Updated 2018 Apr 14
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|Photo by Al Loup
||Photo by Marc Haberstroh
Photo by Marion Redd
Square Dance Caller
I call weekly for 4 area square dance clubs, teaching 2 to 3 classes from beginner thru A2.
More about square dancing below.
My calling schedule: Rich Reel's Calling Schedule (calendar)
- Square Dance Calling Notes,
and host to several international square dance email discussion lists: sd-callers, challenge-sd, lgcwsd, gca
(please let me know if you'd like to join).
I also host websites:
This popular 'app' brings a lot of traffic to ALL8.com: Tap for BPM Beats Per Minute
Search "tap bpm".
"View Source" to see how I did it.
I love engineering and have been excited about it since I was a kid with hobbies overlapping with my engineering interests my whole life.
I'm social and outgoing yet still have a nerd side.
I am extremely detail oriented and learn fast at a highly technical level.
And I own significant capital equipment making me ideal for an early startup.
I love to teach so my diverse skills benefit the entire team.
With high level and low-level skills, I can frustrate some managers that wish to steer me toward high-value tasks;
however a balance of both is actually essential to my health and happiness.
I currently work for Genapsys after a layoff from
now ThermoFisher Scientific after more than 21 years with the company.
I've worked on a wide array of projects supporting scientists and engineers across the organization.
In recent years, most projects were in some way connected to DNA sequencing.
One particularly successful project was the (now obsolete) ABI PRISM® 3700 Genetic Analyzer which helped complete the first human genome.
In addition to building the first proof-of-concept unit, I designed the final instrument's detector, wrote firmware
including the operating system for instrument control, and had a hand in the detector design of its successor,
I do two basic types of work in R&D...
I work on teams of 1 to 20 engineers on projects ranging from hours to years long.
"Ph.D. scientists tell me what they want; I get it for them."
I take analytical instruments from concept to prototype, and sometimes to production.
- Instrument design/development (most recently)
- Fast prototyping to support research scientists (most of my career)
...and numerous special classes, seminars and all manor of on-line resources.
I regularly attend local trade shows in optics, electronics, embedded, semiconductor and machine tool.
The internet has profoundly accelerated my learning process.
I believe I have ADHD.
Too much of my early education wasn't right for my learning style;
a classic late bloomer.
Now with so many different ways of learning available that work for me, I'm rapidly 'catching up'.
||Instrument R&D: DNA sequencing and sample prep, product development, basic all-around guy
||Life Technologies / Applied Biosystems
||Sr Staff Engineer Electrical
||Instrument R&D: HPLC,
CE, Carbohydrates, DNA sequencing and sample prep
||Ultrasonic Systems Inc
||R&D, manufacturing, test, field service
||Switching power supply and UV measurement instrument design
||Modern Office Machines
||Commercial copy machine field service
||Vending machine repair, RO water dispenser installation
||The Ohio State University
||Semiconductor processing equipment repair/tune
||Pinball machine and jukebox sales and service
Perhaps with the exception of optics, most everything listed here is active and current.
This is not a list of things I did once or was on a team with others helping me.
I welcome the opportunity to prove that I am, today, highly accomplished and very fast at everything listed here.
I maintain my own licensed copies of Solidworks*, Altium Designer*, LabVIEW and AutoCAD (* = subscription active)
with both work and home projects advancing my knowledge.
20+ years in the biotech industry has allowed me to develop important vendor relations and accumulate a large
network of friends who are specialists and industry professionals.
- Systems Engineer - Innovator with over 15 years of experience with key roles on high-profile projects.
Can conceive, design, build, test and deliver complete systems faster than many engineering teams.
Conservative yet ambitious with a high success rate: most designs work right the first time.
Can quickly troubleshoot system-wide problems and communicate solutions to a
wide audience from highly technical to completely non-technical.
I learn quickly and understand deeply to solve the really tough problems others can't.
Self driven. Customer focused.
I thrive on projects with a moving goalpost. I'm most effective on small interdisciplinary teams.
Variety keeps me vibrant.
- Optics - 20 years of experience and patents - Successful designs include diffraction limited multi-laser piezo-scanning confocal
single molecule fluorescence detection breadboards,
and fast-frame-rate EMCCD
imaging with TIRF
or epi illumination,
high-sensitivity absorbance and fluorescence detection systems (and one doing both simultaneously),
detectors for CE,
micro-fluidic systems, and a 3D fluorescent plume imager for optimizing capillary tip shape in a sheath flow
electrophoresis application, to name a few.
