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Background: Laying the foundation.


The stories you have heard are probably true. Yes, I did manage to fuse the entire house as a child, and yes, I did demonstrate the effects of back-EMF using fellow pupils. At the age of 15, I was running sound and light rigs, organizing video productions, and building my own equipment.

Schooled in the best British engineering tradition, culminating in a top degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Manchester University, the path was set.

After a brief, but enjoyable dabble with broadcast television and other interesting fields, I joined Digital Equipment Corporation.


My work as a hardware design engineer at Digital's Jerusalem facility provided the opportunity to put my skills to full use.

Before long, I was wearing four hats at the DEC facility; I was one of the designers of the 21143 PCI Ethernet chip; I was working with FAEs and their customers helping them to identify problems and to get their designs working well; I was directing the schematic and layout design of the evaluation cards which were used to test new chips, and as a basis for our customers to design their own products, and, finally, I became the first stop where new chip designs - hot from the FAB, were put through their paces to find all the obvious and semi-obvious problems before testing started in full.

Digital 21143 Chip
[Digital Semiconductor 21143]


Everyone has a different benchmark by which they measure success, but, for me, there were two. The first was as a result of our leadership in the ACPI field - which, for network chip designers meant designing a chip which could stay awake when the whole computer was turned off, keep an eye on the network for any data packets that the computer would want to see, store them, and wake the computer up to deal with them.

Our achievement was not only in bringing the first such chip to silicon, beating the opposition (then Intel and 3com) by many months - but also being the only company who could demonstrate this capability at the ACPI conference.

The other benchmark that I use is that a chip that I helped design made it into the iMac. For many people, that is as clear a sign as any of being 'best in class'.

The break-up of DEC in 1998, and associated acquisition of my division by Intel, gave me the perfect jumping board as a freelance consultant.

In the years since, I've generally worked on the principle of having one main customer, and several smaller customers projects. Work for the main customer is typically 3 to 5 days per week, and would normally be the design of a major project, with the remaining time available for the smaller projects - such as assisting an existing design team.

You can find out more about my work on the skills page. Please feel free to make contact by e-mail.

 
Copyright 2004 Daniel Greenspan.
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