Monthly Archives: June 2002

Black Hawk Down

NSDQ

I just read an amazing book: Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War.

I knew of the book and in fact my wife was reading it. Seeing the movie twice in the theater finally convinced me to sit down and read the book to catch all the details. Surprisingly, the movie was a very accurate portrayal of the events and matched the book quite well. (I believe that a couple of characters were composites, but the rest were based on the actual men involved.)

Some critics of the movie complained that it didn’t show the human side of the Somalis. Especially after reading the book, I don’t see how that can be a criticism at all. The story is written from the perspective of the American soldier who did not get a chance to understand anyone at a “human” level.

My only criticisms were a couple of things I had hoped to learn but didn’t:

  • The book and movie made a big point about never leaving a man behind. It must be a historical value within the military, possibly a motivating factor for the soldiers. There are several points in the story where the rescue or injured or dead soldiers results in more casualties. Near the end, the entire rescue convoy is waiting for the bodies of two deal pilots to be extricated. Given that this was such an important point, I’d like to know more about it.
  • I had heard that the events in Somalia led the US Military to “rewrite” its book on urban fights like this one. But, the book didn’t mention anything about it other than some blame-laying that went on in the government. Again, another good topic to research.

Amazon Link

Updating My Resume

Following is a short-form resume, presented in chronological order. For a copy of my normal resume (in traditional format), please contact me. (Last updated 2003-01-14.)

Education

In 1987 I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (with an emphasis on digital design) from Santa Clara University. After graduation I pursued a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering (also at SCU), which I received in 1992.

Employment

From 1982 through 1986 I spent my summers working for Far North Systems, a software consulting firm that specialized in mainframe disk diagnostics and embedded software. During this time I worked as a “programmer’s aide” and eventually as a programmer, learning assembly language and Pascal along the way.

After graduating from SCU in 1987, I joined ARGOSystems, which eventually became a subsidiary of The Boeing Company. Although my ultimate goal was to do hardware design and development, I spent my first year working on an offline signal analysis system coded in Fortran. I returned to hardware design and worked on numerous embedded signal-processing systems. ARGOSystems created signal processing systems for the government — these systems evolved from mainframe-based offline processors to embedded microprocessor systems and finally to custom ASICs. Although government contracting is sometimes overloaded with paperwork, I learned the value of a well-defined process tailored to the situation. I also took away a great appreciation for designing a system to specification — in many cases over designing it to increase reliability.

In 1994 I switched industries and joined Quinton Instrument Company — a medical equipment provider. I managed the engineering team for the Imaging Division. We created cardiac imaging systems (used in cardiac catheterization labs) based on standard hardware and custom software solutions. Our systems were initially based on MS-DOS but evolved to Windows NT over time. Our team developed image capture, viewing, quantitative analysis, and archiving software modules — all deployed across a high-speed network of connected workstations within the hospital environment. One of the best benefits of this job was the amount of time spent with end users. Even when their feedback was negative, we were able to take the lessons learned back to the office in order to improve the product.

In 1998 I found a great opportunity to join Palm, Inc (now palmOne). During my first year I built a small software team responsible for OEM, derivative, and sustaining software projects. In 1999 I became manager of the Desktop Applications team whose responsibilities include Palm Desktop software for Windows and for Mac platforms. We also create the installers and CDs for every Palm PDA product. Palm Desktop software is a personal information manager (PIM) designed to be a perfect counterpart to the Palm handheld. During my tenure at Palm, the team has made several significant releases, including an extensibility interface on the Windows side and support for Mac OS X.

Current Interests

In addition to following the “Palm economy” and tinkering with Palm software development, I spend a lot of time learning about and doing web development, focusing on my own cantoni.org web site. Specific areas that interest me include accessibility, cross-platform support, and usability from small-screen or mobile devices.