RIP Pat

My mentor and good friend Pat passed away last month. I met Pat when I was a young engineer at Motorola SPS (now Freescale), which was an incredibly dysfunctional company. Motorola had made its fortune in the early 1990s on pagers and analog cell phones, and cruised from about 1993 onwards. I joined in 1999.  They missed the boat completely on digital cell phones, fast low-power embedded processors, ARM processors, integrated GPS chipsets, Apple CPUs, fabless, Physical Layer chips, etc. etc. There was no product definition, or strategic vision that I could discern. I remember grown men shouting about whether the PowerPC was big endian or little endian. This was a chip that Motorola designed, not a competitor part.  (it’s big endian, but IBM’s documentation shows the MSB as 0).Many of the people there were not helpful, especially to a young engineer.  ‘Don’t mess with my rice bowl’ as Pat would say. Anyway, in that environment I met Pat. He would put a dry erase mark every day on his board like he was in jail, counting down the number of days until he retired.  I learned a lot in the lab working with him.  The products we supported had a lot of issues, and we were under a lot of stress.

Some of his best phrases (clean ones):

after something is finished: “that’s another ‘don’t care’ in my Karnaugh Map of life”

“there’s a half life for everything”