While my previous job, (23 years), primarily centered around the performance testing of
prototype type, audio signal processors containing proprietary technologies, it also
involved the challenge to constantly adapt testing to newly evolving technologies,
control and audio interfaces.
Prior to testing audio processors I repaired consumer audio for about 2.5 and managed a
service department at several outlets of a major stereo retail chain.
Before repairing stereos, I repaired and operated ground based automatic target
tracking radar systems. I was a crew chief as a member of the First Combat Evaluation
Group, SAC, USAF. My first experience with OpAmps was in the analog balistics
computers of the radars I worked on.
When I was in high school :
I owned a hand fed 12" x 18" letter press that I earned money with :-) The largest
single job that I did by hand, one sheet at a time, 100,000.
I made my own PCBs used to make flip/flops from surplus components.
In 9th grade, in a game of "one ups man's ship", I memorizes the first 70 decimal places
of Pi. Unfortunately over the last 30+ years I have forgotten the last ten that I knew.
If a language doesn't provide Pi for me, I will use 4*Atan(1), in radians, 355/113 works
Exit Sub '--
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|Private Sub MORE_TO_COME(Tym as Int)
Dim now as Int
While now < tym
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This is my first attempt at a web site. So
things, will no doubt be, dynamic for a
while. Change is the only constant.
|Above is the view looking up at the antenna assembly of an AN-TSQ-96 J-band
Mono Pulse Target Tracking Radar. This picture was taken at Det 23R in Udorn
Thailand about 60 klicks south of Vientiane Laos. The 30' metal antenna
pedestal sits on top of an additional 60' cement pedestal.
AN/TSQ-96 J-BAND Mono Pulse Target Tracking
The above view is the reverse angle of the previous picture. Looking down from about
90' above Udorn RTAFB. The majority of the radar is contained in the cubes on the right
side of this picture. Several hundred feet of cable kept us away from radar seeking
missiles. The walls of these cubes were honey comb aluminium designed to allow
bullets to pass through easily without producing much shrapnel.
|This is a joke I put together
with Photo Paint.
The progressive views start at
the circle in the bottom row,
I am fairly sure that the card is
an IBM Magnetic Core Memory
Card. A whole 100 bits of EMP
|The background of this page is the image of the shore of a lake outside Stanley Idaho. I turned my camera 90' and
centered the shore line.
The picture was taken from point A looking at point B, ( see below )
|The lake is a few miles past the top of this water fall that it feeds and a look at the climb
we had ahead of us.
The text below evolved out of an explanation about why and how I structure my VB projects, contained on the VB 6.0.03 page. I carried this a little past what was
going to be a few lines about how I structure my VB programs, past my little function library, C-Language stories and right over the I-86 begots and into segment
That explanation basically became what was, the first few days of the lesson plan of one of my instructors, who called it, the "begets". The history of the PC, from
when Bill didn't want to write an operating system for the IBM PC, and C was just some code utilities needed to support writing applications, until an OS was
available, to when the IBM PC came to market and C-Language was a Class Language, that all other computer languages, (except ASM and machine code) could
be made from as an instance of that class. That instructor told us that, although not currently done that way, most other languages could be written with
Personal History :
I would like to generate an income. I would like to exchange my knowledge and skill sets with others who feel they can or could benefit from them. The primary
reason for this Web site is to display visual examples of my knowledge base and skill sets. Typically a list of previous jobs and associated titles can be a functional
mechanism to couple reasonable expectations of an individual's knowledge base and skill sets. However in my case I feel that my current list of jobs and titles
obtained while performing those jobs does not adequately cover the knowledge and skill sets used or gained in the process of doing those jobs. While pictures of
the results of my knowledge and skill sets are I hope at least interesting to others, and or a source of information or ideas to those who view them, that
sometimes a thousand words can say more than one picture.
I have had only 3 full time jobs in my life. If carrying 12 semester unit s and holding a 3 plus GPA, while paying for it with the GI Bill, counted as a 4th full time job.
