Electronic Design

Bob's Mailbox

Hi Bob:
Hope all is well, and if you're on your trek, that you haven't fallen off a mountain trail. I've truly enjoyed reading your columns over the years. You seem to have that magic blend that most writers strive for—and the lucky ones reach. You are also a never-ending source of knowledge.

Having said that, I need to call upon your vast resources. Do you know of any listing of company logos that can help me identify who made a particular IC?

Usually, I'm pretty good at figuring out which company made what IC, and can scurry off to my data books, or the web to retrieve the relevant data sheet. But I've found one that has me stumped. The logo is a stylized letter, looking something like a cursive lowercase "d" in a circle with a flatted bottom—think Integrated Device Technologies, and you'd be close. I don't think they made it, though, as the part number (73K324L-28IH) doesn't match anything I could find.

So, great Guru of Arcania, can you point me to a logo listing that might help me in my quest? I shall remain ever-grateful, and promise not to bug you with trivial matters like this ever again! I had such a listing years ago, but lent it to someone who never gave it back. Boy, if I EVER see that guy again. . . Anyway, thanks, and I hope the pix you snap for the gentleman tethered to the kidney machine come out great.
JIM JERZYCKE
via e-mail

Just before we went to press, Mr. Jerzycke admitted that his technician observed, "That looks like the mark of Silicon Systems,"—and he was right. (Old D.A.T.A. book had good lists of semiconductor trademarks.)—RAP

Dear Bob:
In case you ever wondered why ignorance rises to the executive level, here is a simple explanation that is also mathematical proof:

Postulate 1: Knowledge is Power.

Postulate 2: Time is Money.

Physics teaches us the following formula for Power:

Power = Work/Time

If Knowledge = Power, And Time = Money (based on above postulates), then by substitution we get:

Knowledge = Work/Money

Solving for Money, we get:

Money = Work/Knowledge

Thus Money approaches infinity as Knowledge approaches zero, regardless of the work done. What this means is: The less you know, the more you make. I KNEW this could eventually be proven!
DENIS M. POIRIER
via e-mail

Hello, Denis. I love it! This is almost as good an argument as the question, "Which would you rather have, a crust of bread, or a hot roast-beef sandwich?"

Of course the correct answer is: "A crust of bread."

Why? Because everybody knows that a crust of bread is better than nothing, and nothing is better than a hot roast-beef sandwich.—RAP

Hi, Bob:
I've been thinking how (not so long ago) in the warm and fuzzy days of vacuum-tube equipment, we were accustomed to waiting for equipment to warm up before it could be used. Some equipment, like RF generators, took so long to stabilize, we left them on all the time. Then came analog solid-state equipment. It was ready to work instantly when you turned it on and off as needed.

But now that most everything is digital, you often have to wait for it to "boot up" instead of warm up. Recently, I had the privilege of learning how to use a fancy new audio analyzer. Just like a PC, you had to wait for it to go through a lengthy boot-up cycle.

(Not to mention the wonderful "self-calibration" cycle, one or more minutes?—RAP)

This wouldn't be so bad if you only had to do it once, but unfortunately, like a PC, it also had a habit of crashing without warning.

When it worked, it did a lot of nifty things. But it would occasionally just lock up—forcing you to power down and start all over again. There were other times when it would seem to be working, but not giving meaningful readings. The only solution, again, was to power down and reboot. Isn't progress wonderful?
KEN LUNDGREN
via e-mail

Yeah, computers are wonderful, except when they are trouble. Have you griped to the manufacturer? They may not respond, but at least you explained why you won't buy that brand of equipment again.—RAP

Dear Robert:
I read your article on Scrooge, and I remember playing a similar game with some friends. Their twist on the rules was that most "players" were teams of two, sitting adjacent to each other. One turned the cards while the other one played on the center. When I said "most," it was because one guy was so quick, and had such good vision and coordination, that his handicap was that he had to play alone against the teams of pairs. His day job? He was an air traffic controller.
BRUCE WALKER
via e-mail

Bruce your variation sounds very challenging, and we gotta try it. Yeah, our friend Willy could very well have been an ATC wizard, but he mostly wrote software.—RAP

All for now. / Comments invited!
RAP / Robert A. Pease / Engineer
[email protected]—or:

Address:
Mail Stop D2597A
National Semiconductor
P.O. Box 58090
Santa Clara, CA 95052-8090

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