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Planet Analog ‘Ask the Experts’ Monthly Technical Sessions

As the new Editor-in-chief at Planet Analog, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Brad Albing, my predecessor, for all the hard work he did at Planet Analog. Brad has left for other interests and we wish him success in his new endeavors.

I will be changing a number of things at Planet Analog, and one of the first new (but not so new) additions will be to have more tutorial and educational tech blogs. This is something that Planet Analog in the past has excelled at and I believe that the readers (you) will appreciate this restoration. This change will be ramping up in February. Please do give me feedback as to what else you would like to see on Planet Analog — we are here for you.

A brand new addition will be the monthly “Ask the experts” session in which we will have a panel of the best experts in the industry for each topic. I will be starting with a kind of chat session and I hope ultimately to morph these sessions into voice and reader submissions of questions that I can rank in order of importance to the topic, which I then route to the experts for them to answer.

For the first session, on March 26 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time (10:00 a.m. Pacific) to accommodate any European colleagues, we will begin with the basics — the Transistor. Transistor design is a lost art for analog designers. There are many occasions when a simple piece of circuitry will suffice for a system need as part of an overall design. (Linear Technology and industry expert Bob Dobkin gave me this idea for the first session — I was thinking about the Op Amp, but I love the idea of starting with the very simple, but not too simple, basics.)

I will be giving you a rolling three-month schedule of sessions every month. On April 23, we will feature Linear Regulators, and on May 21 we will have the Voltage and Current tutorial.

Finally, I will be instituting “Design Challenges,” in which our readers may submit a design challenge they are having. I will submit those to all Planet Analog readers in a blog so that you may chime in with your expertise and suggestions for a solution, and with robust design commentary. This will begin in mid-February.

We value your input, so please do comment on what you would like to see more of on Planet Analog. I’m listening.

32 comments on “Planet Analog ‘Ask the Experts’ Monthly Technical Sessions

  1. ernie.hanks
    February 11, 2014

    I think a section/forum for newbies to ask short Analog-related questions and see if people are willing to answer would be amazing. Rather than lengthy discussion blogs, I'm thinking more simple/quick: i.e. “I'm looking for a low-input bias current Op Amp. What should I look for?” A: “JFET op amps blablabla”.

    With only a few Analog years behind me, more often-than-not my questions can be answered in 30seconds by someone with alot more experience; or atleast guide me with some key words/designs of what to research.

  2. Steve Taranovich
    February 11, 2014

    Perfect Ernie—you get it! That's the plan—you ask the experts, they comment and you respond again if you need more clarity, but most times a quick tech insightful reply will turn the creative “light” on inside of you!

  3. chirshadblog
    February 12, 2014

    @Steve: Good point. What I feel is that it would be more effective if there is a live help channel being implemented. That will allow users to get help instantly rather than waiting for days

  4. Steve Taranovich
    February 12, 2014

    @chrishadblog—I monitor all comments on this site, so I am pretty close to being a live help channel, especially with the “Design Challenge” area coming up and this “Ask the Experts” section on Planet Analog. Any and all questions will be answered in an expedient manner

  5. ernie.hanks
    February 12, 2014

    Hi Steve,

    I was referring to a separate forum section that is more of an open-post-for-questions whenever. Not necessarily creating new blogs, but a totally separate Forum. That way it's not only available once per month or require you digging through comments, but somewhere people can just pull up and post an open question on the fly. 

    More of a lunch-time browsing through of technical quick questions people are seeking answers to.

  6. RedDerek
    February 12, 2014

    There is the Electronics_101 list on Yahoo that I watch. There are good questions there (granted that some conversations can divert). I will share this information with that group in order to try and drum up more readership.

  7. Steve Taranovich
    February 12, 2014

    Thanks RedDerek—it will be worth their while—I am working on getting Bob Dobkin, co-founder of Linear Technology and now CTO; Howard Skolnik, a Burr-Brown operational amplifier guru, someone from National Semiconductor and maybe a professor from one of the Enineering universities to round out the experts.

  8. samicksha
    February 13, 2014

    Sounds good Steve although we were doing good through blog as well, but questionare specific area will yield more knowledge and learning.

  9. chirshadblog
    February 13, 2014

    @samicksha: Yes indeed and that will help to explore the ideas. Questioners means that you ask what has been bought by the community / users. So its like addressing the common issues

  10. Davidled
    February 14, 2014

    I wonder how these catalogs (Application, Design and Theory) will be classified in the future Planet Analog House. I think that these sections would be separated based on blog post.  For example, all applications belong to one group tab. Other topic will be belonged to the separated group tab.

  11. PCR
    February 22, 2014

    Steve All the very best for your new thoughts
    I personally like the session with experts because it will b a great way to learn thought the experience. If you could add some videos to the article it will be much better.

  12. Steve Taranovich
    February 22, 2014

    @DaeJ—The look of the home page will have more tabs at the top to categorize all the new learning elements. I think you will like the “new” Planet Analog, which is really the “old” Planet Analog with much more educational content.

