Return of the Beard

Andrew Bolster

Data Science Engineering Manager at NTT Application Security and Trustee at Farset Labs

So today is my last official day in the University of Liverpool office. Time for a bit of reflection.

This is a self indulgent “For the sake of history and my bad memory” post so feel free to skip it.

It’s just over two years since I left Belfast, and in those two years, life got weird(er).

TL;DR for my own benefit in years to come:

  • Worked for DSTL for a while on autonomous maritime systems
  • Went to the Bournemouth Airshow
  • Studied FPGA programming at Cambridge
  • Coordinated a Raspberry Pi Outreach programme between Farset Labs, W5, and Digital Circle (along with the inimitable other Andrew; Mulholland)
  • Spoke at TEDxBelfast and the All Island Innovation Conference
  • Built a green field network research lab from scratch (it’s still not finished)
  • Joined the Liverbeards
  • Contributed to a joint project using atomic clocks for submarine location
  • Went to GDC in San Francisco as part of an InvestNI organised Trade Mission
  • Visited the Microsoft and Google campuses in SF
  • Visited Noisebridge (and didn’t get involved in any drama…)
  • Presented some research at Stanford
  • Played with the Intel Galileo
  • Went to Prague
  • Got my first paper rejection
  • Met the Queen, Prince Phillip, the Duke of York and a load of interesting entrepreneurs at Buckingham Palace
  • Participated in VC negotiations and biz dev for a small tech firm
  • Spoke at Ignite Liverpool (The video doesn’t do the animations justice…#cringe)
  • Drank my way around Manchester with a load of beards
  • Secured funding for a Farset Labs Raspberry Jam outreach programme
  • Saw Dylan Moran Live
  • Presented at a defence conference
  • Attended a death metal gig in a suit
  • Lost my passport and poster on the way to present at another defence conference…
  • Took part in the Worlds Biggest Catwalk
  • Presented at TrustCom in Helsinki
  • Played glow-in-the-dark-haunted-house-mini-golf as part of what goes down in history as the most random night of my life…
  • Was named Liverbeard “Beard of the Month” (well, I was leaving, they had to give me it sometime… :p )
  • Participated in a mayoral discussion on smart cities
  • Got the most unheard of submission extension
  • Finally got rid of a collection of “joke” twitter accounts I’d wired up to IFTTT ages ago and forgotten about… (Sorry QUB…)
  • Got a trim from barber-to-the-stars, Cutthroat Pete
  • Entered and won my first “food challenge”; a hot-wings challenge (and didn’t cry about it afterwards), also earning my second consecutive Liverbeard-of-the-month-status.
  • Discovered far too many awesome bars in Liverpool
  • Made some amazing friends I won’t be able to get rid of for the rest of my days
  • Managed too many Undergrad, MSc and MEng projects

That’ll do.

Thanks Liverpool! You’ve been a blast and I’ll be back soon enough.

Belfast, prepare yourself.

Published: September 07 2015

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