Objective Senior software engineer or team leader position involving net-centric systems
including LAMP & WebSockets servers connected to networked embedded
processors on a web-based, telecom, sensor or spacecraft project. W-2
employee or 1099 (inc.) contractor.
Skills Architecting, designing and implementing high-performance, high-reliability
distributed real-time systems, using LAMP stack network protocols and
interfacing to special-purpose hardware, FPGAs and DSPs.
Expert in designing wired and wireless networks, and using industry-leading
measurement and simulation tools to analyze their performance.
Licensed Apple OSX and iOS developer. Familiar with Objective-C and
learn new languages and methodologies quickly.
Environments: UNIX/Linux, OSX, iOS, VxWorks, QNX, pSOS, plus
several RTOS environments of my own.
Protocols: WebSockets, Ajax/XMLHttpRequest, JSON,
HTTP/UDP/TCP/IP (the whole stack).
Familiar with hardware design and use of hardware tools for troubleshooting
and performance analysis.
Excellent presentations and documentation, very good written and spoken
Experience Vantage Point Systems, Inc., Redondo Beach CA (my own job-shop corp),
2011-present. I implemented several systems for VPS, including:
A network game demo project that used a LAMP stack back end, and a
separate WebSockets cloud server for instant concurrency. The game can be
played on any web browser (including mobile and iOS), and on Facebook as
an integrated Canvas app.
An embedded processor that connects to local devices for command/control,
and which generates a web page (via local WiFi or wide-area GPRS) for
remote viewing and control of the devices from anywhere.
A brush-fire warning system that used a PHP “scraper” to find new brush fires
on government websites and to transmit text message alerts to subscribers. My
site hosted Google Ads and interfaced with PayPal for subscriber payments.
DRS Technologies, Cypress CA, 2008-2011. The company's main products are
high-performance IR and video cameras and gimbal systems for military
I wrote embedded software to interface between company products and the
external control environment. The software was written in C and ran on a
PowerPC core integrated into a custom FPGA that directly controlled the
camera; the external environment was UDP/IP.
I created an emulator system for our customer to use for integrating his control
system prior to the availability of the actual camera. The emulator used an
XML-based description of the control protocol, so that it could easily
accommodate protocol changes (or a whole new product base).
Using the same XML interface description, I used a scripting language (TCL)
to create lab tools for controlling, integrating and automatic testing new
I wrote an Apple iPad app to control company's camera and gimbal products.
It interfaced via WiFi and directly generated UDP/IP packets. I used
CocoaAsyncSocket, a Google Code library that wraps CFSocket and
The Boeing Company, consulting via Abacus Programming (jobshop), 2002-
Boeing was the lead system integrator for the Army's Future Combat Systems
project, an ill-fated attempt to leverage network communication systems. My
task was to oversee a commercial vendor who was customizing his commercial
network simulation product into a real-time sim system to be integrated with
other simulations in the FCS sim lab.
Frankly, it didn't go well. FCS was a bad idea; real-world network radios just
don't perform as well as the Army needed them to, and my simulation system
kept discovering that fact. Finally the Army cancelled FCS. I guess, in that
sense, my system worked.
Independent studies, 2001-2002 and other spare time.
I created an iPhone app to do voice chat, focused on the needs of urban
surveillance and rescue teams (I am CERT-trained). I used Audio Queues
under CoreAudio, along with a chat server running on my web host.
I designed, implemented and installed a control system for a Hollywood
movie-prop “spacecraft,” controlling on-board pneumatic and pyro special
effects. I used a 6800-based embedded processor programmed in assembly
language, with a radio transceiver carrying DTMF tones.
I created a web-based brush fire alert system, using a PHP script to scrape
news and fire-department websites to discover new fires and send text
messages to subscribers. That's still ongoing now, although I have no idea how
to market it.
I assisted an entrepreneur friend who needed a demo system for his patented
WiFi-based bandwidth aggregation system. He assembled the hardware and I
programmed the Coldfire control boards (the main work was adapting iptables
under uCLinux to route packets as we wanted). I also set up the web-based
demo on my hosted website, including large JPG files that could be loaded
with and without the bandwidth aggregation to show the advantage.
I wrote web apps optimized for iPhone for hex calculation and ASCII tables.
I maintain a website, www.daveheld.info, containing (along with a lot of self-
aggrandizing material) an “infinite”-precision calculator, a random password
Sattel Technologies, Coyote Systems, Teleconnect, C&L Communications
(i.e., various telecom companies), 1985-2001.
I worked for Sattel on an extension/upgrade of the Indonesia telecom network
overlay that I did for Hughes (see below).
