Parallax has been fortunate to have many contributors, customers, and supporters. Over the years we have had several individuals go above and beyond the call of duty. Listed below is a group of individuals that have been recognized by our customers and staff. We would like you to meet these individuals and join us in recognizing their contribution.
Steve Denson (Written by Steve Denson)
Hi, I'm Steve, and I'm a Propeller-holic.
I first discovered Parallax when I bought a Boe-Bot kit for my son and I around the end of last century. About the same time we started using BASIC Stamp in a large networking concern where I worked for performing redundant fail-over testing by fault-injection on a widely deployed SONET/SDH fiber-optic switch used to carry Internet, TV, and Telephone information world-wide. I am a US Navy veteran having served 6 years of active duty, and honorably discharged as an E6 in Dec. 1986. Most of my time was spent maintaining an acoustic fourier transform recording system for submarine detection. The same system today could be replaced almost entirely by a single Parallax Propeller chip, VGA display, and a printer.
Most of my career has been in complex networking hardware systems designing platform bringup and diagnostic testing software. My very first serious job after leaving the Navy was in flight-simulation board testing. Flight simulation was a real blast, it was like playing a $100 million computer game. Funny how everything has gotten smaller except my mid section which is a work in progress. I've studied computer science in some form most of my life. Formal studies were at San Jose California State University and continuing education in community college. I never finished my BS degree, which I regret of course. Great computer science employment opportunities (all the ups and downs that came with them) got in the way. I've managed to "make it" in spite of some barriers. These days I spend a lot of time helping Parallax with the Propeller C Learn program tools like SimpleIDE and Propeller GCC. There is always something new and exciting going on in the world of Parallax. I'm addicted to the technologies and comraderies of being close to the team. In many, many ways Parallax has helped me judge the distance to where I can go.
Thanks to Ken, Chip, Andy, Jeff, Stephanie, Jessica, the rest of the Parallax staff, and all the forum folks for recognizing my contributions, providing interesting challenges, and sharing friendships. God bless you all.
Roy Eltham - Roy Eltham started programming when he was 11 years old on a WANG 2200 mini computer and moved on to his first computer, the Timex Sinclair 1000, to try his hand at making arcade games. He taught himself to program using code listing from BYTE, Compute! and other magazines. The gaming bug continued through his C64 and Amiga days, and in 1993 he joined the video game industry. Roy is now Senior Technical Architect at Sony Online Entertainment. The games he has worked on include such titles as: Shadows of Yserbius, High Heat Baseball, Crusaders of Might & Magic, EverQuest, FreeRealms, and PlanetSide 2. He was interested in potentially making fun retro games and found the Hydra Game Development Kit. This introduced Roy to the Propeller, and was responsible for his foray into the Parallax Forums, and then the Propeller Expos. Once on the forums, he found the Parallax online store and "it was all over". Since being involved in the Parallax community, Roy has helped with beta testing various products for Parallax and Joe Grand, and most recently converting Chip Gracey's x86 Spin/PASM compiler to C/C++ so Parallax can release new programming tools. He is also a co-host of First Spin with the Tymkrs, an educational podcast covering the Propeller and Spin for those with no prior programming experience!
Neil Rosenberg - Educated at MIT and Stanford, Neil Rosenberg's career has included stints as engineer, entrepreneur (CEO of software company for 20 years), educator, technology programs administrator (set up high school tech programs), FIRST Robotics FRC team founder and coach, engineering manager at FIRST, and most recently, volunteer. Neil is presently time-sharing between remote consulting as a robotics engineer and volunteering with SCORE, 4H, The NC Center for Creative Retirement and the newly formed Robotics Opportunities Committee (ROC) of Western North Carolina. His passion is to use his experience and talents to benefit the community; specifically to work with students and others to increase awareness and competence in technical and business endeavors. Neil is the author of the Scribbler 2 “Robots for Beginners” workshop, and is committed to finding ways to open doors for future engineers of all ages.
Andrew Williams - Andrew Williams has been in the electronics-manufacturing field for 20 years and has worked for various companies such as: Hewlett Packard, Packard Bell, NEC, Varian and Jabil. Currently he is the Engineering Manager at PRIDE Industries; a not-for-profit company with a mission to create jobs for people with disabilities, headquartered in Roseville CA. Andrew has been a very influential person to Parallax, whether he’s building some of our products at PRIDE or providing suggestions to improve our own manufacturing processes. Andrew has provided insight and suggestions for equipment purchases, assisted us with manufacturing using PRIDE’s x-ray machine, and contributes on the Parallax forums as a helpful and considerate responder to technical questions. We’re thankful to have Andy as a Star Contributor and to have PRIDE as another manufacturing center for our Rocklin operations.
