And that's a pompous and ill-mannered response if I ever saw one. And you haven't identified the error of fact, if it - in fact, exists.
Jim didn't identify the university where he studied "before computers". Nobody who still has their faculties intact would say that about MIT in 1958-62 and in fact even Jim now admits he got it wrong.
And the MIT RadLab may have invented "modern electronics" of a particular sort, but it was itself invented as a joint Anglo-American project to exploit the radar techniques and - in particular - the cavity magnetron that had already been invented in the U.K., some of them by people I had the privilege of working with at EMI Central Research, some decades later.
I suppose that, for some people, being offensive is more important than being right.
I didn't get access to PDP-8 until I was a graduate student, but there's 900 words of PDP-8 assembler in my Ph.D. thesis.
At that time - the late 1960's - the Melbourne University Electrrical Engineering department were doing circuit simulation with great enthusiasm on the university's IBM 7040/44 - they hogged the machine from 11:00pm to 2:00am pretty much every evening.
Sounds like a VAX. Nice systems. I wish Windows was as stable as VMS.
My first circuit simulator was ECA, running on a PC/XT clone under DOS. It was really quite good, with easy-to-specify nonlinear and frequency-dependant parts and lots of fun tricks. And it would always converge, and cruise right through divide-by-zero errors and keep going.
' eca model of 50 mhz xtal oscillator ' ' JL 13 mar 92 ' ' ECL OUTPUT IS NODE 10
Mike does have some funny ideas about electronic design, which isn't all that surprising. He doesn't ever seem to have designed stuff for a living, though he does claim to have fixed complicated gear from time to time, which isn't quite the same thing.
I seem to recall that many of his "fixes" ended up making his employer's product more reliable over time than they were when the engineers first let them loose. That's the kind of guy who's worth even more than a regular old design engineer...
Thanks, Joel. Bill doesn't seem to understand the difference between prototypes built & tweaked in Engineering, VS the real world problems of manufacturing and field support. I worked with a couple engineers like him, but I changed their bad attitudes. It took a couple years, but after that they called me whenever something was up on any product I worked with. I also tracked problems on the production floor, and spotted trends long before they showed up in the quarterly statistics. With an attitude like Bill's i wasn't the least bit shy to storm into their office, slap some papers on their desk and tell them off, when they continued to screw up. OTOH, I was discrete when a good engineer made a minor mistake. The engineers who were interested in product quality were a hell of a lot better than the ones with ego problems. :)
BTW, some of my ideas were adopted for custom equipment we built for the ISS. They also insisted that I work on the boards & modules for that equipment, because I wouldn't let anything leave my bench if I suspected a problem.
Hey, Bill! What is the DC voltage available on the ISS? How much bandwidth is available from the NASA Earth Stations to the ISS? What band is it on? I am as bad as you say, why was I on the team that built the hardware for the pair of European Space Agency Earth Stations, as well?
If you have broadband, your ISP may have a NNTP news server included in
I didn't take the courses, but the EE department had a Bendix G20=20 that was used for circuit simulations (Fortran-II) in '70. When I=20 started at IBM in '74 we were doing simulations using an internal=20 program called ASTAP (A Statistical Transient Analysis Program, or=20 some such) on IBM 360/85s that had been "returned" (forcefully) by=20 customers because they had a rather bad habit of screwing up (small=20 metastability issue).
Sure. Quite a lot of the stuff that Cambridge Instruments produced hadn't been designed by their best design engineers, or had been up- graded in a hurry, and the art of getting the residual bugs under control with the bare minimum of modification was a useful skill. All the design engineers got stuck with cleaning out design flaws between projects - it was felt to be a useful part of their education.
Designing the system right to begin with, so that it doesn't develop these kind of problems, is a rather different skill.
I had to clean up after a few specific regular old design engineers, and I didn't think they were worth all that much either - one guy didn't seem to appreciate that most op amps oscillate if you use then to drive a capacitive load directly, and consistently loaded the outputs of 741 op amps with 100nF to ground. The outputs were still oscillating, but at an amplitude of a few millivolts, which wasn't easily visible on an oscilliscope.
