Autobiography for Andrew Oakley

Born in 1971, I grew up in Alveley along the Severn Valley near Bridgnorth in rural Shropshire, UK. My father Tony Oakley (who had worked on the LEO) and my primary school headmaster (a robotics enthusiast) both gave me many opportunities to use computers in the 1970s. My parents bought me several computers in the 1980s (including a ZX81, Commodore 64 and Atari ST), and throughout my school years I earned money by selling programs to computer magazines such as Popular Computing Weekly and Atari ST User. In my late teens, I was also a regular newsreader and occasional DJ on several pirate radio stations around Shropshire and the Black Country.

I moved to Gloucestershire in 1990 to do my Business Computer Systems degree at Cheltenham & Gloucestershire College (then part of the University of Bristol, but now the University of Gloucestershire in its own right). I supplemented my income by writing games and compiling the coverdiscs for Atari ST magazines, and by DJing for goth/industrial/indie nights at various nightclubs.

After a sandwich year at IBM Warwick in 1993, I graduated in 1994 and worked as a programmer at various companies throughout Gloucestershire, notably financial sector and web houses. I continued to DJ occasionally and helped out as a roadie for Wasp Factory Records. I campaigned for a number of political issues, including the re-opening of local arts centres, the Countryside March, the provision of broadband in rural areas, increased housebuilding for rural families, and against the extension of copyright and patents.

By 2004 I was Anti-Spam Development Manager for Messagelabs, where over four years I led the service to become independently verified as the world's most accurate anti-spam system.

I got married in 2005 and we had a daughter in 2006. We lived in a small Victorian farm-workers' cottage near Winchcombe in the Cotswolds together with a lot of chickens. I became an active member of the Gloucestershire Linux User Group and the Ubuntu UK Loco. I also ran a free public WiFi hotspot.

In 2008, I became Head of Software at the Higher Education Statistics Agency. Non-identical twins, a boy and a girl, were born in 2009 and we moved to a larger modern house on the outskirts of Tewkesbury.

I continue to enjoy pen-and-paper based roleplaying games, have been a formal playtester for several and a contributing writer to a few, notably chapter four of the "Laundry Files: Agent's Handbook". I also help organise the Ars Magica conventions in Europe.

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