At PRIDE, Andrew leads a project-dedicated engineering team in the Electronics Contract Manufacturing division. He develops processes to meet customer demands and OEM schedules, manages project budgets and quality control, while successfully integrating people with disabilities into the production environment.
Andrew's interest in electronics began in the 7th grade with a hand-me-down from his dad, a Heath/Zenith Z-160 portable computer, followed by the Radio Shack TRS-80, and whatever he could get his curious hands on. Throughout the years, he added computer repair, amateur radio, basic stamps and the propeller, PCB design, and website design to his list of hobbies, skills, and interests. He earned his AS degree in Electronics Technology from American River College and has several electronic manufacturing certifications. He is proud to serve on the Electronics Advisory Committee for American River College and the Parallax forum as a contributor/moderator.
Ross Higson - Ross designed his first digital computer while in high school. It was intended to drive an autonomous robot, and was never completed - which is probably just as well, since the "brain" was built entirely from individual thyristors, would have weighed several tons when completed, and would have required the output of a small nuclear power station to run.
Eventually, someone told him to use microprocessors instead, and he proceeded to build and program an assortment until he eventually went to University and ended up doing an honors thesis on neural networks. Along the way, he learned that building computers was the easy part - it was programming them to do useful things that was (and still is) horrendously difficult!
Thirty years later, after various detours into real-time telemery, process control, defence systems, telecommunications and medical applications, he's still trying to figure out how to build that original autonomous robot. The only thing he's certain about now is that the "brain" will consist of Propeller chips, and that it will be programmed in C. Now that these decisions have finally been settled, he expects to get right on it - just as soon as he's made a final few tweaks to the Catalina C compiler
Terry Hitt (a.k.a. Bean) - Owner of Hitt Consulting - Terry Hitt has been interested in electronics since the age of 10 when he received a Radio Shack 150-in-1 electronics lab kit for Christmas. In 1983, at the age of 16, he purchased his first computer, a Timex Sinclair 1000. Well he was hooked. A year later he discovered the wonderful world of Z-80 assembly language.
The purchase of the Parallax BS2 module started his love affair with microcontrollers. When Parallax advertised the SX design contest, Terry had been working on a BASIC compiler for the SX. He asked Ken Gracey if he could submit his compiler to the contest. Ken said "Hey, we have been looking for a BASIC compiler for the SX. Are you interested in working with us to develop it?" After thinking about it for 10 milliseconds… Terry said "Heck Yeah!" The result was the SX/B compiler!
After the propeller was introduced it didn't take long for him to move his sights to this latest microcontroller offering. Still in development is PropBASIC, a BASIC compiler for the propeller chip.
Terry is also a constant force on the Parallax support forums with well over 5000 posts.
Joe Grand - President of Grand Idea Studio - Joe Grand is an electrical engineer, inventor, and hardware hacker with three granted patents and over a dozen commercially released products. He is president of Grand Idea Studio, a San Francisco-based product research, development, and licensing firm, where he specializes in the design of consumer electronics and video game accessories. Involved in computers and electronics since the age of seven, Grand was a member of the legendary Boston-based hacker collective L0pht Heavy Industries and has testified before the United States Senate Governmental Affairs Committee regarding government and homeland computer security under his nom-de-hack, Kingpin. Grand is also the sole proprietor of Kingpin Empire, a hacker-inspired apparel project that gives back to the technology and health communities through charitable donations, the author of two books, on the technical advisory board of MAKE Magazine, and co-host of Prototype This, an engineering entertainment show currently re-airing on Discovery Channel. He holds a B.S.E.E. from Boston University
Mike Green - Voted "Most Helpful" Parallax Forums Contributor - Mike Green has been a contributor on the Parallax forums since 2004. He started with amateur radio and electronics as hobbies in his teens, got introduced in college to computers, and learned how to make compilers and operating systems, how computer logic works, and how to debug. He has degrees in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Medicine. He worked for Datapoint and developed their Pascal compiler as well as helping with operating system and hardware development. Mike is married to a sculptor who occasionally incorporates video, audio, motion, and/or blinking lights in her pieces. Parallax products have been used extensively to do this. Mike has served as technical advisor (and builder) for friends who are sculptors. The Audio Sequencer (described in the Completed Projects forum) is one such project, originally built using a Stamp controller, then redesigned and rebuilt using a Propeller.
