Techies & Technology

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Category archives for Techies & Technology

A Sale of Two Titles

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was.. Oops. Sorry, already been done. Start again. The other day I brought up some thoughts concerning the high cost of college textbooks. In the arena of science and engineering there are issues with the fairly narrow audience and resultant low volume,…

The latest Embedded Systems Design features an overview of their annual comprehensive programmer’s survey. ESD (an unfortunate acronym for a hardware journal) has offered the same survey for the past few years to engineers and programmers in both the USA and Europe, seeking info on their current and anticipated needs, projects, tools, and the like…

The High Cost of College Textbooks

We’re a couple weeks into the semester and the ever-popular subject of the cost of textbooks has raised its head. Along with my students, I often wonder why they shell out so much for these works. I think there are several things at play here, but first a little background: I’ve been teaching at the…

A Mnemonic Device for Electrical Students

Sequences, whether it’s the colors of the rainbow, the names of the planets, or ages of Earth’s geologic past just scream for mnemonic devices such as acronym-sentences. Some of these can be quite entertaining in their own right, and even more entertaining if you make them up yourself. For example, beginning electrical engineering and technology…

Super Low THD+N

On the audio front, National Semiconductor, long a player in analog semiconductors, has announced a couple new op amp families producing a total harmonic distortion plus noise spec of 0.00003%. These devices are aimed squarely at higher end audio applications and also offer a very low voltage noise spec of 2.7 nanovolts per root-Hertz with…

Cryptography 101

This week’s NOVA Science NOW on PBS has an interesting piece on the Kryptos sculpture in front of CIA headquarters. The segment does a decent job of showing some of the basic techniques used such as substitution and transposition, in just a few minutes. I am not a cryptographer but it is an area I…

Apple iPhone Guts

Curious about what’s inside an iPhone? Well, the good folks at Audio Design Line (via EE Times) have a teardown. Mind you, it’s not like the old days when you could just pop off the cover of your new electronic doohickey and look at the manufacturer’s part numbers on the chips. These are the days…

She Blinded Me With Mobile XMF

Here’s an interesting piece from Audio Design Line regarding a new file format just released from Beatnik. The format is said to produce files one-tenth the size of MP3 files and is intended for narrow bandwidth phones in emerging markets. The format, called Mobile XMF, would work in conjunction with Beatnik’s music player, which would…

Multitasking, Part 1

Back around 1987 I picked up a Commodore Amiga 1000. This was an interesting little box for home computers of the day. In the late eighties the typical home/office PC was running MS-DOS and had a whopping 640k bytes of memory. The Amiga didn’t look like the average home computer and it certainly didn’t behave…