This week we welcome Patrick Maupin as our PyDev of the Week. Let’s spend some time getting to know Patrick a bit better.
Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):
I was born in San Antonio, Texas and raised in Austin. I spent several months working in England, and met and married a wonderful English lady and brought her home. We’ve lived in Austin for the last 30 years, except for one year we spent in Toronto. We have two great girls — one is in medical school, and the other is a budding composer/author.
I rotate through a few hobbies — bicycling, sailing, playing tuba in a community band. The tuba is actually something I re-started just a few years ago. I wound up dropping out of school when my lung collapsed when I was playing tuba with the UT Longhorn Band. Fortunately, my lung was repaired later…
I had been pursuing a degree in electrical engineering, because playing with electrons was my passion ever since I can remember. When I dropped out of school, I couldn’t find a job doing electrical stuff, but I did find one programming, and then worked myself into positions where I was doing both hardware and software. I have mostly worked near the hardware — drivers, embedded stuff, modem firmware, or on the hardware — board design, Verilog blocks for chips, etc., or on tools that help to use and test the hardware — schematic checkers, JTAG programmers, etc.
For the last 20 years, I’ve only worked for chip companies, and helping to design chips suits me, because successful chip companies are committed to practices that lead to working products — a failed tapeout can cost hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars, plus the lost opportunity costs of waiting one to three months for your first chips to come back so you can even test them. A product that fails in the field on a customer board can be unimaginably costly, as well, so chip manufacturers usually don’t just give lip-service to words like “testing” and “quality.”
I’ve worked at the same place for the last nine years, but we’ve been acquired a couple of times. The name on the door now says Microsemi, and it’s a great place to work.
I’ve sort of worked myself into a position where the hardware guys think I’m a software guy, and the software guys think I’m a hardware guy. That probably means I don’t do either one very well.