Aquarionics Wiki

i am

My name is Nicholas Avenell, I took the name Aquarion online, and it’s kind of stuck.

I am six feet zero inches tall, overweight, do not generally sport exciting facial hair and have hair that bleaches in the sun from mousey brown to vaguely blond.

I was born in Paddock Wood, Kent, England in the year 1981, where I went to primary school (The local county Primary) and secondary school (Mascalls Comprehensive). I was not a model pupil, I have a mild form of dyslexia which the primary school used as a stick and the secondary supported as far as they could.

Part of the stick approach was to “force” me to rewrite anything of any importance on the computer. As a punishment. The secondary school lent me an NC100 to do my schoolwork on, later on. We had a PC at home (A C64, later an Amiga 600), and I was supporting my teachers with this new-fangled technology. It was a massive surprise to everyone when I went into computers professionally.

Flunked A-Levels, went to Sunderland University as much because university was the Next Thing as any hope of learning anything. Had a Valuable University Experience, learnt to work with and for people, learnt some valuable stuff and some useless tripe. Got into usenet communities like AFP and AFE and others.

My parents were terrified when I first started going to meets with people I met from the internet. This was 1998, I was barely 18, but supportive communities are worth the world, and turned me into something resembling a human being :)

Flunked out of Uni with a minor qualification and a year’s experience of running a website, crashed out with my parents and took a “Year Out” while I learnt how to build real websites (at the time with PHP3) and then moved in with my friend ccooke and then girlfriend - both met via AFP - to Cambridge.

I got a job as a graphic designer for the first generation of Java mobile games (again, thanks to AFP), and when that ended the geekhouse split up, me and my girlfriend moving to Reading (which was awful) and CC to London.

From Reading, I got a job working for BrowserAngel in London, my first programming job as the junior - and second - programmer for a new startup, working on a browser extension that worked somewhere between StumbleUpon and Comment Is Free. I learnt a lot about funding economics, government funding especially, but more about programming and deadlines. All this was handy as I moved to work in Bedford (from now living in Letchworth) for Evolving Media, on a variety of exciting brands for a couple of years. Split up with Girlfriend, moved to Bedford, Resigned from EM, Moved to London.

Spent a couple of years working for Hotxt (later Trutap) on their mobile messaging system, before the economic storm hit and took us down with all hands. Ill-advised move to Doof in 2008 for three months, and from there to Skimlinks for almost a year until they made me redundant (Which is… complicated. The way it happened was bad, and I ended up being told I was a great worker they just didn’t need, whilst being let go in a way that felt very much like being fired in disgrace). Six months later Gyron, who also didn’t need me as a full time developer, did the same thing only nicer. So I founded my own company, on the basis that this way nobody else could fire me, but was persuaded into turning my six month contract into a permanent job as the head of development for the company, which lasted another four months until they, too, made me redundant due do company down-sizing.

So now I’m working for Zappit as their “Lead Developer”. Zappit appear to be going places, and I’m still working on my own projects outside the company.

And that’s up to now.