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Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge

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The secret of success in management is to be into the next job, preferably
with another company, before your mistakes get attributed to you ;-)

--
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence
over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."
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Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge
On Fri, 09 Dec 2011 20:46:57 -0500, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

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Whenever a boss told me to do something I didn't want to do, I said
"no" or just didn't do it. So far, it's only got me fired once, and
that turned out for the best.

John



Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge
On Sat, 10 Dec 2011 12:55:02 -0800, John Larkin

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It wasn't that what they were asking was wrong, just a waste of time.  As we
got later, the waste got bigger.  Fortunately, my boss at the time was one of
the best I've worked for.  He felt his position in life was to hire good
people and then run interference for them.  ;-)

Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge
On Tue, 06 Dec 2011 20:08:08 -0800, John Larkin

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This product's printed wiring was manually-cut tape on a transparency.

The schematic art was drawn by hand on (possibly pre-formatted) paper
or vellum, using a T-square, pen, ink and possibly some art transfer
materials.

The point to point connections, and schematic correspondence were
checked visually, by humans, sometimes with the aid of a photocopier
and coloured pencils/pens/crayons.

The bill of material was, at the very most, typed on paper, before
being (eventually, if ever), manually entered into some kind of
database.

RL

Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge

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Think so? Looks like hand-taped artwork on mylar to me. Even in the
'60s, people were using pre-cut pads and tape. Remember Bishop
Graphics?

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I still draw schematics on vellum, but I use a pencil.

John


Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge
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I'm 69. I can remember back to when we did it that way. Computer-aided
design offers the potential to eliminate a lot of human error - not
all of it by any means, but at least the printed circuit layout is
more likely to be consistent with the circuit diagram, and a TIP29A is
less likely to metamorphose in to a TIP29 on it's way from the circuit
diagram to the parts list (which didn't happen to me, but to an even
better engineer - I was just the guy who found out that the drawing
office had screwed up his design).

--
Bill Sloman, Nijmegen

Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge
On Dec 7, 5:08A0%am, John Larkin
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But you are the boss - as you persistently remind us - so you haven't
got time to do it all.

When I was a senior engineer, acting as the technical lead on a
project, I didn't get time to check a lot of the detail work, let
alone do it - though I did manage to snag some of the really tricky
bits.

You may be in a position to goof off from your system
responisibilities to do some detailed design, but you can't be doing
all of it.

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I didn't get to do that when I was being paid a competitive salary -
after the move to the Netherlands I found myself in jobs where I was
used less intensively, and could get to lay out entire boards.

<snipped the details>

--
Bill Sloman, Nijmegen


Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge
On Thu, 8 Dec 2011 04:29:26 -0800 (PST), Bill Sloman

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Of course not. Other people do PCB layouts, FPGA design, embedded
code, mechanical design, BOMs, and entire product designs. But that
doesn't stop me from designing products too. I am pretty much the
architecture designer for everything (with a lot of debate) and I
write most of the manuals. I think I personally designed about 11
boards this year, so far. One more to go, likely, a VME LVDT/synchro
simulator.

I don't run the business; I delegate that.


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My company exists to allow me to design electronics.

John


Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge
On Fri, 9 Dec 2011 14:42:15 -0800 (PST), Bill Sloman

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until I
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but it
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done.
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I write the manual before we design the electronics. It becomes the
requirements document; every product needs a manual, so why not do it
first? It helps enormously to ensure that the product is usable, and
explainable, before it's designed. I also have my prime customers
review the manual before we design.



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I wrote the manuals, drew the schematics, and participated in the
layout of all 11. Other guys did a few more. I did about 200 board
designs one year when I was younger, but they were smaller, less
complex gadgets than the stuff we do now.


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Their function is to finance my design activity and to present me with
interesting problems. Lately, they are doing pretty well at it.

John



Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge
On Dec 10, 12:33A0%am, John Larkin
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Then you aren't pushing the technology very hard. If you know exactly
what the instrument can do before you design it - to the point of
writing the manual - it can't be all that difficult or interesting.

