• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

A bit about your host....

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
14,669
Likes
7,628
Location
Seattle Area
#1
This is a bit about your host, Amir Majidimehr. I am writing this as to give more context to people reading my technical reviews and measurements. I have realized that without this context, many assume I am yet another blogger spitting out graphs. That is very true but let’s see if we can confuse them with an alternate reality!

Without giving away my exact age, I grew up in 1960s with analog electronics as my primary hobby. Learned that from my oldest brother who likewise had the same hobby and spent his nights and days designing electronics. This gave me an intuition for analog electronics which to this day serves me better any textbook or formal education.

Speaking of formal education, I naturally aimed to get an Electrical Engineering degree which I received in early 1980s (still trying hard to not give away my age!). During that time though, the personal computer revolution was upon us and I quickly fell in love with my second hobby: software. I programmed my Apple II and later managed the computer lab at the college where I wrote a bunch of custom software including an editor all the students used to write their programs.

During schooling, I worked at an electronics repair shop, fixing everything from audio equipment to VHF radios. That childhood experience really got cemented combined with a new skill of having to troubleshoot equipment, usually with no schematic. All in all, I repaired hundreds of pieces of equipment, getting a good feel for quality engineering versus not.

Back to the degree, once I graduated, the first job I found was actually software, not engineering. I became a Unix “kernel” (Operating system) developer working on then new, Unix operating system. That gave me another baptism by fire having to learn nearly half a million lines of code with nary any documentation. This was at a large minicomputer company producing systems costing nearly $300,000. Kernel work gets you pretty close to hardware and during that time, I got a very deep understanding of it. This was a good thing as Unix became the foundation for much of what we use today from Linux to Android, MacOS and Windows.

In late 1980s I had an opportunity to work at the computer division of Sony. Initially the job was building a software team to develop Unix but we proposed and won approval to design and build our own hardware to go with it. There we went deep, developing our own ASICs (large scale custom electronic IC), motherboards, audio subsystem, power supply, LCD display etc. Working for Sony was great as at that time they were in their peak of success and their quality standards were quite high. We combined that with great engineering from US in silicon valley and really pushed state of the art in design and simulation at that time.

It was during that time that I got exposed to products of a then new company, Audio Precision (AP). They had overnight obsoleted audio measurement products from likes of HP (now Agilent/Keysight). I bought one for the team but I was the only one who learned to use it. It cost a cool $25,000 which at the time (early 1990s) was quite a lot of money. Still is today.

Sony fell on hard times after acquiring Columbia Pictures so my team was let go. I was offered to stay there but I got bored and left. In return for some consulting though, I got to keep that original AP (which I later gave to my brother -- the unit I have now is much newer).

Having developed my hardware skills, the next two companies I worked for also developed hardware and software: Abekas Video Systems and Pinnacle (now part of Avid). There, I managed hardware, firmware and software engineers development high-end hardware for real-time effects, switching, graphics, editing, etc. I am fortunate enough to have managed a very smart team which won two technical Emmy Awards.

By then a new development was happening: the web. I had worked extensively on networking which was the underpinning of the Internet. The advent of browsers took that to a new level and I wanted to be a part of that. So when my ex-boss from Akekas called me to say he was leading a Stanford-university start-up that was streaming video on the web, I jump at the chance to lead engineering there.

This was in the days of dial-up modems and trying to send video and audio through such slow link was nothing short of a miracle. Still, we managed to do it well enough that the company got acquired by Microsoft back in 1997 (https://news.microsoft.com/1997/08/...timedia-strategy-with-release-of-netshow-2-0/).

I specialized at Microsoft in driving our technology through other products than just the PC. At the time everyone was the enemy of Microsoft it seemed so it was a big challenge. At the end, we did it with our products literally shipping billions of other devices and every Blu-ray player. Only Apple refused to ship and use it. To date, those products all generate significant royalty stream for Microsoft, long after I am gone from there.

During my time at Microsoft, as VP of Digital Media Division, I grew to manage a division of nearly 1000 engineers, testers, marketing and business development people. One of the groups I managed though was the signal processing team which produced audio and video compression technologies. Both of those relied on refreshing my knowledge of the core signal processing science back in college and learning a ton more about new domains like psychoacoustics. Formal and controlled testing was a part of that just the same. Through training, I became an “expert” in finding difficult audio distortions that many could not. This training is serving me well to this day in being able to pass audio objectivist challenges of blind tests of small distortions.

I am very proud of the accomplishments of my team at Microsoft as it led to winning yet another technical Emmy award (see https://www.flickr.com/photos/seanalex/351987677. I am the one on the right). I also received an incredible education working with my many top engineers from audio processing to streaming and audio subsystem in the OS.

