About – READ THIS FIRST

This blog is an experiment – as draft as a draft can be.  I’m learning WordPress as I go.   All suggestions are welcome!

I’ll be organizing these notes by type (Category) of technology.  My plan is to have one Page for every Category to introduce that Category.   Please read these Pages first, before diving into the Posts.

Posts will be more like news or timely thoughts.  Most posts will belong to one or more categories, with “General” as the default category.  You can select only posts in a category by clicking the category name in the right hand column.  Posts are displayed backwards in time with the most recent post first.  This means that you might have to read further down to get the full context.

My curiosity, especially about technology, is insatiable, and I often write detailed notes about the things I learn or figure out.  My friends often ask me to publish them, but my notes aren’t really publishable papers.  Perhaps they are appropriate for a blog.  I’d appreciate your comments.

Informal bio:  Undergraduate at University of California, Berkeley, where I worked my way through school mostly by programming computers.  Ph.D. at MIT, where they gave me a free ride, and I’ll be forever grateful.   Lots of post-graduate work on business, corporate strategy, math, physics, computer science, and general engineering.  In spite of struggling in school with languages, learned to my surprise that I had an ear for them.  Traveled extensively, living for a while in France, Italy, and Montreal, and now I know a little of a lot of languages.

At Digital Equipment I spent a decade that spanned DEC’s glory days until just before it died and was sold.  Became a Group Manager, Corporate Consultant, and member of the corporate strategy team focusing mostly on PCs and distributed applications, but learned a lot about storage, databases, transaction processing, cryptography, security, VAX and Alpha.  Was executive liaison to many F100 companies, and helped close many millions of dollars of system and consulting business.  It was the consulting side of the company that made Digital profitable.

As VP Engineering, CTO, and ultimately General Manager of the $50M systems group at Phoenix Technologies, got heavily into what it takes to be competitive in the hardware business. Phoenix’s role was nominally BIOS and firmware, but like Digital, made a lot of money consulting (called “NRE” at Phoenix.)  The product cycle speeds were dizzying as can be seen by the new models every three months or so on Dell’s or HP’s web sites.

Left Phoenix and started Bristol Systems, first to address Y2K problems in embedded systems, and then to use that expertise to segue into “reliable networks” with an initial emphasis on industrial clients.  The variety of technologies addressed by Bristol was staggering:  Aegis radar defense system, Sea Sparrow missiles, GPS, data centers large and small, database applications, CAD/CAM systems, accounting systems, enterprise applications, factory floor automation, web sites and web applications.  We became noted for our security, reliability and high availability expertise.

The dot com crash wiped out several competing or complimentary consulting houses in short order (in one case, overnight.)  New Bristol business was slow to arrive, contracts completed, and eventually we couldn’t pay the rent.

L-3 made me an offer as a senior technical program manager to build and deploy military GPS navigation systems.  This is very cool technology.  All the commercial applications of GPS apply, and the purely military ones like GPS guided bombs and missiles were extra interesting due to the high G acceleration as projectiles were shot from canons, rapid spinning, and challenging dynamics.  Also got to brush up on the cryptography that I learned at Digital.  Sadly, shrinking military budgets and resulting revenue downturns took a toll on my division, and many positions were eliminated in three successive waves of downsizing.

While looking for another Engineering VP type of position, I’m doing some interesting consulting, and I’m learning about cloud computing, Android applications, and much more.  I’ll blog about these first.

My professional profile is on LinkedIn.  Please mention this blog when you connect to me there.  I’m also on Facebook, but I reserve that mostly for swimming, which I took up a few years ago after a C3-C4 disc replacement ruled out contact sports.  Maybe I’ll blog about that cool medical technology as well.

-gayn

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