(at HDS 1959-1966) Inventor of Anti-Virus Software for Personal Computers.
Thumbnail from Allan – 23rd November 2016: –
I spent three years studying bridge, three card brag and various other games at Cambridge, then on to Marconi where I found a room-sized Elliott 503 computer to play with while I pretended to work on the Nimrod radar system. Then on to International Wool where I met a PDP-11 45 for a few years, while I pretended to do Operational Research. The PDP was swapped for an HP 3000 while I was pretending to be an economist; that’s where I first played the Colossal Cave Adventure.
Then on to BP where I finished my Doctorate and pretended to be an econometrician while persuading the VAX 750 to do all my work so I could lark about. After BP I pretended to be a stockbroker at Laing and Cruilshank – they didn’t have a computer, so I bought an IBM PC to do the actual work while I continued to mess around. I was the only broker ever to invite a client to lunch at McDonalds. At the same time, ladysolly and I were starting up S&S; I messed about with an IBM PC and wrote programs when not at work, she did the customer stuff. We were buying blank floppy disks for 20p, selling them loaded with our software for £45.
I was also writing articles for most of the computer magazines, which both brought in money, and established my name as some sort of guru.
Then we invented data recovery, which consists of fiddling with bytes until they’re all present and correct, computer forensics which consists of looking at fiddled computers until you can see who did what when. Then along came viruses, and everything took off like a rocket. Fortunately by then, I’d got the hang of writing programs that were fast, accurate and without errors. We got the Queens Award to Technology for that. The company grew to several hundred people.
We sold the company for several lorryloads of money, and I started a small Internet Service provider, which gives me an excuse to mess around with the only toy better than a computer – a network of computers.
Interestingly, Alan has come to believe that anti-virus software is no longer effective.
Alan Solomon was webmaster for the Clove Club website until 2011.