2018

A double rainbow arches over cloud-hidden Snæfellsjökull in Iceland. This glacier rests atop the extinct stratovolcano Snæfell and is perhaps best known from the Jules Verne novel Journey to the Center of the Earth in which the characters descend through the ice cap and deep into the earth. Snæfell’s last known eruption occurred about 1800 years ago, some 650 years before the first settlers arrived.

The shadow of the photographer’s head marks the exact center of the rainbow circle (antisolar point).

Taken October 10, 2018 at Dritvik Djúpalónssandur, Snæfellsnes, Iceland
Nikon D500, 10mm, f/8, 1/1000s, ISO 320

2017

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon casts its shadow upon the earth. During totality the sun’s corona becomes visible as a white halo around the black disk of the moon. The human eye observes delicate coronal features and enormous variations in brightness which a single photograph cannot possibly capture. Pink prominences are visible; these looping arcs of plasma erupt along magnetic field lines which arch far above the surface of the sun.

Wyoming Corona, 2017 solar eclipse

Wyoming Corona
Total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 from Evansville, Wyoming
Nikon D500, vintage 300mm Nikkor lens, f/5.6, ISO 100
9 exposures from 1/1600 to 1/6 sec, stacked using Pellett’s method to approximate the naked eye view

2016

For northern hemisphere observers the winter sky brings an abundance of beautiful celestial objects. At lower left is the prominent constellation Orion the Hunter with his belt of three stars. At center is Taurus the Bull featuring its bright star Aldebaran and the spectacular Pleiades open cluster. Along with our usual winter friends, can you spot Comet Lovejoy? Look on the right and very near the trees. Comet Lovejoy, officially named C/2014 Q2, has a greenish glow due to diatomic carbon molecules (C2) fluorescing in sunlight. After its quick pass through the inner solar system, this comet will return in about 8,000 years.

Hold your mouse cursor over the image to see labels on the constellations and comet.

Orion, Pleiades, Lovejoy

Taken January 19, 2015 at Carlisle, Massachusetts
Nikon D300s, 18mm, f/3.5, 63 s, ISO 800, guided piggyback on Questar 3.5″

ReplayFX 2016

ACAM Presents: Steve Golson, The 7800 ProSystem

Here’s the description from the ReplayFX website:

The Atari 7800 ProSystem console was not designed by Atari. The people of General Computer Corporation (GCC) of Massachusetts created this console for Atari with an intended release in 1984, but it did not officially hit the market until 1986. Steve Golson, one of the original developers of Ms. Pac-Man at GCC, also worked on the Maria graphics chip for the Atari 7800. Join Steve as he discusses the creation, history & legacy of this amazing backwards-compatible gaming device.

Steve worked for General Computer of Cambridge, MA. from 1981 through 1985. He created the hardware design for GCC’s arcade enhancement kits Super Missile Attack and Ms. Pac-Man. Steve also contributed to various other arcade game projects at GCC such as Atari’s Charley Chuck’s Food Fight. Steve is a frequent contributor to ACAM’s education projects, and participates with ACAM at gaming events on a regular basis.

2016 Synopsys Users Group Conference (SNUG Silicon Valley 2016)

Language Wars in the 21st Century: Verilog versus VHDL – Revisited by Steve Golson and Leah Clark

Abstract: Back in the late 20th century, the VHDL versus Verilog debate was compared to a religious war that neither side could win. At various times, knowledgeable industry leaders have predicted that each HDL would prevail, but it seems we still live in a bilingual world. Is there still a language war?

In order to understand this conflict, we must first study where these languages came from and how they have evolved. Perhaps they aren’t interchangeable, but instead can coexist, providing the right tool for the right job as needed. How does supporting more than one HDL affect your Synopsys flow? Has SystemVerilog changed the landscape?

Whether we continue to live in a dual-language world, or are approaching a time when one language will dominate, there are ramifications to be considered. We will discuss these concerns and much more, and hopefully we will answer the question once and for all of which HDL is “the winner”.

Game Developers Conference GDC 2016

Classic Game Postmortem: ‘Ms. Pac-Man’ by Steve Golson

Here’s the description from the GDC website. It’s mostly accurate, but a bit more flowery than I might write:

Steve Golson, the experienced designer and engineer best known in the game industry for designing arcade game enhancement kits at General Computer of Cambridge, will be delivering a Classic Postmortem of his influential ’80s arcade game Ms. Pac-Man at GDC 2016.

In his time at General Computer, Golson worked on a variety of notable projects, from the Super Missile Attack arcade enhancement kit to the Atari 7800 ProSystem’s Maria graphics chip to Atari games like Food Fight.

His remarkable work as part of the team developing the Pac-Man arcade enhancement kit Crazy Otto drove Midway to license the game and release it as Ms. Pac-Man, which became one of the best-selling and most influential arcade games in U.S. history.

Golson currently runs his own integrated circuit consultancy, Trilobyte Systems, which he founded in 1986 after leaving General Computer.

This talk was recorded and you can watch it on the GDC Vault. And here are the slides as a rather large PDF (sorry this does not include the video clips).

My presentation resulted in some nice press:

  • Ars Technica
  • Gamasutra
  • Polygon
  • VentureBeat
  • IGN and be sure and watch/listen to the Developer Let’s Play video with Jared Petty
  • USgamer A fun interview, however I regret that my only mention of Steve Jobs comes across as rather disparaging. Don’t take this one incident as an indication of my opinion on Steve Jobs – he was an amazing visionary and design genius who transformed our world.

2015

Celebrating thirty years of solstice cards!

A conjunction occurs when two or more celestial objects appear close together in the sky. Here three planets are visible: bright Venus, with faint Mars just to her left, and Jupiter above and to the right.

The obelisk on the east bank was erected in 1836 to commemorate the Battle of Concord. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem Concord Hymn famously begins

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

conjunction over Old North Bridge, Concord, Massachusetts

Taken October 31, 2015 at Old North Bridge, Concord River, Concord, Massachusetts
Nikon D300s, 18mm, f/3.5, 30 s, ISO 800

ReplayFX 2015

ACAM Presents Steve Golson: From Crazy Otto to Ms. Pac-Man

Here’s the description from the ReplayFX website:

Steve Golson, one of the original developers of Ms. Pac-Man at General Computer Corporation (GCC), will recount little-known stories about the creation of this iconic 1982 game. How and why did it transform from Crazy Otto to Ms. Pac-Man? Using source code and graphics ROMs extracted from his 30-year-old 8″ floppy archives, Steve will show the evolution of game play and character design. Steve will also discuss GCC’s first product Super Missile Attack, including the SMA 2.0 version created during GCC’s lawsuit with Atari.

Steve worked for General Computer of Cambridge, MA. from 1981 through 1985. Steve performed the hardware design for GCC’s arcade enhancement kits Super Missile Attack and Ms. Pac-Man. Steve also worked on the Maria graphics chip for the Atari 7800 ProSystem home console, & was a contributor to various other arcade game projects at GCC such as Atari’s Charley Chuck’s Food Fight. Steve is a frequent contributor to ACAM’s education projects, and participates with ACAM at gaming events on a regular basis.

It’s always a pleasure working with Mike Stulir and the other great folks at American Classic Arcade Museum (ACAM). Please visit!