Nicole Hamilton’s Desktop Machine


Nicole Hamilton
16645 NE 46th Street
Redmond, WA  98052-5441
U.S.A.

Maps to my house (surrounding area, zoom in.)
This is not a gun-free zone.

Email nicole@nicolehamilton.com
Tel 425-702-8184
Cell 425-765-9574

A sampling of my fingerprints on the web:

  • A short autobiography, finally updated.

  • My tiny software business, Hamilton Laboratories. I’m asked about this surprisingly often on the WSJ site. (See below.) Yes, it is just me and my cat. But I don’t still live with my parents and we’re in the living room, not the basement.

    I’d always wanted to start my own business and create something all my own. In 1987, the time was right. I was 36, I’d just finished my MBA (a 2-year program I did in 3 years while working fulltime), we had our first kid on the way and I wanted to work from home. I spent a year planning my escape, lying awake many nights, worried about all the ways I could fail. To my surprise, that ended the day I turned in my notice. I never again had another sleepless night (at least, not over this.) The 15 months I spent creating the first release of my product and perhaps the next 10 years following turned out to be most idyllic and satisfying of my life.

  • My product, Hamilton C shell. I loved operating systems and compilers (but no one had ever let me work on a compiler) so this was just the perfect choice for me. Today, my C shell is a very stable product but I still enjoy working on it as the occasion presents and I continue to release new versions, updating it for 64-bit Vista and Windows 7 and 8.

  • Discussing current events on the WSJ site. As one of the few liberals among the tea partiers, I get exactly the reception from them you’d expect.

  • On LinkedIn, which I find helpful for staying connected with friends and colleagues on their professional interests. You'll find me complaining occasionally about bad products on Amazon and occasionally answering questions on Superuser. I'm also on Facebook and Twitter, but almost never.

  • My first impressions of my Pardini free pistol, posted to a popular forum for discussion of international-style shooting, the kind of events held at the Olympics. The guns are quite exotic, as you’ll see in my photos, and probably not like anything you’ve seen. At times, I’m a very active club-level competitor in everything from air pistol to high power rifle. I’m also an NRA-certified firearms instructor and one of 3 women training counselors in Washington.

  • Inciting trouble by asking, “Why are shooting events still sexist?” The last time I checked, this was still the longest-running, most contentious debate thread ever in the history of that forum.

  • My comments about the RealDVD litigation, the spoliation issues that arose and about the court’s preliminary injunction order posted to attorney Benn Sheffner’s Copyrights & Campaigns blog. Turns out I was right.

  • My first patent, for a display processor I built for IBM’s early standalone word processing machines. The entire processor took 10 “Dutchess” chips, each with 100 NANDs and 34 NORs. Believe it not, it had a real instruction set. I went to IBM out of college because they were the only ones willing to let me try hardware design.

  • The patent I’m most proud of, listing me as sole inventor of the extraction technique I used in the ranker I wrote for Microsoft’s search engine. It ran against every matching page, generating blizzards of statistics to feed my heuristics for comparing a query to a page. Early on, our project architect had me terrified that my ranker would single-handedly blow us out of the water on perf. By the time we went live in Jan 2005, it was taking less time to find the 10 best pages out of 5 billion than it was to generate the snippets to go with them.

  • My very first post to USENET on Jul 18, 1985, discussing the limited selection of CDs. On Jul 23, I decided I’d go out on a limb to explain how oversampling works. I was pretty sure I was right, but I can remember being terrified at the possibility that if I wasn’t, easily tens of engineers worldwide would point that out over the next week or so as my message slowly hopped from one machine to the next and their responses slowly hopped back. See, kiddies, what you say online can follow you forever.

  • My Amateur Extra license KD1UJ.

  • One painting.

  • My elevation in 2007 to Senior Member in the IEEE. I’m about 1/3 of the way down at line number 115 in the spreadsheet for that month. But the plaque is very nice.

  • My PE license in Texas. My father insisted I should get it done soon after college while the all material on the exams would be fresh. That part was good advice, but I’ve never done anything where it mattered if I was registered.

  • My bona fides as a car nut, a trip report on the Euro delivery of my BMW 540i/6. I was shifting into 5th at 80 and into 6th at 110. Here in the US, the most fun I’ve found so far is drifting the hairpins on Highway 1 through California. The turns are so tight, you can get the slides going at surprisingly slow speeds. By the end of a day on Highway 1, my arms are tired from turning the wheel, my feet are tired from braking and shifting and my face is tired from having been contorted into a silly grin all day long. Too bad it’s only safe to drift the right turns and only going south. (Think about why.)

  • You can listen to me speak at my 35th reunion at Stanford in 2007. Go to the iTunes store and search for “stanford class of 1972 panel discussion.” It’ll be the first item, a free download: “Class of 1972 Panel Discussion: Hell No, We Won’t Go (Quietly Into the Night).” Or just click here. This improbable panel included a chief justice, an ambassador, a musician, a man building a spaceport, a geneticist worried about global warming and me. I’m introduced at 29:37.

  • My C.V. (Word, PDF) and transcripts (Stanford, BU). You could find this out anyway.

  • Missing seems to be most of my online writing from the entire decade of the 1990s when I moderated the OS/2 and Windows discussion groups on BYTE Magazine’s BIX network. I wish I could point to some of the articles I posted there discussing RISC, threads, why OS/2’s “Better Windows Than Windows” strategy was doomed, etc. All of that appears to be gone forever.



Copyright © 2003-2014 by Nicole Hamilton. All rights reserved.
This page was last modified February 5, 2014.