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December 20, 2004
These are various neat places on the web that I find useful, fascinating or
fun. A short opinionated description follows each one to give you an idea of
what you can expect to find there. Click on the green titles and be transported away from here to there.
Where is there? Just position (don't click) your mouse icon over the green titles and
look on the bottom of your browser, it will tell you the actual www. address.
If you like what you see, mark it for the future (like I'm sure you've already
marked this site... forgot already? You're at www.pixelpal.com
). The following links are listed in no particular order.
- Multi-timezone Clock
The best clock I've found is World
Time. Totally customizable, with auto synchronization for one
computer or a network, maps, distance measuring on the globe, and special
timers & time calculators. Great software which works on Win
95/98, NT4 and Windows 2000. The price is a slight disappointment when compared to
the other mediocre clock software out there. IT'S FREE! Yup,
while it's worth as much, or more than, most clock software which only has
a fraction of its utility, this one is apparently a labor of love.
There's also a neat conversion calculator, Versaverter, at this
- Don Lancaster's Guru's Lair This
site is the home of one of the best educators of technology and clear
thinkers I've ever run across. Don wrote the legendary TTL Cookbook,
the C-MOS Cookbook, the Cheap Video Cookbook (I have the
original printings from 1974--), and numerous other paperbacks which
helped many in the 70's (like me) understand and enjoy digital
electronics. He's also written hundreds of magazine articles and numerous
construction projects. The best things I've learned from him over the
years is that many seemingly complex things can be simply and easily
explained if broken down to the root pieces, and that it is an acquired
talent to communicate ideas to others. Many of his interests are eclectic
and not electronic. When visiting his site, be sure to explore at least
20-30 pages and links. Be aware that he's got some particularly strong
opinions about patents (I agree) and Adobe Postscript (I disagree). Enjoy
the many offerings at this site and buy one of his books. Despite his
stature, Don will answer e-mail, publishes his phone number, and talks to
you when you call. Amazing!
Click on the image to go to Nova Graphics' web site
- Nova Graphics Paintings
and prints out of this world! Literally. You don't have to be an
astronomer or astronaut to appreciate these beautiful, affordable, limited
prints, posters, postcards and calendars (even though some were created by
them). I first met Kim Poor, the space artist, while shopping
at a mall in Scottsdale, Arizona over15 years ago. He had what looked like
giant, framed NASA photographs of the Space Shuttle and
some of the planets in his tiny booth at the mall's
"sidewalk" art show. I was walking away, when it hit me that it
was impossible to place a camera to get the perspective of these
"photos". I went back to tell the fellow in the booth that he
bought a bunch of fake photos. Kim explained the he was showing his
original prints, not photos. Not until he showed me the original painting,
was I convinced. Well, in the ensuing years he was the founding member of
the space artist association, one of the first "glasnost"
ambassadors to the USSR, and founder of Nova Graphics. Enjoy the pictures
at the site, read the bios of the painters, and respect the copyrights.
Yes, I own a number of limited edition prints and one original oil of
- Bob Pease
Semiconductor Bob is a unique fellow. He's been around
amplifiers and linear circuits since they glowed and gave off lots of heat
(vacuum tubes to you younger Americans, or electron valves to the rest of
you youngsters). He developed some of the classic Op-Amps we all know.
This site has some neat info which you can't find anywhere else about
analog circuit and component intricacies. Bob writes a column for Electronic
Design (Penton www.penton.com). Few people know as much
about analog amplifier design as Bob. He's got a great, practical, common
sense approach and a semi-crusty personality which allows him to dispel some
"new age" mystical engineering practices (i.e. "fuzzy
logic", the "Toguchi Method"). While you're here, check out
Semiconductor's site. This is how it should be done! Stuff is
easy to find, has full tech sheets to download, actual PRICING (so you
know what the thing costs for design budgeting!), easy to sample and easy
to order in small quantities (through Digi Key). I might mention that National
bought Comlinear, another favorite of mine, a number of years ago. Comlinear has the best data sheets for high frequency Op
Amps, period. No funny measurements, and all necessary info (complete with
performance curves) lets you evaluate the suitability and performance of
their products before you bread-board your circuit (things I can't say
about Elantec, Maxim, or some others). National also was essentially
responsible for saving Lattice Semiconductor by buying a license for its
programmable C-MOS GALs. Lattice was nearly forced out of
business by a predatory lawsuit from AMD's newly acquired MMI (Monolithic
Memories Inc) who "owned" the bi-polar programmable
logic IC market with its PAL line. PALs were rapidly
becoming obsolete due to low speed, high power and poor programming
yields. MMI never could develop a line of C-MOS programmable logic ICs, so
it decided to sue the newer C-MOS competitor out of business, until
National stepped in.
- The Dilbert Zone
Scott Adams' Comic strip of the day and other assorted Dilbert stuff.
NOTE: DO NOT GO HERE if you work in a cubicle, are in a technical job, or
work at a large company UNLESS you are in a mellow mood. Otherwise the
absurdities harpooned can be painful and instead of producing a moment of
mirth, you'll get an uncomfortable wince. Check out the "lists".
- High Frequency Design
Info This site has some neat tables and other useful bits of
information relating to the high frequency design.
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December 20, 2004