Sorting Glass

Snipping off the thin ring of metal. Brown, Green, Clear? Underhand toss with a high enough arc to clear the upper rim of the bin. In the 1970’s recycling was a Do-It-Yourself affair. No curbside pickup, no co-mingling. You drove to the dump and sorted it yourself. While not a regular family outing some Saturdays…

Creating Your Own Work- 1973 Oil Shock and Silicon for Space

When you’re working for a big company, like Union Carbide, they will have a big project of interest. The management has certain goals they want you to achieve- –very specific business goals. They’ll assign you the engineers you might need. You have a defined budget you have to keep within. You begin work on the…

Becoming an Engineer Who Can Write

Editor’s note:  It takes risk to move to a new country where you don’t speak the language.  Yet, Hiroshi Morihara comes from a family that had a history of risk taking. Risk taking is essential for innovation. He eventually taught technical writing to engineering students as an adjunct professor.  My mother told me in high…

Dealing with Bits Flipped- From the Weak Write Test Mode Saga

In Circuits and Systems I, Prof Emad informed the class that sign matters. A student requesting to receive partial credit on an exam question because she only got the sign wrong would receive no mercy. “What’s the difference between + 5 Volts and – 5 Volts?” Prof Emad pointedly stated, “10 Volts.” Ever since Ben…

Lessons from My History Teacher- Mr Hines

As part of my Gratitude Project I wrote the following letter to Mr Robert E Hines  which I share with his permission. It’s dated 2 June 2018. Dear Bob; Great teachers teach beyond than their subject matter.  They impart life lessons to their students. Students may be deaf to this other lessons because they were…

The Long Path to 20 Bytes of Firmware

When I began my approach for a By-Pass Lock screen solution, I knew that the USB/PCI Express Bridge chip I was using had the capability to enable DMA attacks. But I wasn’t sure how to configure it properly. In the end 20 Bytes of firmware did it. But getting to the 20 bytes of firmware…

Make it Light

So a while ago I put together a hardware security project. The device I was building was a PCIExpress device to do DMA (Direct Memory Access) attacks on a computer. The idea being you would have a card that you could put in a slot into the computer. Then this card would basically use its…

Three Patents for PLD–That was Good

Let me share my experiences with Programmable Logic Devices (PLDs). Intel had a small group down in Folsom working on this technology. Because of re-orgs, my wife and I moved to Folsom and we lived down for eight years (1988-1994). As part of that team I came up with  three patents.  And it was just…

My Year of Magical Thinking

They tell me everyone grieves in her own way.  During my husband’s illness with pancreatic cancer I learned that a friend from graduate school had lost his son Sam to a car accident.  Though it had been many years since we had spoken, my heart sank. I knew that John dearly loved his children as…

Hardware to Bandwidth to Software Flipped Around

So here’s another occasion with a similar scenario where a small kludge solution turns a complicated design into something really easy but it requires a separate perspective on the problem. This is from my work on the CPU debug team at Intel, circa 2007. Engineers in my group were trying to resolve a problem. We…