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About Chris



Chris on a Hill

Local view over Arlington Reservoir

(Click the pictures for larger versions of the photos)

I was born in 1957 (do the maths yourself!). I live in Seaford, East Sussex, in a particularly picturesque area of the South Downs of England. I have been a professional musician and entertainer for more years than I care to remember, and an entertainment agent since 1980/81 as well. I started out programming in dBase II way back in the early 80's because I got ripped off by a computer company who promptly went bust and left me with a CP/M computer (one 5 1/4 inch floppy and 64k of RAM with a green text only screen!) and a broken custom program to run my entertainment agency with. It was a case of learn to fix it or let my company go bust.........

From there I started to improve the program and moved it to dBase III+, then to Clipper, and then started selling it to other agents. My Software company, Vertical Software, was born. I was bitten by the coding bug and messed around with a number of languages including Visual Basic, ObjectVision, dbFast, Visual Objects, C, C++, and Pascal amongst others, and finally came to Delphi. Compared to all the others Delphi was a breath of fresh air - finally I could create programs with speed and efficiency that ran like the wind and did the job the way I wanted. Vastly updated versions of my original program (DOS and 32 bit Windows) are still sold along with some other utilities, and I do custom programming for a wide range of companies in the Entertainment, Medical, Financial and Insurance Industries. I also do some Web work, Technical Support and Network installation and support as well........

Until recenty I also did quite a bit of Y2K fixing and rescue work - for example one insurance company that had all their programs written by a man who hard coded things like the Renewal Date so that he had to be paid to recompile the code every year, who had routed everything over the network via an incredible range of batch files to hide what he had done, and had left a large number of time bombs and booby traps so that if he was not called back to do (highly) paid work or if someone else tried to fix it the whole system would go down.... and then he left and refused to have anything more to do with the company! Now that was an interesting challenge!

Based in a four storey Home / Office I still perform as a musician and entertainer, I still run an entertainment agency, I am the General Secretary of the National Entertainment Agents Council (a UK Professional Trade Body for Agents), I own a Digital Recording Studio and a small Retail Music outlet, and of course I still code. Plus I now have to run the Delphi Corner as well. An average 18 to 20 hour day and a very hard working assistant along with contract and casual workers make it all possible.

As you can guess from all that, I am divorced but my ex-wife and two children (both girls) live just a few miles away and I spend at least one day a week with them as a family (well actually about 7 hours, then I have to start working again) and more when I can. It's great that my ex and I can still be friendly enough to put up with each other and to minimise the effects of our break up on the kids. Touch wood they are both growing up well with good educational results and no signs of delinquency yet. I currently support three mortgages as well as everything else, and I can't afford to be ill until I am 66! No personal life to speak of, but the ex-family home will be paid off in about seven years and then I hope to get one from somewhere.....

Oh, and I am a confirmed Gym Rat - no steroids, but a natural 210 lbs or so with a 48" chest, 18" neck, 17" Biceps and a 32" waist that have taken me ten years to develop. Not the perfect body, but then I started out somewhat disadvantaged. It can only get better! I normally train five days a week in a gym a few minutes walk from my home and office, but at the time of writing I am down to about three days a week and feeling a bit flabby while I recover from a nasty bout of 'flu that seems to have hung around forever. I don't intend to stop training until I die or at least become physically incapable because I find that the discipline and commitment spill over benefically into my working and personal life, because I like the results, and because it keeps me fit. And of course I love it.

I think Delphi is a great product. It's powerful, it walks all over every other development product I have used, and I love it, too.

Probably way too much information, but too late 'cos you've read it now. Thanks for stopping by.

Chris Bray