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Unnamed Reverse Engineering Podcast


Nov 6, 2017

This week we were joined by the incredible IC reverse engineer, Ken Shirriff. You may know him from his Hack A Day Super Conference talk in 2016 or his blog’s many posts (Counterfeit chips, ARM 1 chip, and Sinclair Calculator). We covered quite a number of restorations (Visual6502 project, 8008 microprocessor - Ken’s restoration details)

He is currently working the Xerox Alto Restoration and we talked not only about the hardware but the microcode and software restoration. Software languages we touched on were the C predecessor, BCPL  and object oriented language Smalltalk. There are number of resources out there restoring and archiving computing history:

  • Computer History Museum  has some of the mylar chip mask from the old process we discussed.
  • Living Computer Museum in Seattle has also  collaborated and done some impressive work.
  • Siliconpr0n is John McMaster’s site for IC reverse engineering and more.
  • http://www.bitsavers.org - Living archive for schematics, software, etc… on any number of electronics items.

Resources for getting started with analog circuits at transistor level:

  • Microelectronics Circuits Sedra and Smith (covers all your favorite circuits like current mirroring)
  • Start with die photos… analyzing is much smaller and easier
  • When finally working hands on cheap acids for consumer hobbyists (aka glass etchers)  also work on ICs to remove layers
  • LTSpice (circuit simulator and product that gives Jen college-aged anxiety)

HackaDay Superconference coming up. Everyone on the show (here and here)  have spoke at this conference. Ken and Alvaro will be there!

Have comments or suggested names for the show? Find us on twitter @unnamed_show,  or hit us up at on the comment form. If you still cannot find us, goto http://unnamedre.com