Robert Crane's site

My little place on the Interweb

Work Experience

I was born in London, England on 11th of May 1956 and lived there until December 2007.

Educated at Christ Church Primary school (1961-1967) and Haverstock Secondary School (1967-1972) in Chalk Farm, London.

After school finished for the summer and before starting work full-time, continued working at J. Sainsburys in Kentish town, where I had worked on Saturdays while I was at school - had to fund my record collection somehow!

Lured by the idea of working with satellite communication systems (which were VERY new in 1972), left school to join "Post Office Telecomunications" and has remained with them ever since, althrough the name has changed from "British Post Office" to "British Telecomunications" and (currently) "BT".
During the period following the name change to "British Telecomunications" a separate group was established called "British Telecom International" to deal with all the overseas companies such as KDD in Japan and MCI in the USA.
We were also responsible for the Earth stations such as Goonhilly in Cornwall and Madely where all the UK's satellite traffic was controlled.
BTI had its own board of directors which reported to the main BT board.
Although only having around 6000 staff working in BTI, it generated over 40% of the money into BT despite the rest of BT employing some 200,000 staff! - something we are all VERY proud of.

Although employed by the same company for more than 32 years, the actual jobs have been different

Sep 1972-Aug 1975 Apprenticeship
Sep 1975-Mar 1976 Phone room, 2nd floor, Electra house.
Worst job ever done. Place full of losers. Couldn't wait to get out....
Mar 1976-Aug 1976 Picture Room, Electra house.
BEST job EVER EVER done.
Working with foreign news agencies to bring pictures into UK for national newspapers & sending pictures from our press agencies.
All this was L o n g before the advent of facsimile & was really the pre-runner to todays fax network
As well as maintaining the electonics of the systems, the job involved developing & printing of negatives received over cable and radio links - BRILL
The pictures were received & transmitted using Muirhead© equipment, an example of which is now in the Science museum in London. Pictures were received onto photo-sensitive plates which we had to develop and confirm as being of acceptable quality before we could release the circuit.
Pictures to be sent were wrapped around a drum and scanned by a beam of light as they spun round. The extremes of White and Black had distinct frequencies (Black=1200, White=3600) or, for AM stations such as Rekjavic, amplitudes (which I can't remember now!)
Sep 1976-April 1977 TRC - Telegram Retransmission Centre. One of the largest computer systems in Europe at that time. Responsible for all the Telegram traffic in & out of the UK (which was considerable in those days)
Left after a disagreement with management - their loss, not mine!
Apr 1977-Oct 1977 Back to Picture room - at my request. Oh, it was good to be 'home'..
Oct 1977-Nov 1978 ILTMS (International Leased Message Switching) service on 24-hour rota.
Nov 1978-Dec 1978 Member of day-staff on ILTMS - Away from rota staff 'bitching' about me using a papertape punch at 02:00 <grin>
Jan 1979-Jul 1985 Special Faults & software Preparation group for ILTMS
Spent some of this time at Brent building urghhh! (but it has since been demolished ha haar)
  • Investigation of difficult faults
  • Preparation of both software and database updates for Customers
  • Development of in-house programs
  • Testing of new system (Ferranti)
  • Training in Japan for new Facsimile system for major Japanese Customer
Jul 1985-Mar 1996 Group Software department (inc. promotion!) where I was introduced to the following:
  • Assembler coding in Z80
  • Unix based development system (Z-Lab) urghhh again
  • DEC VAX VMS operating system
  • Phillips PMDS system (God knows what that was about!)
  • LAN annex servers
  • Jackson design methodologies urghhhhhhhhh
  • Introduction to X25/X75 protocols

Also during this period, helped design, write, build and test a new PAD (packet assembler/Disassembler) to connect London systems to those of KDD in Tokyo.
Mar 1986- Mar1999 Support & implementation group for ILTMS (now known as "Primex")
  • Installation of Private Packet Switch exchange (X25 & X75)
  • Installation of "Simplified Message Transfer Protocol&Quot; units for connection to Japanese systems
  • Design & development of replacement for Paper-Tape loading & dumping systems
  • Install, learn, & run a VAX-VMS based message switching system for major Japanese trading company. Involved being trained in New Jersey for 2 weeks then running seminars at home.
  • Design & development of replacement alarm system for entire group
  • System test & implementation of Tandem-based switching system
  • Specification & testing of latest Messaging product (System2000)
  • Design & implemetation of Telex-X25 gateway for BT Telex group
  • Design, setup, test & run LAN based gateway for ccMail® to IATA
  • Design & development of PC-based test program for use with Message Switching systems

Also during this time, I had the dubious "honour" of managing a team of engineers. Technical Officer (T.O.) grades that, while most of them were decent enough people, gave rise to all sorts of staffing issues. Not something I particularly want to do in the future!
Due to an unfortunate accident which meant working from home for over 4 months, used the time to:
  • Learn C++ including OOP
  • Learn Java
  • Learn JavaScript
  • Learn HTML (all these pages produced with NOTEPAD!)
  • Learn how to use Delphi - a Pascal language development tool for Windows
Mar 1999- 2007 Move to I.T. Operations working to Andy Guerin (& later, Dave Hollebon)
First job was testing Netscape Messaging Server - still with messaging but completely different technology, including running NT.
  • MSMail installation, configuration & administration
  • ccMail installation, configuration & administration
  • Microsoft Exchange installation, configuration & administration inc. formal training on MSEx 5.5
  • Lotus Notes
  • Teach-yourself Perl
  • Unix Introduction
  • Isocor (now Critical Path)
    • X400 Messaging server
    • X500 Directory server
    • MetaConnect connectors for MSMail, ccMail, Exchange and Lotus Notes
    • Perl interface for Groupwise
Aug 2007 Retired from BT under 'voluntary redundancy package

Last updated & copyright © 12th January, 2006