To contact me:
Simply follow this link then click on the "View email address" button (from a desktop computer, it does not work on mobile platforms for some reason). You'll get my contact email after you fill in the protective CAPTCHA:
Hello. I work in a rented lab space under Dr Evil's volcano, where I build robots and restore pieces of vintage tech assisted by my faithful minions.
Well, I wish.
Gizmodo made a nice piece about me that explains it better:
Meet the relentless engineer that brings vintage computers back from the dead
Keysight also made a good tour video of my lab.
CuriousMarc lab tour video by Keysight.
Here is a tongue-in-cheek video, celebrating the 100k subscruber milestone, that showcases some of the instruments that I have restored, and explains how the channel came to be:
Is my vintage equipment trying to send me a message?
In real life, I am a tech executive in Silicon Valley. I hold a Ph.D. in Opto-Electronics from University of Paris. I am a former Bell Labs researcher, an Intel Fellow and founder of several tech startups in Silicon Valley, all related to high-speed fiber optics communications. I have over 60 U.S. patents and published over 100 refereed papers.
In 2009, I started building an R2-D2 robot just for fun. Then, in 2015, I became a volunteer at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, working on the IBM 1401 Restoration Team. At the Museum, I met many like-minded tech historians and restorers (in particular Carl Claunch and Ken Shirriff who appear frequently in my videos), and it all went downhill from there.
My well-equipped basement lab, which was originally dedicated to serious startup development work, is now put to fun use for R2-D2 building, test equipment, and vintage computers restorations. Which is an outlet for my engineering passion, since they don't let me turn the knobs in the lab at work anymore. Under the pseudonym CuriousMarc, I make videos of these enginerding adventures on YouTube.
As you'll quickly realize, I concentrate on highly engineered, tour-de-force pieces that represent the best of their time and could not be easily replicated today. The more clever and contrived the better. In my choice of pieces, I also pay attention to the intrinsic beauty of the engineering and design. I want to celebrate engineering so good, it has accidentally turned into art.
Working on this old stuff forces me to deal with the very fundamentals of electronics (and electro-mechanics). The principles are exactly the same as today, but nothing is hidden in mysterious circuits - you can understand and fix everything. Years of Moore's law sure has given us gobs of transistors, oceans of memory and a glut of gigacycles, but many times, particularly in consumer hardware, these are simply used to cover up poor and inefficient designs - and resource devouring software. What Intel giveth, Microsoft taketh away, as they say. It often irritates me that my PC takes many seconds to react to a simple command, in which time it has executed many billions of unnecessary instructions and consumed a few gigabytes of memory, no one knowing exactly what for anymore. Nothing like this in old hardware: designs are pure and efficient, and the lack of resources is compensated by engineering mastery and immense cleverness, which is a joy to reverse engineer. Not only does it teach us timeless electrical fundamentals and engineering tricks, but it also gives us a much better appreciation of today's tech. How did all the technology we take for granted came to be? It will make you a far better engineer and inventor if you take the time to study the work of your illustrious predecessors.
Finally, and this is the cherry on the cake, I sometimes have the privilege to meet the very inventors, engineers and entrepreneurs that built these exceptional machines. And then I can actually engage in knowledgeable engineering conversations with them! I have met the inventors of the laser diode, the Xerox Alto, the IBM 1401, the Ethernet, and many of the people that built and programmed the Apollo guidance computer. And that, my friends, is priceless.