ELECTRONICS ERA IN A NUTSHELL.
(1973 – 1985)
Author: Philippe Vo cong tri
1973 – 1979 In 1972, I met my wife Mireille in Greece (Corfu), during my summer vacations.
It turns out that we are born on the same DD-MM but not the same YYYY.
Before that meeting, I have never been interested by her Country (Switzerland), except knowing for their Chocolates ! I knew that this country is very small.
In fact, I preferred travelling in the Americas and Greece (Mother of the Occidental civilisation).
Ancient Egypt and Rome attract my yearning to learn.
Mireille and me were quickly fianced, before I finished my tech college.
During my one of my numerous visits to her parents home in Geneva, I used to work as wharehouse helper, just for some pocket money.
After my diploma, we were married in June 1973.
As I didn’t know what and where to get my first job, my wife proposed me tocome in Switzerland.
We were housed by Mireille’s parents. My wife had a good job in banking sector.
After some job search delusions in Geneva, I found one in the Canton de Vaud (Payerne).
We moved to Payerne in September 1973.
Payerne was a very very small town, but so nice to live if one loves quietness and nature.
Well, my work experience was a disaster, and I was not really interested init.
Hopefully, my mother-in-law, Elvire (Italian born), has found a job for me in Geneva.
Now that I think of it, it was Elvire who has made the hiring interview with my future boss !
So, we came back to Geneva.
Mister Jean-Pierre Garnier, my boss at Secheron company, was a nice, comprehensive and good man.
In face of my inexperience, he encouraged me to go on by giving good projects.
I worked very hard in order to catch up Swiss working standards, with very long overtimes.
Most of the People were nice.
I got started with a big project for the Dutch Railways. I learn their technology and I believe that I mastered them quite quickly. I have improved some areas and proposed new ideas, which were accepted.
My Son Alexandre was born in 1974. A great event for us.
My Daughter came in 1977. Another great moment.
I was then very interested by electonic computers, the time where microprocessors were on the market (Intel, AMD, Zilog and al.).
I started to design equipment to program eproms, using bit slice microprocessors (2 bits, 4 bits).
Some designs and prototypes were done , such as so called universal boards, where
on board changing of microprocessors chips types was possible.
A technical paper was written and presented to Brown Boveri headquarters(Secheron was bought by the later), somewhere in 1978.
The paper describes an all-silicon embedded system. The OS and programs would be stored in eproms.
After that, nothing came back to us.
Well, after nice years of development experience, I wanted to move up, but the Management has refused, to Mr. Garnier disgust.
At the same time I wrote quite a few technical papers in order to introduce new technologies.
By that time, Oscilloscopes were analog and digital ones were crude. I have imagined to store signal traces in silicon Eproms (via A/Dconverters).
Mr. Garnier and me have had contrived to develop an ATE for embedded electronics for Railways.
I thought I would be its technical project leader. Sigh …
So, I decided to leave the company, not only because of the deception, but I wanted to see something else new. I was and still fascinated by new technologies.
As I could not find interesting jobs on the Geneva market place, i.e I has been rebutted systematically by the prospective companies. I neverk newwhy.
I was particularly disgusted by the CERN. I thought that as it is an International organization, I never imagined that the guys who interviewed me were so abject, on personal ground.
The period 1974-1979 was a very good one for my experience of adulthood and society. Thank you Mister Garnier, I owe to you.
Thank you, Roger and Elvire KUHFUSS, my parents in law, always there to tend our children.
During this time frame, I continued preparation for Electronics Engineer inFrance (distance learnig).
During the last years, xenophoby grew in Switzerland, in Geneva there was a rightist party called “Les Vigilants”, main theorist James Schwarzenbach ditto the “black stream”.
I left Switzerland in 1979. My family came in France a year later.
Before I left, an Inspector of the “Controle de l’habitant” came to check. I never understood the reasons.
He talked to me asking the reasons I wanted to leave, check the house as ifthe nothing had been degraded, inquired about the health of my parents inlaw etc …
I was very upset. I wrote a nasty letter to them.