Then I can add, I worked for a solid 32 years. The titles associated with half of my jobs, covering 28 years, don't tell people what knowledge or skill sets were
involved. What follows is an attempt to fill in job related details as well as personal accomplishments, including knowledge and skill sets acquired or enhanced
subsequent to my last full time employment.
One simple explanation for how I have come to know what I have, is that I need to be learning something, usually technical in nature all of the time.
As an example, I purchased my first computer so I could teach myself how to program ATE. I easily spent 3 times more of my own money to purchase my own ATE
than I did for my last truck when it was new. Because it is fun. It also paid my bills for around 20 years.
I have never purchased a computer game. I find programming a computer to get valuable data from a black box, is much more fun and interesting than playing a
video game. These days, with the Internet at the other end of my keyboard, I simply teach myself what ever I want to, or need to, know to accomplish what I
want. If I need a circuit that I can't find, I will invent it. My parents were both teaches, I could always get an answer to, "why and how", and because of that, I
have never stopped asking.
The combination of an old skill set, programming ATE for evaluating audio hardware and software, when combined with a new skill set of programming micro
controllers, earned me $10k. I was paid for the design of one high quality, audio circuit, comprised of solid state analog audio, serial digital control interface, split
SMPS, with virtual ground, TTL, and fully differential audio I/O, for easily half the component cost of the circuit it replaced. Pictures, schematics technical
specifications can be found on my Fabrication Plan B page.
The combination of a very old skill set, working with vacuum tubes, when combined with a more recently obtained skill set of 3-D modeling with my $3k copy of
AutoCAD and my more recently gained experience with making panel labels and component mounting assemblies with Tap Plastics. Allowed me to have 10 chassis
made at a local machine shop and for me to build five, 50 watt, tube based guitar amplifiers. A project that I am involved in with the engineer who hired me to
work at Dolby Labs, over 25 years ago now. Our list price for the hand built, point-to-point wired amplifiers is $2,300.00. Many pictures on my site of my CAD work
as well as of the amplifiers I have built. Additionally we have a site specifically for the amplifiers at, http://www.translucidamps.com/.
My only 3 full time job were with :
US Air Force, Repair of Ground Based Automatic Target Tracking Radar Systems and associated Computer Systems. Right out of high school.
Pacific Stereo, repair of consumer audio equipment. After some college classes for about 2.5 years, before working 23 years for Dolby Labs.
Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation, Evaluation of Licensed Consumer Technologies.
The associated job title were :
1) Crew Chief, 1CEVG, maintenance and operations, Detachment 5 of the First Combat Evaluation Group USAF. We were directly under Headquarters Strategic Air
Command. I only lived on an Air Force Base for the first 9 months of my 5.5 years in the Air Force, I was paid to rent an apartment, paid for food and to cover
what ever most Airmen received for free while living on an Air Force Base. The closest Air Base to where I lived was 76 miles away. A Tactical Command Air Base
that had no connection to what we did. Of course we received the normal pay that every Airman received.
Combat Evaluation being somewhat miss leading. Our very small Group of individuals, were located at several detachments around the US However we also had
the largest single day loss of Air Force Ground Based Personal of the Vietnam War, only 11 people, simple radar repairmen. These being technicians who were
more noted for using an M-16 to shoot holes in the floor of a flooding radar van to drain rain water than to shoot people, to drain blood. The bodies were never
recovered from where they died in Laos. They were using the radars that we used in the US for Combat Evaluation, in a Black Op that used them for the ground
based radar directed bombing of Hanoi with B-52s. If you would like to read more details about The First Combat Evaluation Group, follow this Wikipedia link,
If you would like to read more details of the Black Op in Laos, follow this link or search on Lima Site 85.
A few other miscellaneous facts about my time in the Air Force :
By the time I joined the Air Force after leaving high school. I had already built my own oscilloscope, a digital adding and subtracting machine from surplus parts and
using circuit board that I designed and made at home. This resulted in my being placed into a special "self paced" Basic Electronics Program. While 99% of the
Basic Electronics students entering the AF attended lecture style classes as would be typical of an normal civilian college. I had a personal instructor who who was
simply there to answer my questions. The were no more than six other students in any of my classes. The instructors had no lesson plan that they presented to us
because we were allowed to progress at our own pace, thus nobody was at the same point in the curriculum as anybody else. When we didn't need the instructors
help they simply read a news paper or book or did their taxes. If we had a question, they put down what ever it they were doing to help us. The students in the
normal lecture format, took their smoke break when the bell rang. We had no restrictions as to how many breaks we took or how long they lasted.
