Have you always had an interest in technology?
I was lucky enough that I had older relatives that were both into IT in the late 80s and passed down some of the technology to me. The first being an Amstrad CPC 464, a Christmas present when 7 years old. It had a whopping 64kb of RAM, a tape drive and a colour monitor. It came with a large ring-bound manual, full of small BASIC programs that you needed to input to get the machine to do anything. I spent many hours typing the programs in, and loved writing simple Eliza-style chat bots and trying them out on my family. Back then, the fact the computer could print ‘Hello X, you are Y years old’ after the user had answered a couple of questions was a source of real amazement!
I’d my sights set on being a programmer since early in primary school, and often had computer magazines confiscated by teachers in primary school (yes, a total nerd).
Tell us a bit about some of the jobs you had before you came to Replify.
After a Masters in Computer Science at Queen’s University Belfast, I started in my first job – a software developer at Meridio. I didn’t much understand the need for the software, with it being targeted towards regulatory compliance in enterprises, but I loved the variety of languages involved. I’d spend a lot of my spare time programming, and loved finally getting paid for something I enjoyed!
What interested you about Replify initially?
My first job didn’t involve much networking, or even low level code. I’d always had an interest in networking. I’d networked PCs in my home, and as I grew up, the internet was evolving rapidly, moving from bulletin boards to the WWW. Replify offered a job that was deeply involved with the nuts and bolts of networking and working on optimising protocols was really appealing.
What do you actually do from day to day?
As a CTO, there’s a lot of variety in my day-to-day tasks. They range from pure commercial discussions, informing marketing decisions, helping with sales to the more traditional development of product strategy. Given Replify is a small company, I also have the luxury of still contributing to the software code. I still enjoy programming as much as ever, so I’m glad to still be able to do it.
Do you have any special areas of expertise?
I’m the longest serving employee of Replify (12 years at the time of writing), so naturally I’ve had a hand in a lot of things. I’ve spent a lot of time on CIFS, TLS and the core cache code. Also, I’m fond of a regular expression or two, so if anyone needs one they know who to come to!
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve worked on at Replify?
It has to be the working on the core cache engine. Analysing data for patterns is a classic problem area for computer science, of interest to us as well as academics. Working on areas like that, where new discoveries could make a big difference is exciting.
Have you any interesting projects coming up?
The next release, 7.0, promises some big improvements in speed and RAM usage, with development efforts focused mainly on the core cache.
More longer term, we’re looking to add some brand new capabilities to Replify, so watch this space!
Outside work, what do you enjoy doing to switch off?
I love spending time with my family. Two kids, aged 2 and 5, ensure I’ve very little time to actually ‘switch off’!