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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
6/20/2013 11:31:54 AM
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Re: uneducated engineer
@Derek, to point #1 - yes, one would think the boss could/would assume his engineers could be trusted to do the calculations and make it all work right. To point #2, in my former life as an apps engineer, I generally supplied the customers with all the info I figured they needed - as in your example. If they appeared to be novices in some design aspects, just like you suggested, I'd tell them to make sure they added extra components to insure a rugged design, etc. Good business practice to properly support the customer.

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analoging
analoging
6/19/2013 4:11:10 PM
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cost structure
Companies need to put chip design into perspective. The cost of building a brand new fab is escalating an alarming rate- up to $5 billion or more- for high-performance memory and logic ICs. Design costs are minimal in comparison. Software licenses pale in comparison to semiconductor equipment costs of ~$2 million per system.

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goafrit2
goafrit2
6/19/2013 11:38:55 AM
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Master
Re: Isn't this Bait and Switch
>> But as you noted, some other folks may not find it so easy to

It is never easy but with some of the latest mobile apps, that could be easy. But the challenge today is that we are still in the domain when the time to market in the industry is slow. It takes time to make physical device. That said, one has to understand and properly know the market before any investment.

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goafrit2
goafrit2
6/19/2013 11:36:18 AM
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Master
Re: Isn't this Bait and Switch
Always get caught between Analog Devices as a company and analog devices as what we do. Many people now write analogue devices to differentiate it from the corporation to help clarity.

Now on the question: are integrated analogue devices perfect? Not. They are never and they need not be. Nothing is truly perfect otherwise they wil not be tomorrow.

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analoging
analoging
6/18/2013 8:43:32 PM
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Cypress
How much of Cypress chips are outsourced to foundries these days? The Silicon Valley fab was sold off to AMD right? The main US fab is in Minnesota correct? Thanks for your input.

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eafpres1
eafpres1
6/18/2013 2:16:29 PM
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Management and "good enough"
Having been both an engineer and a manager and a few things in-between, I can sympathize with both views--the engineer thinks it isn't ready, the manager wants to get it out the door.  Over 30 years of this, I conclude that managers serve a valuable function in drawing a line in the sand.  Otherwise, most engineers would never "ship it".  Engineers can learn to flourish in such an environment--if you have a good manager, she/he will listen to your thoughts and ask questions about risk, time, cost, product features, etc. and make a good decsion on "in or out" for the features.  It helps a lot if the manager has a technical background...

In a past company, we did mostly custom designs of antenna solutions for various, often mobile applications.  We set up every project with a PM and a cross-functional team drawn from the staff.  Required members were the sales person who sold the design to the customer, a mechanical engineer/designer, and RF engineer, a quality engineer (usually from manufacturing), a manufacturing engineer, purchasing/supply chain, and production.

In this setup, the sales person was responsible for the customer requirements.  However, it usually worked that the sales person got the opportunity for engineering to go in an close the deal.  Then the ME & RF folks on the team "owned" the requirements.  This was good/bad news becuase this open relationship with the customer sometimes created an open-ended view of the specs--the farther along the project progressed, as both sides learned more, the more stuff got added into the spec.  Once I was a manager, I had to intervene and manage expectations quite often, otherwise designs would never have been finished and nobody would have been happy.

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kendallcp
kendallcp
6/18/2013 12:09:12 PM
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Newbie
Re: Isn't this Bait and Switch
I didn't grow up in the US, but in the UK, where we don't have the term 'bait and switch'.  But I know what you mean, and I don't think it applies here.  The customer is already using the more highly integrated part and is pleased with it, not disgruntled at all.  I wasn't trying to reel him in then get him to grudgingly design in a more expensive device. Just provide him with a broader set of options for future less sophisticated designs.

Integration, in the sense we're discussing, exists on a continuum.  It's not an either-or thing, there are degrees of it  The question "what use is an op-amp without resistors?" is like the "what use is half an eye?" challenge beloved of objectors to the concept of evolution through selection.  The answer is, "a darn sight more useful than none at all".

I mixed my messages in the piece; really, I was trying (imperfectly...) to get across the notion that perfection can be a slippery, misleading concept.  Another random analogy prompted by something I did this morning.  If an adhesive sets too hard, sometimes the joint will break under stress.  It's better if it retains a little flexibility, or even repositionability.  Trading off perfection=rigidity for acceptability=flexibility might save you from an unexpected failure.

Good discussion!

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DEREK.KOONCE
DEREK.KOONCE
6/18/2013 10:26:10 AM
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Master
uneducated engineer
With the customer complaining that an analog engineer is needed to select the resistor, I see two fundamental problems.

1. It is a shame that a manager cannot trust basic number crunching to the engineers he  has. Even if all he has are digital guys, even they should have had the basic electronics training to perform resistor selection. Otherwise, I would question the schooling provided.

2. I believe that any application note should include not only the necessary parts, but other sundry parts that make the design work as a whole. For example, an ac-dc power supply design should not just show the front-end full-bridge rectifier, but also some of the other necessities that are part of ac protection such as MOVs, etc. Though not part of the chip directly, it would clue in the design engineer to think about the other aspects. And the application note should call this stuff out as well. Thus an engineer can see the number of parts required outside the basic chip design and not get surprised by, "Oh, and you will need this to protect this condition, and this to do that, etc."

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
6/17/2013 11:56:30 PM
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Blogger
Re: Isn't this Bait and Switch
@Scott - for you and me, it's no big deal to pick a resistor value and pick up the soldering iron. But as you noted, some other folks may not find it so easy to do. So I would agree with your understanding of the customer's point of view.

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Netcrawl
Netcrawl
6/17/2013 8:57:09 PM
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Master
Re: Isn't this Bait and Switch
@kendal I may agree with you, you have a good point here. The ease of design would provide some great help, all projects benefits great from the ability to visualize the design,a n engineer should always be able to check the design constantly and closely. Tha ability to get closer and move faster that's exactly what design doing for us, it doesn't make engineering skill less necessary, it only make things much better and faster.   

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