Welcome to TiddlyWiki by Jeremy Ruston, Copyright © 2005 Osmosoft Limited
TiddlyWiki is published under a BSD OpenSourceLicense that gives you the freedom to use it pretty much however you want, including for commercial purposes, as long as you keep my copyright notice. I'd appreciate a link back to http://www.tiddlywiki.com as well.
My email address is scott (at) bilikfamily (dot) com
about this site
I worked here for a little over two years following my time at Lockheed Sanders. It was quite an eye opening experience. I had previously worked for extremely large organizations with a lot of hierarchy and bureacracy. In this position I was in a little satellite field office with one other guy. I visited dozens on technology companies in New England trying to sell and support VHDL and Verilog simulation and synthesis tools.\n\nOne of the good side effects of my work at this position was I had a decent knowledge of the digital logic employers in the region. When I left J-Squared, I had a good idea of what places would be good to work for.
VAutomation was the small company I joined after leaving J-Squared. Of all the jobs I've held, moving to VAutomation was the coolest, although J-Squared was a close second. It had the elements of 'seat of your pants' small business, but a lot less travel around New England. As our family size grew, my wife took comfort in knowing where I was every business day. We built cool stuff -- some of which took off and some flopped. But in my eyes, it beat spending endless days doing marketing analysis, engineering requirements analysis, etc. We'd see a niche and try to get there and quickly. If we got most of the way there and things looked like they'd go nowhere, we'd cut our losses and move on. I can't tell you how refreshing that was in the engineering field.
An NDA is a Non Disclosure Agreement. It means that while I can be intimately involved with one of our customers in the design and integration of their chips, I can't talk about it publicly.
ARC was a darling of the dot com boom. It's premise is an easy ability to generate customized microprocessors for the embedded (ie. gadget) market. To round out their processor offering, they also offered peripherals, compilers, debuggers, operating systems, and networking protocols. These offerings came from companies they acquired during that dot com time when money appeared to be falling from the sky. Gradually as the dot com boom went bust, they closed or sold off divisions of their company. Currently they have refocused on just their processor expertise.
[img[Picture of our Nikon|http://bilikfamily.com/Pictures/2003/Jul/17/thumbNikon5400.jpg]]Most of my pictures are taken with a [[Nikon Coolpix 5400|http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikoncp5400/]], sometimes with an external flash //(especially when doing indoor shots)//. My graphics editor is simply Adobe Photoshop Elements 2. From there I depend on some old school command line stuff like [[ImageMagick|http://www.imagemagick.org/script/index.php]] and [[iGal|http://trexler.at/igal/]].
[img[Picture of our Clavinova|http://bilikfamily.com/Pictures/2005/Apr/3/.thumb_2005-04-02_19-08-16.jpg]]The Clavinova is a lot of fun for a geek who enjoys music and has a family. Sure, you could do it all with computers, keyboards, sequencers, amplifiers, etc., but Yamaha packages it nicely into something that is more like a respectable piece of furniture. Ours is a Clavinova [[CVP-206|http://bilikfamily.com/Pictures/2005/Apr/3/16.html]].
Nashua, New Hampshire has twice been voted a Money magazine "Best Place to Live". We stayed there for the first seven years of our post Air Force life. I still work in Nashua.\n\nWhile originally Nashua grew because of its location at the corner of the Merrimack River and Nashua River, these days it thrives primarily because it is adjacent to the state line. Folks who live in Massachusetts who want to purchase goods without paying sales tax cross into Nashua's large shopping mall district. Folks who couldn't afford a Massachusets home used to come up to Nashua for more affordable living, although this difference has shrunk in recent years.\n\nIf you are going to live in New Hampshire but work near Boston, Nashua (and the Salem area) are the best towns to do so.
Opus Dei. How do you summarize it in a few sentences and keep the language simple? Opus Dei focuses on a Catholic's a) universal call to sanctity and holiness b) in the context of ordinary work and life. While this should not be anything new, it wasn't proclaimed all that forcefully in centuries past. There was a perception that holiness was for certain people, especially those pursuing religious vocations. There was also a perception that if you were to pursue holiness, you separated yourself from 'ordinary' professions to life in a monastary, a hermit, priestly life. You get the idea. Opus Dei shouted "Holiness is for //everyone//. You pursue it in your work. Your work is perfected and it sanctifies you!" This message was reaffirmed in the Church's 2nd Vatican Council. Without denigrating the unique role of ordained or religious, it calls __all__ to fulfill God's Will for their lives.
