What is this site for?


John Steele had been working in the IT industry for over 50 years until his recent retirement. He chose computing as a career while still at school in the late 1950s and that influenced his choice of higher education. Manchester University was the only university that had any computing content in its degree courses and that was in Electrical Engineering.

John has always been willing to share his knowledge with and assist other people and has now updated this web site to provide guides and advice on computer topics. These guides, and other supplementary information, is available via links in the menu bar. This area is still evolving but includes links to software and guides that have been discovered by, or written by, John or recommended to him by others. .

John has been a member of a local self support group for many years called Gerrards Cross Computer Club (GXCC). He has directly assisted many members with advice or even hands on support over many years. He has also given many of their monthly talks and, in most cases, the presentations given are available on the club web site although many of these documents are are now being transferred to this site due to a new club policy that such material will shortly be available to subscribing members only. John however believes that his material should be freely available without such constraint. At the request of GXCC committee material will be rebranded as Soroban Systems rather than Gerrards Cross Computer Club when it is transferred here.

The GXCC web site is accessible via the menu item "GX Computer Club".

Who is John Steele?

John has worked as a specialist in many areas both as an employee and as a self employed contractor starting in 1963. During this time he has acquired extensive professional expertise in many aspects of Information Technology. Initially he was a hardware designer at Ferranti and designed one of the first integrated circuit computers in 1963. He later in 1971 he led the software team writing a UNIX like operating system. Still later while working at Data Logic he designed a Dealing Room prior to the “big bang” conversion of banks to electronic trading of currencies and stocks and shares which rapidly became a £40 million pounds a year business. In later years he specialised into complex high availability network local and wide area network architectures and especially system security for very security sensitive systems.

This web site was originally created so that John could advertise his professional skills but has now evolved into a resource listing many useful computer related guides and programs that can be shared with the world. The accumulated information is made accessible via various topics accessible via the menus. The site has now been refreshed so that its primary purpose is now to share the information collected freely with the world.

Why Soroban Systems?

Why choose “Soroban” for the domain name for this site.

As part of his career (see the CV for more detail) John spent two years from 1988 to 1990 working in Japan. Soroban is their name for the Japanese abacus which was still being widely used in Japan and even in the back offices of some banks in 1990. When selecting a name for his Limited Company, when John initially became a self employed contractor, Soroban Systems seemed to be appropriate maintaining the memory of his time working there. John retained the company name for many years and created the UK domain when these became readily available. The initial limited company was closed down when he became a full time employee again but he then went back to part time self employed status and Soroban Systems Limited was still available – John grabbed the company name back again.

John has always retained the ownership of the soroban,co.uk domain since its initial creation although this domain is currently managed by a friend’s company on John’s behalf.