again, the English one), then gone on to work in various departments of what's currently called AEA Technology.

More to follow... (hey, I said this was under development!)

For a more concise version of all this nonsense you can have a peek at my CV as I had it lying about I thought I might as well update and include it here. Offers of extremely well paid jobs are always welcome.


Hobbies

I can't (honestly) claim any great expertise in any of these, but this is what I tend to do when I'm not at work, asleep or slumped in front of the goggle box:
Reading
Fairly self-explanatory, this one. Details to follow, and in the meantime there's always my books page to look at for a few clues.

Aikido

Trapping
That's Trapping as in Treasure Trap, rather than poking around in woods trying so snare poor dumb animals - two entirely different things, as long as you discount Elves.

Wonderfully, and disturbingly accurately, described as "Cross Country Pantomime" by Rich Caller.

Messing about with PCs
That's right - I'm so addicted I can't even keep myself away from the things when I'm not chained to them at work.


Oxford - Where I Live

The City of Oxford

Oxford - that's the Oxford, in England, for any Americans that might be wondering - is a fairly good place to live. Lots of rather nice pubs and beautiful old buildings (one might almost say "quaint" ) but sadly a more than slight tendency to get absolutely packed between roughly May and October. That's students and tourists (and far too many buses in Cornmarket Street) for you...

To build massive descriptions of Oxford into my page would be futile, as there's far too much I feel I'd have to say and loads of Oxford bumpf already on the Web in any case. So, in the best Internet tradition I'll just throw in a few links for you to follow up if you want more details of this historic old city:

Oxford City Guide
All sorts of info on Oxford for both residents and visitors - facilities, maps and general descriptions of what's what. If you want to know something about Oxford and it's on the Web anywhere you can probably find it - or a link to it - here.

Oxford Reference for Tourism and Business
Quite similar to the previous site, but with an extra commercial information element and a somewhat wider scope - covers the entire county of Oxfordshire rather than just the city of Oxford.

Oxford University
You know the place - been around for nigh on a thousand years and - along with Cambridge University - educated unwholesomely large numbers of major British political and Civil Service figures. These days it's still one of the most prestigious educational establishments in the UK (if not the world), and has dozens of very appealing stone college buildings scattered throughout the centre of the city.
In the abstract I would have loved to spend my own Uni years in buildings of that sort, but that said wouldn't change the actual location of my tertiary education (the University of Birmingham) for an instant - and as that was a "redbrick" (= built in the 1960's) University it was sadly deficient on the medieval stone building front. Oh well, perhaps in the next life...

Oxford Brookes University
Until recently known as <ahem> Oxford Polytechnic. Still, they decided to turn themselves into a University a few years ago, so who am I to disagree? As I'd put a link in for the "original" Uni I thought it only fair to include one for this venue too - please be aware that it's an entirely separate establishment, with buildings in a different part of the city and none of the longstanding background of the original.

Oxford Clues
And now for something completely different - this is an "Oxford for Americans" guide put together for and by the students of Stanford University's Oxford education program. It's primarily designed for American students coming over for 3+ month visits, but I suspect any non-English visitors will find it interesting. Brits (and particularly Oxford residents) might enjoy reading it for the "how others see us" element, c.f. Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island.

Getting to Chez Kirk

Anyone that wants to get to where I live can click here to get a self-extracting set of directions and a map. To stop just anyone getting these details I've added a password to the file, so you'll need to use:

    housedir.exe -s[PASSWORD]

in a DOS box to get the files out. Replace [PASSWORD] with my current street address, all lowercase and with spaces removed, to apply the actual password - e.g. if I lived at 572 Pershore Road (which I don't anymore!) the password would be 572pershoreroad. The idea is that you can only get the details if you know my address already - hope it works!

The self-extracting file has been virus-checked, and is certified clean, but if you're a little paranoid and don't like the idea of downloaded .EXE's, click here to get a plain old .ZIP version of the same files. Of course, then it's down to you to UNZIP it (the same password applies!)...


Brum Mob News and Gossip

Assorted gratuitous info about happenings amongst the ex-Brum/Trappie crowd - or at least such info as has reached my ears. Pass it on to me and I'll pass it on to the eagerly awaiting masses.

The latest trend seems to be having kiddies - what with Tony and Andrea's it's very much a case of none at all for a few years, then 3 come along at once.

Arwen and Carl's Sprog Arrives

To quote Carl, for anyone not on his email list:
Click here to go to Arwen's entry on the picture page, where her final set of scans are.

STOP PRESS

The picture page now includes a picture of Sprog himself, which has just been sent out by Carl.


Toerag and Helen's Sprog Arrives

Check out Toerag's home page for details...


Software

Here are gratuitous links to a few pieces of software I've found to be of use:

The Agent and Free Agent news readers - Agent is a full blown newsgroup and email client, costs around $20 (US), and is much more flexible and powerful than the freebie Outlook Express given away by Microsoft with Internet Explorer.
Free Agent is - as the name might suggest - a freeware version of Agent; slightly less functionality than Agent (but still more than Outlook Express) and the capacity to receive email disabled. Have a go with this if you want to get a feel for the program, and decide if you want to upgrade to Agent or not.

The HomeSite Web page editor, currently at version 3.0.1 - I've got a few reservations about these guys' ability to arrange hassle-free releases of new versions, but their software's the best I've found to date.

PaintShop Pro - wrong icon, right link.


What's New?

27/01/00 Finally found time to do things after coming back from Canada. Added some piccys of the visit, and moved His Dark Tower to its new location (it now has its very own domain, which somehow seems fitting...).
11/9/99 Added a few more pictures, and some inspirational messages to His Library.
17/8/99 Started adding stuff on the assorted Landmark Trust holidays we've been on through the years.
25/7/99 Pictures again; a few from the Landmark 99 holiday, and (inexplicably) some from the '98 Trap Banquet.
6/6/99 More picture page mods; finished (for the time being) the Icelandic visit one, started putting the Oxford visit in order.
19/5/99 More mods to the picture pages, mainly the Icelandic visit one.
9/5/99 Finally started working on this Site again!



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