Updated 31 Jul 2015
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|Photo by Al Loup
||Photo by Marc Haberstroh
Photo by Marion Redd
Square Dance Caller
I call weekly for 3 area square dance clubs, teaching a total of 4 classes from beginner thru "Plus".
My calling schedule: Rich Reel's Calling Schedule (calendar)
ALL8.COM - Square Dance Calling Notes,
and host to several international square dance email discussion lists: sd-callers, challenge-sd, lgcwsd, gca
(please let me know if you'd like to join).
I also host websites:
This popular 'app' brings a lot of traffic to ALL8.com: Tap for BPM Beats Per Minute
I love engineering and have been excited about it for a long time.
I'm social and outgoing, but don't let that fool you, I'm as nerdy as they come.
But unlike many other 'nerdy' engineers, I have especially strong technician/craftsman skills which I keep sharp ... to help you!
With both high level and low level skills, I can frustrate managers that wish to steer me to more high-value tasks;
a balance of both is actually essential to my health and happiness.
I am currently working for Genapsys after a layoff from
now Life Technologies after more than 21 years with the company.
I've worked on a wide array of projects supporting scientists and engineers across the organization.
In the last years most projects were in some way connected to DNA sequencing.
One particularly successful project was the (now obsolete) 3700 Automated DNA Analyzer which helped complete the first human genome.
In addition to building the first proof-of-concept unit, I designed the final instrument's detector, wrote firmware
including the operating system for one of its processors, and had a hand in the detector design of its successor, the 3730.
I do two basic types of work in R&D...
I work on teams of 1 to 20 engineers on projects ranging from hours to years long.
"Ph.D. scientists tell me what they want; I get it for them."
I take analytical instruments from concept to prototype, and sometimes to production.
- Instrument design/development
- Fast prototyping to support research scientists
...and numerous special classes and seminars.
I regularly attend local trade shows in optics, electronics, embedded, semiconductor and machine tool.
Much of my education comes from an inner drive to be useful.
The internet has profoundly accelerated my learning process.
I believe I have ADHD.
Too much of my early education wasn't right for my learning style.
Now with so many different ways of learning available to me that work, I am rapidly 'catching up'.
||Instrument R&D: DNA sequencing and sample prep, basic all-around guy
||Life Technologies / Applied Biosystems
||Sr Staff Engineer Electrical
||Instrument R&D: HPLC,
CE, Carbohydrates, DNA sequencing and sample prep
||Ultrasonic Systems Inc
||R&D, manufacturing, test, field service
||Switching power supply and UV measurement instrument design
||Modern Office Machines
||Commercial copy machine field service
||Vending machine repair, RO water dispenser installation
||The Ohio State University
||Semiconductor processing equipment repair/tune
||Pinball machine and jukebox sales and service
After a good portion of a lifetime of dedication to 'thinking', 'doing', 'education' and 'infrastructure',
I've accumulated a broad and useful set of both skills and capital equipment.
Perhaps with the exception of optics, most everything listed here is active and current.
I own licensed copies of Solidworks*, Altium Designer, LabVIEW*, MATLAB* and AutoCAD (* = current paid subscription)
with home projects advancing my knowledge.
20+ years in the biotech industry has allowed me to develop important vendor relations and accumulate a large
network of friends who are specialists and industry professionals.
- Systems Engineer - Innovator with over 15 years experience with key roles on high-profile projects.
Can conceive, design, build, test and deliver complete systems faster than many engineering teams.
Conservative yet ambitious with a high success rate: most designs work right the first time.
Can quickly troubleshoot system-wide problems and communicate solutions to a
wide audience from highly technical to completely non-technical.
I learn quickly and understand deeply to solve the really tough problems others can't.
Self driven. Customer focused.
Thrive on projects with a "moving goalpost". Most effective on small interdisciplinary teams.
Variety keeps me vibrant.