Ahh... how do you explain Intellectual Property? In the context of my profession it's important to know that modern digital chips have vast amounts of functionality in them. Typically it's more than a reasonable sized group of engineers could build. What used to be several boards worth of chips is now on a single piece of silicon. Doing this reduces cost and power while increasing speed. Without this large scale of integration, you'd never have Gameboys, iPods, cell phones, GPS, etc.\n\nSo how do you make a single chip with all that functionality on it? Often times you buy the design work for the function blocks you need. Think of it like buying the schematics for an electronic design or the architectural plans for a house. The design work, analysis, and testing has already been done. You just need to adapt it to your environment and fabricate.\n\nIntellectual Property is licensed to electronic design and integration houses. Typically there is an upfront licensing fee and (if we're lucky) a small per chip royalty. The stuff TransDimension and [[ARC]] have designed over the past several years are in many gadgets you'd recognize. Unfortunately, our NDAs with these companies prevent me from mentioning them.
Nearly everyone knows that if you bust open a modern digital device, it contains one or more 'chips'. Many of the big chips you see cost millions of dollars to design, verify, and fabricate. It's only when you mass produce them that they become reasonable in cost.\n\nWell, what if you only need a few hundred or want to prototype your design before you kick off production for a million+ pieces? That's where FPGAs usually come in. Like a mad scientist, blending the best of software with digital logic, FPGAs are chips whose logic layout and function can be changed in the field. In a way that memory chips hold software and data, FPGAs hold logic configurations.\n\nSo why don't we just use FPGAs? a) They're slower than 'real' chips. Many designs only go 25-50 megahertz. b) They cost more per chip. If you're going to make millions of chips, you want the cost savings of building a real fixed function chip. c) They consume significantly more power. You'd never see an FPGA in a Gameboy, iPod, or cell phone.\n\nDespite their drawbacks FPGAs are still immensely popular for prototyping and low volume designs. Since my current employer is involved in the field of [[Intellectual Property]], we rely on FPGAs to "put it in the lab" and make sure things work.
[[Hello There]]\n[[Scott Bilik]]\n[[Michelle]]\n[[Five Children]]\n\n© [[BilikFamily|http://bilikfamily.com/]] 2005
Welcome to Bilikfamily.com, a website built by [[Scott Bilik]]. I live in [[Milford NH]] with my wife, [[Michelle]], and our [[Five Children]]. Our [[Extended Family]] lives all across the US. I use this site to help keep in touch and let relatives know what is going on and see [[recent photos|http://bilikfamily.com/albums.html]].
[img[Picture of Michelle|http://bilikfamily.com/Pictures/2007/Jul/14/.thumb_2007-07-13_09-20-17.jpg]] Michelle is my wife. I tend to think of her as a super mom. She manages to keep a smile on her face while taking care of the home and [[Five Children]]. She also teaches step aerobics twice a week at the Merrimack YMCA and once a week at the Milford Golds Gym. They are known to be killer classes.\n\nShe graduated from St. Lucys High School in California in 1988. She followed that with one year at St. Mary of the Woods college in Terre Haute, Indiana. That's where I met her. When we moved to Dayton after getting married, she tried a semester at Wright State University but later decided to pursue an associates degree at Sinclair Community College in graphic arts and printing technology.\n\nShe's been busy raising our [[Five Children]] since we moved to New Hampshire in 1994.
[img[Picture of all of the kids|http://bilikfamily.com/Pictures/2007/Oct/6/.thumb_2007-10-06_11-14-46.jpg]]We have five children, with ages ranging from twelve to five. Yes, we have our hands full. //(Haven't heard that before!)// There's [[Claire]], [[Abigail]], [[Michael and Daniel]], and [[Timothy]]
[img[Picture of Claire|http://bilikfamily.com/Pictures/2007/Oct/6/.thumb_2007-10-06_11-06-34.jpg]] The oldest is Claire who is 13. She's a seventh grader at Milford Middle School. She enjoys gymnastics, sewing, and costume design.\n
[img[Picture of Abby|http://bilikfamily.com/Pictures/2007/Oct/6/.thumb_2007-10-06_11-22-19.jpg]] The next is Abby who is 10. She's a fifth grader at Milford Elementary. She also enjoys Webkinz, going to the Hallmark store, and is more of a homebody than Claire. She also enjoys playing games on Ninetendo DS and Wii. She absolutely adores our two cats and smothers then with love.
