Posts Tagged 'Electronics Engineering'

Maps and Plans

Every journey goes more smoothly with a map of some sort. Whether it’s a trip to Antarctica or developing firmware for a new microcontroller-based device, it helps to know where you’re going. Without a clear definition of the destination it’s tough to know when you’ve actually arrived. It is also helpful to know what it is, exactly, you expect to find when you do finally arrive. Continue reading ‘Maps and Plans’

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Tiny Power: Coin Batteries

They are all around us. In our watches, laser pointers, hearing aids, toys, calculators, remote control units, and more. Yet we don’t often notice them or give them much thought until they stop working. And then it’s time to poke through the selection at the local drug store or big box retailer, hoping to find one that has the same cryptic number (or at least something that claims to be compatible).

Originally developed for use in hearing aids, so-called coin and button batteries are, as the names suggest, small disc or button-shaped batteries. They come in a variety of formulations and shapes. They can be stacked in series to produce a higher voltage, or wired in parallel for increased current. If purchased in bulk (such as through vendors on Amazon) they are also surprisingly cheap, and they pack a lot of energy into a very small package.
Continue reading ‘Tiny Power: Coin Batteries’

The Wary Engineer’s Notebook – Part 4

This is fourth and final (for now) part of “The Wary Engineer’s Notebook”. In this installment we’ll take a quick but jaundiced look at documentation.

Just remember that this is all intended to be humorous in a satirical, tongue-in-cheek way, so please don’t get spun up thinking I’m trying to insult you or your dress code. I wouldn’t dream of it. Honest.

If you’re not sure what this is all about then please go back and read Part 1 first.

Continue reading ‘The Wary Engineer’s Notebook – Part 4′

The Wary Engineer’s Notebook – Part 3

This is third installment of “The Wary Engineer’s Notebook”. In this episode we take a look at those joyous and stimulating events known as “Reviews”.

Just remember that this is all intended to be humorous in a satirical, tongue-in-cheek way, so please don’t get spun up thinking I’m trying to insult you or your dress code. I wouldn’t dream of it. Honest.

If you’re not sure what this is all about then please go back and read Part 1 first.

Continue reading ‘The Wary Engineer’s Notebook – Part 3′

The Wary Engineer’s Notebook – Part 2

This is second installment of “The Wary Engineer’s Notebook”. This one deals with one of my favorite things: Meetings.

Just remember that this is all intended to be humorous in a satirical, tongue-in-cheek way, so please don’t get spun up thinking I’m trying to insult you or your dress code. I wouldn’t dream of it. Honest.

If you’re not sure what this is all about then please go back and read Part 1 first.

Continue reading ‘The Wary Engineer’s Notebook – Part 2′

The Wary Engineer’s Notebook – Part 1

One day, while in the midst of a long and really scary project involving 60 hour work weeks, an inept manager, mounds of paperwork and a customer with a meeting fetish, I had an epiphany. I put aside my work for a little while, barred my office door and attempted to capture some tiny bits of this cosmic illumination before it slipped away. A collection of little essays is the result, which I’ve edited and expanded a bit here and there using the perfect 20/20 vision of hindsight (a great thing, hindsight, too bad it’s uni-directional).

Continue reading ‘The Wary Engineer’s Notebook – Part 1′

Bargain Hunting – Buying Used Equipment

I’m one of those people who has a collection of old (OK, some are ancient) computers, test equipment and what-not floating around. Over the years I’ve collected, and discarded, literally truckloads of stuff, including a complete DEC MicroVAX system, a DEC PDP-11/34, an HP-3000, and a slew of 9-track tape drives, line printers, oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, old PCs of various flavors, and boxes of loose parts. And that’s just the stuff I can remember without thinking too hard about it. I still have too much junk, but I’ve been applying the “If it doesn’t light up and work when I plug it in, then out it goes” rule as much as possible (sometimes it’s painful, though).

Continue reading ‘Bargain Hunting – Buying Used Equipment’


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Little Buddy

An awesome little friend

Jordi the Sheltie passed away in 2008 at the ripe old age of 14. He was the most awesome dog I've ever known.