Get A Life, Archer!
I have a very full life. I am constantly busy and I'm wondering where all my time goes. The days
just whizz by. If someone ever says to me, "Get a life!," I stop and think -- well, I've got
one thank you very much... and then some...
- Born in 1956 in Burton General Hospital, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.
- Parents: James Ronald Archer and Barbara Jessie Agnes Archer (nee Hardwick).
- Father was one of 9 children. Mother was one of 4. Lots of cousins!
- One sister, Joy Ann Archer.
- Joy has two kids, Michelle and Simon.
- I married Ann Gray Ferguson of Cheshire, Connecticut, USA in July 1980.
- Ann was born at Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut, USA in 1958.
- Ann and I have two boys, James Duncan (b.1986 - d.2018, aged 32) and Andrew Brendan Gray (born 1989). They
were both born at Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut, USA too.
|Where I Have Lived
||20 Wilmot Road, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, England
||15 Granville Street, Woodville, Derbyshire, England
||34 Bernard Street, Woodville, Derbyshire, England
||202 South Brooksvale Road, Cheshire, Connecticut, USA
||53 South Main Street, Branford, Connecticut, USA
||Appartment rental, the whole 2nd floor (US convention) / 1st floor (UK convention)
||22A Jefferson Circle, Clinton, Connecticut, USA
||My first house that I owned! Built brand new.
||Madison, Connecticut, USA
|Schools I Have Attended
||Woodville Infants School, Woodville, Derbyshire, England (1961 to 1963)
||Woodville Junior (Primary) School, Woodville, Derbyshire, England (1963 to 1967)
||Granville (Secondary) School, Woodville, Derbyshire, England (1967 to 1970)
||The Grammar School (College Prep), Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, England (1970 to 1974)
7 G.C.E. 'O' Levels (2 in Mathematics) and 1 G.C.E. 'A' Level (Physics)
||Burton Technical College, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England (1976 to 1978)
Awarded an O.N.C. Sciences with a 'Distinction' in Mathematics
||University of New Haven, West Haven, Connecticut, USA (1984 to 1999)
Graduated 'Magna Cum Laude' with
a B.Sc. Computer Science and a 'Minor' in Mathematics
Received an 'Outstanding Senior in Computer Science' award
before I graduated
I was born in 1956 at the Burton General Hospital in Burton-on-Trent, a town in East Staffordshire
world reknown for it's breweries, especially Bass Charrington (Bass Ale) and Allied Breweries (Double
Diamond). The best ales are made at Marston's, Thompson & Evershed (Marston's Best Bitter).
I was brought up in South Derbyshire living most of my life
in Woodville, a village in Derbyshire,
until I moved to the United States in May 1980.
When I was born me Mother and Dad lived at
20 (??) Wilmot Road, Swadlincote for two or three
years, and then we moved to 15 Granville Street, Woodville, where we lived for about five years. We moved to our
final home at 34 Bernard Street, Woodville in February 1963. After me parents passed away the house was sold in
2008. They had lived there for over 45 years.
Woodville is part of the town of Swadlincote Urban District and is roughly 4 miles south-east
of Burton-on-Trent and roughly 12 miles south-west of Derby.
I went to Grammar School in Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire is just three miles east from
Woodville over the Derbyshire/Leicestershire border. Grammar School is analgous to high school in the United States.
Me Mother (Barbara Jessie Archer nee Hardwick) was born in Brizlincote Cottages, Bretby in 1928 and
grew up in Bretby which is on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border between Swadlincote and Burton-on-Trent.
She was one of four children; her older brothers Horace (known in the family as Joe) and Cyril (known in
the family as Jack) and her younger sister Joyce. All have since passed away. Me Mother died at The Queens
Hospital, Burton-on-Trent in 2008, aged 79, after having a heart attack and her kidneys shutting down. She was
cremated and her ashes were interned at Bretby Crematorium, as per her wishes for her remains to be left in the
village where she was born. Her brother Jack's ashes are about 30 yards away from hers.
Me Dad (James Ronald) was born at 65 Church Street, Church Gresley in 1925 and grew up in Church Gresley
in South Derbyshire, home of Gresley Rovers
Football Club. He played for the Rovers in the 1940s and his uncle was involved with the club at the turn
of the Century. The Archers house was literally just over the wall from the Moat Ground where the Rovers play.
