One more problem with tinylogic: flimsy package. It is easy enough to
lift a pin of a generic SC or SOT, but if you try to bend a pin of
tinylogic it breaks off immediately. Very annoying when debugging a
DSP and Mixed Signal Design Consultant
Try SC-75 diodes. They break off when you sneeze within five feet. Had
the "pleasure" to reverse-mount BAT199 because the layout CAD had pins 1
and 2 reversed. AFAICT this whole EDIF standardization attempt was a
complete joke. There simply is no standard.
If you ever choose to move to southern Oregon we've got plenty of projects
that don't have particularly tight cost constraints. :-) (Although as far as
tiny logic goes, we generally use the "universal" NC7SZ57/58 parts whenever we
need a 2-input/1-output device.)
(We're still looking for an RF engineer and a tech writer, last I heard.)
My wife already thinks it's getting too cold here in northern
California. Every year seems to be colder than the previous one. We have
"migrated" from two cords of wood to five :-(
Those UHS gates sure are nice. I like their wide VCC range. Very zippy,
too. Unfortunately they can't be used single cell, AFAIK they require at
least 1.7V or so. Also, I believe there isn't a 2nd source (yet).
I only know an FPGA guy who might be available (not sure if he still
is). Sometimes I get the impression that most RF engineers are retired
by now. Or worse ....
Oh, I'd sure like it down there. But when we move I want to make that a
move to a state that is very biz-friendly. Less red tape, less biz
taxes. Problem is that where most of those states are the winters are
Still looking for that tropical island with reliable Fedex service ....
Yes, in RF chip design I even met some young and bright minds right out
of university. But the minute you present a real-world tapped inductor
that is controlled by easing its core in and out of DC saturation nearly
all of them freak out.
Why not? I've seen many intricate designs come together perfectly with
the team splattered out across half a dozen states, and occasionally
countries. I had one client where the boss jetted up here. For no
particular reason other than wanting to see this guy that did their
designs for so many years.
Sometimes it's better to take a risk than to hold out for the perfect
candidate who may never materialize.
The processor development team was spread over four states and three
continents. It can work, but communications is more difficult.
I did a couple PCB designs several years back where the contract
assembly guy was 150mi. away. I drove down to see him once or twice
a week to make sure things were going right (and get appropriate
priority). It worked out very well.
I told John Larkin that I was available a while back but wasn't
willing to move to SF. He said that design was a full contact sport.
Some see it that way, unfortunately.
Time zones can get nasty. But it can be done, especially if both sides
are willing to scoot their work times so the overlap is larger. Three
continents can become an issue though.
My layouter and I have done lots of layouts. Last time we met was at his
office when his cat was still alive, probably about 10 years ago.
John and I seem to agree on most things but not on that one. Often when
team members from my projects finally do meet it's by coincidence. At a
conference, for example, or an airport. Then you can hear expressions
like "Man, your hair's turned gray!" or "What's that accent you've
got?". Yes, there have been folks who designed the other half of the
board but whom I've never spoken to until we finally met. It was all
emails, files and FTP.
What's really cool is VPN. A business visitor used it from here. Also
I've seen it at another client this year. At that client it was a bit
spooky, there was a huge monitor behind me and the cursor seemed to be
operated by a ghost (from hundreds of miles away). I had to sometimes
darken the room to see noise on an analog scope. That made it even more
It's a problem but fortunately all three didn't have to get together
at the same time. The German folks and the Indians worked on
different aspects of the design. Most communication was via email
with a status telecon once a week.
You killed his cat? No wonder he hasn't had you back. ;-)
I can understand his point. Close is more efficient but there are a
lot more fish in the ocean than the "Bay". It's his nickle, though,
and I can respect that.
It certainly is strange how distorted mental pictures can be.
I took a class via VPN about a year ago. Quite cool.
I used to do that as well in the late 80's. But starting in the early
90's I found that the Internet and a good Gerber Viewer could replace
such trips quite well. Never got any black eyes from that approach.
And no, Keith, I did not kill my layouter's cat ... But whenever I went
over there for a layout check or a difficult initial placement it hopped
into my lap. Which the layouter and I found astounding because I am a
dog person and he said the cat would generally never do that with clients.
I believe the idea is that they're looking for full-time employees and there's
a perception that "full-time" means largely parked at a desk. I am somewhat
speculating here, though; personally I think a large amount of work could be
done off-site, although occasionally even a tech writer would need to be
on-site so that he or she could sit around and play with The Real Hardware
(which tends to be big rack-mounted equipment surrounded by test equipment).
My fiance and I have found that southern Oregon is that it is perhaps a decade
"behind" when it comes to things like "employment expectations." She has it
far worse than I do -- where she works, even the salaried employees (who
mainly prepare reports, crunch numbers, etc. -- nothing that couldn't be done
(a) on a flexible schedule and (b) off-site in nearly all cases) are required
to be there 8-5, no ifs, ands, or buts. Any deviations from that schedule has
to be taken as vacation or sick leave; they're not allowed to make up hours on
weekends or in the evenings, and at least in theory they can be terminated if
they're more than 15 minutes late more than a half-dozen times in a year...
aieee!!! The pay is quite respectable though, which is uncommon down here
(she kept her job in Portland for about a year while looking): jobs that pay
over, say, $50k/year are nowhere near as common as they are in Portland, yet
the cost of living is almost as much. Housing is just as much, gasoline is a
little higher, food and medical is about the same, although veternarians are
As for me... the folks I work for are quite generous and reasonable.
Time-wise, they go with the notion that there are "core" hours of perhaps 10-3
where it's expected most people will generally be around, but they have no
qualms about people taking time off in the middle of the day to, e.g., visit a
health club. Coming in late is fine, making up time on weekends is fine, etc.
It's the usual routine that I've found at nearly all the engineering companies
I've worked for: Actually getting stuff *done* is a far more important than
what your daily schedule is.
We have used consultants -- sometimes for many months in a row -- for getting
jobs done where we find we don't have the manpower or the expertise necessary.
Most of the good ones we've used I think we'd generally be more than happy to
have as employees, but of course most of them aren't interested in that
Hmmm... I work full time, and I'm largely parked at a desk. However,
the desk doesn't happen to be in the same timezone as anyone else in
my group (we're spread across a couple of continents).
Bonus! This year I got to meet with my boss in person once. First
time in many years, since he doesn't even live in the same country as
That's normal. Sometimes I have to fly to clients and stay there a week
or two. Especially if you have to figure out a tough problem together
with a team. My scope probes don't reach across several state lines, too
much capacitance ;-)
I am just checking out the latter though, in particular whether a newer
scope such as the DSO I just bought could be hooked up via VPN. Looks
like it might. Meaning if someone would connect the leads I may be able
to turn all the knobs from hundreds of miles away. The only thing I
still have to figure out is how to pipe a simultaneous image out of it.
Without the terminal open it already does that. Should be no problem,
Out here in northern California everything is expensive :-(
Except that we have proposition 13 so they can't lord it over us via
property taxes or tax grandma out of her home.
Often they can't. Once I took a management position (heading a start-up)
which required me to wind down my consulting business about 10 years
ago. That can be a huge problem since consultants have many clients and
some clients really depend on them. For some of mine I am "their" analog
I suspect you will be able to make this work, but unless it really is just a
very occasional check, it sure seems as though hitting the road might be
better overall; it's just so much faster to be able to position things
Hey, do you think you can design a fixed-frequency FSK receiver for ~900MHz
(fixed frequency, no tunability required), some low kbps data date, and
running off of ~3V (not too critical there) but 10-20mW (that is somewhat
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