The Indonesians were having trouble finding telephone central office products
that worked with their legacy Dutch telephone network, and they asked Sattel
to design one. A telephone switch is a huge undertaking; the big boys
(Siemens, Northern Telecom, Bell Labs) take a decade or more for a new one.
Not knowing that, I went ahead and designed a small telephone switch (up to
10,000 lines) for Sattel, customized to the Indonesian telephone network. I did
the system engineering and all the software; I worked with a brilliant hardware
engineer who designed the circuit boards. The product involved a central
processor which used a 68030-based VMEbus CPU card, and also individual
embedded processors in each of a dozen special-purpose interface boards
(connecting to subscriber lines, analog and digital trunks, and on-board DSP).
I used C++ object-oriented design for the CPU, and C for the interface boards.
Over the years we used a variety of RTOSs for the CPU, finally settling on one
I wrote myself. The switch fully met its design objectives and performed
beautifully. Under the Indonesia agreement, they manufactured the switch for
their own network.
Sattel sold the design (and me with it) to a new company being formed by Wall
Street VCs (Coyote) specifically to market my product. I customized the
telephone switch for the American telephone network, and we demonstrated
the system's high performance and reliability (in the U.S., telecom equipment
must be more reliable than jet engines for airliners). The new company
attempted to find customers – without much success.
Eventually Coyote fell, and they “bequeathed” the switch design (their primary
asset) – and me with it – to Teleconnect, which in turn fell to C&L, which
finally collapsed in the telecom/internet industry crash of 2000-2001.
Hughes Aircraft Co., Culver City CA and many other locations. Direct
employee 1967-1980, consultant 1980-1985.
Designed test panels (hardware devices to generate realistic system signals) for
environmental testing of storage tube radar display units. (I learned about
reading schematics, analog hardware, op amp math, analog test equipment,
basic troubleshooting methodology, etc.)
Investigated and isolated a problem with new radar tubes. Supervised
installation of new test sets at three Air Force bases. (I learned how supposedly
simple instructions can be misinterpreted, and also how to dress in cold
As a radar subsystem engineer, I wrote interface specs and assisted unit
engineers with interpreting and executing them. (I learned how a clean
interface spec and good emulators make system integration a breeze.)
For a scientific spacecraft with multiple instrument packages from international
organizations: I designed a scripting language and implemented an interpreter
for testing and integrating the packages, and assisted the international engineers
in writing test scripts. The interpreter was written in Sigma 5 assembly
language and ran on a real-time mainframe which also received and analyzed
spacecraft telemetry. (My first experience with real-time.)
Programmed a portable radar test set and provided on-site assistance in France
to the prime contractor. I used an 8085 macro assembler to create a test
language which was directly usable by the radar hardware engineers. The test
set hardware generated RF test signals which fed into the radar antenna. (Good
thing I knew about radar! My first embedded system.)
I was the project engineer for a company-funded R&D project evaluating an
advanced distributed-processing design (now called associative memory, but
with a unique signaling channel concept). Under my direction, engineers
created a TTL hardware emulation of the memory cell, while IC engineers at
another Hughes facility created custom silicon using an advanced fabrication
technique. I wrote the demonstration application, which was an air traffic
control system. (I learned about line management, IC fabrication, and extreme
frustration. It didn't go well.)
For a set of 7 test panels for air-to-air missiles: the panels all contained the
same embedded 8085-based control system with different radar hardware in
each panel. I wrote a custom RTOS for all the panels, and led a team of 7
programmers with implementing the panel firmware.
For an advanced millimeter-wave receiver used for intelligence gathering: I
designed a special crypto protocol for use between the clandestine receiver and
its data analysis system, and embedded a control system and comm package
inside the receiver.
I created a video game that Hughes used at sales conventions to demonstrate
the air combat advantages of a new radar technique. I used three Apple IIe
computers linked together with a custom serial interface.
I developed C-language mainframe software for reducing data from flight tests
of a new phased-array radar antenna.
I developed C-language software for simulating air-to-air IR missile attacks, to
analyze the benefits of a Hughes-developed IR countermeasure system. My
software generated pictures showing missiles streaking by target aircraft
without hitting them, and also used high-performance graphics hardware to
show what a pilot would see on his Head-Up Display if he were riding on a
I modified a minicomputer RTOS (DEC RSX-11M) to accommodate high-
speed data storage for a new multispectral-scanner environmental satellite.
I ran a design team that created a telecom network overlay to assign channels
on a call-by-call basis for a Hughes comm satellite for Indonesia. I wrote
software for the overlay's master control computer that was based outside
Jakarta, and worked on-site for months to install and integrate it. (I learned
about space-based control protocols, and also how to integrate into a telephone
Education BS in physics, UCLA
Misc. U.S. citizen, clearable, past higher-level clearances.