André LaMothe - CEO, Nurve Networks - Computer Scientist, Best Selling Author, Entrepreneur. He holds degrees in Mathematics, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. His career in computing started over a quarter century ago when he began developing video games and he's been hooked ever since! Mr. LaMothe is the former CEO of Xtreme Games LLC a value game developer in the 90's and early 2000's. His current company Nurve Networks LLC designs and develops educational embedded systems and development boards. André has been working with Parallax for a few years now and developed the HYDRA Game Console. LaMothe also teaches at Game Institute and is a professional public speaker. www.xgamestation.com
Tracy Allen - Founder, EME Systems- Tracy Allen has been a contributor on the Parallax forums since 1997, and is a valued friend of Parallax. Tracy Allen received a B.S. in Engineering Physics, and a Ph.D. in Biophysics, both from the University of California at Berkeley. His own research was in bumblebee behavior in relation to the colony's energy needs, and in mathematical modeling. He started EME Systems as a natural adjunct to helping researchers in the biological sciences and in agriculture with instrumentation to gather data in the laboratory and in the field, including the Stache BASIC Stamp Field Programmer and the OWL2pe data logger. He also authored "Earth Measurements" (aka "Applied Sensors") for Parallax's Stamps in Class series of educational student guides using the BASIC Stamp as a tool for teaching environmental monitoring technology to high school and college students. His company, EME Systems has been in business since 1985. Their facility is located in the university town of Berkeley, California, across the bay from San Francisco.
Jeff Ledger (OBC "Old Bit Collector") - Jeff Ledger has been a major contributor to the Propeller and has been very active on the Parallax forums as Oldbitcollector. Jeff is a career technologist with 30 years experience in the computer industry. His fondness for the early days of microcomputers brought the Propeller to his radar when a C64 emulation project using the Propeller was announced on the Parallax forums. Jeff is responsible for organizing and directing Unofficial Propeller Expos. When not working on the next Propeller Expo, his interests in the Propeller revolve primarily around using the chip as a "retro" style microcomputer. He has been involved in many related software projects to this end. Projects include PropDOS, CoggyTerm, and many others.
Phil Pilgrim ("PhiPi") - President of Bueno Systems - Phil Pilgrim's interest in electronics began with ham radio as a teen and continued with degrees in physics (WittenbergUniversity) and computer science (University of Michigan). The first contact between his current company (Bueno Systems) and Parallax came with a purchase of the PIC programmer and assembler software, which were employed to develop a linescan inspection system using a TI (soon to be spun off as TAOS) linear array sensor. The advent of the SX and Parallax's SX Key made possible a serendipitous combination with another TAOS imaging sensor, which he incorporated into an evaluation module.
Meanwhile, Phi's relationship with TAOS brought him into separate contact with Parallax, this time as a designer of the TCS230 color sensor module. Since then he has designed several other products for Parallax, including the MoBoStamp-pe and its daughterboards, the SoundPAL, ServoPAL, and BOE-Bot Encoder Kit, among others. The Propeller has now captured a large chunk of his attention and he's enjoying some new design work based upon it.
Hanno Sander - Viewport Creator and Open Source Contributor - Hanno Sander has been working with computers since he programmed a lunar lander game for the z80 when he was 6. Since then he graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Computer Science and then started his corporate career as an internet entrepreneur. He moved to New Zealand in 2005 to spend time with his family and develop sophisticated, yet affordable robots starting with the DanceBot. He created Viewport software, a debugging environment for the Propeller. His technical interests include computer vision, embedded systems, industrial control, control theory, parallel computing and fuzzy logic. http://www.mydancebot.com
Jon Williams - Engineer (EFX-TEK) & Author (Nuts & Volts Columns) - Jon Williams is a Los Angeles based actor (see www.jonmcphalen.com), writer, (StampWorks book, “Stamp Applications” column in Nuts & Volts magazine), and engineer. Jon got his start in embedded programming back in 1994 with the original BASIC Stamp 1 and quickly became a “go-to” guy for BASIC Stamp solutions; it wasn’t long before he was developing commercial applications using the BASIC Stamp 1 and BASIC Stamp 2. After working for Parallax as an application engineer he co-founded EFX-TEK, an electronics company that focuses on entertainment applications (movie FX, theme parks, museums, Halloween industry). Jon continues to write his very popular column in Nuts & Volts magazine and has been our on-camera talent in our product videos.