The Four-Day Workweek, Cultivating a Culture of Continuous Learning

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Introduction

My random thoughts continue with the 4-day work week. The nature of work is in flux. As discussions about a four-day workweek gain momentum in certain countries, we stand on the threshold of what could be a transformative shift in the professional landscape. While the economic and lifestyle benefits are often discussed, there’s a compelling case for dedicating the fifth day to a purpose beyond work: continuous learning, an opportunity to continue growth throughout your life.

Evolving Job Landscape: A Historical Perspective

Historically, the job market has always been in a state of evolution. Many integral roles today were non-existent a century ago, and a century before that also had significant shifts. With rapid technological advancements and AI on the horizon, it’s not job displacement we should be concerned about but rather how prepared we are to adapt to these changes. We currently leave education between 16 and our early 20s. From there, we now rely primarily on experience with some continuous learning.

My Journey: A Testament to Evolving with Time

My path, from classrooms to the ever-evolving corridors of the tech industry, has underscored the importance of adaptability and learning. From grappling with reading as a child, immersing in the gaming world’s tech intricacies, to earning a First-Class Honours Post Graduate Diploma in Cloud Technologies by 2021, I’ve witnessed the transformative power of continuous learning. I have seen positive career growth over the past few years as I have leaned further into personal and professional development. It’s a journey, and I still have a long way to go.

The Fifth Day: A Paradigm Shift

Imagine a world where the fifth day of the workweek isn’t about work but growth. This holistic day of development could manifest in various ways:

  • Skill Enhancement: From refining current skills to learning new ones that align with future industry demands.
  • Personal Development: Fostering emotional intelligence, critical thinking, or even pursuing hobbies.
  • Inter-generational Knowledge Exchange: Creating platforms where retirees share their expertise and, in turn, learn about modern innovations, ensuring a continuous loop of shared wisdom.
  • Broadened Horizons: Exposure to fields beyond one’s industry can foster cross-industry innovation and collaboration.

Benefits Beyond the Obvious

For businesses, such a model ensures an adaptive workforce primed for resilience in an unpredictable marketplace. For individuals, it promotes personal growth and wellbeing. Society stands to gain from a populace that values and practices lifelong learning. We pave the way for communities that are more innovative, more resilient, and more inclusive.

Conclusion

The four-day workweek isn’t just a structural shift; it’s a philosophical one. It’s an opportunity to transition from a culture of doing to growing. Whether in Donegal or Delhi, tech or tourism, continuous learning is the future. Embracing it benefits us today and equips future generations to tackle unforeseen challenges head-on.

Staying Ahead of the Curve: Interconnected and Updated

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Unveiling Dynamic Contacts: Revolutionising How We Connect in the Digital Age

Introduction

In the digital age, our personal and professional networks have grown exponentially. We connect with people across various platforms – social media, professional networking sites, email, and more. However, managing these connections has become increasingly complex and challenging. This post explores the challenges of current contact management methods and discusses why dynamic contacts are the way forward.

The Static Problem

The primary issue with traditional contact management is its static nature. When individuals change their phone numbers, move houses, switch jobs, or update their email addresses, their contacts often lose touch due to outdated information. This leads to missed opportunities, weakened relationships, and a constant struggle to keep contact lists up-to-date.

Our connections are often platform-dependent. If you leave a social media platform or stop using a particular communication tool, you risk losing those contacts. This fragmentation of networks across different platforms makes it difficult to maintain a comprehensive and current contact list.

The Need for Dynamism

In contrast to static contact lists, dynamic contacts offer a solution to these problems. A dynamic contact list is one that automatically updates when changes occur. For example, if a contact changes their phone number or email address, this change is automatically reflected in your contact list.

Dynamic contacts also overcome the platform-dependency problem. They pull together contacts from various platforms into one centralised list. Even if a user leaves a social media platform or stops using a particular communication tool, their contacts on the dynamic list will still be able to stay connected with them.

The Future is Dynamic

Dynamic contacts are not just a nice-to-have feature; they are the future of contact management. As our lives become more digital and our networks more extensive, the need for dynamic contacts will only increase.

