My first start with electronics was with a 150-in-ONE
project kit at aged 11. I have vivid memories of wiring up a crystal radio and tuning into my first AM station (in Jakarta) which was playing the (then) newly released smash hit number one: Eye of the Tiger
As I grew up in Australia, I went through the entire catalog of Dick Smith Electronics
into Electronics kits, building almost all of them that I could afford with my allowance and any money I earned delivering junk mail and working at a shoe shop on Saturday mornings.
In my mid teens I watched in awe as my best friend built a Z80
based Ferguson Big Board
computer. I, however, got hooked on the software side of things and spent my late teens writing serial (mostly FOSSIL
based) communications utilities to interface bespoke POS
systems to Gilbarco
petrol pumps; linking NEC PBX systems to Qantel hotel billing systems for CDR processing. I also wrote a tennis school database and a hotel functions event management database while studying at University and working as a night porter/auditor trainee in a hotel. Fun times!
Between 18 and 20 as I studied computer systems engineering, a wonderful course that covered everything from basic programming to operating systems to electronic peripheral design - in one class, I build a wire-wrap ISA bus AD/DA card for an 8086 based PC and wrote a DOS TSR sound driver in assembly language; and a Telix
clone in Pascal - those were the days! In my 20s I helped my wife with her CompSci studies, in particular with MicMac
I then spent 20 years working in the Internet and Telecommunications industry as an R&D engineer, designing and building networks and associated peripherals where I designed a system using Z80
based Rabbit (now owned by Digi) microcontrollers for out of band monitoring of remotely deployed microwave systems. I am now a consulting engineer specialising in next gen IP telephony living and working in Europe.
My most recent return to micro controllers has been with an Arduino Uno and Arduino Fio which I am using to build my vision impaired nephew a talking temperature guage with scrolling LED text display. The experience has been fantastic! Mixing the best parts of writing code, soldering small circuits and wiring up different gadgets to talk to each other - heaven!