About Me

My name is Andrew McFadden, though I usually go by Andy. How I got from that to "fadden" requires a brief explanation.

Back in 1988 or so I needed to pick a short user name, and decided to go with my last name. I tried typing it a few times and decided that "fadden" would be a little faster and easier to type, and since software types tend to refer to each other by login names I liked that it had only two syllables. (Besides, "Mc" means "son of", so in a way I was reducing the name to its base elements.) When I graduated and went to work, people tended to call me Andy.

That lasted until I went to work for Catapult Entertainment in 1994. The trouble was that it was a very small company and there was already an engineer named Andy working there. For a little while we tried "Andy One" and "Andy Two", but that didn't really work. So the first Andy stayed Andy, and everybody called me Fadden. Since it's a login name, and not my given name, I usually write it all lower case.

A couple of years later I went to work at WebTV Networks. Guess what? Another Andy in residence. I was so accustomed to being called "fadden" by that point that I might have kept the tradition going even if I was the only Andy in town.

I usually go by "fadden" at work and "Andy" everywhere else.

The Story So Far

Trying to figure out if I'm somebody you know? Well...

[kid-with-computer] Here I am in 1982, striking the classic "kid with computer" pose. The computer is an Apple ][+ with a full 64KB of RAM.

[teen-with-computer] I went to high school at Homestead High in Cupertino, CA. Graduated in the class of 1987. The picture is from December 1986.

I went to college at U.C. Berkeley in Berkeley, CA. I studied computer science in the College of Engineering, and graduated with a BSEE in May 1991.

My first job out of college was at Amdahl Corporation (now part of Fujitsu) in Santa Clara, CA. Besides my official responsibilities as a software engineer, I played lots of Netrek, tweaking the source code a bit, and at one point wrote up a history of the game. In my spare time I wrote a commercial data compression application for, of all things, the Apple IIgs.

A few years later, in 1994, I took a job at Highland Digital in Palo Alto, CA. I got laid off after six weeks along with most of the rest of the employees (small company, big problems).

After being unemployed for a few weeks, I went to Catapult Entertainment in Cupertino, CA, makers of the XBAND Video Game Modem and Network. I worked primarily on the online service, with a touch of console development. At one point I spent a month in Japan for the SNES-J product.

[catapult-cube2] [catapult-cube1] Here's two shots of my cube at Catapult. You can see Sega Genesis and SNES development systems on the shelf, next to a copy of DOOM. Below that is a TV for the consoles, and a HiQ PC used to drive a PsyQ development system. On the floor is another PC with something (a modem?) on top; I can't remember exactly what it was for, though XBAND PC development is a possibility. At the bend in the desk is a Sun Sparcstation, which was used to work on the XBAND service. Note the Supra Fax modem tucked behind. Turning the corner into the next picture (which sadly got cut off by the cube wall), I have a Macintosh, which was used to cross-compile code for the Sega Genesis and SNES. We also ran device simulators on the Mac. The last machine is an Apple IIgs, which I used to develop some compression code for the SNES product. Helping me write code was a box of Brachs Frutios, which unfortunately no longer exist. I think this is the most crowded work area I've ever had.

[catapult-cube3] A different work space at Catapult, this time with me in it. The PC behind me appears to be showing the DOOM exit screen.

In early 1996 I bought a CD recorder and promptly became fascinated with them. I created a Frequently Asked Questions list for them that became rather popular.

About that time I left Catapult and went to WebTV Networks in Palo Alto, CA. The company got assimilated into Microsoft in August 1997.

me-mugshots_small me-bunny) me-closeup These are selfies I took with my shiny new Canon D-400Z (1.3 megapixels!) during my last year at WebTV. You can see some microwaved CDs in the background, and a certain furry creature in the foreground.

I left WebTV / Microsoft in December of 1999, and began the new year at Rearden Steel Technologies. In January 2002 the company changed its name to Moxi Digital, Inc., and in May 2002 it was acquired by Digeo. I left Digeo in July 2002.

[surfacing] This is me climbing out of the crawlspace in my townhouse in mid-2000. I was probably pulling cables for low-voltage wiring for telephone, network, and video.

I was self-employed for the next three years, doing some consulting work, and developing a shareware utility for Windows called CiderPress. My company was called faddenSoft (officially: FaddenSoft, LLC).

wedding-formal In May 2003 I married Suszi Lurie. Among her many talents is photography.

techtv-solo techtv-both In February 2004 I got an e-mail asking if I would be interested in appearing on TechTV's live "Call for Help" program, to talk about CD recording. These images, digitized from a VHS copy of the program, show me talking to host Leo Laporte about the best way to snap a CD in half.

In 2005 I started working at a small startup called Android. A couple months later it was bought by Google.

[early droids] From July 2005, this photo shows six of the original eight Google Androids. Yes, the beanies were mandatory.

In 2006 I earned my Nidan (black belt, 2nd degree) in Danzan-ryū Jiu-jitsu.

[andy-bugdroid] A photo of me with the 15-foot bugdroid statue, from October 2008. Google has a "statue garden" with large pieces of art for each release of the Android operating system. I helped put this guy together, though I believe Dan Morrill gets the credit for turning the right arm up into a friendly wave. (Photo by Romain Guy.)

fuzzy In March 2010 Suszi & I got a dog. The rescue organization named him Traveler. This photo is from 2011. He's the furry one.

[andy-boxing]In 2013 I earned my black belt in Vanguard Krav Maga. I also did a bunch of boxing and muay thai around this time. The photo is from late 2015. (My wife had started a photography business and was experimenting a bit.)

In June 2014 I left Google, and re-formed my solo act (faddenSoft).

In April 2015 I released Tic-Tac-Toe with Stuff for Android. This is a simple tic-tac-toe game wrapped in animations created with the Unity 3D game engine. The following year, in June 2016, I released Maze Escape, a 2D maze game, for Android.

In June 2016, I quit with the slacking and joined a startup called castAR to work on an augmented reality product. After failing to secure funding, the company became insolvent in June 2017. The creditors paid half a dozen of us to hang around for a couple of months to increase the value of the intellectual property.

In October 2018 I released the first version of a disassembler called "SourceGen". 2.5 years later I used it to disassemble the coin-op video game Battlezone, something I've wanted to do since about 1980.