SFD: Solutions by Design: brief activity overview
SFD is a microelectronics design consultancy founded by and based
around the skills and experience of Steve Fairhead. Capacity is
flexible; we have access to specialists in many fields as and when
required. We believe our strengths lie in good project management, in
a meticulous design approach which results in effective quality
levels far beyond the norm for the industry (especially in software
design), and in an understanding of the need for maintainable (i.e.
comprehensible & clear) designs.
The following is a very brief overview, in note form, of our
activities. It is by no means exhaustive; please contact us for more
details of where our experience might be relevant to your application.
Steve Fairhead: background:
personal: industrial microelectronics design engineer;
over 30 years practical experience in electronics and instrumentation
design, manufacture, testing, and application. Fluent French
(European background & education). Married, 2.2 kids. Active
musician and promoter.
previous occupations: R&D Manager, electronics
display systems manufacturer. Project Leader, R&D dept. of a
control & instrumentation manufacturer. Test equipment
designer/manager. Musician, sound engineer, tech/roadie.
SFD - "Solutions by Design": established
independent consultancy March 1, 1987. Aims: to support and exploit
the interface between electronics hardware and computer software.
Small business: low overheads, professional & experienced
service. Flexible capacity: good contacts with industry colleagues.
Software design (real-time, control, comms, embedded, PC)
Electronics design (linear, digital, micros, ASIC)
Interfacing & connectivity ("getting item A to talk to item B")
SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) and general
industrial comms (RS-232, RS-422, RS-485, modems, networks)
ATE (Automatic Test Equipment) design, construction, programming, support
Internet/intranet design, installation, support, maintenance
Website design (HTML 4.01, style sheets, multimedia)
Unix (OpenBSD et al) design, installation, support, maintenance
Audio engineering (recording, production, mastering; multimedia, voice-overs)
PC music production (multimedia, MIDI)
PC system specification, sales, support, application
Documentation (manuals, sales literature)
Research, advice, & general consultancy
Software design specialities:
Software designed for embedded micro and PC (et al), using 'C' and/or
assembler (H8, 80x86, 68k, 6800/6300, 8051, 64180, Z80, TMS7000,
6502, etc.), and structured languages in general. (We consciously
avoid C++ where possible [please feel free to ask why!].) DOS, Unix
(xBSD), and OS-less systems supported.
Rigorous and well-proven structured & object-oriented design
methods are used, resulting in exceptionally clean, reliable, and
maintainable software. We always strive for, and usually achieve,
demonstrably "right-first-time" designs - we design to
avoid bugs, we don't simply hope we'll catch them later.
Our methodologies make much use of such handy buzzwords as:
determinism & predictability; state machines & explicit
error/exception handling; object-orientation; self-documenting code;
defensive programming; maintainability; clarity, clarity and yet more clarity.
Some examples of past projects
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