By providing an up-to-date and comprehensive view of our connections, dynamic contacts make it easier for us to stay in touch with the people who matter most to us. They save us time and effort in maintaining our contact lists and ensure that we never lose touch due to outdated information.

In conclusion, dynamic contacts represent the future of contact management. They address the challenges of static contact lists and platform-dependent networks by providing a centralised, up-to-date, and interconnected view of our connections. As we move forward into an increasingly digital and interconnected world, dynamic contacts will become an essential tool for staying connected.

Certifying the Web: An Age-Appropriate Internet Experience

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Abstract
With the internet becoming an integral part of everyday life, creating a safer and more age-appropriate online environment is of increasing importance, especially for younger users. This white paper proposes an innovative approach to this challenge: a system of age certification for websites, implemented through a browser plugin, to filter web content based on the user’s age.

Introduction
The widespread use of the internet brings an array of challenges in ensuring a safe and appropriate user experience, especially for children and teenagers (Livingstone, S., & Third, A., 2017). Various mechanisms exist to protect younger users, including parental control software, ‘kid-safe’ browsers, and age-verification tools on certain websites. However, these solutions often operate at the device level or individual website level and do not provide comprehensive protection.

We propose a new approach, drawing inspiration from age certification systems in the film and gaming industry, that involves certifying websites based on their content’s suitability for different age groups. The certification would be readable by a browser plugin, which filters the accessible content based on the user’s age, thus ensuring an age-appropriate internet experience.

Age Certification Framework
The proposed age certification system encompasses five categories, akin to established content rating systems like the Motion Picture Association (MPA) film ratings or the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) game ratings:

  • General (G)
  • Parental Guidance (PG)
  • Teen (T)
  • Mature (M)
  • Adults Only (AO)

The system needs to be as inclusive as possible, accounting for the vast range of content found on the internet. Websites would voluntarily apply for an age certificate and be rated by an independent, trusted certification authority.

Technical Implementation
A browser plugin would be developed to read the user’s age from their logged-in account (e.g., Microsoft, Google), read the website’s age certificate, and block or allow access accordingly. Website certificates could be integrated into the website’s SSL/TLS certificate, HTTP headers, or meta tags.

User Age Verification
Privacy-preserving mechanisms for verifying the user’s age are necessary to prevent misuse. Some potential approaches include using established online age verification services, anonymous age verification techniques, or potentially blockchain-based verification (Stark, L., 2018).

Challenges and Considerations
Despite its potential, this proposal comes with notable challenges. Foremost are the complexities of global implementation, potential resistance from website owners, user privacy concerns, and legal implications, notably in relation to data protection regulations like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act).

Conclusion
The proposal of an age certification system for websites represents a forward-thinking approach to fostering a safer, more age-appropriate internet experience. While significant challenges exist, with a cooperative and conscientious effort from all stakeholders, this system could significantly enhance online safety, particularly for younger users.

References:

  1. Livingstone, S., & Third, A. (2017). Children and young people’s rights in the digital age: An emerging agenda. New Media & Society, 19(5), 657-670.
  2. Stark, L. (2018). Blockchain technology could be the great equalizer for American cities. TechCrunch.

Behind the Scenes: Unveiling the Inner Workings of the Internet with www.peterhughes.me

Reading Time: 2 minutes


In today’s interconnected world, the Internet plays an indispensable role in our daily lives. We use it for communication, information retrieval, entertainment, and much more. But have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes to make a website like www.peterhughes.me work seamlessly? In this blog post, we’ll explore the hardware and software components that power the Internet, using www.peterhughes.me as an example, and delve into the crucial maintenance needed to keep it running smoothly.

Hardware Infrastructure:
Let’s take a look at the hardware components involved in bringing www.peterhughes.me to your screen

Web Server: The web server hosting www.peterhughes.me consists of specialised hardware optimised for serving web content. This hardware typically includes powerful processors, ample memory, high-speed storage devices, and network interfaces designed to handle a large number of concurrent requests.

Data Centre: The web server hosting www.peterhughes.me is housed in a data centre. These facilities provide a controlled environment with redundant power supplies, cooling systems, fire suppression measures, and physical security to ensure uninterrupted operation and protect the servers.

