Jim Turley, professional nerd

I’m a retired semiconductor analyst, technology journalist, computer engineer, restaurateur, corporate executive, programmer, and race car driver. My specialty is microprocessor chips, especially those used in embedded systems (nowadays called the Internet of Things, or IoT). I’ve written seven books, ran a restaurant, restored an historic Victorian house, and for 20+ years wrote weekly columns in nerdy publications like Electronic Engineering Journal, Microprocessor Report, EETimes, and others.

For nearly twenty years I ran the analyst firm Silicon Insider, where we delivered “technical insight with business relevance” for investors, buy-side analysts, VCs, and engineering managers looking for an information edge into the world of semiconductor, IP licensing, and computer technology.

I used to have a real job. I was the president & CEO of a publicly traded microprocessor company, and the VP of Marketing for another microprocessor company, where I took part in the firm’s financial roadshow and subsequent IPO. Before that, I managed electrical engineering at a robotics company, and I was a hardware/software switch hitter for various computer companies in Silicon Valley and in Germany.  My first job was repairing hard disk drives.

Books & Publications

I’m the author of seven published books and a few thousand magazine articles. My first book covered advanced techniques for programming Intel’s x86 processors. At the other extreme, I also wrote PCs Made Easy, a friendly and nontechnical beginner’s guide to personal computers (and a bestseller at the time). In between were book-and-CD combinations on using Microsoft’s Windows NT and Windows 95, and the most recent Essential Guide to Semiconductors, which is a guide for the curious to understand how the computer-chip industry works.

  • Essential Guide to Semiconductors (Pearson)
  • Advanced 80386 Programming Techniques (McGraw-Hill)
  • PCs Made Easy (McGraw-Hill)
  • PCs Made Easy, Second Edition (McGraw-Hill)
  • Upgrading PCs Made Easy [co-author] (McGraw-Hill)
  • Compact Guide to Windows 95 (Morgan Kaufmann)
  • Compact Guide to Windows NT (Morgan Kaufmann)

Magazines & Periodicals

I’ve been affiliated with Microprocessor Report for many years, both as an analyst covering the technology and ultimately as its Editor-in-Chief. Microprocessor Report (now part of TechInsights) is a non-advertising, subscriber-supported industry journal and a multiple winner of the Computer Press Award for Best Newsletter.

Before that, I was Editor-in-Chief of UBM’s glossy monthly Embedded Systems Design magazine and a regular writer for its predecessor, Embedded Systems Programming. I’ve also contributed to other publications, in various roles, including:

  • Electronic Engineering Journal, editor, 2008-2021
  • Microprocessor Report, Editor-in-Chief, 2010-2011
  • Embedded Systems Design, Editor-in-Chief, 2004-2006
  • Embedded Systems Programming, contributor, 1997-2003
  • Microprocessor Report, analyst, embedded systems, 1995-2000
  • SuperMicro, contributor, 1990-1992


I’ve insinuated myself into a number of computer-industry events, from occasional presenter all the way to conference chairman, including:

  • Microprocessor Forum (San Jose)
  • Embedded Processor Forum (San Jose)
  • Embedded Systems Conference (San Francisco, Chicago, San Jose, Boston)


I live and work in scenic Napa, California. I got my competition auto racing license in 2001 and became an enthusiastic Formula Ford racer at great racetracks like Laguna Seca, Sears Point (Sonoma Raceway), and Thunderhill.

I have an accomplished and stunningly attractive wife, two overachieving kids, and an apparently brain-damaged opossum living under the house.