  13. Steve Taranovich
    February 22, 2014

    @Ranasinghe—Tutorial videos will be categorized separately and will add to our readers learning experience at your leisure

  14. geek
    February 23, 2014

    @Steve: Thanks for posting this blog to ask for feedback. I have a software background and my area of integration with the electronics world is through software simulation. I'd like to see more content on Planet Analog regarding simulation. This can include information about what's the latest development in this area, what leading platforms are being used and what's there in the future.

  15. geek
    February 23, 2014

    “I wonder how these catalogs (Application, Design and Theory) will be classified in the future Planet Analog House.”

    @DaeJ: Are you referring to catalogs for electronic components by different companies? I'm not sure how these can fit in the blog. These might make the blog seem too commercial and take away the information part from it. The opinion from independent users on these components is fine but a catalog doesn't seem a good option to me.

  16. geek
    February 23, 2014

    “If you could add some videos to the article it will be much better.”

    @Ranasinghe: I think videos help a lot in making the articles more interesting but it's difficult to find relevant videos for every blog that fit with the theme. May be the vidoes would go well while explaining about a particular technology but not so well with blogs that are related to critique and opinions.

  17. Steve Taranovich
    February 23, 2014

    @tzubair—-excellent input regarding simulation! I will plan a section on this as well

  18. Steve Taranovich
    February 23, 2014

    @tzubair—I think DaeJ meant cataloging or sections for different areas on Planet Analog like headings for tech videos, etc

  19. Davidled
    February 23, 2014

    As supplement for other folks, for example, when reviewing article archives, all articles have been sorted by latest date/time, but these articles could be classified by each area, if it is possible. The problem is that “analog” has a very broad subject area.

  20. Steve Taranovich
    February 23, 2014

    @DaeJ—you are right—we will try to get like items categorized for easy access

  21. geek
    February 28, 2014

    “I think DaeJ meant cataloging or sections for different areas on Planet Analog like headings for tech videos, etc”

    @Steve: In that case that's fine. I took the word catalog to refer to commercial catalogs containing descriptions about products offered by different companies.

  22. SunitaT
    February 28, 2014

    @Steve, congratulations to you. I think Ask the experts is a very good idea. I think one suggestion i would like to give is use of powerpoints in the discussion. Can we upload the powerpoints to the website before the session so that it helps the participants.

  23. SunitaT
    February 28, 2014

    I think a section/forum for newbies to ask short Analog-related questions and see if people are willing to answer would be amazing. 

    @ernie, I totally agree with your opinion. I think there are hardly any websites where you can ask Analog-related questions. I think such sessions will definitely help the students and professionals to understand the Analog design better.

  24. SunitaT
    February 28, 2014

    What I feel is that it would be more effective if there is a live help channel being implemented. 

    @chirshadblog, when you live help channel do you mean channels which are open all the time ? I think it would be difficult to implement it on daily basis.

     

  25. SunitaT
    February 28, 2014

    There is the Electronics_101 list on Yahoo that I watch.

    @RedDerek, that is a very good idea. I think every member of community can contribute to this list of questions. I think we can make a list of frequently asked questions like what is virtual ground, how pinch off happens etc. This will help the students who are just entering analog domain to clear their basics.

  26. SunitaT
    February 28, 2014

    I'd like to see more content on Planet Analog regarding simulation.

    @tzubair, I agree with you. Simulation is integral part of analog design. I think we would also like to see more about PDK and why it is crucial to understand the process node in order to do the analog design.

  27. SunitaT
    February 28, 2014

    Sounds good Steve although we were doing good through blog as well, but questionare specific area will yield more knowledge and learning.

    @samicksha, I think questionare specific are will definitely help readers/student because it gives them platform to interact with the industry experts. I am sure many number of students and professionals will tune-in to this program.

  28. SunitaT
    February 28, 2014

    Tutorial videos will be categorized separately and will add to our readers learning experience at your leisure

    @steve, can we also have simulations showing how the things actually work. We can use flash based or java based simulators to create such simulations. This will help the users to understand the basics in better way.

  29. SunitaT
    February 28, 2014

    I think videos help a lot in making the articles more interesting but it's difficult to find relevant videos for every blog that fit with the theme.

    @tzubair, I totally agree with you. I think video content is already avaialable online on so many different websites. I think  we can just post link to that video. 

  30. amrutah
    February 28, 2014

    @SunitaT: I completely agree here, having a set of slides ahead of the discussion will be surely helpful to focus the discussion.

       Another point would be to cover the experiences or experiments with transistor (a small section of the discussion).  While most of the analog design books discuss transistor small signal models, single stage amplifiers etc., device modelling (berkeley or ekv) kind of stuff will help a lot.

  31. amrutah
    February 28, 2014

    @Steve: Congratulations to you and many Thanks to Brad for handling the site.

      The initiative you mentioned are very exciting.  I look forward for the design challenges you mentioned. One suggestion would be to cover the references before we jump into Linear regulators and the later topic depends on a precise reference voltage.

     I learnt a lot reading the great “Bob Pease stuff“.

    Thanks again and hope to learn a lot here.

  32. amrutah
    February 28, 2014

    @SunitaT: I agree.  The best part is that the chat/discussion will be at 8 a.m. PST which means people from Europe, India can attend too… Cheers.. Hurray!

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