Extensive experience in very high NA imaging and non-imaging optics, complex multi-component aberration
gratings, and aspheric lenses and mirrors.
- Mechanical - 20 years of experience - Solidworks (since 2009), AutoCAD (since 1990) - Designs in robotics,
fluidics, micro fabrication, vacuum, thermal control, and optical mechanics.
With a prototype shop at home, I can quickly make many needed custom parts myself, and of course bring that insight into my designs.
(See Prototype Shop below.)
Exposure to GD&T.
- Electronics - 40 years deep experience starting at age 9 - Designed a transistor amplifier at age 13.
Possess a powerfully intuitive way to visualize the dynamics of complex networks of electronic components that allows me to innovate.
Complete analog/digital/uC design.
PCB layout, rapid prototype,
assembly and test (and test software - see below), blazing fast component level troubleshooting and
SMD rework at the tiniest scale (under magnification).
100% RoHS since 2009.
I've worked with outside PCB layout design service firms and a number of PCB fab and assembly vendors.
Can make simple 2 layer PCBs at home the same day from design files including CNC drill and routing.
Successful designs include very low noise and drift analog sensor/audio/video signal path,
scientific grade CCD interface,
complete switching power supplies from mW to KW, and to 30KV, from discrete components as well as today's integrated ICs,
with and without custom magnetics.
Exposure to SoC/FPGA/CPLD
and IC AMS (Analog Mixed Signal) design.
I'm transitioning to advanced level with Altium Designer including PCB stackup,
controlled impedance, differential pair, lane matching and high speed interface including USB3, Gigabit Ethernat, HDMI, DisplayPort and Mini DisplsyPort.
I build and maintain libraries with full color high-detail 3D mechanical models - many with Solidworks source.
I've recently laid out boards up to 10 layers in Altium Designer, and dozens of boards up to 6 layers in other mostly free tools over the past 5 years.
I have a professional quality, fully equipped, ESD
SMD workstation at home with a base set of mid-level test equipment
including EMC testing.
- Firmware / Embedded - 35 years of experience (starting in 1978) - Hard real-time,
Bare metal from scratch -
some ADI Blackfin),
C and some C++ - Low level boot code, hand optimized time-critical
kernel design and task management,
high performance control algorithms, human/computer interface, script engine, real-time instrument control,
multi-system coordination, multi servo loop, wide variety of stepper motor drive,
PID control (temperature, pressure, motion),
communication protocol, data collection, data processing and efficient
My code tends to be small, efficient and extremely stable, even bug-free (several shipping examples).
Compared to others, this is probably my strongest area.
I make processors with next to no resources do amazing things.
More and more exposure to Linux and open source tools.
Actively learning Raspberry Pi.
Exposure to NVIDIA Tegra2 / Windows CE.
- Software - 20 years of experience - Very strong LabVIEW,
some C and C++ - Soft real-time instrument control from PC with highly visual and easy-to-use script engine,
graphical user interface, complex CCD camera control (via FPGA
low level commands), data analysis, some 2D and 3D image processing,
audio processing algorithms and a range of web, DOS and other utilities.
I quickly wrote 2D electric field and single molecule kinetics simulators from scratch.
Am working on an audio editor application with some highly advanced features.
My forte is quickly building highly specialized in-house software tools (with and without accompanying hardware)
to enable a technical team to understand a problem and find a solution.
Through the Raspberry Pi,
actively and intensely learning
and application development using Tk
I strive to divide my time equally between 'thinking', 'doing', 'education' and 'infrastructure' without feeling guilty for working "only" 1/4 of the time.
This allows me just enough time to be productive, yet do the right things, stay current, accumulate new skills,
and research, purchase, install and maintain strategic capital equipment to greatly expand what I can do quickly.
I am also working to improve upon already good communications and interpersonal skills with coworkers
to become more effective in a team environment.
(patent numbers link to freepatentsonline.com)
I maintain a private prototype workshop in Hayward in a 2-car-garage-sized separate building with some equipment in Brisbane and at Genapsys.
Everything is paid for and maintained in excellent working condition.