This wasn't representative - most of the bug-hunting turned out to involve stopping production from using their own newly invented scheme for setting a circuit. Most of these schemes were quicker and easier than the procedure suggestred by the original designers, but had a painful tendecy to force the integrated circuits involved to operate outside their guaranteed voltage or current ranges.
Dream on. When I was installing our first voltage contrast electron microscope at Siemens, it turned out to be sitting in the next laboratory to the third S.200 electron microscope ever shipped by Cambridge Instruments, and I got a hard time about its defects, but since I'd been dragged into the clean-up squad that had fixed the S.
200, I was able to get the factory to ship out the cleaned up lens current controller board (where I'd found the worst bug and supervised the layout changes that corrected it) and silenced the carping by installing it in the S.200
I've worked with technicians who (correctly) thought that they were pretty good, but they didn't seem to feel the need to change my atttitude. Some of the less good technicans didn't like me much, which didn't seem to worry their more competent colleagues at all.
That did happen to me once or twice - the guy doing the storming had got it wrong in every case - but when I did screw up (which wasn't often) nobody seemed to get excited (probably because I used to walk through the final test area often enough that they didn't have to track me to my desk).
Right. You were a good technician, and - like most good technicians - you have an inflated idea of what you were worth. Good technicians are rare enough that they can get away with bullying the more junior engineers.
Keeping the good technicians happy was one of the senior engineers' jobs at Cambridge Instruments, and we listened to what they told us, ostentatiously took advantage of every useful suggestion we got and kept our mouths shut about the less good suggestions. When management used them for design work from time to time - it did happen - we had to provide quite a lot of unobtrusive support.
I know as much about what goes on with the international space station as you know about what goes on directly below the anode of electron microscope. If you wanted to answer an equally silly question you might tell me why we needed four separate alignment coils up there when we went over to lanthanum boride electron sources
Or you could tell me why a phased array diagnostic sonar machine needs a hyperbolic function generator. I designed a couple, and got one to work pretty well.
"I had to clean up after a few specific regular old design engineers, and I didn't think they were worth all that much either - one guy didn't seem to appreciate that most op amps oscillate if you use then to drive a capacitive load directly, and consistently loaded the outputs of 741 op amps with 100nF to ground. The outputs were still oscillating, but at an amplitude of a few millivolts, which wasn't easily visible on an oscilliscope."
That falls squarely in the arena of "stuff they don't (usually) teach in college" and "typically not learned on the job until it either (1) comes back to bite you directly, (2) some more experienced engineer points this out, or (3) (probably least common) you have enough initiative to keep studying design techniques on your own to eventually realize there migiht be a problem."
I much lament that fact that spectrum analyzers have been banished from pretty much all undergraduate labs these days... (and it's kinda iffy whether most digital scopes with FFT functions could "see" a few millivolts on, say,
"Most of these schemes were quicker and easier than the procedure suggestred by the original designers, but had a painful tendecy to force the integrated circuits involved to operate outside their guaranteed voltage or current ranges."
That's always a bit dicey, although sometimes it might make sense to characterize the ICs yourself to ascertain how much "margin" there is in the specs. (E.g., if you're running your tests at 20C, clearly the IC will be able to perform much better than the worst case specs that apply over the entire temperature range.)
Bill, do you have any knowledge about the US company, FEI, and its gallium beam milling systems? They were conjoined at the hip with some Philips company in Heerenveen, I think, and merged electron beam imaging with gallium beam milling for disk drive head manufacture and the like.
Not as much as I'd like to. One of my old bosses at Cambridge Instruments - W. Ralph Knowles - has ended up high in FEI after being vice president research and development with Electroscan, and comes to the Netherlands quite frequently to visit the FEI centre at Eindhoven, but ourcontact is limited to exchanging Christmas cards.
The electron beam tester I was working on at Cambridge Instruments
1989-91 was going to have a tungsten ion milling column alongside the electron microscope column, so that you could cut and link integrated circuits and look at the way they worked after you'd made the changes, but the project got cancelled before we got our hands on an ion beam column.