Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A little bit about me, electronics and software

Going back a long way, when I was about 9 years old, I got my very first computer, a Commodore 64! Unfortunately for me (or so I thought at the time), my Dad was prepared to pay for the computer but not prepared to pay for the games! His solution was to buy me a book of game program listings and let me type them in myself! Although I didn't understand what it was all doing at the time, it did give me my first introduction to computer programming :-)

...oh, and the games were really bad too!

So, roll on a few years to late high school and I was actually starting to understand this whole computer programming thing and starting to like it. I also had a passing interest in electronics building basic circuits to do pretty much nothing, but generally playing and learning! By the time it came to leaving school and deciding a future career, I was a little bit torn between electronics or software. My choice at the time was that I would pursue a career in electronics and keep software for a hobby!

So off I went to study electronics, while in the evenings (when I wasn't getting drunk down the pub!), I was teaching myself a little more about software. By this time I had progressed from BASIC programming on the C64 and was now getting into Machine Code (Assembler) programming on the Commodore Amiga - both programming the Motorola 68K (first 68000, later 68020) and the Amiga custom chip set. At this point I already started to realise the advantages of studying electronics when it comes to programming hardware related software!

By the end of my studying, I'd had a bit of a change of heart about my career choice. Rather than have a software hobby, I decided that software was what I really wanted to do and that electronics would be better suited as a hobby!

So for the last 13 years or so, I've been working as an embedded systems software engineer. Initially working on Motorolla 68K based systems and more recently on Motorola/IBM based PowerPC system. The majority of my work over the years has been for developing boot firmware and board support drivers, so plenty of assembly coding, system initialisation etc.

As for the electronics hobby, despite my good intentions, I've done absolutely nothing with electronics since finishing my studies, so I'm a little rusty with my resistor codes ;-) The project I'm planning will be largely software based, but I have no fears or worries about this, however the is a small amout of electronics design required, which is the real challenge for me on this project!

...lets see how it goes.....


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