Other equipment: 2HP 21" metal band saw, Burr-King belt grinder
(which I love!), diamond grinder, deburring, surface plate w height gauge, basic wood-working equipment and a full complement of high quality tooling.
I keep thousands of dollars of common materials in stock for rapid turnaround.
With everything set up as it is, I have been able to meet the everyday needs of our company for special parts and modifications on-the-side, typically overnight,
while maintaining a full workload.
I estimate I've made well over a thousand different parts.
Some interesting parts include complex flexures, highly polished prototype quality acrylic aspheric lenses and aluminum aspheric mirrors,
machined and fully assembled COC +
TPE pneumatically-actuated microfluidic lab-on-a-chip w 100um channels,
and holes in glass as small as 75um (0.003") diameter 1mm (0.040") deep.
All machines are set up with high magnification.
Without correction my eyesight is marginal, but with the aids, I routinely do amazing things at the tiniest scale.
I've made whole parts smaller than a millimeter and when needed can confidently "eyeball" within +/-10um (+/- .0005").
Regular (fast) tolerance is +/-100um (+/- .004").
I started dancing with Foggy City Dancers in 1995 as a new year's resolution.
I dance at these local clubs.
Square Dance Calling
I call and teach for Western Star Dancers,
El Camino Reelers
and Ranchero Squares (starting 2018 Apr 23)
I first picked up a mic at the GCA caller school
at the 1996 IAGSDC Convention in San Francisco.
I didn't do much with calling the first couple years while I focused on Challenge dancing.
My first calling was filling in at a C3 workshop (tape group) with thanks to Pete Herman.
My first real calling was a tip a week of Mainstream at Santa Cruz Squares (currently on hiatus)
with thanks to Neil Heather.
My Santa Cruz Squares tip became a Plus teach tip and I graduated my first dancers 6 months later.
I began calling club nights (Mainstream and Plus level) for local clubs August 1998 including
Diablo Dancers (my very first "club night"),
Foggy City Dancers, and
Santa Cruz Squares (as substitute caller).
Diablo Dancers was the most supportive of my calling in the critical first years.
I graduated my second bunch of Diablo Dancers Plus dancers April 2000.
October 2003 I accepted an unexpected offer to teach Western Star Dancers'
beginner class which is the moment I say I became a "real caller" calling regularly.
Since then I've been calling 3 nights a week on average with a variety of additional
engagements including dances, club nights, review tips, demo tips, picnics, parades, and even
while on tour in China.
Since my first Advanced class in 2006, with loving support from El Camino Reelers,
I called a tip or so per week of Advanced until joining Ranchero Squares as club caller in 2018.
2009 marked some important 'firsts':
Videos of me calling (YouTube)
Me and Calling
Square dance calling is a unique blend of music, kinetics, puzzle solving, teaching, showmanship and of course social skills.
I primarily 'sight call', which is making up choreography on the fly from a menu of calls the dancers know then observing the dancers to
resolve the square allowing true connection between caller and dancers.
As square dancing doesn't so-much reward in dollars (but does reward!),
I'm thankful I have a good job that allows me to enjoy it without having to make a living at it.
I have no plans to make calling any more than a hobby - albeit a serious one.
My joy is teaching, both dancers and callers.
When I sense interest, I organize a
Newer Caller Workshop and Hoedown for local budding talent.
Calling is just one aspect of square dancing that has been an important catalyst for my own personal growth and
development, in more ways, and for far longer than I ever imagined.
ALL8.com Web Site
ALL8.com was started as a place to keep my square dance calling notes.
Instead of writing on scraps of paper, I write it here.
I invite you to discover my 'secrets'.
I hand-code all HTML using Notepad and/or Textpad for the PC
(as if you couldn't tell) mostly to ensure pages are light-weight and work internationally.
If I had time (!), it'd be fun to pursue actual website design.
- Music editing, mastering, composition and recording
- CW dancing and some ballroom (East/West Coast Swing) ... getting rusty lately
- Wood working / home improvement
- Education - any and all subjects, with interests broadening every year
"Never seek for love.
Those that seek for love only manifest their own loneliness.
Only the loving discover love and they never have to look for it."
D. H. Lawrence
Please let me know what you think about www.ALL8.com and
of course, ask any question at all.
or call me: 415-990-6751 or find me on Facebook