- Optics - 20 years experience - Countless successful designs including multi-laser piezo-scanning confocal
single molecule fluorescence detection breadboards,
and fast-frame-rate EMCCD
imaging with TIRF
or epi illumination,
high-sensitivity absorbance and fluorescence detection systems (and one doing both simultaneously),
detectors for CE,
micro-fluidic systems, and a 3D fluorescent plume imager for optimizing capillary tip shape in a sheath flow
electrophoresis application, to name a few.
Extensive experience (and patents) in very high NA imaging and non-imaging optics, complex multi-component aberration
gratings, and aspheric lenses and mirrors.
- Mechanical - 20 years experience - Solidworks (since 2009), AutoCAD (since v10) - Designs in robotics,
fluidics, micro fabrication, vacuum, thermal control, and optical mechanics.
With a prototype shop at home, I can quickly make many needed custom parts myself, and of course bring that insight into my designs.
(See Prototype Shop below.)
Exposure to GD&T.
- Electronics - 40 years deep experience starting at age 9 - Designed (not copied) my first circuit at age 13.
Posses a powerfully intuitive way to visualize the dynamics of complex networks of electronic components that allows me to innovate where others only imitate.
Complete analog/digital/uC design,
rapid prototype, PCB layout,
assembly and test, blazing fast component level troubleshooting and
SMD rework at the tiniest scale,
100% RoHS since 2009 -
Designs include very low noise and drift analog sensor/audio/video signal path,
scientific grade CCD interface,
complete switching power supplies from mW to KW, and to 30KV, custom magnetics and discrete and integrated motor drive.
Some exposure to SoC/FPGA/CPLD
and IC AMS (Analog Mixed Signal) design.
Familiarity with Analog Devices' Blackfin.
Actively learning Altium Designer.
Have a professional quality, fully equipped, ESD
SMD workstation at home.
- Firmware / Embedded - 35 years experience (starting in 1978) -
some ADI Blackfin),
C and some C++ - Bare metal from scratch, low level boot code,
hand optimized time-critical hard real-time
high performance control algorithms, human/computer interface, script engine, real-time instrument control,
multi-system coordination, multi servo loop, wide variety of stepper motor drive,
PID temperature control,
communication protocol, data collection, data processing and efficient DSP algorithms.
My code tends to be small, efficient and extremely stable, even bug-free (several shipping examples).
Compared to others, this is probably my strongest area.
I make processors with next to no resources do amazing things.
More and more exposure to Linux and open source tools.
Actively learning Raspberry Pi.
Exposure to NVIDIA Tegra2 / Windows CE.
- Software - 20 years experience - Very strong LabVIEW, some C and C++ - PC side soft real-time instrument control,
user interface, complex CCD camera control (via FPGA
low level commands), data analysis, some 2D and 3D image processing,
audio processing algorithms and a range of web, DOS and other utilities.
Quickly wrote 2D electric field and single molecule kinetics simulators from scratch.
Am working on an audio editor application with some highly advanced features.
My forte is quickly building highly specialized in-house software tools (with and without accompanying hardware)
to enable a technical team to understand a problem and find a solution.
Through Raspberry Pi,
actively and intensely learning
and application development using Tk
(patent numbers link to freepatentsonline.com)
I maintain a private prototype shop in Hayward in a 2-car-garage-sized separate building. Everything is paid for.
Other equipment includes a 2HP band saw, Burr-King belt grinder
(which I love!), diamond grinder, deburring, surface plate w height gauge, basic wood-working equipment and a full complement of high quality tooling.
I stock common materials for rapid turnaround.
Just to be clear, it's a prototype shop; I am not set up for volume manufacturing.
