Here We Go Again

As I compose this post, I realise that I’m extremely fortunate to have made it this far through life – especially when considering others living in developing countries, for instance.

After all – although I haven’t got the support of a wealthy, stable family, I’ve still got:

  • Food and potable drinking water
  • Heating, electricity and other necessities
  • A dry roof over my head
  • Broadband Internet connectivity
  • Good friends, and a handful of family members who mean well – even if I don’t always agree with them

In just over 6 months from now, I’ll have reached the 2 decades old milestone – which is somewhat worrying to contemplate; although I’m cautiously excited about future possibilities.

With that in mind, I’d like to reflect on the happenings of 2010, and the beginning of 2011.

In many aspects, 2010 was just another unspectacular, run-of-the-mill year – a monotonic continuation of 2009, to be blunt; although it brought change and progress in many ways.


From a positive perspective, it was a good year for academia, software development, travelling, and personal relationships, amongst other things.

  • I was able to return to London, shortly after my 19th birthday in order to spend some time volunteering at the Symbian Foundation – details of what I did are available as part of my LinkedIn profile.
  • I received a number of references from several people, which were fairly useful (thanks!)
  • I finally managed to obtain a part-time, intensive placement on a 4-5 year long Computer Science course at the University of Bradford – and completed my first semester, shortly before Christmas 2010.
  • I learned the fundamentals of Java, and managed to write a number of C++-based applications using Qt – some of which I published the source code for on BitBucket.
  • Towards the end of 2010, I released a modified version of Sebastian Reichel’s ISI dissector for Wireshark with support for USB-encapsulated packets. I have since refactored the USB handling code and integrated it into the main dissector, in addition to writing new dissectors for the SIM, GSM Stack Server and Supplementary Services resources; and worked with Sebastian on incorporating these changes into his version successfully.
  • I also managed to reconnect with several people whom I haven’t heard from in a while.


From a negative perspective, it was a bad year for older personal projects, family and financial-related issues, injuries, and the Symbian Foundation.

  • The server hosting DNS records for one of my domains ( and Web services for several projects, which Sjors Gielen generously provided access to for several years finally succumbed to hardware failure – so I’ve lost some old data, some of which was of dubious utility, and some of which was fairly useful.
  • In November, I was unfortunate enough to have been involved in a hit-and-run traffic accident, whilst returning home from the supermarket in Boroughbridge. Thankfully, I sustained only minor injuries (from which I later fully recovered); although the suspect was never identified, after filing a police report.
  • In December, as a result of the harsh realities of the current economic climate, and decisions from handset manufacturers to slowly withdraw from the Symbian Foundation, the decision was made to effectively cease operations – which left community members such as myself to pick up the pieces.

I remain pessimistically hopeful that things improve in 2011.

Thanks to everyone who’s helped in various ways; provided advice and interesting discussion points; and otherwise persisted with me so far.

Hopefully, I’ve been useful to others in some way, too – and I’m glad, if that’s the case.

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5 Comments on “Here We Go Again”

  1. It was nice having you at the Foundation. All the best to you and good luck with uni and your projects!

    • Tyson Key Says:

      Thanks Sebastian!

      Meeting yourself and the rest of the team was a rather humbling experience. Still, I’ve enjoyed my time within the Symbian community, and regret very little. 🙂

      It’s a real shame that things collapsed just as the ball started to gain inertia. I always maintained that I was in it “for the long haul”, though.

      For what it’s worth, I hope that things are starting to improve for you after the nightmare that was the mass layoff – although I wasn’t there to witness it.

      I was saddened to hear of the news at the time (I received a Tweet via SMS from David Wood containing the URL for a news article around midnight, shortly before the big event occurred, if I remember correctly), but I guess that it was inevitable given the circumstances then.

      We can’t change the past though, unfortunately.

      Take care,


  2. Sebastian Brannstrom Says:

    Yes it wasn’t all cartoon characters and beanbags at the Fpundation, we actually worked hard. In many ways it was relief for me when the closedown was announced. I had already lost faith in the platform, just like the OEMs had.

    I have absolutely no regrets. Symbian Foundation was a great workplace and I’m proud of our work.

    • Tyson Key Says:


      We shipped at least 2 major versions of the Symbian Platform, managed to release everything as Open Source software (barring the MOAP(S) and UIQ stuff that was pledged, but never materialised), and built a small-but-loyal community around the codebase.

      Not to mention building all of the infrastructure from scratch; and various events that sprung up over time (e.g. SEE and the Stammtische).

      I still remember the excitement around the initial announcement, and the “we’re changing the world!” ethos that seemed to permeate things for a while. Even as an “outsider” at the time, I felt as if I could be part of something local-yet-globally substantial, and a sense of belonging.

      I also felt as if I learnt a lot from the experiences of those few months.

      All things considered, I guess that antagonising Google was a bad idea – especially given that the community were interested in participating in GSoC; and that they eventually turned around to bite us on the arse in the marketplace (OEMs hedging bets on Android)… Oops!

      • Sebastian Brannstrom Says:

        The amazing success of Android was far from obvious at the outset. But they simply out-delivered Nokia. In 2010 they released a number of new versions, while Nokia struggled to get even one out the door, and then cancelled the second.

        No wonder the OEMs lost faith in Symbian.

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