I am a seventh generation Californian born in smoggy Los Angeles,
California. My mother (who had asthma) wised up and moved us to Guam
(on a freighter, the USS Edgar F. Luckenbach) when I was in the second grade. I
returned to LA (North Hollywood) in 1963 to finish high school...because
Typhon Karen blew away Guam's only high school. In 1966, as soon as I
graduated from North Hollywood High School, I too wised up and moved
from LA to San Diego to study something at Revelle College at UC San
Diego. (You can't choose a major there before your third year.) In
exchange for washing dishes, they eventually taught me chemistry. I met
there...we both worked in the cafeteria. I didn't know
she was going get me to marry her at the time...but to her...and my...and
her parent's...surprise, she eventually did. The Revelle College Provost
finally made me graduate in 1972...but being clever, I enrolled in
graduate school at UCSD and managed to stay even longer, learning to be
a geo/cosmo-chemist. In the Chemistry Department at UCSD I learned a
lot about moon rocks and meteorites...and computers and electronics.
Although I am technically a chemist, no one seems to want to pay me
for that. Instead, they pay me for something I never studied in
school, namely computers. That's actually best, because I never liked
chemistry that much, except for the computers...and the part where we
melted moon rocks with a big radio transmitter and analyzed the He, Ne, Ar,
Kr and Xe isotopes which leaked out.
Up until December 1998, when the semiconductor giant
STMicroelectronics purchased all
outstanding shares, I worked for a ~50-person company I co-founded in
1987, Metaflow Technologies, Inc.
in La Jolla, California. They designed "bleeding edge" microprocessors.
Metaflow was the pioneer in the application of out-of-order,
speculative instruction execution to both RISC and CISC (i.e.,
Intel 80x86) microprocessors. In fact we created most of the
terms now used to describe this then novel, but now commonplace,
microarchitecture. A paper I co-authored and published in 1991
("The Metaflow Architecture", IEEE Micro, vol. 11, No. 3, June 1991)
describing our inventions is called out as "prior art" in 295 granted
U.S. patents (as of May 2003). Metaflow's (and my) first patent (US5487156),
filed in 1990 was used by Intel as part of it's then famous August 1997
patent infringement counter claim
against DEC [ed. make that Compaq...no,
make that HP!]. (A total of 190 of Intel's U.S. microprocessor patents
reference our prior work, as of May 2003...growing at a rate of about
one new reference per month.)
In 2000, after a brief "retirement" (which didn't "take"), I helped
co-found another company,
a "telematics" company focused on the consumer automobile
market. As luck would have it, Networkcar was located within a block of
Metaflow, so I don't have to find new places to eat at lunchtime!
About three years, and a
half-dozen patents later,
the company to the "billion-dollar information services company" Reynolds & Reynolds, at the end of 2002.
A few years (and four patents) later, Hughes Telematics bought
Networkcar from Reynolds & Reynolds, at the end
of 2006. Eventually Hughes renamed the company Networkfleet.
Working with Networkfleet I developed multiple generations of fleet tracking telematics
devices for both consumer vehicles and medium- and heavy-duty trucks
(i.e., OBD-II, J1708 and J1939). That resulted in more telematics patents with my
name as inventor.
In 2012 Hughes Telematics was purchased by Verizon for $612 million and became part of
The premium share price has been attributed to Networkfleet's patent portfolio.
Working via Lightner Engineering I continued to support Verizon Telematics with updated
and all-new telematics designs, both hardware and embedded firmware, into 2015.
I continue to work for Lightner Engineering in La Jolla, CA, creating, refreshing and
maintaining OBD-based telematics devices (and patents) for a number of clients.
To date, the cumulative installed base of telematics devices which I have created is counted in millions.
Me and the Media
Click here to read my 1991 "tongue-in-cheek"
essay on the great RISC-CISC computer debate, complete with its sordid
history...and the essay's "RISC Police" cartoon from IEEE Times.
I served on a sometimes-serious, mostly humorous panel session called
"If I Were Defining Merced..." at IEEE HOT Chips IX, Stanford
University, August 25, 1997.
My slides poking fun at Intel got a few
laughs, and the others some serious press coverage...much to all the
panel members' surprise!
My past "15 minutes of fame" press coverage can be found below:
I even used to have a
video which you too could purchase for $29.95 from
University Video Communications until they went out of business. I didn't get
a dime of the proceeds...gotta' cut a deal for "residuals" next time!
(It was even on UVC's best-seller list!) Today you can find the video
free online, hosted by Microsoft at the Multi-University/Research
Laboratory as a Windows Media
One of my character flaws involves the coveting of old VWs (I own
two...plus lot's of parts). I also like to go camping in the desert. Put the
two together and you can call it a hobby...and hobbies need a
Back by popular demand the Manx Dunebuggy Club 2000 Archive is back online. This is a snaphot-in-time of
the Manx Dune Buggy Club's Web site, as of September 2000, at which time
most of the content went "dark" because the material was turned over
to "professional" Web Weenies, Now it is back! You can find
the WW's WWW site here.
My morning commute from home to work was about 3 miles.
See what happened
one of the rare days I decided to take the freeway instead of the surface streets.