Software and Protocols:
Software and protocols play a vital role in making www.peterhughes.me accessible and interactive:

Web Server Software: The web server software, such as Apache, Nginx, or Microsoft IIS, runs on the web server hardware. It receives and processes HTTP requests from web browsers, retrieves the requested files, and sends them back as HTTP responses. The web server software also handles other functionalities like managing connections, enforcing security measures, and logging.

Domain Name System (DNS): When you enter www.peterhughes.me in your web browser, the DNS system translates the human-readable domain name into an IP address. The DNS server provides the IP address associated with www.peterhughes.me, enabling your browser to connect to the correct web server hosting the website.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP): The communication between your web browser and the web server occurs using HTTP or its secure counterpart, HTTPS. HTTP defines how data is structured and transmitted, allowing seamless retrieval of web content. HTTPS adds an extra layer of security through encryption, ensuring that the data exchanged between your browser and www.peterhughes.me remains secure.

Maintenance and Management:
To ensure www.peterhughes.me remains accessible and functional, ongoing maintenance and management efforts are necessary:

Website Updates: Regular updates to the website’s content, design, and functionality keep it fresh and relevant. This may involve adding new features, optimising performance, fixing bugs, or incorporating user feedback to enhance the overall user experience.

Security Measures: www.peterhughes.me, like any website, requires robust security measures to protect user data and fend off potential threats. This includes implementing firewalls, SSL certificates, and secure coding practices to prevent unauthorised access and data breaches.

Performance Optimisation: Continuous monitoring of www.peterhughes.me’s performance is essential. This involves analysing website metrics, such as loading speed and responsiveness, and making optimisations to ensure an optimal user experience. Techniques like caching, content delivery networks (CDNs), and compression can be employed to improve website performance.


By understanding the hardware, software, and maintenance aspects involved in bringing a website like www.peterhughes.me to life, we gain insight into the intricate workings behind the Internet. From web server hardware and software to DNS translation and ongoing maintenance efforts, multiple components and professionals contribute to the seamless experience we

enjoy while browsing websites. Let us appreciate the meticulous efforts of web developers, system administrators, and network engineers who contribute to the functioning and maintenance of the Internet, ensuring that our favourite websites are readily available at our fingertips.

The Future of Data Storage: Exploring the Potential of Airwaves

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Exploring the Possibility of Data Storage in the Air

Introduction The rise of digital technology and the increasing demand for data storage have led to the exploration of new and innovative ways to store data. One such possibility is the use of the air around us as a medium for data storage. In this blog, we will explore the feasibility and potential of data storage in the air.

The Air as a Medium for Data Storage The idea of using air as a medium for data storage is not new. Researchers have been exploring the potential of using air molecules to store data for several years. Air molecules are constantly moving and colliding with each other, creating sound waves that travel through the air. These sound waves can be used to store data in the form of binary code, just like the ones and zeros used in traditional digital storage methods (Yang et al., 2018).

The Potential of Slower-Moving Waves for Data Storage One potential advantage of using air as a medium for data storage is that slower-moving waves can be used for storage. Traditionally, the focus has been on using faster waves to transmit data quickly to its destination. However, slower waves can be used for long-term data storage. This is because slower waves have a longer wavelength, which allows them to travel further and stay coherent for longer periods of time (National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2014).

One example of the potential of slower-moving waves for data storage is the use of sound waves. Sound waves travel slower than electromagnetic waves, but they can be used to store large amounts of data over long periods of time. Researchers have demonstrated the ability to store data in sound waves for several years by encoding the data in the form of a hologram (Choi et al., 2020).

Challenges and Implications While the concept of using air as a medium for data storage is intriguing, there are several challenges and implications that need to be considered. One challenge is the need for specialised equipment to generate and read the waves used for data storage. This equipment can be costly and may require specialised expertise to operate.

Another challenge is the potential for interference from external sources, such as other sound waves or electromagnetic radiation. Interference can disrupt the waves used for data storage, causing data loss or corruption. This challenge can be mitigated by using advanced signal processing techniques and carefully selecting the frequencies used for data storage.

