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data8504
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Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:28 am

Greetings all!

So first off, I really do owe Scott and Jordan a big thanks for bringing me onto the podcast this weekend. I had a lot of fun, and I hope I could shed at least a little light on what's going on behind the scenes. Prototyped pounced on me in the article comments re. some post-interview questions, so I figured I'd start up a new thread in case anyone has any questions for me that I didn't touch on.

In case you're not putting two and two together, I'm Matt.

Ok. Housekeeping: I can't talk about products, especially future ones. At all. So, as painful as it may be, please try to abstract your questions to the general case. Also, I feel slightly obliged to say that this thread doesn't signify any Intel endorsement of TR, and isn't explicitly condoned by Scott or Geoff, etc. I'm just talking here as a fellow reader.

So! Ok! Bring it on! pluscard, do your worst! :P
 
Prototyped
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:21 am

data8504 wrote:
Prototyped pounced on me in the article comments


:p

Among the questions I asked, I was quite interested in knowing if Intel was participating in user education regarding UEFI (since it's such a different beast from the legacy BIOS) and developer support (say, giving Linux distro developers a hand in streamlining installation on UEFI systems). I understand you're an engineer and these are roles left to PR and Marketing, but if you know anything about related initiatives, please let us know.
 
Meadows
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:32 am

data8504 wrote:
pluscard, do your worst! :P

You'll wish you hadn't done that.

How much money do you make and how hard do you have to work for it? Just curious, I want to know where to set my envy bar.
 
Meadows
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:04 am

Aww, our engineer wasn't popular enough.
[bump in disguise]
 
data8504
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:15 am

Prototyped wrote:
data8504 wrote:
Prototyped pounced on me in the article comments


:p

Among the questions I asked, I was quite interested in knowing if Intel was participating in user education regarding UEFI (since it's such a different beast from the legacy BIOS) and developer support (say, giving Linux distro developers a hand in streamlining installation on UEFI systems). I understand you're an engineer and these are roles left to PR and Marketing, but if you know anything about related initiatives, please let us know.


Well, err... so, I'm not trying to be obtuse about this, but I don't think Intel really minds end users being oblivious to the existence of firmware. I mean, you're totally right that industry-enabling includes providing implementation models to the open source community, which Intel SSG (software solutions group) definitely does. I just can't say that we engage in "user education" because I'm not sure there's a value.

One more thing I might point out: as nice as all the stuff I outlined in the podcast was, none of it has really emerged yet. Since not all OSes will even boot off of EFI, hardware vendors have had no real market for EFI module distribution. The Linux/open source community has always been at the forefront of this push, but we've still got to reach a critical mass of support before things really take off. At _that_ point, you'll probably see a more acknowledged industry push to enable ISVs/IHVs.
 
data8504
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:17 am

Meadows wrote:
data8504 wrote:
pluscard, do your worst! :P

You'll wish you hadn't done that.

How much money do you make and how hard do you have to work for it? Just curious, I want to know where to set my envy bar.


Allow me to not be terribly specific in the first count, but I'll tell you that Intel's work schedule for a job like mine - one that is very dependent on where we are in the product cycle - can range from pretty simple, less-than-40 hour weeks in downtime to crazy weeks where you feel like you're working nonstop: in the office, at home, while asleep, etc.

Intel takes good care of us, though. I can't complain.
 
Meadows
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:54 am

data8504 wrote:
Intel takes good care of us, though. I can't complain.

Good to know. I guess I can't extrapolate market strategy and public relations to workforce management.
 
data8504
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:31 am

Meadows wrote:
Good to know. I guess I can't extrapolate market strategy and public relations to workforce management.


Yeah you can: "effective."

:) Just playing.
 
flip-mode
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:22 am

Nice of you to join the community data8504. I hope you stay involved. It is nice to have an out-of-the-closet Intel employee around.