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The way the instrument goes together - and how it does what's required
- should be more interesting problems. I was recently re-reading some
of my old weekly reports from the late 1980's (which - strictly
speaking - I should never have taken away with me) and I was surprised
by the way my understanding of the equipment I was specifying changed
(and improved) as I was writing the specification. I'd started out
with a pretty clear (and essentially correct)idea of what the
equipment had to do, and how it could do it, but there was a lot of
devil in the details, and there were some fairly dramatic changes as -
for instance - it became clear that I could reliably get my hands on
faster, bigger ECL static RAM than I'd known about when I made the
original proposal.

My memories of that period feel pretty detailed, but it was a
complicated machine and the story that I recalled was clearly less
complicated than the process I'd been sketching out for my bosses from
week to week.

Those weekly reports got circulated to the people I was supervising -
as they came on board - as well as the bosses. I circulated it
originally to keep myself honest about what I was writing about them,
but it turned into a useful team-building mechanism; in the end I had
to put a head-line section at the start that was short enough for
everybody to read before they went on to check what I'd written about
them.

At the end it was taking half a day every week to write the damned
report, and I was covering software and mechanical hardware (where I
didn't have any direct responsiblity, though I had to know what was
going on) as well as the electronics.

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I'm sure it does, but if the designs were pushing the envelope half as
hard as you claim it wouldn't be all that practical.

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The problems can't be all that interesting if you can chew through
eleven of them in one year.

--
Bill Sloman, Nijmegen

Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge
On Fri, 9 Dec 2011 16:38:35 -0800 (PST), Bill Sloman

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the
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than
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done.
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devices
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Look at my products. Do many of them look trivial to you?

When would you figure out what you're trying to do?


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My manuals include specifications.


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Why not? If you don't know how to take calculated risks, you shouldn't
be doing it.


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Why would anyone spend months designing one PC board, even if it's
interesting?

ftp://jjlarkin.lmi.net/T940_first_board.jpg

ftp://jjlarkin.lmi.net/First_CO2_SPM.JPG

ftp://jjlarkin.lmi.net/TEM2_CTRL.jpg

ftp://jjlarkin.lmi.net/TEM2_FPGA.jpg

ftp://jjlarkin.lmi.net/TEM2_Power.JPG

John


Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge


[...]

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Nice.

The last one made me smile - that's the "just get the job done" solution
there.


--

John Devereux

Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge
On Sat, 10 Dec 2011 09:43:08 +0000, John Devereux

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Those little LTM8023 bricks are very handy. Price is OK, and they are
reliable and very clean. They're good for 2 amps each, and parallel
easily. The U2 site was just in case we needed more FPGA core current,
which we don't.

We did make our own Cuk for -12, and bought the big ugly 24-to-12
isolator block.

Like the current shunts?

John


Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge
On Dec 10, 2:02 am, John Larkin
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from the
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for
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worked until I
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unmarked, but it
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about the
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illumination for the
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antenna (not
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a wire
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a broken
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wiring had
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headers?
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together,
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cables?
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than
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great
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10% done.
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devices
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Those that I've looked at didn't look trivial, but they didn't look
innovative either - more filling a gap in the market than creating a
new market.

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When you have a tolerably precise idea of what you can offer for a
practicable price.

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My specifications included a lot of discussion of what we needed to do
and quite a few suggestions of how we might do it. If the guy who did
the detailed design of the digital electronics had paid much attention
to the suggestions, the maximum sampling rate might have been twice as
fast, but he - correctly - decided that the project would never make
it into production, and cut a few corners. It wasn't exactly a self-
fulfilling prophecy, but it didn't help. Clever engineers can be a
mixed blessing.

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The risks that you are taking don't appear to be all that nerve-
wracking.

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Because a complicated board can take that long.

I reworked the electron beam tester timing circuits for pulse
generator to drive a an electron-spin resonance machine - the coarse
timing was to have been based on a 500MHz clock driving ECLinPS
synchronous counters, and the fine timing on on the MC100E196 (which
hadn't been available when we were building the electron-beam tester,
and - with it's 20psec quantisation - it wouldn't - in any event -
have satisifed my pointy-headed boss's demand for 10psec time
resolution which drove us much further into new technology than was
sensible, to the point where the project proposal that I'd put in
based on GigaBit Logics GaAs parts had been written tongue-in-cheek to
demonstrate that the 10psec specification was a "bridge too far").

