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…

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…

First Week Impact

My approach to engineering craft has evolved to knowing when the easy solution exists and grabbing that instead of going with a complicated solution. Sometimes that’s a hack or sometimes it’s a different perspective.  A newbie’s perspective can often provide that different perspective. Within my first week at Intel I surprisingly contributed immediately to my…

Six Months to Satisfaction- Large Team Frustrations

Q: What’s your most frustrating experiences as an engineer? A: Basically not being listened to. Like most people as an engineer not being listened to ranks up at the top of my frustration. While it’s easy to manage this in a one on one working relationship it becomes much harder in a larger team. Let…

A Difference in Ovens

I first heard this story as part of Kwabena’s presentation on OpenMV, a camera board.  He spoke at the Oct 2016 Open Source Hardware Summit in Portland Oregon. As he described the path from idea to product I had an inkling this would be a good story for The Engineers’ Daughter. –Anne Meixner Ibrahim dreamed…

The Unexpected Summer of Three Interns

In my engineering career the number three comes up often. A good software engineer goes through loops at least 3 times to check their software.  You need to ask a manager three times to get the approval to do something new. One summer three interns came under my tutelage. That year our group could hire…

Technical Speak- From the Weak Write Test Mode Saga

“You have excellent PowerPoint skills.” Joe Schutz had requested two slides on Weak Write Test Mode to include in a presentation to his manager. On loan to Joe’s microprocessor design team I reported into him via Doug Guddat who managed the memory design group. Joe had asked me directly for the slides and I delivered….