Me Dad also served in the Royal Air Force and the British Army during World War II. During his army days, he served
in India and in Ireland. Me Dad was one of nine children; Robert (Bob), Oswald (Oz), William (Bill),
John (Jack), Catherine (Cath), Agnes, Phyllis and Winnifred (Winnie) were his siblings. All
except me Auntie Winnie have passed away. Me Dad died at The Queens Hospital, Burton-on-Trent in 2007, aged 81,
after a short battle with lung cancer. He was cremated at Bretby Crematorium and his ashes were spread by Joy and
I in the National Forest immediately behind our old home at 34 Bernard Street, Woodville, as per his wishes.
Me Sister (Joy Ann) was born in 1961 at 15 Granville Street, Woodville. She currently lives near Rugby, Warwickshire.
After me Mother passed away, me sister and I put our childhood home at 34 Bernard Street, Woodville up for sale.
It was sold in November 2008 after the our Mother had lived there for over 45 years.
In January 2009, I had the honour of being inducted into the Connecticut
Soccer Hall of Fame! You can see my entry HERE.
After the formal inducion dinner where I gave a speach (mostly about the history of football) I dedicated my honour
to me Mother and Dad.
In December 2010 I was diagnosed with a benign skull-based tumour called a trigeminal
schwannoma. It is rare and found in only 0.2% of those who have skull-based tumours. I had a 13-hour brain
operation at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut in December, 2010. Because of it's location to many of the
cranial nerves only 80% could be removed, because further invasive surgery could have been fatal. The remainder
has been treated by a radiation process called Gamma Knife, which
will slow the growth and shrink it or perhaps even kill it. Complications occured after that operation and I had
received five additional brain operations from March 2011 to August 2011 to fix cerebro spinal fluid (CSF) leaks
and hydrocepalus. The trigeminal nerve was damaged and now I suffer from trigeminal
neuralgia, which is a painful condition said to be permanent. In July 2011 I was suffering from hydrocephalus
again and I had to have a brain shunt inserted to drain the excess CSF from my brain ventricles out through my
body and then out through my "waste" system. Later that month, or early August I had a brain haemorrhage
and then I was back in hospital again! I spent half of August in hospital having the old shunt taken out, waiting
for my brain fluids to clear again (they looked like tea, was one observation) and a new one inserted. I was back
to work in October 2011 and have not been operated on for any of this again since. Every several years, however,
I have an MRI brain scan to make sure there are no further problems, like the tumour growing again.
In spring 2013 I suffered a minor heart attack. In a quick operation at Yale-New Haven Hospital I had a stent inserted
into my Right Coronary Artery (RCA). I have not had a cardiac problem since.
- Age 11-14, Ashmore's Newsgagents, Woodville, Derbyshire, England.
Delivering newspapers in the evenings. I ran my whole round -- some 65-70 deliveries. I never had a bike. Built
up me stamina!
- Age 14-18, Grist's Butchers, Woodville, Derbyshire, England.
Delivering meat on Saturday mornings. All I had was a bike with only one gear and with a heavy basket full of meat
on the front. Lots of hills! Built character!
- Age 18-18, United Biscuits (Biscuit Factory), Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, England
A summer job in the bakehouse making biscuits (cookies to Americans). Often times I was responsible for
loading the hoppers with the dough. Very hot and very exhausting. Hated the place. Hated the management and supervisors.
They treated us like slaves. More character building.
- Age 18-18, United Biscuits (Crisp Factory), Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, England
Moved up to the crisp factory up the road the same summer. (Crisps are chips to Americans). I worked in
the potato warehouses and shovelled potatos all day from 7:00 AM until 5:00 PM. Back-breaking work! But the management
style was more relaxed. Oddly enough, I enjoyed the work and I made some great friends.
- Age 18-18, Pozament Cement, Overseal, Derbyshire, England
My first "real" job as a Junior Office Clerk. But occasionally I helped out
in the plant too. We made aggregate and grout for the English Channel Tunnel (Chunnel) Project. Take home pay was
16 pounds sterling and 7 new pence from a gross of 20 pounds. I was laid off after several months and so I went
- Age 18-19, United Biscuits (Crisp Factory), Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, England
Shovelling potatos all day again. Sometimes I also worked the back shift and therefore worked from 7:00 AM until
10:00 PM. I had muscles and a finely toned body back then! But again, it was a great time. The management knew
I was only temporary while I was attempting to get into the Royal Air Force. They were very good to me.
- Feb 1976 - Dec 1979: Severn-Trent Water Authority, Clay Mills, Staffordshire, England
After failing to get into the Royal Air Force, I started my next "real" job and started a career, somewhat.
