Updated 2021 Aug 27
|Click for larger...|
|Photo by Al Loup
||Photo by Marc Haberstroh
Photo by Marion Redd
Square Dance Caller
Before COVID-19, I called weekly for 3 area square dance clubs, teaching classes from beginner thru A2.
More about square dancing below.
Things are starting up; check 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 host these 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'm a multi-disciplinary product design engineer and pretty good at making things.
Hobbies have overlapped with career interests my entire life.
I'm completely independent owning everything I need to be productive including significant capital equipment and space to work, ideal for an early startup.
I am social, outgoing and love to help others learn, grow, gain experience and be successful.
I can frustrate some managers that wish to steer me toward high-value tasks;
balance with low-level tasks is actually essential to my health and happiness.
I've been with Genapsys since 2011.
We launched our first product:
GS111 DNA Sequencer and I continue to innovate for new products.
Among many "hats" I'm responsible for electronics and firmware, and increasingly mechanical design including at the system level.
Before that I was with Applied Biosystems
now ThermoFisher Scientific for 21 years.
I've worked on a wide array of projects supporting scientists and engineers with many in the past 20 years in some way connected to DNA sequencing.
One particularly successful project was the (now obsolete) ABI PRISM® 3700 Genetic Analyzer
which significantly sped up sequencing the first human genome.
In addition to building the first proof-of-concept unit, I designed the final instrument's detector,
wrote firmware for instrument control, and had a hand in the detector design of its successor,
I do two basic types of work in R&D...
"Ph.D. scientists tell me what they want; I get it for them."
I prefer a smaller team with others in very different disciplines.
With a minimum of discussion, I quickly 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)
A vast majority of my education was not from school, but anyway...
Continuing education is a passion taking up to 30% of my time including numerous special classes, seminars, good ol' paper books
and all manner of on-line resources, usually in parallel.
I regularly attend local trade shows in optics, electronics, embedded, semiconductor, plastics, medical device and machine tool.
I've been focused on practical technology for a long time to deepen and broaden my skills ahead of anticipated need
but recently have begun tackling material science, including chemistry, to be more useful in my current role at Genapsys (see below).
I believe I have ADHD.
Too much of my early education wasn't right for my learning style,
a classic late bloomer.
The internet has profoundly accelerated my learning process.
With so many different ways of learning available that work now, I'm rapidly 'catching up'.
||Principal Engineer (recently promoted)
||Instrument R&D: DNA sequencing and sample prep product development
||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, current and fast.
I maintain my own (separate from the company) licensed copies of Solidworks*, Altium Designer*, LabVIEW and AutoCAD (* = subscription active)
for both work and home projects.
- Systems Engineer - Innovator with over 20 years of experience with key roles on high-profile projects.
Can conceive, design, build, test and deliver complete working systems faster than many engineering teams.
Conservative yet ambitious with a good percentage of designs working 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 struggle with.
Self-driven. Customer focused.
I thrive on ambitious projects with a moving goalpost.
I prefer designs that can adapt to change and strive for a second-generation result the first time.
- 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
Decent 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 - Recently promoted to Principal level largely from mechanical contributions.
Solidworks (since 2009), AutoCAD (since 1990) - Designs in robotics,
fluidics, micro fabrication, vacuum, thermal control and optical mechanics.
Among many manifold designs, the one that runs Genapsys' first-generation instrument looks like a 2-layer circuit board;
I used an electronic CAD tool for routing.
With a prototype shop at home, I can quickly make most needed parts for complete functioning prototypes and bring that manufacturing insight into my designs.
(See Prototype Shop below.)
Exposure to GD&T.
- Electronics - 40+ years deep experience starting at age 9 - First design from concepts at age 13.
Possess a powerful intuitive way to visualize the dynamics of complex networks of electronic components that allows me to innovate.
Complete analog/digital/uC design.
High complexity PCB layout including PCB stackup,
controlled impedance, differential pair, lane matching and high-speed interface having routed USB3, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI and DisplayPort in
Altium Designer passing emissions testing the first time.
Assembly, test (and test software - see below), blazing fast component level troubleshooting and
SMD rework at the tiniest scale (under magnification) means I won't need a technician.
100% RoHS since 2009.
Built extensive libraries with full color high-detail 3D mechanical models - many made from scratch on Solidworks.
Laid out dozens of boards, up to 10 layers in Altium Designer and up to 6 layers in various free PCB layout tools.
Worked with a number of PCB fab and assembly vendors and one layout design service firm.
I have a professional quality, fully equipped, ESD-safe
workstation at home with a base set of mid-level test equipment including EMC testing.
A few times I've made simple 2 layer PCBs in a day from design files (CNC drill, custom routed shape, photo etch, hand soldered vias).
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.
I've done virtually all Genapsys' electronics (outside of our sensor chip) including system design, circuit design and PCB layout for all boards in all products.