[img[Picture of the twins|http://bilikfamily.com/Pictures/2007/Oct/6/.thumb_2007-10-06_11-13-56.jpg]] We have twin boys, Michael and Daniel who are 7 years old in second grade. They are the best of friends. People ask if they are identical and we have to reply that we don't know for sure. They are typical boys. They like toy trains, cars, riding bicycles, playing by our brook, etc. The enjoy their Webkinz, reading, and their Nintendo DS's.
[img[Picture of Timothy|http://bilikfamily.com/Pictures/2007/Oct/6/.thumb_2007-10-06_11-57-30.jpg]] Our youngest is Timothy. He's a rambunctious 5 year old in kindergarten. Always curious and energetic, he keeps us on our toes. He is most likely to become an engineer as he is always interested in figuring out how things (especially gadgets) work. He has the nickname Mighty Timbo. He was born with a minor birth defect known as hemifacial microtia. As a consequence he only has an ear and hearing on his left side. When he's older (around 6 or 7) he will undergo several surgeries to give him a cosmetic ear on the right side.
[img[Picture of Scott surrounded by his siblings and parents|http://bilikfamily.com/Pictures/2005/Aug/29/.thumb_DSC_0046.jpg]]I'm the oldest of four children. I have two sisters, Alyssa and Suzanne, and a brother, Christopher. Alyssa and Christpher live in [[River Grove]]. My parents, Bob and Lorri Bilik, recently moved to Michigan. Suzanne recently settled in St. Petersburg, FL.\n\n[img[Picture of Michelle between her sisters|http://bilikfamily.com/Pictures/2005/Sep/4/.thumb_2005-08-04_17-50-53.jpg]]My wife, [[Michelle]], has an older sister, Gina, in Noblesville, Indiana and a younger sister, Maria, in Merced, California. She also has a step sister and two step brothers. Michelle's parents still live in Covina, California, where she and her sisters originally grew up.
I used to work in the Nashua office of TransDimension, or as we liked to call it: TDI. Unlike [[ARC]], which tried to be a one stop shopping of processors, peripherals, compilers, debuggers, operating systems, and networking stacks, TDI focuses on USB. In essence they had three major areas of revenue. TDI makes USB chips. Our office licensed USB [[Intellectual Property]]. They also licensed USB software stacks. Until the Nashua office shut down I did engineering support for customers who had purchased the Nashua USB [[Intellectual Property]]. Back in late 2005 Oxford Semiconductor bought TransDimension. Shortly thereafter it decided to get out of selling USB Intellectual Property. It sold the actual IP to a Portuguese company called Chip Idea but not the staff who developed it or supported it. On February 15th 2006 I did my last day at the Nashua office.
My 'home town' in a manner of speaking. It's a small suburb of Chicago located between the city limits and O'Hare airport. I lived there from the time I was 4 until I finished high school. My [[Extended Family]] has a long history there. Both of my parents were primarily raised there. Two of my siblings live there along with several aunts, uncles, and cousins.