At STWA I was a Scientific Assistant at a laboratory on one of the largest water reclamation
works in the area. I analysed sewage and sludges all day! Plus, in later years I did a spot of sampling -- driving
a van all over the Upper Trent area collecting samples from all the sewage works. That was a lot of fun! The work
was relatively easy. I learnt a helluva lot. Plus I made some great friends at STWA at Clay Mills. In many regards
I miss it very much.
I also spent some time at the Upper Trent Divisional Headquarters in Burton-on-Tent in the data processing department.
My first introduction into computers. I knew then that was what I wanted to do for a career.
I had to leave STWA when they would not give me time off to visit Ann in America in December 1979 (we were to
be engaged). I knew that I would not have a job when I returned to England a month later...
- Jan 1980 - May 1980: Dyson's Refractory, Woodville, Derbyshire, England
Within a week of returning from America, I had successfully interviewed for this job. A four month stint as a Quality Control Technician before flying off to America. I only needed temporary work, since
I knew I was about to leave England in May 1980 to get married to Ann. At Dyson's we manufactured ceramic elements
for gas-powered fires and glazed sanitary pipes for town sewers. It was boring work for the most part, but all
the time I was just counting off the days.
- Sep 1980 - Jan 1981 Plasmed Corporation, Wallingford, Connecticut, USA
I was a married man in July 1980 and searched for a job for a long time. I needed to find work and earn money.
My first job in America was as a Quality Control Assistant in a factory job doing quality
control on electronic components. I was still job hunting... It was very boring, but it would do until I would
find something better. It didn't take long. In only a few months I was successful in obtaining work at...
- Feb 1981 - Mar 1985: Chesebrough-Ponds, Inc., Trumbull, Connecticut, USA
A Laboratory Technician in the Research and Development Laboratories. We researched creams
and lotions, cotton products, nail care and hair care products, fragrances and other cosmetic items. Here I received
my first promotion ever, to Senior Laboratory Technician. A month or so later I started
my real career (finally)...
- Mar 1985 - Apr 1990: Health Systems International, Inc., New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Computer Programmer at last. Eternally in debt to Dr.
W. Richard Stevens (visit his Home Page HERE) and Ms.
Robin Conant for recognising my talents and giving me the chance I had been waiting for for nearly 10 years. At
HSI I was promoted to Senior Programmer. We wrote in the C
programming language on UNIX computers. One of the
best parts about this company was that it was small and much more enjoyable to work for than a "Corporate
America" company like Chesebrough-Ponds.
Rich Stevens (Dr. W. RichardStevens), my boss (Director of Computing Services),
became world famous for his UNIX and TCP/IP networking books and was widely regarded as one of the hallowed "UNIX
Gurus" one often hears about, like Dennis Ritchie,
for example, the creator of the C programming language and a key developer of the UNIX operating system. It should
come as no surprise then, that Rich and Dennis became friends and Dennis reviewed Rich's books before they were
published. It is a great source of pride and an incredible honour to me that I had the opportunity to work for
one of the best computer scientists in the U.S., and so early in my career too. He also loved to cook and bake
and he was always bringing into work his latest batches of cookies, bread and/or ice cream for us to eat!
- Apr 1990 - Sep 1998: 3M Health Information Systems, Inc., Wallingford,
3M bought out HSI after my fifth year there and our division became known as 3M HIS. Oh-oh... back to being in
a "Corporate America" company. We also relocated from New Haven to Wallingford.
I received two promotions while at 3M, to Advanced Software Engineer and then to Senior Software Engineer. I was doing more and more work on the Microsoft
Windows platform and less and less UNIX work. I became proficient in other languages and Object-Orient
Technology. I started to work with C++
and Java. I was also forced to work with Visual FoxPro, however, and totally hated it. Working
at 3M started to drag big time. What I really wanted to do was Java. After nearly 14 years at HSI/3MHIS, it was
sadly time to leave in order to progress my career.
- Oct 1998 - Nov 2000: Connecticut Hospital Association & Affiliates,
Wallingford, Connectict, USA
I had to move on from 3M HIS's stifling projects (using Visual FoxPro [shudder]) so that I could further my career
as a Java Software Engineer. I looove Java! Unfortunately, as time went on CHA
were reducing their Java projects. In August 2000 I was required to stop working on my big Java project and spend
all my time on a Microsoft Access project. It
was time to move on....
- Nov 2000 - Nov 2004: Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, Inc., New
Haven, Connecticut, USA
Genaissance was a solid Java shop and they were working on the most wonderful science -- using genetics to personalise
medicine. This was a marriage made in heaven, plus it was great to be working in New Haven again. I was back to
being a Senior Software Engineer. For the very first time ever, I had my own office --
with windows! It had taken me 26 years of working since I left school in 1974 to get an office and I deserved it.
