About CuriousMarc

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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:

https://www.youtube.com/user/mverdiell/about


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 funny piece about me that explains it better:

Meet the relentless engineer that brings vintage computers back from the dead

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 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 almost 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 has sure 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 several seconds to react to a simple command, in which time it must have executed billions of unnecessary instructions and consumed a few gigabytes of memory, no one knowing exactly what for anymore. Nothing like this in old high-end 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 be a thorough student of the inventions of your illustrious predecessors.

Finally, and this is the cherry on the cake, I sometimes get the privilege to actually meet the very inventors, engineers and entrepreneurs that built this exceptional machines. And then I can actually engage in knowledgeable engineering conversations with them! I have met the inventor of the laser diode, of the Xerox Alto, the IBM 1401, the Ethernet, and many of the people that build and programmed the Apollo guidance computer. And that, my friends, is priceless.