(I had my digital camera along for the ride.)
I now stay off of the freeway...or should I say "runway"?
A couple of friends and I have made a tiny stand-alone Web server called
The photo of the PicoWeb
printed circuit board shows that it is smaller than a business
card. We believe that in terms of stand-alone, full-function
Web servers, at one time it was both the World's Smallest Web Server,
as well as the World's Cheapest Web Server.
We have an electronic
print article about the PicoWeb server project in the Circuit Cellar Online
area of the EETimes Web
A Tiny (under 1024 bytes) AVR Bootstap -
Larry Barello's version of Jason Kyle's avr-gcc-based boot-loader,
reworked to fit in only 512 AVR instruction-words, is now available
on this Web site under "ARCbootloader" at
Programming RAM-less AVR Microcontrollers with GCC -
In the spirit of making the seemingly impossible possible, I've
figured out how to use GNU "avr-gcc" to program really cheap
(i.e., <$1) Atmel ATtiny AVR microcontrollers which do not have any
internal RAM. This "mis-use" of GCC is completely unsupported by
the "avr-gcc" community. You too can find out how I do it by clicking here.
This technique has been used as the basis of many of my embedded projects,
including one resulting in a article in Circuit Cellar Magazine
Actiontec Dual PC Modem Development Daughterboard -
This home-built printed circuit board (PCB) provides the
Actiontec Dual PC Modem with an uClinux console (115,200 baud,
RS-232 levels), plus a USB port for bootstrap recovery. This
provides complete details, including complete schematics,
PCB layout (for PCB Express), photos, a DigiKey parts order form.
Digital Camera Software -
I bought a 25 MHz Compaq Concerto "pen-based" laptop for $200 from a
friend. It appealed to me because it was cheap, needs no keyboard, and
the screen can be read in full sunlight (it's a monochrome LCD). It's a
perfect thing for off-roading. However, it's processor is too slow to
download my Epson PhotoPC digital camera
using Epson's Windows 95 TWAIN driver. So I consulted the Web and found
Muscovite Eugene Crosser's digital camera software site.
He has Unix-based software to control and download Epson PhotoPC digital
cameras. So I converted his software to run under Windows 95/NT. The
official Windows PhotoPC software release (sources and
executables) can be found at
www.lightner.net/lightner/bruce/photopc/. The "non-GUI" camera
downloading software works perfectly with my new (old) laptop, plus it
can download the camera on other PC's in a fraction of the time the
official TWAIN driver takes! I've also created an MS-DOS
version of the PhotoPC software after discovering that the only
reasonable MS-DOS version out there was shareware...with no sources.
I've created a HTML document describing
the PhotoPC program. So far many thousands of people have
downloaded the Windows/MS-DOS version of the software, which is
compatible with a larger number of digital camera models from
several camera makers.
Cheap HTTP Daemon -
My good friend Steve Freyder put together all the pieces for a Perl-based
"Cheap" HTTP daemon for Windows
95/NT which you too can have! It consists of a HTTPD written in Perl
(less than 160 lines at the present time) and an INET daemon written in
Microsoft Visual C++. Also included in the distribution is a version of
Perl for Windows 95/98/Me/XP/NT/2000. With this free software one can
host a Web site on a Windows PC, such as the one I used to use with my
Roadrunner cable modem "firewall" Windows 95 PC. (I've sinced switched
to Apache under Redhat Linux.) If you don't like what the HTTP daemon
does, you can fix it...it's a small matter of (Perl) programming!
My Neighborhood from "Space" -
I ordered a aerial photo dataset of La Jolla, California from the
USGS and created some software in order view the data...the USGS gives
one nothing! The resolution of the photo is about one meter per pixel.
It's called an "digital orthophoto quarter quad" by the USGS, which
means it has been warped back into true map coordinates. My early
attempt of a "clickable aerial
photo" of La Jolla, California is now ready for action.
I put my Sony 200-disc music CD changer that I got for my
birthday on the 'Net with a few Perl scripts and a one-transistor
PC parallel-port Sony S-Link (a.k.a., Control-A1) interface. (See www.brian-patti.com/s-link/
for relevant links.) My home-grown software gathers information
from the CD-changer regarding what CD's are loaded, then queries the CDDB database using the
Web to build a local database of CD artist, song titles, and
(sometimes) even song lyrics. Adding a single IR LED to one of
the parallel port bits gave me IR control of the changer, needed
to enter text for real-time front-panel display of CD titles. A sample control Web page
is there for you to play with, but you cannot control my CD
player. However, I can from any of the many PC's in my house,
and (via password) from anywhere on the Web. Recently, I replaced the
PC parallel port connection to the Sony CD changer with one using a
file: Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible. — Albert Einstein
Favorite computer quote:
A computer is like an Old Testament god, with a lot of rules and no
mercy. — Joseph Campbell
Another favorite quote:
To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason
is like administering medicine to the dead. — Thomas Paine
And yet another favorite quote:
Politics is when people choose their words and actions based on how they want others to react rather than based on what they really think.
— Patrick Lencioni ("The Five Dysfunctions of a Team")
And Doug Magee's "Pricing Sheet Sayings" are here.