Exposure to SoC/FPGA/CPLD
and IC AMS (Analog Mixed Signal) design.
Two recent Intel/Windows box builds: one optimized for CAD, the other for AI research.
Though I've been a HAM (KA8VIF), I've had no projects in RF.
No FPGA either as I've yet to encounter a requirement exceeding what I can do with a microcontroller and firmware.
- Firmware / Embedded - 40+ years of near continuous experience starting in 1978 - Hard real-time,
Bare metal from scratch -
with extensive experience on PIC16,
For 5 years I did fun and interesting things in machine code (source code is numbers) on
6800 and 68701.
I've used C and some C++ on many processors, and lately also on Arduino (UNO, Nano).
I've written low level boot code, hand optimized time-critical
kernels 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 with 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 learning
Brief exposure to ADI Blackfin and
NVIDIA Tegra2 / Windows CE.
- Software - 20+ years of experience - Very strong LabVIEW,
some C, C++ and now Python (including Jupyter Notebook)
- 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.
Wrote two standalone simulators completely from scratch in a few weeks: 2D electric field, single molecule kinetics.
Still adding to an audio editor application started in 2003 that has some highly advanced features.
My forte is quickly building specialized in-house software tools, with and without accompanying hardware,
to enable a technical team to understand their problems and find solutions.
Through the Raspberry Pi,
actively and intensely learning
and application development using Tk
Genapsys originally hired me as a LabVIEW
programmer to write their instrument control software.
I remained their only developer for well over a year developing a codebase that's still widely used for instrument control,
data collection and test as well as special research not supported by the company's main-line software.
After "extra effort" I rewrote and condensed the various LabVIEW applications down into a single application that
supports all of our products and a variety of R&D projects by loading a configuration file which is easily created within the application itself saving significant software development time targeting new applications.
If you aren't too crazy in what you need, I can typically provide control and test software with each new microcontroller board "for free", i.e. no hit to the schedule on top of a heavy workload.
Work a long time in an industry and one tends to accumulate some patents.
(Patent numbers link to freepatentsonline.com)
Loving what I do, balancing tasks and feeling a sense of forward progress has allowed me to stay sustainably
close to 100% productivity with little need of a break.
My secret is dividing time equally between 'thinking', 'doing', 'education' and 'infrastructure'
without feeling guilty for working "only" 1/4 of the time.
This allows time to be productive, do the right things, stay current, accumulate new skills and research,
purchase, install and maintain strategic capital equipment to greatly expand what can be done quickly.
Mixing different things at different times effectively gives me a break from the others and it actually works like that.
Working for a company with interesting problems to solve helps too!
I believe accomplishment is fundamentally correlated with organization.
When things are set up with everything needed close by, easy to find and easy to use, doing many things becomes easy.
I hate cleaning and organizing but I sure enjoy the benefits.
I maintain a private prototype workshop in Hayward and Brisbane with significant additional equipment and assets at Genapsys.
Everything is paid for and maintained in excellent working condition.
Also: 2HP 21" metal band saw, a second manual milling machine,
Burr-King belt grinder
(which I love!), diamond grinder, small sinker EDM (eats broken taps), CO2 "snow" cleaning and deburring (-80C), casting, inspection,
basic wood-working equipment, a full complement of high-quality tooling and much more.
I keep common materials in stock for rapid turnaround.
My home shop is our company's model shop.
While the team has been careful not to weigh me down too much as we grow, I've been able to meet the everyday needs for special parts and modifications across multiple projects on-the-side,
typically overnight, while maintaining a full workload.
(I pretty much work all the time and don't seem to burn out.)
On the way:
Interesting parts over the years include complex flexures, highly polished and fully functional acrylic aspheric lenses and aluminum aspheric mirrors,
thermally bonded pneumatically-actuated microfluidic lab-on-a-chip consumables w 100um channels
(machined COC +
holes in glass as small as 75um (0.003") diameter 1mm (0.040") deep,
numerous sophisticated fluidic and pneumatic manifolds (some used in production),
highly specialized (fully custom) fluidic rotary valves, intricate laser-cut seals
(including cleaning them), gears, sprockets, fasteners and machined insulating firebrick.
All machines are set up with high magnification.
Without correction my eyesight is marginal, but with aids, I can confidently "eyeball" within +/-10um (+/- .0005")
and have made whole functional parts smaller than a millimeter.
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 Ranchero Squares,
and when COVID-19 passes, my new club Swinging 21'ers
We'll see if I return to calling for Western Star Dancers and
El Camino Reelers.
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 from the Callerlab Mainstream and Plus program 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 Apr 2018.
2009 marked some important 'firsts':
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 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.
Random videos of my calling (YouTube)
Had a memorable 50th birthday party with live band and caller Darren Gallina.
YouTube: Square Dancing at Rich Reel's 50th Birthday Party
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
to ensure pages are light-weight and work internationally.
I have no time 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.
call me 415-990-6751, see Richard Reel on Facebook