Put Blame Where It Belongs
Placing blame for the failure of DSL companies on incorrect appreciation of the demand, or unacceptable price levels, as you did in "Lessons Learned And Lessons Not Learned" \[June 4, p. 22\], is absolutely wrong. These guys—Northgate, Vitts, and Covad—are failing because they can't make any money. Their inability to make money is due to the extreme efforts put forth by the entrenched regional Bell operating companies (RBOCs) to keep them out of their markets. The RBOCs charged excessive prices for line use (the last mile, which they own), and for the space that the DSL companies need to locate their equipment in the central offices. Then, when requested to provide a connection for DSL between the DSL operators rack in the central office and the consumer's location, they dragged their feet as much as possible, which is why it took so long to have a line installed.
Don't think for a second that the demand doesn't exist, or the price DSL operators charge isn't too high. I have commercial clients who lost their Internet connections due to this fiasco. They would be happy to do whatever it takes to get new DSL suppliers. Unfortunately, there are none. Please put the blame where it belongs.
I couldn't agree more with "Engineering Education: Who's Teaching The Teachers?" \[June 18, p. 22\]. For over 60 years, my company, Texas Instruments (TI), has been working with EE university programs around the world to ensure that professors and students are prepared with state-of-the-art equipment and are working on hands-on projects, such as DSP and analog semiconductor technology, through collaborative efforts with TI's top researchers.
A large part of the funding we provide through TI's DSP and Analog University Programs is aimed at helping support professors and students. We also go beyond this by driving curriculum for DSP at the university level (the DSP and Analog University Challenge), and even at the high school level (the Infinity Project). In some cases, we've been working with schools for six decades. TI has seen the fruits of such long-term benefits of such relationships—top talent and breakthrough research on next-generation technologies and products. Education is one of TI's top priorities, and we certainly have a solid story to tell.
Teach Them To Fish On Their Own
"Engineering Education: Who's Teaching The Teachers?" is an excellent article. We all share your frustration. The basic issue has always been reduced to training versus education. This is the same as the "give 'em a fish, or teach 'em to fish" scenario.
Does the college or university really need to train a student in "effective presentation"? If so, then at the loss of what other course(s)? Some colleges and universities are dropping electromagnetics to add more computer engineering courses. How much Web programming capability does a student really need? This training is much more valuable to industry for a four-year grad than a third controls course.
After four, five, six, or nine years of post-secondary education, you are still just an "engineer." Doesn't this tell you something about the industy's expectations? When I call E-Trades with a log-in problem, I get connected to an "engineer," or so the phone announcement says.
Giving Due Notice
Under the aspect of intellectual property, I would like to comment on the IFD "Second-Order Audio Filter Performs Multiple Functions" \[April 30, p. 89\]. The second-order filter circuit as proposed by Marttila is nothing other than a slight modification of the well-known KHN universal bi-quad as described in many textbooks. In this context, I would like to point out that the principle of the original KHN circuit has not been modified—two inverting integrators in series, each with a negative feedback loop working on a summing circuit at the input. Therefore, the valuable original work of Kerwin, Huelsman, and Newcomb deserves at least mention.
Lutz von Wangenheim
Note Of Appreciation
I want to express my appreciation for for "Consensus Conspires To Produce Bad Designs" \[June 18, p. 58\]. I'm amidst a new CNC control design, and the "team design" approach is being piloted on this new product. It was refreshing to hear the basics of product development/design reiterated. Thank you.