Since the time delays generated by the MC100E196 are painfully
temperature dependent, the board was to include hardware for
converting these time delays into mark-to-space ratios, and eventually
low-pass filtered analog voltages, which could be digitised to monitor
the actual delays - all 128 of them - in a millisecond.

By then I could no longer buy ECL static RAM, so the programmed pulse
widths were to be stored in CMOS static RAM and clocked out - four at
time - to be translated to ECL levels and serialised.

It was a complicated board, and took several months to design.
Latching the data to program the MC100E196 to dealy the pulse edges
happened after the latching of the data to program the synchronous
counters to generate the pulse edges, so it had to be doubled
buffered. I recall that Jim Thompson ran into the same problem with
one of his designs at the same time and asked for help here - which I
was able to provide, but Google's advanced groups search can't find
it, so it may just be a pleasing delusion.

--
Bill Sloman, Nijmegen


Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge
On Sat, 10 Dec 2011 09:26:52 -0800 (PST), Bill Sloman

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about the
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together,
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cables?
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this
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stackups
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Which I do before I design it, not after.


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Why would I do that? I design things with a high probability that they
will do what I intend. And the great majority do, without breadboards,
on the first spin of the deliverable PCB. Engineering consists of
building things that have a low probability of failing. Bridges,
airplanes, skyscrapers, laser controllers.


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You can do 10 ps delay generation, or time-interval measurement, with
10KH ecl and an FPGA. Or even all FPGA, but the TCs will need
compensation.


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That sounds like a bummer, when you spend so long working on a board
that the parts become obsolete before you get it to work.


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Sounds like a slow, expensive failure. We prefer to not do that.

John


Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge
On Dec 10, 7:04A0%pm, John Larkin
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<snip>

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As I said, you don't push the envelope. You are basically doing minor
variations of the same thing over and over again, which does make the
design process rather predictable, and correspomdingly less than
interesting.

<snip>

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Sure. It's mostly turning the handle, but that kind of engineering
isn't anything to boast about.
Cambridge Instruments was the last place where I worked where we did
stuff that pushed the state of the art, and did thngs that our rivals
didn't seem to be able to copy.

When I was working at Nijmegen University, I introduced them to
surface mount components, emitter-coupled logic and mixed signal
connectors, some ten years after I'd done the same thing at Cambridge
Instruments, who had been remarkably slow to get into surface mount
components - I only did it because they were essential for sub-
nanosecond rise-time circuits.

<snip>

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You can now. FPGA's have gotten a lot faster in recent years. 10KH ecl
is a bit slow for that kind of work, and when I searched for examples
of circuits that you could still buy, Google came up empty. Back in
1995 I published comment in Rev.Sci.Instrum. being rude about a paper
that has made a fuss about 10KH being four times fast than TTL, when
ECLinPS was four times faster than MC10KH - not their only or most
serious short-coming by any means. It's difficult to see why anybody
would use 10KH today unless they were seriously fixated on DIP
packages.

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?arnumber3D%4993539

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I'd bought ECL static RAM for the electron beam tester in the UK in
1989-91 and we'd had no trouble getting it to work. The system as a
whole took a while to get running but the ECL memory wasn't one of the
problem areas. In 1997, in the Netherlands, I found that the only
manufacturer who still seemed to be making ECL static RAM - Cypress -
wasn't prepared to even start talking about selling it to Nijmegen
University, so I didn't waste any time designing it into the new
machine.

