Posted on March 12, 2015. Filed under: life | Tags: |

It’s nearly 30 years since I first met Terry Pratchett. In fact it’s nearly 30 years since he first slept in my bed.

Back then, I was playing at being a student in Edinburgh and had somehow ended up as President of the Science Fiction Society. Terry was invited, after several hours hard work in the Appleton Tower persuading a Macintosh to produce a decent-looking invitation, to be guest of honour at one of the first Freshercons (are they still running ? ). He wrote back and agreed to do it in return for a bed for the night and a chinese meal. No fee, no expenses, just an apparent sense of wonder that someone who had produced a couple of parodies (The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic) of lesser-known and thoroughly unfashionable fantasy books was thought good enough to be invited to something like that.

I still have fond memories of the chinese meal. It was in the Chinese Home Cooking restaurant in Edinburgh and a small group of awe-struck nerds were thoroughly entertained by his tales of his latest idea – something to do with Shakespeare and some witches, but he was struggling to find a decent familiar for the “wet” one.

Goodbye Pterry, we’ll miss you as much as , or maybe even more than, we still miss Douglas. And I’ll keep telling people that Terry Pratchett slept in my bed.

Now, how do I get a blue plaque erected in Edinburgh ? “Pterry woz ‘ere”.

P.S. – I slept on the sofa in the living room. What did you think was going on ?

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Neglecting WordPress

Posted on August 1, 2010. Filed under: All | Tags: , , , |

Regular readers (do I have any ? ) will have noticed that I have completely failed to keep this blog up to date recently. There are reasons for this  – not particularly good ones, but there are reasons.

Starting this month, I’m aiming to set aside a couple of hours each month for an update. Meanwhile, don’t forget to look for my published ramblings in Digital Forensics Magazine and The Investigator (if the editor likes my latest idea, that is).

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Posted on April 8, 2010. Filed under: Education, forensic | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

or re-use ? Either way – this article (thanks for bringing it to my attention, Darren) expands on something that gets a mention in my next IRQ column in Digital Forensics Magazine – so that’s saved me a job (Oh! the irony!) for this week.

The regulator’s working group on digital forensics met for the first time in nearly a year yesterday – and the validation/verification debate kicked off again. Interestingly there was a clear split between the software engineers and the rest of the community – I’m going to ponder and reflect for a while longer and then post something here about it, I think. Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen the papers I’ve produced (with the support and help of some industry figures), you’ll find them here.

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Writing for a living ?

Posted on February 2, 2010. Filed under: forensic, life | Tags: , , , , , , |

Well, it seems that at least two editors have been fooled into thinking I can write things that are either interesting or controversial. They might even pay me (a little) to do it.

Keep an eye on them :

* Digital Forensics Magazine (DFM) for my IRQ column ( This issue is about triage and whether or not it has a role in digital forensics.

* The Investigator Magazine for my series (Tech. Note) on how technology is involved in crime (

It’s an interesting experience being paid to have opinions – something which was actively discouraged in a former life 😉

The main topic for this week, apart from devising fiendish exam questions for my students at Ulster, has been preparing a presentation for the Forensic Science Regulator’s conference next week. I’ve been asked to speak some more about the issues related to software validation. Interestingly, there’s another session on method validation. Given that software, by its very nature, has to embody method, I think I may overlap a lot. However, the results from the workshop I arranged back in December will fit into this nicely and should provoke some discussion.

Here’s hoping that from the arguing we can reach a consensus about the way forward – ideally one that will work!

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    This is the weblog of Angus M. Marshall, forensic scientist, author of Digital Forensics : digital evidence in criminal investigations and MD at n-gate ltd.


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