In 1990, as part of the "unification" of the tertiary education system in Australia, Chisholm merged with Monash University. My position was converted to the university equivalent (Associate Professor), and I took up a fixed-term appointment as (full) Professor while I was heading a department. In 1997, after 11.5 long-suffering years as the Head of the Department of Digital Systems (as the Department of Robotics & Digital Technology became in 1995) I handed over the reins to David Abramson in February 1997, and looked forward to the opportunity to concentrate on teaching & research. In 1998 along with three other departments we were reorganized into the School of Computer Science & Software Engineering, which is about half the Faculty.By 2002 I had had enough. As I was 55 I was eligible to take early retirement on a (diminished) pension. My interests had drifted from communications to computational linguistics, so I seized the opportunity to make a major change. As a try-out, I took nearly a year's leave from the University (in Australia one accumulates a special form of leave called "long-service leave"), and when that was over in August 2003, I retired. I was appointed an Honorary (now Adjunct) Senior Research Fellow at Monash.
Our house lies on the banks of Back Creek, one of the few surviving creeks in the area. With some neighbours we have formed the Friends of Back Creek, for which I maintain the WWW page.
At the moment we are petless; our two elderly cats, Shadow and Stanley, died in 1998 and 1999 at the ripe old ages of 18 and 17.
Our main escape these days is our little weekender at Jamieson on Lake Eildon, about 2.5 hours from Melbourne. It's great for swimming & bush-walking, and is close to our favourite cross-country skiing spot at Mt Stirling. I am also a member (and former treasurer) of the Hawthorn Rowing Club, so you'll find me out on the Yarra in a scull or a four several times a week. Here are some pictures of my not-so-new scull. (I sold this scull at the end of 2008 - I wasn't using it enough.)
My late elder sister Patricia, suffered from MSA (Multiple System Atrophy). Her husband John maintains that WWW site as a resource centre for the illness.
Just to keep me out of trouble, I was a member of the University's Academic Board for 10 years (resigned at the end of 2000), the Education Committee of the Faculty of Information Technology, etc. etc. (If you are within Monash, you might like to look at my attempts at journalism in my Academic Board Reports collection.) I was a member of the Australian Internet Working Group (AIWG) (formerly the AARNet Engineering Working Group (AEWG)), which set up the first Internet backbone in Australia. I am a member of the board of the Japanese Studies Centre (a consortium covering all the Universities in Victoria dealing with Japanese studies matters). For 15 years I was a member of the Council of the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (my youngest daughter's former school), and served as President and Treasurer. I was also a member of the Animal Ethics Committee (AEC) of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Melbourne for many years until 2013, when that institution merged with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. I am also a Scholar in the Australian Chapter of the Crabtree Foundation, for which I constructed and maintain the website.
I have been a Linux user since 1994, and since 1999 have used it alone as my working environment. Why? Well I have been a Unix user since 1985 and an X11 user since 1991, so that is my preferred environment. Linux is far more cost-effective than the commercial Unices, and enables me to have compatible environments in my office and home.
In February 2001 I installed RedHat 6.2 on my new Toshiba 2800 Notebook. You can read the saga. In March 2002 I installed RedHat 7.2 on the same notebook. The story is much shorter. In September 2002 that notebook was stolen, and I replaced it with an IBM ThinkPad T23 on which I installed RedHat 7.3, which has its own short story.
At the end of 2005 I replaced the T23 with an R50e, on which I installed Fedora Core 4. No story. Worked "out-of-the-box".
In early 2009 I bought an ASUS EeePC 701, which came pre-loaded with Xandros Linux (based on Debian "etch".) Quite an impressive little system, and good value for $A300. My main challenge was to install a Japanese environment and input method. I use it as a carry-around email, Skype, etc. system.
2009 also saw me changing over from the RedHat/Fedora world to the Ubuntu flavour of Debian. There were several reasons for this: most people I interact with use Debian; I was annoyed by Fedora versions changing quickly without a clear upgrade path or ongoing support, etc. etc. I am now (June 2010) using Ubuntu 9.10 on all three of my workstations (home, Monash Uni., Melbourne Uni.)