The design never got far enough forward to have had the possibility of
working - after I'd put in roughly a year putting together a detailed
design involving several boards, and then a second, rather cheaper
detailed design, the customer within the university found out that he
was closer to retirement than he'd realised when he wasn't allowed to
take on any more graduate students who would have been the people
actually using the machine. The design had been finished by then and
I'd just started wresting with Orcad's peculiarly horrible new printed
circuit package, which - at the time - wouldn't let you do manual
routing at all, so I was a bit peeved. The programmer who'd been
writing software for the system wasn't best pleased either, and went
off and had a baby, which seemed to cheer her up, along with her
recently acquired husband

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It didn't get far enough to be a failure. I'm pretty sure that it
would have worked brilliantly if we'd managed to turn it into
hardware. The local practical problems had been sorted out when we up-
graded the previous - all-TTL - delay generator with the minimum
amount of ECLinPS and a few ECL-to-TTL and TTL-to-ECL converters, so I
knew that we could put surface mount components on four layer boards
with the gear we had at the university, and the conceptual design was
essentially a simplification of the electron-beam tester test timing
system, which had been working as intended in the prototype tester
(along with the rest of the prototype hardware) for about a year when
that project was cancelled.

--
Bill Sloman, Nijmegen


Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge
On Sat, 10 Dec 2011 17:28:00 -0800 (PST), Bill Sloman

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Idiot. I'm always doing new things and pushing the envelope. I just
know what I'm doing, and calibrate the risk.


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Because it wouldn't sell, apparently.

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Sure sounds like failure to me.

John


Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge

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   Sounds like one of those projects where a CER is written for and only
a small portion is applied to the project that is destined to fail!
Meanwhile, the rest of that CER goes in peoples pockets to fund their
additions to their homes, renovations, new cars, RVs, boats and the list
goes on.

    Have you ever notice how many of those guys stay employed in big
business while doing dead end projects? Gotta have a write off somewhere
to hide that cash flow!. :)

  Jamie




Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge
On Sun, 11 Dec 2011 09:54:02 -0500, Jamie

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There's a small-scale effect that nobody in an organization wants to
be the first to say the obvious "this ain't going to work." If the
issue involves a few people and some kilobucks, it's easy to say. At
the thousands-of-people gigabuck level, nobody dares. Some of the
meetings parade astounding levels of group delusion; everybody knows
what nobody will say.

The big-scale version is exemplified by the 2008 economic crash:
nobody wants to be the guy who says the thing that starts the panic.
Let somebody else do it.

John


Re: Grundig Satellit 300 whinge
On Dec 11, 7:32A0%pm, John Larkin
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<snip>

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I'm sure it makes you feel happy to think that, and that does seem to
be what determines your opinions.

<snipped Jamie being even dimmer than usual>

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 In the beginning was the DEMO Project.  And the Project was
without form.  And darkness was upon the staff members thereof.  So
they spake unto their Division Head, saying, "It is a crock of shit,
and it stinks."

        And the Division Head spake unto his Department Head, saying,
"It is a crock of excrement and none may abide the odor thereof."
Now,
the Department Head spake unto his Directorate Head, saying, "It is a
container of excrement, and is very strong, such that none may abide
before it."  And it came to pass that the Directorate Head spake unto
the Assistant Technical Director, saying, "It is a vessel of
fertilizer
and none may abide by its strength."

       " And the assistant Technical Director spake thus unto the
Technical Director, saying, "It containeth that which aids growth and
it is very strong."  And, Lo, the Technical Director spake then unto
the Captain, saying, "The powerful new Project will help promote the
growth of the Laboratories."

        And the Captain looked down upon the Project, and He saw that
it was Good!"

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Try reading "The Big Short". Most of the people involved were making
too much money to want it to stop. Some of them knew that it was
unsustainable, but they weren't going to lose money when the bubble
burst, and the longer it kept going, the more they'd take away when
the bubble finally did burst.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Short

There were certainly guys around who were betting heavily that the
bubble would burst - Michael Lewis talked to a few of them, and the
book is built around these conversations - but the finance community
as a whole were fairly slow to see the writing on the wall, and not
all that interested in a message that was going to tell them that they
weren't going to be making as much money after the bubble had burst.
It's not so much that nobody wants to be the guy that says the thing
that starts the panic - hardly anybody is willing to recognise the
thought that there is going to be a panic.

--
Bill Sloman, Nijmegen

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