About Daniel Rigal

I am Daniel Rigal. I was born in 1970 at Lambeth General Hospital (London, UK). Shortly afterwards it was shut down. I insist the two facts are not related and nobody can prove otherwise. My father was a Rabbi who collected fossils and had two websites (Exploring East London and Jewish Customs) and my mother just about put up with him. My brother, Gideon, is an animator, illustrator and ukulele player. He also has his own web site.

I was educated at the expense of the British taxpayer, so you only have yourselves to blame really. I went to Aldersbrook Primary School, where my mum later worked as a dinner lady until she couldn’t stand it any more. In retrospect, I don’t think it did either of us any good. I then went to Wanstead High School. During this time I got my first taste of computing through a Sinclair Spectrum on which I learned how to write nasty unstructured code in BASIC and how to type badly.

I went to University at the University of Kent at Canterbury studying Physics with Computing. The Computing bit was just a dignified name for Fortran. I had started doing a normal Physics degree but I discovered that I couldn’t hack the maths. I emerged with a lower second although I did do well on all the project work. In retrospect, I would have done a lot better going for a Computer Science degree. That said, I remain interested in Physics even if I now know even less maths than I did then.

While at UKC, I spent quite a lot of my time working for the student radio station which has left me with an interest in the media.

As is customary for Physics graduates with mediocre degrees, I was unemployed for some time after graduation until I realised I needed a more employer friendly qualification. With no money, and no hope of getting a grant, I discovered the only way to get back to University was to go on a slightly dodgy government training scheme. This is where the government gave you £10 a week to get you off the unemployment figures and doing something else (anything else). I chose to study an MSc in Communications Systems Engineering again at the University of Kent at Canterbury and was sent to do a six month project and dissertation with a company called Weidmuller Klippon Microsystems in West Malling (Kent, UK) [UK site]. West Malling is a one horse town (except it has two horses who always look bored). My dissertation, Router Unit For The Modulink Serial Fieldbus System, is internationally recognised as being among the greatest works of tedium ever written but it did get a 70% mark and I passed my MSc.

During and after the MSc I lived in Maidstone (Kent, UK). The only place I could afford was in a shared house about 100 metres north of the prison where Reggie Kray was banged up. Maidstone is an anagram of “I am stoned” It is full of drunks in white XR3is all driving very fast on the pavements. Don’t go there!

I joined Ericsson as a Junior Software Designer in February 1994 and moved to Guildford (Surrey, UK). Despite several changes in job title and one actual change of employer (when my whole department was sold to AePONA), I stayed there until I was made redundant (With a decent pay off. Kerching!). By the end I had morphed from a software designer to a fully fledged IT gimp via doing user support for the dodgy bespoke development applications which the software designers had to use.

I joined Jai Kudo in May 2004. The job involved Systems Administration, IT Support, some scripting and a lot of support for dodgy bespoke applications. Everybody hates supporting dodgy bespoke applications but it is something I am quite good at. Basically you have to take all the user’s angry complaints, distil them into something that makes sense, verify the problems are genuine and then assist/cajole the vendor into sorting them out without going insane yourself. It was all a bit ad-hoc but it got better as time went on. They were based in North London but then they moved to Elstree and my commute went up to 5 hours a day. Clearly this was impossible but I stuck it out long enough to get their IT systems moved and working in the new office.

In October 2011 I joined [redacted] as a systems administrator. (No, it isn’t anything top secret or even moderately exciting. It is just that they are getting a bit jumpy about what we say on social media so it is best not to mention them at all.)

Flat, with roof on.

Flat, with roof on.

I live in a flat in North Guildford with all my junk including about 250 vinyl records and a collapsed sofa. The local bus service runs once an hour. People in Guildford either think that is acceptable, or don’t care because they drive everywhere. The roof blew off once. That was not fun! Still, at least I paid off the mortgage.

As far as I know, I am the only Daniel Rigal in the UK although there are some in the USA, Canada and France. Rigal is a fairly common French name although my name does not come from the French. It is an entirely independent Jewish spelling mistake. There is a Daniel Rigal on Facebook who isn’t me. I don’t like Facebook, or other types of social networking with no purpose, although I do have a nominal presence there (I never log in to it so it just sends me emails trying to trick me into doing so by pretending something interesting is going on, which it never is). I like Wikipedia because it is a project with a point to it.

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