I retired from Microsoft back in 2007 (officially left in 2008) and created a start-up which was acquired by Fortune 50 companies. I currently own a system integration company, Madrona Digital, that does security, audio/video, lighting, networking, etc. for mid to high-end homes and commercial buildings (no retail sales). This gives me great exposure to the industry and the “back story” of it.

So what does this all mean? Well, it means that I am very familiar with many aspects of the systems we talk about. I am comfortable talking about networking and streaming one minute, and good power supply design the next. Hey, we could even talk about patents, business aspects, etc.

No, it doesn’t mean I know more than anyone in these fields. Many people have more experience than me in their deep vertical. What it means is that I have a broader set of experiences than most, and I have the knowledge to dig deep and analyze what is going on after some 40 years of being immersed in all aspects related to audio and technology.

Here is a list of technologies I feel very comfortable in:

1. Computer architecture, hardware design, networking, operating system, memory management, system architecture, etc.

2. Internet protocols and streaming technologies

3. Audio/Video signal processing, compression, psychoacoustics, controlled/blind testing

4. Analog and digital electronics

5. Sound reproduction in rooms (learned post retirement from some of the best teachers one can have such as Dr. Floyd Toole)

6. Audio measurements and analysis.

7. Bad sense of humor which you will see peppered in most of my writing.


So there it is. No more complaining about who this idiot is that is writing these articles.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 16, 2018
Messages
6
Likes
6
Location
Montreal, QC
#4
Those are some seriously great creds! Just discovered your site the other day when looking for reviews on reasonably priced, decent quality DACs. This is some great stuff you have here, and am very excited to be a part of this community.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2018
Messages
10
Likes
7
#6
Hello Amir,

These are impressive achievements. Thank you so much for sharing your experience through those tests that you are running and publishing. It clearly saves a lot of time and money for everyone into HiFi.

Cheers
Florent
 

Jimster480

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Patreon Donor
Joined
Jan 26, 2018
Messages
649
Likes
232
Location
Miami
#8
I just read your technical background and realized you are also a programmer!
I imagine since you were working on the unix kernel that C is your primary language?
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
14,669
Likes
7,628
Location
Seattle Area
#9
I just read your technical background and realized you are also a programmer!
I imagine since you were working on the unix kernel that C is your primary language?
It is. As such English is second. :D
 

Jimster480

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Patreon Donor
Joined
Jan 26, 2018
Messages
649
Likes
232
Location
Miami
#10
It is. As such English is second. :D
LOL I tell people the same!
Our interests are very much aligned, although you got to witness the development of many of the cool technologies we enjoy today. I'm under 30 still so I only watched the development of the internet, cellphones and mobile devices really....
 

Fitzcaraldo215

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
1,417
Likes
476
#11
Yeah, yeah, Mr. King of Audio. So, what have you done for us lately? ;)

Without previously knowing your impressive background, your excellent writings starting in Widescreen Review made clear to me that you really knew what you were talking about, and you always provided convincing data, knowlege of theory, etc. to back it up. You have had tremendous, eye opening, knowledge-enhancing influence on me, as you have had to many other audiophiles, including through this forum. We appreciate it and your tireless efforts very much.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
14,669
Likes
7,628
Location
Seattle Area
#12
Yeah, yeah, Mr. King of Audio. So, what have you done for us lately? ;)

Without previously knowing your impressive background, your excellent writings starting in Widescreen Review made clear to me that you really knew what you were talking about, and you always provided convincing data, knowlege of theory, etc. to back it up. You have had tremendous, eye opening, knowledge-enhancing influence on me, as you have had to many other audiophiles, including through this forum. We appreciate it and your tireless efforts very much.
Wow, that is one of the nicest things anyone has written about me. :)

Thank you so much for writing it. Provides much motivation to do more. And thank you Jim also.
 

Jimster480

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Patreon Donor
Joined
Jan 26, 2018
Messages
649
Likes
232
Location
Miami
#13
Wow, that is one of the nicest things anyone has written about me. :)

Thank you so much for writing it. Provides much motivation to do more. And thank you Jim also.
Its great to have an honest and experienced person around with similar interests in technology and objectiveness.
Hardware may only be my hobby but I am glad to read and learn from this site as its one of the only sites I have found that has such technical posts actually requiring me to think, and some that I am just unable to understand. Its rare for me to read something that goes over my head, and for that I appreciate this site as it presents me a real challenge in learning something new :)
 

Colin James Wonfor

Active Member
Technical Expert
The Wonf
Joined
Oct 24, 2016
Messages
121
Likes
31
Location
London< UK
#14
Amir,

I am sorry to say this is the first time I have looked at this page, and found it very interesting.

