Michael Conrad Mannering has had a succession of nicknames since school days, the latest being Crusty. Describing himself as a dilettante, gentleman researcher in advanced electronics, he is -- in fact -- a retired Electronics Assurance Engineer, with over 35 years served in the London Underground (the Tube). He started life in electronics as a 12-year-old playing with the first red and blue spot germanium transistors to hit the amateur market. A lot of jobs later, he landed the post of electronics technician at the London Underground Research Laboratories. It was here that he learned to work with analog, digital, and microprocessors. During these years, he traveled to the dark side and became heavily involved in software development, but -- with the wisdom of old age -- he has returned to the only true electronics path. Michael is mildly dyslexic and has found academic study highly challenging; luckily, he has had a lot of good tutors, great practical facilities, and is a voracious reader of anything, so -- with the advent of the word processor -- the problems of dyslexia are kept at bay. Last but not least, he trains dragons and fights evil geniuses (on the Xbox).