I’ve got paranoid attitude.
Prodigal son back
1979 – 1985 I found my first job in France in PARIS.
The company was Alcatel telephones.
It was my second work in development laboratory.
I was hired by a very nice man, Mister COUSIN, a tall bearded man.
The lab department was developping professional visualisation equipmentsfor Airports and Meteology
stations and such.
The department was later absorbed by CIMSA-SINTRA, famous telecoms maker.
Later on, we were included in THOMSON-CSF Thales .
It was the time I could at last working with computer related equipments.
I developped intelligent controllers, using the latest technologies.
I designed a mini computer from scratch with bit slices, design the opcodes , protocols.
I worked on radiotelophones as well.
The applications programs were written on standard computers MINI-6 and PDP.
Somewhere in 1983-1984, we used VAX. I started to learn the wonderful system.
At the same time, I started partial leave to get formally trained in computer programming and prepared a diploma at the Univerty VILLETANEUSE, north of PARIS.
I was elated by the projects, working night and days.
It was the days, where ethernet crossed the Ocean.
This is what I called A to Z development.
There I got what I wanted, project leadership.
I was sent to Berkeley (USA) to work on a high tech project.
One of our project has been exposed at Telecoms fair in Geneva in 1984. My first fair exposition.
I felt at home.
Thank you Mr. COUSIN and KLEIN.
But alas, again louzy Management put me at a corner. They have decided to put another guy as manager, explaining that I should concentrate on technical development only.
At the same time, as I was quite often far from home, because of my spending time too much at work.
I simply forgot my family life. My wife was unhappy, since she could not finda job in her banking branch. The would be employers were saying that the frenchdo not have the same standards as the Swiss ones. I believe that theywere a little bit xenophobic.
Our neighbourhood was multi etnic.
But, our friends were not natives French, except those few I encountered during my teenage years.
My kids friends were all foreigners, Americans, Asians, Africans.
As a long timer french, I have not the same problems as encountered by my wife and kids.
I have had my old buddies.
So, my wife and agreed to go back to Switzerland.
Copyright – Philippe Vo cong tri.
August 3, 2001
Rev. Nov. 7, 2001
======= Computer =======
update: Aug. 2,2001
1) Name – Bios
3) Formation – Experiences
Name Philippe Vo cong tri
French and Swiss national (Any comments ?)
Bios Living in Belgium,Vietnam,France,Switzerland.
Travelling quite a few times in the USA (pleasure and work), Mexico, North Africa, Western Europe.
1951. Married to espouse from Neuchatel, two chidren, pets.
Born: Belgium (so what ?)
Ascendance: Vietnamese, French.
Languages: French r,w,s
German notions (read)
Espanish notions (read)
Dutch notions (read)
Vietnamese (so what ?)
1985 – 2001 Software development, Internet,IT systems management,system architect.
1973 – 1984 Hardware developer
Automation, Embedded Computers, Telecoms.
BBC-Secheron, Alcatel, Thomson CSF.
Formation Master computer of Science. Alabama – USA.
Electronics Engineering. Paris – France.
Financial laws. France.
Experience in IT
Since 1985 Unix (Solaris, HP, Linux, AIX)-NT – AS400, Novell.
Oracle, DB2, Sybase, MSSQL
C/C++, VB,Delphi, Java, Web (Websphere,Apache, IIS,scripts), Plsql, AI
Roles DBA, System engineer, Programmer, System architect,project management.
Some references Atraxis (Sairgroup),Euronet, KPNQwest, HP, RNB, Paribas,Sita, Iata, Battelle, Philip Morris, Vroom-Dressman.
Business partners IBM.
Misc. Creating experimental companies.
Interests After many hectic working years, good and bad. I wantto take my time to :
Tender my family.
Research (I have my own lab).
Make a living by contracting work (meet interesting People, do good jobs, improve the businesses with new ideas).
Philippe Vo cong tri
Chene Bourg – Geneva – Switzerland
mobile: +41 (0)79 254 21 37
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