GRAYnomad Nature Photography :: Electronics & programming

Electronics & programming

There are only 10 types of people in the world...
those that understand binary and those that don't.

— Unkown

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...

  • C
  • C++
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • Perl
  • PHP
  • VB6
  • VB.NET
  • Forth
  • Pascal
  • Paradox PAL
  • Z8x assembly
  • 65xx assembly
  • 68xx assembly
  • 80x86 assembly
  • HTML
  • TCL
  • 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 of).

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 2am.

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 example).

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.


Circuit design and schematic capture

PCB design

Embedded firmware

Arduino-compatible designs


I did well in IT and don't really need to work so I'm not actively looking, on the other hand I am always keen to do something interesting. So if you have a hardware or software project you think I could help with get in touch.

We currently live in the bush in central Queensland (near Bundaberg) but with current technology it's quite practical to interact in real time even if we're physically located on opposite sides of the globe.

I interact with clients mostly using Skype, chat only though, with occasional video/voice but the bandwidth required is too much for my data plan to do that regularly. That said if you're paying me properly or picking up the tab I will make an exception.

With Skype it's easy to drag and drop files, photos, drawings, screen shots etc.

My timezone is GMT+10, I tend to be up working until about 2AM so that helps align me with people in the US, UK and Europe.

See my contact page for contact details.

Some other projects.

Siiman → The QUUB → Old PC projects →

Just for a laugh

Yours truly featured in Embedded Designer recently. Readable version here.

Plus PULSE magazine did a spread on me and the project I was designing at the time, namely BUSnet and MAXX, two systems designed for monitoring and control of commercial to light-industrial installations.

This system was never built but it lives on in the Quub.

A recent personal project was a SAMG55-based controller board.

My current personal project is the QUUB system.

More information here.

I did this "Are you a geek" test.

My computer geek score is greater than 100% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!

Guess I'm a geek.