After the Basic Electronics I attended my radar school, where I received 2 letters of commendation for my class work in 2 of my computer classes and I held a 94%
average for all of my class work.
I also obtained the highest student rank obtainable. At a lower student leader rank, it was my job to march my Squadron Shift to class across base, occasionally
employing some fancy foot work to impress on lookers. While I was in tech school it was in the process of gaining accreditation by the Souther College Conference.
If I had attended a year later it would have been possible for me to receive an Associate of Science degree.
While performing my normal duties, I voluntarily continued my study of electronics by correspondence school provided by the Air Training Command. That added
several thousand hours to my class credits.
A few years I was playing volley ball at our site waiting for the next B-52 or F-111 to call I.P. at our range. Our Commander a Lt. Col. who normally did not us our PA
system, yelled at me, basically "get in here Leyva", what ever I had done was not good, because he normally did not call people to his office personally, he had
people who normally did that for him. The tone of his voice also indicated to me I that I had stepped into something deep. In general it was best not to get too
much attention from a Commander. I went to his office, where he started to yell at me, then cracked a smile, he was having fun with me at my expense. He then
informed me that my first attempt to take the promotion fitness exams for Staff Sergent, that I had taken several months prior, (because I had to, with basically a
snow balls chances), had resulted in the highest combined technical knowledge and military knowledge score of everybody in the Air Force testing for Staff Sergent.
Who knew ? Making Staff under 4 years was an accomplishment when the Vietnam War was going. The war was over then and the Air Force was down sizing but I
still got promoted. I became a Crew Chief with 9 team members that I was responsible for writing their yearly performance reviews. My crew ranged in age from a
few years on either side of maybe 22 years old. Controlling 9 young men away from home for their first time in a dynamic environment could be a challenge for
most people, I was an old man at 25 years. When my crew was on the evening shift between 4pm and 2am, I was the highest ranking person on our site. Along
with the responsibility for my crew, there was millions of dollars worth of equipment, some classified as well as associated classified documents. We used all of those
materials to simulate Soviet weapons and tactics employed by their area defence systems. We scored B-52 and FB-111 crews on their ability to penetrate those
systems and deliver their ordinance. Kind of like a video game, but with really big knobs.
Unfortunately because I had been promoted to Staff so early, even if I passed all the paper requirements, time in grade and time in service prevented me from
obtaining my next promotion for 5 years and the $50/month pay raise. As much fun as it all had been, waiting 5 years for a $50/month pay raise was not a major
incentive to stay in the Air Force.
Military duties are supposed to be commensurate with rank and position. Because of the down sizing, Staff Sergeants were asked to supplement the Buck Sergeants
and or Airmen to provide security and fire protection at our site when the range was close on the weekend. Among other things on the TODO list for the weekends
was to mop the floors of various rooms on the site. When my weekend came, I felt that moping the floor of and office occupied by an other Staff Sergeant way
beneath my position of Crew Chief. The following week I was asked to mop the floor, I said military rules prevented me from doing so. I was told to do it, I did
and informed Master Sergeant who was directing me to mop the floor, that I would have to leave the Air Force. The Master Sergeant was our administrative head,
and he offered to help me get out. No thank you, I will take care of it on my own. I preceded to do my research, I had found an optimal solution that would
provide me with an Honorable Discharge as well as all benefits including the GI Bill so I could collect money while going to school. One evening while talking with my
crew and listening to the standard bitching about the military, a long held tradition of military personal. I told them, "if you want to bitch about being in the Air
Force, then do something about it, or shut up.". I followed that statement by saying, "watch me". I wrote a letter to my commander quoting the necessary
regulations that would allow me to leave the Air Force. I handed the letter to the Major who was our Operation Officer and my direct boss. I told him they had 17 to
43 day to let me out. Thirty seven days later I was free and clear, I drove off an Air Base for the last time. The first thing I did, was to get a cheese burger at
around 10 am and have my first taste of freedom in 5 years, 5 months, 17 days, 10 hours.
