About Dave Smith

Dave is a Quaker. He started the Disk Doctor Service in his spare time because he found he had the ability to help people with computer disk problems, but because he did not need the extra income he felt it not right to keep the money for himself. Dave trained as a Statistician and began his career in Operational Research in the UK Civil Service. After working for the Ministry of Defence for about 20 years he moved to the The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (which later became the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) initially as their Fisheries Science Adviser and, later, as their Risk Management Coordinator. In 1995 he took early retirement in order to be able to continue to run Dave's Disk Doctor Service. Dave enjoys a challenge and often solved problems others said were "impossible". Dave feels great pride in the "secret" invention that he and Dennis Young created together which they called their "wobbly drive". This enabled them to salvage data from  thousands of AMSTRAD disks which were otherwise completely unsalvageable. Dave describes this device in some detail in his short history of the company, which you can read by clicking here  - it includes a rare photograph of this invention.

Dave & his wife, Sue, who attends the local Anglican/Methodist church, have two sons, Mark & Simon. They became grandparents about 11 years ago when, Mark, now Anglican Chaplain at the University of Reading, and his wife, Joanna, became the proud parents of James and Matthew. You can see them both, 11 years later, by clicking here for James and here for Matthew. Mark also now has his own blogspot, which you can view by clicking here.

Dave & Sue enjoy holidays on canal narrow boats and until a few years ago had a share in a 6-berth narrow boat called "Still Waters". You can see a picture of Sue taking the boat over the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct by clicking here. Dave & Sue are also interested in genealogy and are currently tracing their ancestors. You can read about a particularly interesting bit of Dave's research by clicking here. Sue is researching the her maiden name "Cluett" and now has her own web site for that name at www.cluett.org.uk. Sue & Dave enjoy Latin & Ballroom dancing, Sequence dancing and also occasionally Line Dancing and they now help with the running of a Sequence Dance group at the local Paddock Wood U3A.

Dave collects hobbies, but never has enough time to practice them all. He took some lessons in drawing, and enjoyed those very much - you can see a sample of Dave's work in one of the portraits he completed of Justine. Dave also used to enjoy playing the clarinet but doesn't have time for this any longer and has sold his pair of Boosey & Hawkes wooden clarinets. He still enjoys walking, listening to classical music and world-band radio. Sue and Dave started learning Tai Chi, but after completing the first "short form" Dave did not continue with this, although Sue did. Dave enjoys microscopy, particularly pond life. He takes photos through the microscope as well as with a conventional digital bridge camera.Dave's pond life microscopy was enhanced by the redesign, about 15 years ago, of the garden, which now features a large rock-pool. This attracts a lot of wild-life - the most recent of which is a kingfisher - you can see a good picture of this beautiful bird by clicking here. The latest addition to the garden was a "mock folly" - you can see a picture of this by clicking here but it needs to be "aged" for full effect! For practical relaxation, Dave has in the past occasionally found time for wood turning and makes little boxes, bowls and needle cases from exotic hardwoods as presents. He did a short course in traditional upholstery a few years ago and succeeded in covering four dining room chairs. He also attended a flint knapping workshop and a stone carving workshop and intends one day to try making some arrow heads when he finds the time!

More recently Dave has been trying out image focus stacking which enables one to get a greater depth of field in the macro photographs.  He has a Stackshot rail carrying a Canon rebel T3 body to which he can attach various extension tubes and other lenses. Last Christmas he was given a specialist Canon 5:1 macro lens for Christmas. He uses Helicon Focus software. You can see the image he has created using this equipment of the head of a damsel fly by clicking here.

Apart from Microscopy, Photography & Family History, Dave's other main hobby is Egyptology and he has pursued a number of courses over recent years. He is also continuing to struggle with trying to learn to read Middle Egyptian, at least well enough to understand some of the tomb and temple inscriptions, but is not making very fast progress. More recently he has also been conducting some original research on Solar Eclipses in the New Kingdom - a largely un-researched topic until now. After over 10 years unsuccessfully trying to get this work published it at last appeared on-line on the new web site Egyptological.com where it appears in two parts in the August and October issues in 2012. You can read copies of these two articles by clicking on Solar Eclipse Events in the New Kingdom Part 1: Texts and Funerary Material and Solar Eclipse Events in the New Kingdom Part 2: Astronomical Analysis and you can leave comments on these articles on the web site where they they are published.

The Quaker movement arose in the mid-17th century in England. Its followers called themselves "Friends of Truth, as they thought of themselves as friends of Jesus (John 15:15). In time they came to be known simply as "Friends". The name "Quaker" was a nickname used by others as it was said that they trembled or quaked with religious zeal. Friends have since adopted the term and today the words "Friend" and "Quaker" have the same meaning. The formal title of the Quaker movement is now: "The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)". You can find out more about Quakers throughout the world by visiting the World Quaker Web Site at www.quaker.org. Dave originally developed and maintained the first British Quaker Web Site on behalf of Britain Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends in Britain until they appointed a Webmaster a few years ago, since when the site has undergone a number of developments.

You can send an e-mail to Dave by clicking here or contact him by telephone on +44 (0) 1892 835974 but please note that Dave no longer undertakes disk salvages, data transfers or gives advice on computer-related problems, regarding himself as now "out-of-date" on such matters! You can send an e-mail to Sue via her web site by clicking here.

You can also share in some of Sue & Dave's hobbies:

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Last revised: 9th September 2015