Steven Dunbar

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Systems Engineer

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antennahead

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    • Engineering is where Art and Technology meet. Good Art is usually something original, clever, or otherwise new. Bad Art usually fades away pretty quickly. Good technology is science in action where the simplist, most functional and elegant solution wins. Obsolete technology, becomes historical footnotes to learn from. Handguns are wonderfully masterful pieces of engineering. Some are beautiful works of art an engraving. The ethical use of one has nothing to do with Art, Technology, or Engineering, but rather the Human Condition with it's myriad complexities and imperfections.

    • " I may not be handsome, but at least I'm handy!" is one of my favorite quotes for this topic. I've been an engineer for nearly 20 years, been married, divorced, and now raise my two boys half time as a co-parent. Emotional Quotient (EQ) and Intelligence Quotient (IQ) really are on perpindcular axis, and nothing you learn in engineering school will really help you find a mate or maintain a good intimate relationship. For that, you have to do the same as everyone else- know yourself, be honest and humble, bring something to the "party", and put in the effort to make a relationsihp great. Having said all that, I would LOVE a copy of that poster. I could get mileage out of that for a long time to come! I think slide rules are fascinating, and I have a small collection myself- if only I knew how to use them. :-(

    • As a TI Field Apps Engineer I get to acknowledge daily that MicroChip makes some good parts, and they have a loyal following. They must be doing something right at least some of the time. While it is interesting to extract data from TI's data sheets for this paper, it would have been much more compelling if Microchip had done he same with their own parts, and truly put specific, comparable parts side by side. I think we can all agree that the industry has done a good job advancing low power MCU technology to the point where their is truly a lot of competition, and you can probably thank TI for driving a good share of that with the MSP430 for the last 17 years. These days does it really matter if the DCO wakes up in 1 us or 10 us? Does it really matter in the majority of applications if your RAM retention "sleep" current is 500 nA or 2000 nA? It's usually the case that the active modes and external circuitry will burn the bulk of the energy anyway. There's a lot more to power management than these silly specs- you need thrifty peripherals, software, support and your own skills to do well, and you need to decide which company you believe will do a better job helping you get your ultra-low-power project done.

    • One of the main points of the "Real Men Program in C" article was that Academia isn't doing a good job of teaching C. I think we can all agree that it's probably better to learn C first before learning C++. I think we can also agree that CS departments and EE departments have dramatically different philosophies- CS is more concerned with abstraction, and EE is more about how the machines actually work. In the real embedded world, professionals need to understand both to make an informed decision. The 10%-15% added overhead mentioned for C++ in this article can be more than enough to push a given project into a larger, and therefore more expensive, MCU than needed for C. If you have to room, great, use C++. But we often can't estimate code size very well and starting with C is a more conservation approach in this regard- you can always convert over to C++ and add the abstraction at the end. Though, in practice we wouldn't do that because our managers would have us working on the next project...