Unfortunately, the biotech industry proved to be very volatile and the company stock was up and down like a rollercoaster.
I survived two lay-offs, but it was my turn during the third one when about 10% of the company were let go. I was
extremely devastated to lose my perfect job... And I miss so many wonderful friends...
- Feb 2005 - Nov 2005: Tangoe, Inc., Orange, Connecticut, USA
After three months of arduous job hunting (Christmas while out of work is no fun), I finally found this one, but
I knew from the first week that it wasn't for me. Tangoe develop telecommunication expense management software.
It was my first time outside of the life-sciences sector in 24 years. My job title was Middleware
Engineer working in cubicles again (shared ones this time!) on a highly sophisticated J2EE
Web application, but I was asked to spend most of my time fixing other people's bugs, people who had long left
the company, and the code was well and truly awful. The pressure was intense, and I tried to stick it out, but
by August I'd had enough and I started the dreaded job-hunting again.
- Nov 2005 - Apr 2016: Yale University, School of Medicine, New Haven,
I am back to New Haven and back in the life-sciences sector again! I am currently working in the Pathology Department.
Initially, I worked on a research project, a J2EE Web application called the Cancer Data Repository. I am currently
working on other networking applications called 'HL7 Interfaces' where "Health Level Seven" messages
are transmitted on a secure network between the Pathology Department and Yale's clincal "outreach" centres.
At Yale, I now have the rather odd title of Systems Programmer I! I work in an office
in the basement shared by one or two other folk. I badly miss my old job at Genaissance where I had my own beautiful
office and lots of friends I never see any more. The work is excellent though. Plus I get the satisfaction that
my work was helping towards the effort to fight cancer.
Hobbies and Interests:
- Football (Soccer):
- As a Player:
- Church Gresley Youth Club FC -- England
- Anglesey FC -- England
- Seven-Trent Water Authority Upper Trent Division Select Team (Reeve Cup winners 1978) -- England
- Madison Association Football Club (formerly Clinton Soccer Club) (Over-30s) -- USA (from 1981 to 1999)
- North Branford Soccer Club (Over-40s) -- USA (from 2000 to 2007)
- Branford Social Soccer Club (Over-40s) -- USA (from 2008 to 2009)
- Inducted into the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame (Class
- Club Napoli Soccer Club (Over-48s) -- USA (from 2009 to 2010)
- Guilford Bell Curve Soccer Club (Over-40s) -- USA (from 2010 to 2012). Note this club was formerly known as
Branford Social Soccer Club (see above)
- Cheshire United FC (Over-48s) -- USA (spring of 2013, for 3 matches!)
- Moodus Soccer Club (Over-48s/49s) -- USA (from 2013 - 2016)
- North Branford Legends SC (North Branford SC's Over-50s team) -- USA (from 2016 to 2018)
- Bury United SC (Over-60s). A merger of Southbury Boomers SC and Waterbury Pontes Over-50s teams -- USA (from
2018 to present )
- As a Youth Coach (USA)
- As an Adminstrator (USA):
- Computers at home:
- Apple II+ (Sold on eBay)
- Apple IIc (Sold on eBay)
- Apple Macintosh Quadra 610 (Mac OS 7.6) No longer in use
- Apple Newton MessagePad 130 (Personal Digital Assistant) No longer in use
- Dell Dimension XPS R450 (Windows 2000) No longer in use
- Apple iMac (Mac OS X 10.11.x 'El Capitan' and Windows XP Pro installed in Oracle's 'VirtualBox' virtual
- Dell Latitude D600 Laptop (Windows XP Pro) Used for Website updates
- Dell Latitude D610 Laptop (Windows XP Pro)
- Dell Latitude E6410 Laptop (Windows 10 Pro)
- Apple iPad 3 (Apple iOS 9.3.6)
- Apple iPad Mini 4 (Apple iOS 12.4.1 at present, October 2019)
- Apple iPhone (Apple iOS 12.4.1 at present, October 2019)
- Contemporary Rock and Pop
- Heavy Metal (particularly British groups)
- Movie Themes
- British Model Railways OO/HO gauge:
- Tri-ang Railways
- Tri-ang / Hornby (Tri-ang bought by / merged with Hornby Railways)
- Hornby Railways
- Airfix / GMR (Great Model Railways)
- Dapol (basically taking over where Airfix/GMR had left off)
- Mainline Railways (owned by Palitoy)
- Bachmann Branch-line (UK) (basically taking over from where
Mainline Railways had left off)