No, these words aren't from Bob Pease. In fact, he won't even know about this until he opens his own copy of the magazine. Electronic Design is "borrowing" this column to recognize Bob's 10th anniversary of writing "Pease Porridge" columns. In all those years, he never missed a column. So congratulations, Bob, for scoring a PERFECT 10!
And let me tell you, keeping that perfect record took some work. You see, Bob gets to proof the final version of each column before we print it. He came through, no matter where he was on the globe. Recently, for example, if you were at a certain airport overseas, you would have seen Bob on his knees beside an awkwardly placed telephone stand. He had five minutes to catch his flight to another country and was still trying to tell me about some last-minute "tweaks" for a column. (There I was, at the other end of the phone trying to find the same version of that column.) Yup, things got a little hectic, but we worked it out. Bob made his flight, and the tweaks were added.
For those of you who weren't around at the beginning, we have reproduced his original "What's All This Analog Stuff, Anyhow?" column following this one. Then you can turn to the Real Thing and read Bob's latest thoughts on "What's All this Current Limiter Stuff, Anyhow?" (p. 187).
You will notice that we introduced his first column by offering to bring you "Bob's seemingly off-the-wall, yet insightful view of the engineering world." Who would have thought that he would still be going strong a decade later? Most of you will probably agree that he delivered on the insightful part. As for the seemingly off-the-wall part, well, that was undoubtedly an understatement. You see, Bob started sharing his views on not just the engineering world, but the whole world around him (and the rest of us).
I vividly remember hitting my voice-mail button 10 short years ago and hearing, "Brrrppp, Bleep, Dootleloo, Twerrrpp, Brrriinngg," and then finally, "Hello, this is Bob Pease." To this day I'm not sure what he was doing. I have ruled out indigestion, so I'm betting he was trying to impersonate a fax ma-chine or a modem—an analog one, naturally.
The rest of the message went something like, "I know we have to trim my column to fit. But, oh those words. I love my words, I hate to see any of them go." Well, some of them did go, but we trimmed them very carefully. That's when I began to get caught in between Bob and Roger Engelke, who was then our chief copy editor.
I would approach Roger with one of Bob's columns and our conversation would go something like this. Roger: "WHAT!! What is this? This isn't correct usage of the English language." Me: "Well, if we put it all into proper English, it won't sound like Pease." Roger: "Grrrrr! Look at all those upper-case and italic words, and all those em-dashes. Nobody writes like that." Me: "Well, if we put it all into proper English it won't sound like Pease." Roger: "Grrrrr!"
Over the years, we managed to compromise pretty well. We bent some of our rules, we stuck to our guns on others, and Bob did the same on his end. Of course, Roger gradually got a bit of revenge. Column by column, he would change just a little bit more and see if it would pass by Bob. He pretty much succeeded. Bob was a good sport about the whole thing. And I think you will agree that when you read a "Pease Porridge" column, there's no doubt about who wrote it. Sometimes, the whole English language doesn't contain exactly the right word, so Bob just invents another, like "Floobydust." Right on Bob! I'm on your side.
Then there are the letters. No matter what Bob writes about, it generates lots of letters. You readers only get to see a tiny fraction of them in "Bob's Mailbox," but we try to print the most interesting ones.
One letter in particular stands out in my mind. There was a reader who met all of the requirements to go on a trek with Bob, except he couldn't take his dialysis machine with him. I was really touched when Bob replied that he would send him pictures and a video of the trek, and further said, "I'll walk a mile for you."
Of course, all our regular readers know of Bob's battles with Spice and computers. But technology marches on. When we started out, there was no such thing as the World Wide Web. Now Bob is on e-mail, and can even be found browsing the web on occasion. Naturally, he's encountered a new foe on the Internet—the dreaded Search Engine. He's still on the quest for a Search Engine that gives good hits when he types in "Bicycles with black pedals and chrome handlebars for rent when trekking in Nepal."
Hopefully, you have enjoyed this slightly irreverent tribute to Bob. I'll finish up with one final comment. Speaking for all of us at Electronic Design, you have taken us on a wild trip so far. Keep it up. And for me personally, it has been a REAL PLEASURE, Bob.