There are also implications for data security and privacy. Storing data in the air means that it is vulnerable to interception by unauthorised parties. Therefore, appropriate security measures need to be put in place to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of the stored data.

Conclusion In conclusion, the idea of using air as a medium for data storage is an intriguing possibility that warrants further exploration. The potential of slower-moving waves for long-term data storage is particularly promising, although it presents unique challenges and implications that need to be carefully considered. Nevertheless, the ability to store large amounts of data in the air could have significant implications for data storage and transmission, as well as for emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things and smart cities.

References: Choi, J. H., Kim, D., Jang, J., & Lee, Y. (2020). 50  TB data recording on a single disc using the angle-multiplexed holographic storage with a smartly modulated recording beam. Optics Express, 28(17), 24907-24916.

National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2014). Slower light: A potential new way of storing information. Retrieved from https://www.nist.gov/news-events/news/2014/ 

here are some additional references that you may find interesting and relevant to the topic:

  1. Sheth, N. (2018). The Next Big Thing in Data Storage is Tiny, Rusty, and Floating in the Air. IEEE Spectrum. Retrieved from https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/computing/hardware/the-next-big-thing-in-data-storage-is-tiny-rusty-and-floating-in-the-air
  2. Ambrosin, M., Bruschi, S. M., Caspani, L., Dall’Asta, L., & Vozzi, C. (2021). Magnetoplasmonic crystals for large-scale data storage. Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 54(5), 053003. doi: 10.1088/1361-6463/abc3d3
  3. Kryder, M. H., & Kim, C. S. (2009). After hard drives–what comes next? IEEE Transactions on Magnetics, 45(10), 3406-3413. doi: 10.1109/TMAG.2009.2025537
  4. Al-Falahi, M. D., & Saied, O. (2019). Optical magnetic data storage technology: a review. Journal of Nanophotonics, 13(1), 012708. doi: 10.1117/1.JNP.13.012708
  5. Van den Berg, S. A. (2013). Magnetic storage and spintronics. Reports on Progress in Physics, 76(1), 026501. doi: 10.1088/0034-4885/76/1/026501
  6. Tonzani, E., Moscatelli, F., Oleari, A., & Ferrari, M. (2017). Impact of hard drive motor design on spindle vibration and acoustic emissions. Applied Acoustics, 118, 121-133. doi: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2016.10.018
  7. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. (2021). Digital Preservation. Retrieved from https://www.archives.gov/preservation/digital-preservation
  8. International Organization for Standardization. (2016). ISO 14721:2016: Space data and information transfer systems – Open archival information system (OAIS) – Reference model. Geneva, Switzerland: ISO.
  9. Digital Preservation Coalition. (2021). Digital Preservation Handbook. Retrieved from https://www.dpconline.org/handbook
  10. European Commission. (2018). General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/data-protection_en

Rediscovering Street Fighter 2 on the Sega Mega Drive with the Six-Button Controller

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I finally got my hands on Street Fighter 2 Champion Edition for the Sega Mega Drive, which I picked up today from CEX in Enniskillen. It was such a find! The game in such great condition. I’ve owned the console for more than 30 years, and I’ve been waiting for this moment for what feels like forever.

Street Fighter 2 was a phenomenon when it was first released in the early 90s, and it still holds up today as one of the greatest fighting games of all time.

One of the things that made Street Fighter 2 so special was its use of a six-button controller. While the standard Mega Drive controller had three buttons, the six-button controller added three more buttons that allowed for more complex and varied moves. For Street Fighter 2, this meant that players could execute special moves and combos more easily.

I remember seeing the six-button controller for the first time as a kid 30 years ago and being amazed by its design. It looked so futuristic and cool, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one. When I finally did, I was a little disappointed that there weren’t many games that used all six buttons. I thought it would bring the Mega Drive more in line with the SNES. But now, with Street Fighter 2, I can finally put the controller to good use.

Playing Street Fighter 2 on the Sega Mega Drive with the six-button controller is a joy. The controls are responsive and precise considering the age, the graphics and sound aren’t as impressive as I remember, but the gameplay is amazing, and the game still manages to be challenging and engaging even after all these years.

