Hi Everyone - I'm Philip (I never much liked "Phil") and I discovered the Restart Project in early 2014 shortly after retiring, from LJ Rich's report of her iPad fix on the BBC website. Since then I've been attending Restart Parties whenever I can, and greatly enjoy tinkering with stuff, finding out and showing people what's inside, and showing them that screws can be undone and that what they hide is often pretty fascinating.
I first started tinkering at the age of about 6, with batteries, bulbs, switches and bits of wire. In fact I probably learned to read a circuit diagram before I learned to read English! In fact it was only when I discovered that the local library contained books on Electricity, suddenly, the slightly intimidating activity at school called "Reading" acquired meaning and purpose! I devoured the library's stock on the subject like a starving lion. (Having exhausted the Electricity books, I well remember standing in the library check-out queue a little later, with another science book. A lad behind me and just sufficiently older than me to feel confident in his superiority remarked "you won't understand that - it's about ATOMS"! In fact my father, a research chemist, had already explained to me what atoms were.)
My electronics started with a crystal set just a few years later. I well remember running home from Cubs on a Monday night and getting into bed in time to listen to the Goon Show on my headphones before falling asleep, sometimes before it ended at 9pm. (Yes, I'm that old, but people tell me I'm wearing well.)
When I left school, it just had to be an Electronic Engineering degree. But following a Summer vac job when I was given a project to build with early integrated circuits on a piece of 20 tracks/inch stripboard (twice the standard pitch), and after spending much time fighting invisible short circuits, cracked tracks and solder shorts, I decided that software was where I wanted to go. In my last year at school I'd already learned to program the Elliott 803 computer at Hatfield Tech (as it then was). I reasoned that software played fair - it didn't mess you around with shorts and bad connections. But that was before I discovered real time software, which isn't always quite so forgiving! So after graduation I spent a year at Cambridge studying for their Computer Science Diploma.
After Cambridge I took a year out with Voluntary Service Overseas, teaching A-Level maths and physics in Sri Lanka. I greatly enjoyed teaching, passing on my knowledge and enthusiasm for the subjects I was teaching. In fact I have always got a kick out of explaining things to people. This is one reason why I enjoy Restart, particularly when we have people coming along who are looking for something more than just a free fix. And this is why I've enjoyed authoring many of the articles on this wiki.
I spent a large part of my career in software development, for a number of years as design authority for a proprietary minicomputer operating system kernel which was quite sophisticated for its day. After the company I worked for at the time moved over to Unix, my focus was increasingly on Information Security, in the latter years advising public sector clients on risk assessment and management, and security accreditation. I retired at the end of 2013 and for now I'm maintaining a modest level of involvement with my professional body, the Chartered Institute of Information Security. And so I discovered the Restart Project just when I was looking around for ways to use my new freedom.
I've always maintained an interest in electronics, often having some sort of project on the go. I also had a spell building and flying kites. (You'll normally find me at the Dunstable Kite Festival with something or other to stick to the sky.) Oh yes, and I try and maintain my French, too, through reading French novels and a French astronomy magazine. In addition, I love classical music and have been a member of the St Albans Bach Choir for over 40 years. I'm active in my local church, in charge (naturally) of the computer we use for projection, and with my wife, leading services around once a month.
I've enjoyed meeting many other Restarters with their infectious enthusiasm, and both learning from them and sharing some of my own knowledge and skills. And so may it continue, for as long as the ol' grey cells hold out!
You can find me on Twitter as @pleriche and on Instructables.com as p_leriche. There are a few repair guides on iFixit.com which I submitted under my full name.