Robin Fairbairns

Robin Fairbairns

What I'm at...

I'm a Computer Officer in the Cambridge University Computer Laboratory.

I was an undergraduate here in Cambridge, graduating in Maths in 1967, and I took the Diploma in Computer Science in 1968. I was on the (non-faculty) staff of the Computer Laboratory from 1969 to 1975. When I lost my (next) job in 1992, I managed to find my way back to the Computer Laboratory, and worked on two research projects. When the second contract expired at the end of December 1998, I moved into my present systems administration job (I look after Lab's NT systems, as well as having other more general duties).

Other interests

I've long been an enthusiast for TeX (though I'm far too old to be regarded as a guru by the young of today), and have done a fair bit of work for the TeX community over the years. I maintain the English-language TeX FAQ and am a co-maintainer of the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN: we have a node of that network in Cambridge).

I used to spend a lot of time on standards committees (computer graphics, OSI and ODP); this involvement started when I had responsibility for development of an oddball graphics device. I'm still formally a member of the BSI Computer Graphics committee, but it's some time since I coined a `shall' in anger.

I play my clarinet (in a not terribly ambitious fashion) in a clarinet choir, and attend whatever classical music concerts I can.

Home life

Four years after my first marriage failed, I received an unsolicited email from a person I used to go out with when I was at school (her father was master in charge of music). Linda Fox had dreamed about me, and then done a web search: we're now married...

My daughter Chloë is an anaesthetist in Norwich: here's a picture of her robed for her (B.Med.Sci.) graduation ceremony. My son Sam, who you can see holding Betsy's lead in one of the pictures of Betsy, lives in Cambridge. Sadly, the (old) family dog Betsy died earlier this year (2003). I used still to look after her from time to time, but that is no more. One day, when the medics have solved my walking problems, Linda and I will have a dog of our own...

The rest of my family

My mother lives in what Dad characterised as a `dream home', in Kent. Some day I'll get around to scanning a few pictures of its environs -- it's beautiful.

When my father died (February 1996), I made a compilation of the words that were spoken at his funeral. His ashes are spread in the wood at the bottom of the dream home's garden.

I'm the oldest sibling: I have two sisters, one a Management Consultant living in London, the other a Counsellor living in Bristol. I'm jealous of my elder sister: she and her husband have just bought a dog called Liberty.