Jim was born in Plymouth, North Carolina. His father had been sent there as Chief Engineer to oversee the construction of a new paper mill on Albemarle Sound, just inland from where the Wright Brothers had flown for the first time, almost 40 years prior. Later, following a few years in a suburb of Cincinnati, the family eventually relocated back to their roots in Southwestern Michigan, where Jim grew up through his high school years on Fisher Lake, near Three Rivers.
Angola, Indiana became home during his college years, while he earned his first degree in Engineering, followed by Business School. The Delco Radio Division of General Motors was his first real professional experience, where he spent three years, traveling the USA in a Chevrolet station wagon full of electronic gear, teaching radio service technicians how to repair car radios in the GM Training Centers. The early 1960s brought the commercialization of both Germanium and Silicon [i]No – not Silicone transistor technology and he was assigned the dubious task of debugging the IF section of the first fully transistorized AM/FM car radio.
One very hot, humid Spring evening brought a series of tornados that blew away his mobile home and badly damaged the office where he worked. You might hear him tell the story of sleeping on the lobby floor of the Kokomo, Indiana Holiday Inn that night and rising the next morning to drive his bright red, 1963 Chevrolet convertible to California in search of a career in the exploding semiconductor industry.
Being a “country boy” at heart, he quickly found his way to a country home in the Santa Cruz Mountains, overlooking what would eventually become known as Silicon Valley. He has lived in that same house since 1969. In those five decades, he has raised a family, served his community well, helped others, and has rarely been arrested for anything more serious than stiffing a crooked cab driver or being drunk and disorderly in public. Random sightings have been reported of him attending church but none of those accounts can be confirmed.
Jim has opinions about almost everything – some are well-considered and grounded in solid personal knowledge and experience, while others are; shall we say, “somewhat more casual”. Some might seem capricious at first but all are subject to change as more information becomes available. He often comments that “the beauty of science is that it is self-correcting – it is OK to change your mind when the facts change”.
He is known to say that he writes to discover what he thinks and to better understand what he feels – thinking and feeling, being entirely different things in his mind.
If the reader is seeking “profound”, this is the wrong website – instead, find “humble”, “nonjudgmental”, and “mildly conservative”. If you are not occasionally offended by his opinions, a second reading would be in order.