So who am I?
Since a little boy I was always a tinkerer and while growing up I played with a lot with radios or any electrical gizmos I could get my hands on. I remember taking all kinds of radios apart and trying to modify them. Some radios went up in flames and some never worked again. I had a fascination with electronic stuff. While growing up in NYC in the early 60’s one of my favorite things to do on Saturdays was to go to downtown Manhattan to the various army surplus stores and just spend my hard-earned money as a paper delivery boy buying old military electronic surplus junk. Another hang out of mine in my early geek days was the Lafayette Radio store where I would buy all my needed components for whatever latest project I was working on. During that time, I also became an avid shortwave radio listener and Radio Astronomer aficionado I was always creating new methods to hide my wire antennas from the superintendent in our apartment building. Around the same time, I became very interested in ham radio and later became a ham radio operator which I still am on rare occasions under my call letter of N1UEG.
As far as my line of work nowadays, I am an electrical engineer. I started back in the early 70’s with an associate’s degree doing hardware development, mainly in the biomedical industry and progressed over the years to industrial instrumentation development. Although in the early part of the 70’s my only real experience was working with analog hardware design, I had always expressed interest in the new and exiting microprocessor world. Back in my early days there already was a 4-bit microprocessor manufactured by Intel. I believe it was the first of its kind the Intel 4004. My first experience with such devices was not until the late 70’s after taking some night courses on the Assembler language. I began to play around with my first digital computer board: the KIM-1 which had an 8-bit 6502 CPU from MOS Technology. This board was quite impressive. It featured a LED numeric display in which you had to be very creative in order to display alpha-numeric messages. If I recall, it also had a very nice hex-decimal keypad with various dedicated function keys. As I said, this was my first digital toy and I was fascinated with it and at the time wrote a bunch of useless control applications. Unfortunately, in those days if you wanted to write any functional application it had to be done in Assembler which was never a friendly language to me. In the early 80’s, once again, I got involved with microprocessors. I started using the Zilog Z8 series and I did my first micro-controller based commercial development for my then employer using the Z8671 which had a built in BASIC interpreter on ROM. It was a very nice little chip, although quite limited. It was very easy to get a project up and running with this device. All you needed was a serial terminal to write and test your code. Later in the 1980’s I completed my BSEET degree after attending night school for a few years. Moving forward, in the mid to late 90’s, I resumed using micro-controllers on many designs that I worked on. My favorite devices were the PIC micros from Microchip. I have done a great number of product designs over the years using these great embedded devices. Although I still use PIC micros, I also added to my development tools the use of ARM based micro-controllers from ST Micro and the NXP line of devices.
During the first 20 years of my career I worked as a full-time employee for various companies doing electrical design in product development. This pretty much ended when I was laid off with the last company I had worked for over eight years, it was 1998 and I still remember that traumatic day when my job came to an end. A consultant friend of mine told me that losing my job was a great opportunity and that I should become a full-time independent consultant. Although at first I was very hesitant, I am glad I took his advice and I have been successfully doing consulting work for many clients for the last 22 years on all kind of products ranging from Medical, Scientific, Industrial, Aviation and Consumer areas.