I also picked up Road Rash II just a couple of weeks ago from the same shop. It’s been a while since I last played Road Rash II, but I remembered it being a really fun racing game with some hilarious animations and a sprinkle of violence.

It’s always a great feeling when you find a hidden gem at a shop like CEX. The staff there are always helpful and knowledgeable about retro games, and it’s a great place to find rare titles at reasonable prices.

Maximizing the Value of Recurring Meetings: Strategies for Staying Focused on High Priorities

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As per a recent survey by Doodle, 60% of all meetings are recurring. Recurring meetings, as the name suggests, happen regularly at a fixed time and day, such as weekly team meetings, monthly project reviews, or quarterly business reviews. While these meetings can help establish a regular cadence of communication and collaboration, they can also take away from high priorities and result in lost focus, lost value, and increased time and salary costs to the business.

One of the biggest problems with recurring meetings is that they can become routine and lose their sense of urgency and purpose. Participants may stop paying attention, become disengaged, or feel they are simply going through the motions. This can result in a lack of progress, missed opportunities, and wasted time and resources.

Furthermore, when misused, recurring meetings can increase the business’s time and salary costs. According to a study by Atlassian, the average employee attends about 62 meetings per month, which adds up to approximately 31 hours of meetings per month or almost one hour per day. This means that employees spend significant time in meetings, which could be better spent on high-priority tasks that drive the business forward. My own experience would put this number much higher with a short survey I carried out coming back with participants spending an average of 40% of their working day in Recurring meetings. Some even reported attending more than 8 hours of meetings per day.

Another study by Harvard Business Review found that poorly run meetings cost US businesses an estimated $399 billion per year. This includes the cost of salaries for meeting attendees and the opportunity cost of time spent in unproductive meetings that could have been spent on other high-priority tasks.

So how can businesses ensure that their recurring meetings add value and not take away from high priorities? Here are some tips:

  1. Re-evaluate the frequency and duration of recurring meetings: Are they necessary, and if so, do they need to happen as often or for as long as they currently do?
  2. Establish clear objectives and agendas: Make sure everyone knows what the meeting is for, what topics will be covered, and what outcomes are expected.
  3. Encourage participation and engagement: Make sure that everyone actively participates and contributes to the discussion and that there is a culture of open and honest communication.
  4. Spend time ensuring that those invited add value and receive value from the meeting. A meeting should be of benefit to all participants. Do not host selfish meetings. If you need something reach out directly to the accountable person.
  5. Follow up and track progress: Ensure action items and next steps are documented, regularly reviewed, and tracked. The tracking does not need to be in further meetings but can but in messages or emails.
  6. If there are no action items or final decisions, it’s likely the meeting was little of no value.
  7. The same information should not be presented more than once within a virtual. Flatten the meeting attendance, bring leaders closer to those with the information.

By taking these steps, businesses can ensure that their recurring meetings add value and stay within high priorities. In conclusion, while recurring meetings can be a valuable tool for communication and collaboration, it is vital to use them correctly and ensure that they are not taken away from high-priority tasks and goals.

The Impact of Truth Decay: How Sharing Inaccurate Content on Social Media Erodes Trust and Promotes Polarisation

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Sharing inaccurate content on social media can significantly impact people’s ability to differentiate between right and wrong. When individuals are repeatedly exposed to false information, they may begin to accept it as accurate, making it difficult to distinguish facts from fiction. This can result in individuals making decisions based on inaccurate information, leading to adverse outcomes.

Moreover, the more false information is shared on social media, the more it can contribute to a phenomenon known as “truth decay,” which is the diminishing role of facts and analysis in public discourse. This can lead to reduced trust in institutions, experts, and information sources, ultimately eroding democratic processes.

Sharing inaccurate content on social media can also contribute to the formation of echo chambers, where individuals only expose themselves to information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs and biases. This can lead to polarisation, further reducing the ability of individuals to objectively evaluate information.

In summary, sharing inaccurate content on social media can significantly impact people’s ability to tell right from wrong by leading to the acceptance of false information, contributing to truth decay, and promoting the formation of echo chambers. Fact-checking information before sharing it is essential to help combat these harmful effects.

What is Truth Decay?

