Electronic Design

Letters

More Kudos For Anniversary Issue
Don Broadus, electronics engineer of testing, Exelon Corp.: I feel very privileged to have received your 50th anniversary commemorative issue. Its theme of celebrating 50 years of technology is truly a great tribute to America and our industry. I wish to thank the entire Electronic Design staff for working so hard on this extraordinary edition of your fine magazine.

John Pivnichny, Lotus software IP law patent agent: What a great tribute to electronics engineers! Nice job. Thank you for including Tesla, although the writeup is a little questionable on accuracy (a Tesla coil in radios and TVs!). Another great contributor of eastern European background is Vladimir Zworykin. I didn't see him, but then it's impossible to include everybody.

Joel D. Claypool, Morgan & Claypool Publishers: Three hours ago, I received your special 50th anniversary edition and have spent much of that time reading it. As an engineering book publisher for over 20 years and a nontechnical reader of your magazine, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and congratulations on the making of this superb issue. It will definitely hold a permanent position on my reference shelf.

In particular, I would like to compliment two aspects of the issue. The editorial aims and scope of focusing on the people and technologies, rather than on the history of the magazine itself, was classy and well developed. And the design and layout were outstanding. The 10-1/2-in. square format was a true pleasure to hold.

You have paid well-deserved tribute to many engineers, and I hope you can now accept some tribute for yourself.

A Very Personal Tribute
I just wanted to congratulate everyone at Electronic Design for a wonderful 50th anniversary issue (definitely a keeper) and to thank you for the invaluable leadership you've provided all of us in the electronics industry (and around the world) for the past five decades. Whether we are a large blue-chip firm or a "one-man-and-a-dog" operation, your magazine provides us all with the steady light that guides our way and the conduit that sparks our imaginations.

I, for one, keep every issue and use it as part of my personal technical reference library. If "it's" not in Electronic Design, then it probably doesn't exist! I wonder just how little distance we may have gone without your light to guide us, educate us, encourage us, and network us.

Anyhow, here's to all of you—thanks for doing such a fabulous job! Keep up the great work. I look forward to enjoying Electronic Design for many years to come.

How Electronic Design Got Its Name
I don't know if you ever looked into how your magazine got its name, but your marvelous 50th anniversary issue triggered my recollection. In 1951 or '52, as a young electrical engineer who had recently graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and was working for a company in White Plains, N.Y., I was also moonlighting as a consultant to a manufacturer in Yonkers, N.Y., designing a UHF tuner that the firm wanted to add to its product line of wirewound resistors.

The name of that Yonkers company was Electronic Design, and the founders of your magazine wanted the right to use the name for their new publication. A deal was struck in which the resistor company would let the publication use its name in exchange for about a year of advertisements in the magazine. I don't know how big the ads were, but I suspect that if you looked at early issues of the magazine, you'd find the ads.

Warm regards and congratulations for maintaining such high standards for your magazine.

Editor's note: We love this story, but try as we might, we found no advertisement for Electronic Design, the manufacturer of wirewound resistors (or anything else for that matter), in the original issues through our first two years of publication.

Correction: Our staff-written report, "Programmable Analog Functions Are Going Mainstream" \[Oct. 14, p. 57\], did not include Linear Technology in the "Need More Information?" table. That contact information is:

Linear Technology Corp.
(408) 432-1900
www.linear.com

R&D Cutbacks Could Be Beneficial
The Editorial "Looking For The Juice To Fuel The Next 50 Years Of Innovation" \[Oct. 28, p. 22\] cited the deleterious effects of R&D cutbacks. I'd like to point out that pruning the R&D budget could have an unanticipated salutary effect. It could derail the going-nowhere, large-money, albatross projects, leaving room in recovery for the true innovation.

Concerns About Engineers
I congratulate you on the 50th anniversary special issue of Electronic Design. It indeed makes interesting reading. I especially liked the profiles of the many key contributors.

However, I must complain about the final article, "The Changing Face Of Engineering" \[p. 251\]. First, it presents confusing statistics by using "engineer" and "EE" interchangeably. Also, a key point the article missed is that the long-term decline in the number of EE graduates has been accompanied by a corresponding increase in the number of computer engineers. This fact is often masked in national data that usually lumps them together.

The article also offers an imbalanced presentation of the facts surrounding H-1B visas. It essentially spouts the IEEE-USA line. For starters, the feature totally ignores the large fraction of H-1B visas issued to foreign-born students who receive a U.S. degree. This is in contrast to the implication of the article that there are more ECE engineers and computer scientists coming to the U.S. via H-1B visas than graduating from U.S. universities. This is true for nearly all MS and PhD holders. The vast majority of the foreign-born ECE engineers and computer scientists that I know went to school in the U.S.

The article also does not mention that, for the vast majority, the H-1B is a prelude to a green card. In fact, IEEE-USA has said that the U.S. government should be using the permanent residency system for such applicants, instead of issuing H-1Bs. When my PhD students can get starting offers that are nearly as high as my salary, I don't put much weight on the whining about depressed salaries.

The IEEE-USA also neglects to mention that we are in a world market. If we don't hire the good foreign-born engineers in this country, we'll be hiring them in their native countries. This is obviously true for software development, and anyone in packaging can tell you that there are many excellent engineers in Southeast Asia. When I've pointed this out to the IEEE-USA, it has basically responded with arguments in favor of protectionism.

Having said that, there are obvious reasons for concern in some fields. Only three companies are building 300-mm fabs in the U.S.: IBM, Intel, and TI. As a result, I must assume that all the other companies will stop manufacturing in the U.S. within a decade. But this has to do with corporate mistakes and global business strategies, rather than anything regarding H-1Bs.

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