About Me

Welcome all to my blog, I am Duncan Newell and I come from Staffordshire in England. This is my blog, I will try to keep it as updated as I can. This blog will contain news and information about me, life in general, computers, electronics and telecoms.

I work in IT but have a intrest in telecoms, electronics and computers.

I also work at 6 Towns Radio here in Stoke on Trent where I manage the IT system, network and broadcast services.  I can also be found behind the microphone at times.

I was brought up in the 80's as a boy, watching the Dukes of Hazard, Night Rider, The A-Team on TV, why didn't the doors open on the Dukes car ? Dungeons and dragons, all the girls collected these teddy bears called Care Bears, there was millions of them, watching Timmy Mallet on Wackaday, the Transformers, HE-Man, Roland Rat, staying up late to watch Spitting Image. Collecting Panini football stickers during the world cup in 1986, watching Swap Shop on TV on a Saturday morning with Noel Edmonds later became Going Live with that Gordon the gopher and Philip Scholfield and was it Sarah Green ? and them annoying blokes Trevor and Simon.

Everyone at school was collecting car badges, it started of with just the VW ones as that bloke from The Beastie Boys had one on a chain round his neck then all kids started to collect them, no car was safe at that point. Staying up late (I mean late!) to watch The Hit Man and Her presented by Pete Waterman and Michaela Stracken and it was basically live madness from some club in Warrington if I remember right.

I had my first computer, if you can call it that as a young child it was an Atari 2600 these were very popular at the time and nowadays are seen as a collectors item. When I was about 10 years old I had a Spectrum 48k which was fun I had hundreds of games for it. When I was in my teens I had my first proper computer, which I can say I still have (in the loft) it was a old Amstrad, I had everything to it I had a 14.4k modem and not many people had one that fast, it had a 9600 modem card in it also, I used to go onto many BBS and chat to friends via dial up connections, needless to say mum and dad's phone bills went up a touch. Me and my friends also wrote custom chat software so we could dial each others PC's and chat, long time before MSN, Yahoo, Skype etc were about or the internet as we know it now. I built my own proper PC when I was working at a computer company in 1995, this is when I first got onto the Internet, at the time there was not many ISP's and I think I used to pay CompuServe something like £32 a month for a dial-up connection. I used to spend a lot of time on IRC, my PC used to be always logged onto various servers and various rooms, I have thousands of IRC logs going back years !

I started my electronics hobby when I was about 12 years old, by the time I was 15 I knew the basics and around this time built my first MW radio from a kit. As soon as I left school at the age of 16 I was doing electronics in college almost every day so was learn fast. Started to repair CB radio’s for people and this often led to other work at the same time, the “can you fix my TV also” when I was doing there CB’s. Back then it was ok to charge £20 to open a TV and fix a dry joint and hand it back 5 mins later, as the shops were around £40 to even look at it. So it was a good deal for me and for them. The only thing was back then there was no internet (well not in my house in 1993) so you had to learn to fix things, no Google the fault or find a service manual on the net and there it was, back then it was hours of hard work with a test meter, hairdryer and freezer spray !

Getting spare parts was even bigger pain once you found the fault, it was a trip up Newcastle to Worthington’s and see if they had the part you needed if not it was RS if you was lucky like me to have a trade account. If you did need a service manual then you was looking at anything from £20 to £40 for one. That would be the whole profit of the job gone, and a hope that you had the same chassis to fix again. Lucky back then there was loads of TV’s etc that were the same as there was not many shops to sell them lost count of how many friends and family had a Pye/Philips 2A chassis TV still in the early 90’s.