FWIW, I don't listen to talk radio and I don't listen to the podcasts. That is a real shame on the one hand because I am sure there is some decent content in there. I just don't like the format. I much prefer my geek fix be delivered in text format. My loss :cry:
 
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:38 am

flip-mode wrote:
FWIW, I don't listen to talk radio and I don't listen to the podcasts. That is a real shame on the one hand because I am sure there is some decent content in there. I just don't like the format. I much prefer my geek fix be delivered in text format. My loss :cry:

I didn't either until about a month ago, and then realized that listening to something besides music helps my commute frustrate me less (and so I'm a lot calmer when I get home to my wife). I'm working my way backwards and I think I'm on episode 14. That's really the only time I listen though.
 
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:46 am

Matt: how do you spend the bulk of your time? Drawing transistor blocks in computer software, sketching them up in paper, having meetings, running simulations in the lab...? Can you describe a typical slow workday vs a crunch workday nearing a product launch?
There is a fixed amount of intelligence on the planet, and the population keeps growing :(
 
data8504
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:04 pm

morphine wrote:
Matt: how do you spend the bulk of your time? Drawing transistor blocks in computer software, sketching them up in paper, having meetings, running simulations in the lab...? Can you describe a typical slow workday vs a crunch workday nearing a product launch?


Well, since I prepare the models for BIOS developers, my cycle trends just before the actual validation curve. To that end, the boring days fall during the requirements-gathering phase, and the nonstop days fall more between our model's "release" and actual Silicon power-on. In this period, we're playing catch for any bugs that get thrown our way, working closely with BIOS guys to get them ready for platform arrival.

I don't spend too much time in meetings - my program manager tries to absorb those for the actual technical staff. My team is pretty small currently, 5 total: an architect, a program manager, and three developers. We're an agile team, adjunct to the much larger BIOS teams (15-20, times N).

A normal week in development is spent like mostly any other software development job: requirements gathering cycle, proposal review, prototyping, design review, and implementation. Simple. :)
 
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:12 pm

So my guess is that you spend the bulk of your time "preparing" work and a relatively small amount actually doing it (minus the bug clearance phase).
There is a fixed amount of intelligence on the planet, and the population keeps growing :(
 
data8504
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:16 pm

morphine wrote:
So my guess is that you spend the bulk of your time "preparing" work and a relatively small amount actually doing it (minus the bug clearance phase).


Err... I mean, in a way that's true, but keep in mind that in this business, architecture is much more important than implementation - 90% of the development cycle is upkeep and extension, and since the hardware specs that we are modeling are quite complex, the act of *writing C++ code* is actually pretty simple, comparatively.

Requirements gathering, prototyping, and reviewing is absolutely work. It's the most important part. Coding is easy.
 
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:23 pm

Well yeah, I didn't mean to imply it isn't all work :)

I just meant "preparation" vs "implementation".
There is a fixed amount of intelligence on the planet, and the population keeps growing :(
 
Usacomp2k3
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:59 pm

What sort of tools do you use in your business. I'm thinking like Sharepoint or MS Project.
 
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Tue Feb 10, 2009 4:40 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
What sort of tools do you use in your business. I'm thinking like Sharepoint or MS Project.

I would imagine his Program Manager would be doing the Project stuff. If Matt spends a lot of time on MS Project updating those stupid percentages per line item, we would be in big trouble. ;)
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data8504
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Re: Follow-up Questions re. Firmware, Validation, etc. @ Intel

Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:39 pm

Flying Fox wrote:
Usacomp2k3 wrote:
What sort of tools do you use in your business. I'm thinking like Sharepoint or MS Project.

I would imagine his Program Manager would be doing the Project stuff. If Matt spends a lot of time on MS Project updating those stupid percentages per line item, we would be in big trouble. ;)

It's true. What use we do get out of Project is done by the PM with our input. Aside from that, we do use SharePoint, as well as the rest of the Microsoft toolchest. We're all pretty addicted to Outlook - the company _runs_ on email, whereas I might get a voicemail once every blue moon.

Other tools... cygwin, perl/python/etc for Windows, but a lot of the validation dirty work is done in Linux. Think /proc glorified.

Oh, and along those lines, we also live on Microsoft Communicator/Messenger/whatever generation N is called.

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