A few other adventures of mine while in the Air Force included but were not limited to.
Going to work when the outside air temperature was around -55 degrees F. In Northern Main.
Working outside on radar antennas at -30 F. In Northern Main.
Working outside on radar equipment while raining and being 80 degrees F. In Northern Thailand.
Working on radar equipment in the middle of an oil field in Wyoming in the Summer, not sure what the temperature was but there were Scorpion under every other
rock. The site in Wyoming was Mobil so that air crews could practice their skills on targets, they had never seen before, as was the case at my permanent site in
Idaho. To prevent any Air Force air crews from seeing the targets we enlisted the help of the Royal Air Force who flew down from Canada with their Vulcan bombers
and helped us align our equipment by running our range and providing targets for our radars to be calibrated on.
I attended a few additional training to repair a Mono Pulse radar system that I worked on in Thailand where I spent six months.
I also attended additional classes for what was called "Combat Sky Spot" this is what was more commonly called ground directed bombing. In that case my
operations duty was to do the ballistics calculations necessary to determine the point in space where the B-52s released their bombs that did a 7 mile free fall into
the target box.
2) Service Department Manager, and consumer audio equipment repair technician. Not much here. Simply a job that was offered to me by the Regional Service
Manager who was friends with a student in my English 101 class. An offer I accepted when I couldn't find enough units to take during Summer break to live off of
the GI Bill until the Fall semester started. Among other things this job paid for my second Super Bike a 70 kilo watt Kawasaki Z-1 LTD B-3 that came stock with over
size 28mm Mikunis, geared for street racing but did 100 mph on the flat at "red line" in 3rd gear. For those who know how steep the bottom deck of the San
Rafael, Richmond bridge is on the Marine side, that bike would do 135 mph up hill in 5th gear on the steepest part. I rode it up to the US Canadian border. I rode
my previous Z-1 up through Oregon and Idaho to Golden and Banff in Canada, to Calgary and back through Glacier National Park in Montana past Stanley Idaho in
the Sawtooth Mountain, back across Nevada and home to the Bay Area. As I remember that was something like 3,600 miles in 9 days.
3) Associate Engineer, evaluation of licenced consumer technologies. My primary job for the first 15 years or so was to work with 4 other technicians and 5
engineers. We conducted all of the technical approval process necessary to obtain a license from Dolby Laboratories. The license allowed equipment manufacturers
to use Dolby IP and obtain the ASICs necessary to build their product. Knowing the technical details of Dolby IP was a given for all Dolby technical employees. My
job differed because it required that I review the confidential designs of audio equipment, while in the R&D phase and before manufacturing could commence. The
designs were from every serious audio equipment design engineering company on the planet. This included often having those engineers at my test bench with
me, while I tested for problems and they corrected them. This face to face exchange between the design engineers and myself could be from a day to several
days. On some occasions the company who employed the engineer simply said stay in San Francisco until their design was approved. In one instance involving the
design of an IC, the 2 engineers who accompanied the new design could not come back to Japan until we approved the chip. We loaned them all of the test
equipment they needed to sit in their hotel room next to the San Francisco International Air Port for 2 weeks, working on their design before they came back to San
Francisco proper, for further testing by us. This took place only a year or two after I started working at Dolby Labs. This was when it could cost millions of dollars or
the equivalent just to get to the final masks necessary to make the first wafer of production silicon. I problems with the design were found after that point, the only
recourse would be to destroy the silicon and go back to the R&D process. For a 4 year period while I was the only person at Dolby testing engineering samples of
ICs containing Dolby IP. I found a very serious problem with an IC manufactured by a company well know to almost anybody. They did start making the production
quantities of their Pro Logic IC before I had tested it. After testing a surround processor at my bench with my equipment, the evaluation continued in a listening
room with a monitor where I watched movie clips that I knew could piss off a Pro Logic decoder. I listened to the audio for defects in sound quality as well as
watching the monitor to find defects in the localization of the audio image relative to the video image. I built a 6 channel A/B switch that allowed me to easily switch