[img[Picture of Scott|http://bilikfamily.com/Pictures/2008/Feb/19/.thumb_2008-02-16_20-08-17.jpg]] I'm a 41 year old husband and father. I graduated from the now closed Holy Cross High School in [[River Grove]]. I earned a bachelors degree in electrical engineering from Rose Hulman Institute of Technology in 1989. Later in 1993 I earned a masters degree in computer engineering from Wright State University.\n\nI was married shortly after graduating from Rose Hulman. Together we moved to Dayton, Ohio where I served 5 years as an officer in the US Air Force at Wright Patterson AFB. I had two tours within Wright Patt. First I worked in the real time flight simulation laboratory working with //(then)// high performance graphics workstations. Later I served in the VHDL program office of the solid state electronics laboratory where we helped advance the VHDL standard and designed a chip designed for high performance graphics processing.\n\nUpon separating from the Air Force, we moved to [[Nashua NH]] where I went to work for Lockheed Sanders (now a part of BAE) developing FPGAs from VHDL. After a few years there I left to work for J-Squared Technologies supporting the sale of tools for FPGAs. When that local office folded, I tried a brief stint working for a distributor of Actel FPGAs.\n\nFrom there I had a job in Nashua for seven years at a company that had four names over its life. It started under a cool company called VAutomation. VAutomation was acquired by [[ARC]] during the stock market and technology boom. In mid 2004 [[ARC]] sold our division to TransDimension. TransDimension was soon bought by a company called Oxford Semiconductor. Throughout the four different company names, I've worked more or less the same job with the same group of great people.\n\nIn February of 2006 Oxford closed our Nashua office so I took an exciting job at ATI, the graphics card experts. Despite my thinking that this would be a stable, established company, about 8 months later ATI was purchased by [[AMD]] (Advanced Micro Devices). AMD is the main competitor to Intel in making x86 processors. They purchased ATI in hopes that soon they may be able to make value oriented chips that combine the processor and graphics all on one chip.\n\nI was born and raised a Roman Catholic but am somewhat of a revert. I'd been fairly lukewarm about the faith in high school and college, but discovered its incredible depth and beauty after graduation once I had time to get my head out of engineering books. I've also been associated with [[Opus Dei]] since around 1996 and never cease to be amazed at the misconceptions about that apostolate, especially since The Da Vinci Code used them as a major part of the plot.\n\nI started doing web design work as a hobby back in late 2000. At that time I had already been exposed to a number of computer languages. Whereas my job often focuses on the hardware design aspects of my education, web design work has helped me keep my software skills sharpened.\n\nOther hobbies include occasionally tinkering with our [[Yamaha Clavinova]] digital piano and sequencer. I enjoy dabbling in [[digital photography]]. I also have this rather odd habit of taking Step aerobics classes 2 to 3 times per week. My wife, [[Michelle]], got me hooked about 14 years ago.
Milford is a small town in south central New Hampshire. It's about 10-15 miles due west of [[Nashua NH]]. We moved here about six years ago when we outgrew our house in Nashua. We live on the west corner of the town in a small development sometimes known as Orchard Hill. The towns of Wilton, Lydeboro, and Mont Vernon are all very close by.\n\nWe really love the development we're in now. Our property is on 2.4 acres of land bounded by a small brook which feeds into the Shouhegan River. It gives the kids plenty of land to play on. There are also a bunch of kids in the neighborhood that the kids play with.
When I could no longer work for the multi-named Nashua company, I took a job at ATI. ATI and nVidia are the world's two leading suppliers of high performance graphics chips, not only for PC's but game consoles as well. nVidia made the graphics chips for the original Xbox. ATI made the chips for the Gamecube, the Wii, and the Xbox 360. Since my Air Force work also included a lot of background in computer graphics, it was nice to return to the field.\n\nSo how is AMD related? As seems to be the never ending story in my engineering career, ATI was purchased in Oct 2006 by Advanced Micro Devices, aka [[AMD]]. In its eternal competition with Intel, [[AMD]] took the risky move of buying ATI in hopes that future chips would see a greater merging of general purpose processing with graphics processing. Time will tell if this risk pays off, but short term it is financially painful.\n\nMy work at AMD is a pretty good match for my background because it's related to selling some of our graphics expertise as [[Intellectual Property]] for the embedded and handset market //(read: cell phones)//. I help in the development of the IP, the automation of verification flows, and helping our customers verify the integration of our IP into their chipsets.\n\nThe downside of the job is that it is down in Marlborough, MA -- about 50 miles south of our house. I've found several routes down there and can get there in about an hour and five minutes without breaking speeding laws. More recently things have improved because I get to work from home one or two days a week. The other upside is my [[Jetta TDI]] keeps the fuel use minimal.
[img[Picture of my commuter car|http://bilikfamily.com/Pictures/2006/Aug/31/.thumb_2006-08-18_18-06-32.jpg]] Shortly after I started at [[AMD]] I traded in my aging V-6 powered Accord EX for the thrifty VW Jetta with a TDI engine. The TDI engine is VW's fuel injected, turbo charged, intercooled diesel engine. Yes, a diesel. The upside is that my mileage going to and from work is in the 50-55 mpg range. I considered buying a hybrid, but at the time they were fairly new whereas VW had been making and improving this engine for many years. In some aspects it has fewer emissions than gas engines and in others it's higher. The models being re-introduced in 2008 have so many emission control systems that they are legal in all 50 states.