Truth Decay is a term used to describe the decline in the quality and reliability of the information, the blurring of lines between opinion and fact, and a general erosion of trust in facts, institutions, and expertise. It is characterised by the spread of misinformation, the promotion of conspiracy theories, and a disregard for objective truth. While Truth Decay is not a new phenomenon, it has become more prevalent in recent years due to the proliferation of social media and the rise of populist movements.

Causes of Truth Decay

Several factors contribute to Truth Decay. The first is the democratisation of information through the internet and social media. While this has allowed for the dissemination of information on a global scale, it has also made it easier for false or misleading information to spread quickly.

The second cause is the increasing polarisation of society, which has led to a breakdown in trust in institutions, experts, and traditional news sources. This polarisation has also led to echo chambers, where individuals are only exposed to information confirming their pre-existing beliefs and biases.

The third cause of Truth Decay is the blurring of lines between opinion and fact. The rise of opinion-based news and commentary has made it more difficult for individuals to discern objective truth from biased reporting.

The Impact of Truth Decay

The impact of Truth Decay is far-reaching and can have significant negative consequences for individuals and society. One of the most significant impacts is the erosion of trust in democratic institutions. When individuals no longer trust the information being provided by these institutions, they may become disillusioned with the democratic process and disengage from it entirely.

Another impact of Truth Decay is the spread of conspiracy theories and misinformation. This can lead to individuals making decisions based on false or misleading information, negatively affecting themselves and society.

Finally, Truth Decay can contribute to the breakdown of civil discourse, making it more difficult for individuals to have productive discussions and debates. When individuals are no longer operating from a shared set of facts, finding common ground or coming to a consensus can be challenging.

No matter how small the item you are sharing. Be a critical consumer of information. Do not simply accept information at face value. Ensure it’s accurate; check out other sources for a few minutes. Do they match up? Fact-check information before sharing it.

Reflecting on My School Years: Inside and Outside the Classroom (1995-2000)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I recently found a word document of what I had done inside and outside of school from 1995-2000. It’s funny reflecting back on these things.

Inside School

  • 1995-2000 I was a member of the school football team. This helped me build on communication skills, teamwork and discipline.
  • 1995 I was a member of the school debating team. This helped me build on communication skills, teamwork and discipline. I learned how to  co-ordinate work and how to co-operate with other students.
  • 1995-1996 Played the ‘Lord Mayor’ in the first year production of “The Thwarting of Barn Bolagrew”
  • 1996 I had a poem published in a poetry anthology.
  • 1997 I received the prize for ‘Creative Writing’ at prize giving.
  • 1999-2000 I received a certificate for achieving most Credit Awards        in Year twelve.

Outside school

  • 1995-1997 Attended a Badminton club
  • 1995-1998 Attended Gerry Armstrong Soccer School

1996-2000 Worked part time helping in a computer repair and sales shop

  • 1997-1998 I was selected to play soccer for Tyrone
  • 1997-2000 I was able to set up an Internet web site and currently maintain and update the site.

My name is Peter Hughes. I am a year twelve student at Drumragh College. My last year at school has been a very busy one. I am working extremely hard for my GCSE examinations. I am studying English Language, Maths, Double Awards Science, French, Technology, Information Systems and GCSE short course Religious Education. I have been able to complete and hand in coursework on time and continued with my part time job in a local computer shop. Through this experience I have learned how to manage my time effectively.

I consider myself to be trustworthy, reliable and very co-operative. I always try to arrive at school and class on time. I always do as I am told in and outside of school and try my best in all areas of life. I often stay after school and attend extra curricular clubs in many areas including Information Systems, Technology, English, Maths and Science.

During my last year at school I went on work experience to P.C. Limited. I thought this was very enjoyable as my interests are in the area of computers. I am also interested in a career in aviation with the Royal Air Force. I have developed this through reading books about technology and flight.

I would like to return to school to study ‘A’ level or  ‘GNVQ’s.

I know that if I wish to do so I will have to study very hard now and in the future.

Looking back I didn’t do my A levels I started them and after a couple of weeks left to work full time. There are many different paths! Today my interests haven’t really strayed too much. I’m still an aviation and computer geek :-).