Like you I had family member keen, well silly keen on electronics. My Granddad and Dad were mad scientists, Granddad taught me about Tubes/Valve and Dad semiconductors (Germanium).
But like most teenagers (1960s) I rebelled and wanted to do Chemistry , but being Autistic and all that entails it was hard work, thank goodness for my Dad and Granddad's stabilising hands.
So I past my Chemistry Degree and found the job I chose was to be honest not for the faint hearted or the absented minded, like me.
So for ever being protected by my Dad he got me a Job in Plessey in the PSU design Dept as a technician, This proved to be fun and at the time they ran a scheme for ideas to solve problem or improve product, which paid you a reward. Oh dear in the first year on Ideas I won enough money to buy my first house, whoops.
So I was sent back to Uni to do electrical engineering, oh what fun it was, I would recommend it to anybody.
Time passes and I end up working for ICL designing then in a new field of SMPSU, and I was also designing Magnum kit, which came from ProAc Magnum, which I founded with Tony Relph ex REGA.

Well the rest is well known history from Magnum, Inca Tech, TOCA, One4Audio, Root2, Catch22 which became Tellurium Q and no retired and dabbling in EWA cables and audio for fun.

Oh I also did a short run with a contracts to design bits and bobs for NASA and a Xray PSU design and a few other bits, but at 50 Yrs old I went back to Uni and did a short coarse on Computer Science , I hated it,

Life is fun
 

RayDunzl

Major Contributor
Central Scrutinizer
Joined
Mar 9, 2016
Messages
5,448
Likes
1,392
Location
Riverview, Fl
#15
Back to the degree, once I graduated, the first job I found was actually software, not engineering.
I ran across this recently, while looking at thread concerning the first moon landing.

Margaret H. Hamilton "is the person who came up with the idea of naming the discipline, "software engineering", as a way of giving it legitimacy."

According to Hamilton:

During this time at MIT (responsible for the Apollo On-Board Flight Software as director of the Software Engineering Division of MIT's Instrumentation Laboratory ), she wanted to give their software "legitimacy", just like with other engineering disciplines, so that it (and those building it) would be given its due respect; and, as a result she made up the term "software engineering" to distinguish it from other kinds of engineering.​
Hamilton details how she came about to make up the term "software engineering":

When I first came up with the term, no one had heard of it before, at least in our world. It was an ongoing joke for a long time. They liked to kid me about my radical ideas. It was a memorable day when one of the most respected hardware gurus explained to everyone in a meeting that he agreed with me that the process of building software should also be considered an engineering discipline, just like with hardware. Not because of his acceptance of the new 'term' per se, but because we had earned his and the acceptance of the others in the room as being in an engineering field in its own right.​
When Hamilton started using the term "software engineering", software engineering was not taken seriously compared to other engineering, nor was it regarded as a science. She began to use the term "software engineering" during the early Apollo missions in order to give software the legitimacy of other fields such as hardware engineering. Over time the term "software engineering" has gained the same respect as any other discipline
 

svart-hvitt

Major Contributor
Joined
Aug 31, 2017
Messages
1,437
Likes
545
#16
I ran across this recently, while looking at thread concerning the first moon landing.

Margaret H. Hamilton "is the person who came up with the idea of naming the discipline, "software engineering", as a way of giving it legitimacy."

According to Hamilton:

During this time at MIT (responsible for the Apollo On-Board Flight Software as director of the Software Engineering Division of MIT's Instrumentation Laboratory ), she wanted to give their software "legitimacy", just like with other engineering disciplines, so that it (and those building it) would be given its due respect; and, as a result she made up the term "software engineering" to distinguish it from other kinds of engineering.​
Hamilton details how she came about to make up the term "software engineering":

When I first came up with the term, no one had heard of it before, at least in our world. It was an ongoing joke for a long time. They liked to kid me about my radical ideas. It was a memorable day when one of the most respected hardware gurus explained to everyone in a meeting that he agreed with me that the process of building software should also be considered an engineering discipline, just like with hardware. Not because of his acceptance of the new 'term' per se, but because we had earned his and the acceptance of the others in the room as being in an engineering field in its own right.​
When Hamilton started using the term "software engineering", software engineering was not taken seriously compared to other engineering, nor was it regarded as a science. She began to use the term "software engineering" during the early Apollo missions in order to give software the legitimacy of other fields such as hardware engineering. Over time the term "software engineering" has gained the same respect as any other discipline
Very interesting. Thanks, @RayDunzl :)
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
14,669
Likes
7,628
Location
Seattle Area
#17
I ran across this recently, while looking at thread concerning the first moon landing.

Margaret H. Hamilton "is the person who came up with the idea of naming the discipline, "software engineering", as a way of giving it legitimacy."
No doubt. Back in 1980s, software guys were lightweight and real work was done by hardware people.
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2018
Messages
5
Likes
3
#20
Amir, were you part of the Media Center team by chance? I miss that product so much. I knew a few of those guys were somewhat regular posters on doom9, so I could see the passion there.
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
Dynamix Movies and TV Shows 25

Similar threads

Top Bottom