- Sharp milling machine: LMV-50
Bridgeport copy 3HP 50" w DVS electronic speed control and 2 axis DRO
- Feeler toolroom lathe: Hardinge HLV-EM copy (imperial and metric threading) w 2 axis DRO
- Laser cutter: Redsail X700 50W 500x700mm (20"x28") w rotary
- 3D printer Solidoodle Gen 3 (8"x8"x8")
- Sheer: 36" 16ga steel
- Brake: 48" 10ga steel
Beyond-the-usual examples of parts I've made include complex flexures, prototype quality aspheric lenses (acrylic) and mirrors (aluminum),
and small holes in glass: as small as 75um (0.003") diameter, 1mm (0.040") deep.
I am set up to work at the lathe, mill and hand grinder at high magnification.
I've made whole parts smaller than 1mm size and when needed can confidently "eyeball" position to within +/-10um (+/- .0005") in X Y and Z.
"Regular" (fast) tolerance is +/-100um (+/- .004").
I started dancing with Foggy City Dancers in 1995 as a new year's resolution.
I dance at these local clubs.
Square Dance Calling
I call and teach for Western Star Dancers
and El Camino Reelers
and teach two classes at Sunnyvale Squares.
I first picked up a mic at the GCA caller school
at the 1996 IAGSDC Convention in San Francisco.
I didn't do much with calling the first couple years while I focused on Challenge dancing.
My first calling was filling in at a C3 workshop (tape group) with thanks to Pete Herman.
My first real calling was a tip a week of Mainstream at Santa Cruz Squares (currently on hiatus)
with thanks to Neil Heather.
My Santa Cruz Squares tip became a Plus teach tip and I graduated my first dancers 6 months later.
I began calling club nights (Mainstream and Plus level) for local clubs August 1998 including
Diablo Dancers (my very first "club night"),
Foggy City Dancers, and
Santa Cruz Squares (as substitute caller).
Diablo Dancers was the most supportive of my calling in the critical first years.
I graduated my second bunch of Diablo Dancers Plus dancers April 2000.
October 2003 I accepted an unexpected offer to teach Western Star Dancers'
beginner class which is the moment I say I became a "real caller" calling regularly.
Since then I've been calling 3 nights a week on average with a variety of additional
engagements including dances, club nights, review tips, demo tips, picnics, parades, and even
while on tour in China.
Since my first Advanced class in 2006, with loving support from El Camino Reelers,
I call a little less than a tip a week of Advanced.
2009 marked some important 'firsts':
Videos of me calling (YouTube)
Me and Calling
Square dance calling is a unique blend of music, kinetics, puzzle solving, teaching, showmanship and a wide array of social skills.
I primarily 'sight call', which is making up choreography on the fly from a menu of calls the dancers know then observing the dancers to
resolve the square allowing true connection between caller and dancers.
As square dancing is an activity that doesn't so-much reward in dollars (but does reward!),
I'm thankful I have a good job that allows me to enjoy square dance calling without having to make a living at it.
I have no plans to make calling any more than a hobby - albeit a serious one.
My joy is teaching, both dancers and callers.
When I sense interest, I organize a
Newer Caller Workshop and Hoedown for local budding talent.
Calling is just one aspect of square dancing that has been an important catalyst for my own personal growth and
development, in more ways, and for far longer than I ever imagined.
ALL8.com Web Site
ALL8.com was started as a place to keep all of my square dance calling notes.
Instead of writing on scraps of paper, I write it here.
I invite you to discover all of my 'secrets'.
I hand-code all HTML using Notepad and/or Textpad for the PC
(as if you couldn't tell) mostly to ensure pages are light-weight and work internationally.
If I had time (!), it'd be fun to pursue actual website design.
- Music editing, mastering, composition and recording
- CW dancing and some ballroom (East/West Coast Swing) ... getting rusty lately
- Wood working / home improvement
- Education - any and all subjects, with interests broadening every year
"Never seek for love.
Those that seek for love only manifest their own loneliness.
Only the loving discover love and they never have to look for it."
D. H. Lawrence
Please let me know what you think about www.ALL8.com and
of course, ask any question at all.
or call me: 415-990-6751