between the processor that I was testing and our reference processor. This way I could put a video clip on loop and easily hear a difference. Listening being a
technical skill that can take years to develop. And for some, simply makes listening to music for pleasure not possible, because their mind is constantly searching
for defects in the audio. I can hear defects in audio program material the first time I hear it. Defects that most people simply can not hear regardless of how many
times they hear the material. I know how things should sound. In a lot of cases a defect in audio performance will be consistent enough that a consumer will not
notice it, because they do not have a reference to compare it to. In the case of the chip I mentioned above. When I first heard the defect, I asked one of our new
engineers to come into the listening room and tell me what he thought of the problem that I heard. He came in and sat down, I played the movie clip several
times so he could hear the defect. He didn't hear it. I asked another of our engineers to come in and listen. He walked about halfway across the listen room floor,
and before he could sit down, he said, "stop the evaluation, it's over, don't go any further". We had no bench tests that showed the problem. I listened to the
same two minute video clip, about 120 time that day and over 200 times the next day. A pad of paper in my hand and a "O" for or OK and an "X" for not that way.
I listened to six samples of the IC. What I found out was that the IC failed from 37% to 41% of the times the clip was played. Failures varied from a subtle pop to
blowing the sound image completely off the screen. Random failures in signal processing can be very obvious to consumers. The manufacturer could not duplicate
the problem in Japan, they were not going to destroy chips they had already produced simply on our word that it sounded bad to us. At that point the only option
was to catch the "Red Eye" from Tokyo to San Francisco so they could hear it for themselves. They decided that we were picking on them, that because we could not
back up our observations with hard data, they would sell the chip anyway.
A corner stone of our evaluation process was flexibility. The flexibility was the result of never testing the same thing twice and keeping up with the current state of
a technology that changed every six month to a year. At that time I knew more about programming test equipment for that type of testing, than anybody else in
the company. The closest equivalent to what I did, would be the ATE programming used on the production lines of our manufacturing division that produced the
professional audio equipment used in movie theaters, recording studios and movie sound stages all over the world. In that case they tested hundreds of the same
very specific implementation of one Dolby IP, designed by our professional audio engineering department. Who could easily drive across town to the manufacturing
facility and help solve production problems uncovered by the test automation that was used there.
I decided what I needed to do, to get the hard data that we needed and programmed my test equipment to produce what, I would call a "repeatable, constant
power matrix encoded quadrant pan". My new test showed graphically on paper exactly what was going on. I sent my test to the IC manufacturer. They found the
defect in their chip. An internal ground trace in the silicon that caused the audio positioning control path to burp. They redesigned the chip and I added a new tool
to my test kit. Done deal,,, next number please ?
The instance I mention above was before I spent about $35,000 out of my pocket, so I could have my own copy of the equipment that I used at work, at home.
I didn't want the fun to stop, just because the work day did. Lots of people spend what I did on a car or a boat or a plane. I can crash my toys while drinking at the
keyboard and recover by simply pressing a button specifically designed to do just that. I am not sure where that button is on cars, boats or planes. But I do know
that I haven't collected even one scratch from all of the crashes I have been involved in. Taking my equipment on a joy ride for one weekend, paid for all of the
parts I needed to build the computer I am using now. And part of the equipment cost was offset my the tax deductions that came along with. My equipment works
as well as it did when I purchased it about 10 years ago now and I still use it. Maybe I should have been the one with the "your crazy smile", when my friends told
me how much they just spent on that new car smell. Something that I can easily afford to add to my toys after paying for them. And will last longer for me because
the only open Windows I have are in the computer.
My time with Dolby Labs covers 23 years there were many more technical experiences there, but the high points are covered in pictures and shorter text else where
on my site. I would rather spend the time working on actual projects that can increase my skill sets and produce some income.
That is enough for now. Questions, let me know