My name is Brian Lane and I am a software developer from Port Orchard, Washington. I write software for various platforms, do a little hardware design, and write technical articles in my spare time. I work for Red Hat on the installer engineering team (Anaconda) and also maintain a few packages for the Fedora Project. I was an embedded systems/DSP programmer for Shine Micro, Inc. from 1985 to 2006.
I started out with computers in 1980 or so with a TRS-80 Model I at the local high school (I was in 6th grade at the time). My dad (being the far-sighted guy he is) bought our family a Timex/Sinclair ZX-81 with a 16k RAM module. After a few months of daily use the 16k module blew a smoke ring, but by then I had learned a Basic even though its tiny keyboard made it hard to use for anything real. We upgraded to the Atari 800, where I spent a huge amount of time playing games. In-between sessions of Ultima III and AMFV I managed to teach myself assembly on the 6502, Basic, and Action!. I also had a couple of lame programs rejected by Antic magazine.
In high school (Eatonville, Class of 1987) I hung out with the nerd crowd, and in 1987 my team took first place in the Seattle Marathon of the Minds - a competition sponsored by the Interactive Fiction game company Infocom to see which high school team could finish their new Interactive Fiction game Hollywood Hijinx, which we finished in 16 hours). At school I spent a lot of time in the computer room, teaching Pascal to other students and the teacher. I built a speech synthasizer for the Atari 800 using its 4 joystick ports as I/O ports to control the SP0256 chipset from Radio Shack. I wish I knew where the project disappeared to, it was my first electronics project.
In 1992 (notice how I catalog my life by the computers I’ve owned?) I finally crossed over to the PC. Atari had taken too long to release the promised Falcon, and I lost a large sale of Falcon equipment so I decided I needed something new. After trying various operating systems on the PC, I discovered Linux when the only distribution was SLS with Kernel v0.99pl14. For a year or so I swapped back and forth between Windows, Linux, and OS/2 Warp. Finally settling on a 100% linux system. I have used, off-and-on, most of the major distributions. I always find myself returning to either rpm based ones like Fedora Debian, or the Debian derived Ubuntu which makes a nice desktop system as well.
In 2007 I made the switch to the Mac mini from Apple (thanks Ron!), OSX is the Unix desktop done right. For the most part things just work, and when they don’t they are easy to fix. Under the hood is the same familiar tools from Linux/Unix, but the GUI is professional and consistent. I used OSX as my primary desktop until 2010 when I switched back to Fedora and a dual monitor setup. OSX was good for the GUI part, but package management was a bit of a mess. My desktop is currently running Fedora with the xmonad tiling window manager.
From 1985 until 2006 I was employed by Johnson Microsystems (Which changed its name to Shine Micro, Inc.) as the senior software developer. I also did occasional digital design and schematic capture. I have experience with a wide range of microprocessors, from Motorola HC05 series, TI MSP430 series to Texas Instruments TMS320C54xx DSPs. While at Shine Micro I wrote the majority of the software for the SEA Marine Radio line of products. I was also the developer on the SM2496 Handspring Visor MP3 player, the SL161R AIS receiver and SM162B Class-B AIS transponder. I have experience writing GMSK 9600bps modems, as well as 1200bps DSC modems.
From 2006-2008 I worked for Etelos, Inc. who has created a web application platform that includes their own EASE language and easy to distribute web apps. They were one of the first companies to recognize software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) as a viable marketplace for virtual computing. Yes, I refuse to say cloud. They’re just virtual systems, no hand-waving needed.
In 2009 I designed a custom installer for Tyramm International’s Interegister Point of Sale system. It uses a customized Fedora livecd and kickstart to automatically install the software to the target system when booted from a USB stick.
Since 2010 I have worked for Red Hat on the installer engineering team. We are in charge of the Anaconda installer used in Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux as well as other low level packages. I am also the maintainer of several Fedora packages.
Most of my spare time is spent doing computer and electronics related projects or playing with my kids. I’m also a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, and spend some of my time shooting at Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club as well as doing some reading and writing. I enjoy SF, Mystery and Horror, and lately I’ve been reading mysteries by local Northwest authors like Earl Emerson, and Aaron Elkins. I also have a Kindle and have been reading a number of new ebook authors like JA Konrath
I have an EET and an AAS degree from Pierce College in Tacoma, WA. My programming skills are all self taught and supplemented by real world experience. I started with assembly on the Atari 800 when I was 15, and can program using assembly on various processors, C, Objective C, Perl, Basic, Unix shell scripts, PHP and my current favorite language - Python. I have experience with x86 chips, various 8 and 16 bit Motorola parts (HC05 and 'HC11 variations), Analog Devices 2186 DSP chips, Texas Instruments TMS320C54xx DSPs and MSP430 processors using 'C and assembly.
Spam is becoming a gigantic problem. I don’t have a solution for it yet (except maybe limiting all email communications to GPG signed messages with a trust level). So in the meantime I am pulling all my email addresses from my various sites and directing them to this page. My address is already in the spam databases so this won’t stop the flow, but it will allow me to start using new methods for legitimate contacts who aren’t already in my whitelist.
To make sure an email gets my attention add the word slartibartfast to the subject of any email you send and it will make it though my spam filters. You can reach me at bcl @ this domain name.
Most of the software I write is covered by the GNU GPL v2. I do this both because I like writing software that is useful to people, and to help contribute to the Open Source community of software that I have benefited from. Some of my software may be covered by less free licenses, but it will always include the source if you are a paying customer. I strongly believe that when you buy software you should be able to maintain and modify the code yourself as long as you don’t try to go into competition against me with my own code.
If you have hardware that you would like to see my software ported to, or modified to work with, then a donation of equipment would be helpful. Please note that this is a donation, not a loan (unless previous arrangements are made). Credit will be given to those who have donated hardware to projects. Contact me to make arrangements.
I can receive encrypted/signed email using Gnu Privacy Guard If you don’t want to use encryption you should read my contact page for info on how to make sure your message makes it through the Spam filters.