| There are only 10 types of people in the
those that understand binary and those that don't.
I didn't finish school, never went to college, and hardly drove past
a university—never the less I was employed in various hardware
and software engineering capacities over a period of 20 years until
I retired at the ripe old age of 45.
So I think I can lay claim to at least some skill in computing although
I'm not an expert in any one field, more a generalist with interests
and experience in most fields from widgets to Windows.
I've written applications and/or worked on code and/or
designed hardware using the following languages and processors...
- Paradox PAL
- Z8x assembly
- 65xx assembly
- 68xx assembly
- 80x86 assembly
- 2900 bit-slice machine code
And probably a few more I can't think of right now.
I'm not saying that I'm proficient in all these any more, I worked on
some of those platforms 20 or even 30 years ago. These days my coding
is almost all C. Despite being an early adopter of C++ when it first
came out I've not done much since so those skills have atrophied somewhat,
but I'm getting back up to speed on C++ now.
I've ported a large product to many diverse platforms
including UNIX, IBM, and Burroughs mainframes. I worked for large multi-national
businesses like PRIME computers and SPL, and also two-man bands like
Torrens Industries and Nichols Research (who I'm sure you've never heard
All in all I loved working in the IT industry and
marvel that people have paid me well over the years to do what I would
almost have done for nothing. I would work long hours then come home,
grab a bite to eat and a beer, then go into my lab and continue doing
the same work only on my own projects. Seldom did I get to bed before
Since retiring I have kept my hand in by continuing
to write software and develop hardware, there is still hardly a day
goes by when I'm not developing something on a computer although these
days I'm usually in bed by 1 because I live off solar power and the
batteries are getting low buy then.
What are my skills now?
Hmmm, good question. I would say my skills are about
equally spread between digital hardware, PCB (using Altium), and firmware
design; probably with a bias towards the first two.
As such I have a good grasp of the embedded design
process from the first AND gate to the last semi-colon so for example
I won't design a board with 8 IO pins spread over three ports when they
are used to drive the segments of an LED display, I'm well aware of
the trade-offs between the hardware and software sides of a project.
I can also get by with simple analogue design and
mixed-signal layout, was a dab hand at VB6 (remember that) and can hold
my own with many aspects of web design such as PHP (this site is an
I am also becoming reasonably familiar with both LPC
and SAM 32-bit ARM processors and I've done a lot of documentation over
the years, in fact tech pubs was my main task in my last day job.