1. jean15paul's Avatar
    Hi Jerry,

    I've been a big fan for a long time. Thanks for all your insights. If we're ever in the same neck of the woods, I owe you a beer.

    Question: can you tell us about your background before Android Central? Your superhero origin story, if you will. What did you do? How did you end up at Android Central? I gather you have an engineering background (electrical? computer?) or maybe computer programming? What have you worked on?

    Looking forward to your answer.
    01-24-2017 11:43 AM
  2. Jerry Hildenbrand's Avatar
    I love beer. Especially free beer. Holler if/when you ever make it up near DC.

    I worked my way through school wiring commercial buildings and cleaning floors in office buildings late at night. It sucked, but I got my BSEE and BSCmpE in three years and with no loans. I used them to land a job in a company who existed solely to secure aerospace contracts from the US Gov — we built landing gear assemblies for Navy planes and shipped them to mcdonnel douglas or boeing or JPL or whoever was having us build them.

    A fellow I worked with moved to a new company that supplied automation solutions for assembly lines. He called me up and asked if i was interested in coming to work in his dept. The money was a lot better so I said yes. I worked on the factory floor for about a year then got moved into R&D because i had comp-sci related schooling and they needed an EE who could help program robotic arms and turrets.

    The first software I ever developed commercially sent an electric charge through an electrode to a Trojan condom rolled over another electrode and measured how much voltage it took to penetrate the latex. It did all this in 1.6 seconds while moving down an assembly line. If the required voltage dropped too low it meant the latex wasn't right and people further up the line needed to find out why.

    That moved on to things like the sorter and arm that packages Gummi Life Savers, the press arm that makes generic aspirin tablets and finally to equipment in the agriculture field that was used to sort apples. peaches, tomatoes and other round fruits and veggies. I also went back to school on the company dime and ended up with a master's in Computational Science and Engineering with a focus on machine vision and multimodal interaction. We built big square machines that round fruit rolled through while we looked at them through a series of cameras. This determined things like size, density, color, and shape. Some of the experimental machines also could detect bruises and other defects and even sugar content as a brix measurement.

    A huge company from the netherlands ended up buying the one i worked for. After a stint trying to run my own business (it sucks. DO NOT RECOMMEND) I ended up here because Phil needed a nerd.
    01-25-2017 04:55 PM
  3. jean15paul's Avatar
    Wow. Thanks Jerry. I didn't expect you to go that deep!

    Also, I'm impressed. You're a smart dude.

    Now I just have to figure out when to buy you a beer
    01-26-2017 03:39 PM

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