Return of the Beard

Andrew Bolster

Senior R&D Manager (Data Science) at Synopsys Software Integrity Group and Treasurer @ Bsides Belfast and NI OpenGovernment Network

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.

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