Electronic Design

What's All This Floobydust Stuff, Anyhow? (Part 11)

I said that you'd like Charlie Sporck's new book about Fairchild and the early days of Silicon Valley. Titled Spinoff, it costs about $28. Full info is available at www.national.com/sporck. If you can't justify buying it for yourself, get your librarian to buy it!

  • My book on Troubleshooting Analog Circuits, now translated into Russian, can be found at www.dmk.ru. But I don't think that your search will work well if you can't read Russian. I have been told that the translation and interpretation are very good though.
  • IEEE's March 2002 Spectrum had a good story (p. 50-55) about art, images, and little drawings on masks and chips (which electronic design has also covered, April 5, 1999, p. 64H). Pretty good stuff—a "Silicon Zoo." The Web pages: http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/creatures/index.html are a bit slow to come up, but worth the wait. Can you name any more examples of drawings and art on chips? The older, the better! Pass along any silicon chip art to that Web site.
  • There are several excellent comments on the analog art versus digital stuff at http://madvlsi.ece.cornell.edu/quips.html. Well worth printing out. Suitable for framing!
  • Several people told me where I can buy a Mikita 1/4-in. electric drill for only $139. I refuse to pay that price. I'll keep checking out garage sales. I looked in 25 countries and found no 1/4-in. drills in any hardware stores. But I didn't look in jewelry stores.
  • Are you interested in my opinion on a conventional driver education book? See www.textbookleague.org/103drvr.htm and compare it to my Web site, www.transtronix.com.
  • Want to read an interview with RAP by Jon Carroll of the San Francisco Chronicle? Go to www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1999/08/23/DD32191.DTL.
  • Several people asked me, referring to "Sudden Cessation Of Stupidity Stuff" (electronic design, Aug. 7, 2000, p. 134), if the little wood strips really worked and detoured the water from running into my house. Yes, they worked. It took a while to get them installed, but the 1/2-in. quarter-round strips worked well. I nailed up some and epoxied others. But it's still a good idea to keep your rain gutters mostly cleaned out!
  • Another embarrassing typo error in "Equations Part II" (electronic design, Oct 15, 2001, p. 90): In the second equation I said "I2 = ...\[ × 1/(pC2)\]"—but it should be \[ × pC2 \]. Like I told you, it's hard to get equations perfect! The Web version has been fixed.
  • Several people asked me, "Whatever happened to Silicon General?" Back in November of 1993, it turned into "Symmetricon." Then Linfinity became a linear-IC subsidiary of Symmetricon. So it may be stated that Linfinity is a successor of Silicon General.
  • Similarly, whatever happened to Teledyne Philbrick? After Teledyne Components turned into Telcom, Microchip bought the company.
  • Some people ask me about how they could get a copy of a recent column. Most of my newer columns— about 60 of them—and 26 of my old columns are posted on the Electronic Design Web site: http://www.elecdesign.com/Index.cfm?Action=Pease. This list of columns is accessible via my Web site as well. Go to www.national.com/rap and click on "ED Columns." You can also click on "Electronic Design."
  • Some people ask me about other old columns that aren't on the Web. I'm trying to add these to my Web site, but there have been delays. It's worth a try, at "Other Columns." I have added a few new items, lists, trek reports, and Horrible Pictures. If there's a column that you can't find, tell me which one you need, and tell me your snail-mail address. Otherwise, I'll have to pry it out of you!
  • Robert Klabis and I agree, if you invest your money in tax-deferred accounts, the taxes will change—the rates are bad, and may get worse. Well, we were partly right—they seem to have changed. Maybe they got better. Not much. Meanwhile, the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) seems to be getting worse. "What's All This AMT Stuff, Anyhow?" (Later.)
  • A friend reminded me that the slide fastener for clothing was a loser until someone came up with the name "Zipper." Similarly, you can save a little time tying and untying your shoes using the Shoe Zappy: www.ThighPower.com.
  • John Trudel (formerly a columnist with Electronic Design) says his new Web comments on innovation are quite popular. See www.trudelgroup.com/dyknow.htm. I suggest taking his survey/questionnaire about innovation.
  • Many people have inquired about where to buy Teledeltos paper. The original source in England will still sell you a big roll for $95, including shipping; www.searchkingslynn.com/senco3.html will get you to the right address for Sensitised Coatings, or call +44 1553764836. Plus, a new source for resistive paper is online: www2.pasco.com/products/scripts/products.taf?PN=PK-9023. The KIT PK9023 costs $114, but PK9025 paper with centimeter grid runs $34 for 100 23- by 30-cm sheets. Buy your own pen with conductive silver ink. This is about 32 kΩ/square.

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

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

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