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Searching the Word ‘Analog’ on the Internet

Analog is a very unique word for the most part. The one exception I have found was that the freelancer’s website, upwork.com, returns a lot of results with analogy in them. However, I have had very good results in my search results of the word analog.

One such search didn’t yield any results and to this day it bothers me. Once upon a time there were two professors at the University of Arizona trying to push for an analog IC design curriculum. When I caught word that one of them (don’t recall his name) was leaving to pursue study in philosophy, I was greatly saddened. I happened to have his email at the time and inquired as to why he decided to leave. The response was that the political power within the EE department didn’t favor analog design. Having watched the want ads for over 30 years of Electrical Engineering positions, I have never seen a time when analog IC design wasn’t a coveted discipline. This goes for the times when major down turns in engineering were occurring.

I often search jobs by putting the word analog in search terms. Both LinkedIn and Craigslist usually return a wealth of opportunities. I even found business develop opportunities for startups using this search term.

Searching “analog” in Kickstarter results in three basic categories; clocks, sound, and photography. Sound relates to a number of synthesizer projects. There are also recording studio based projects to back. This search definitely narrows down the number of those seeking funding for their ideas in a sea of those requesting financial backing in order to make a dream a reality.

Jumping over to the nostalgic electronics paradise known as ebay, an “All Categories” search for analog is dominated by watches with some synthesizer auctions sprinkled in.

Narrowing the category search down to “ebay motors” still has a lot of watches. In addition to the synthesizer and audio products, a number of gauge related items start popping up. The elusive “working analog automotive clock” that David Letterman once featured on his show didn’t surface in the search results. I remember seeing that skit however I didn’t find a reference to it in a website search. Incidentally those clocks bring big bucks today. There are also “fix-it” industries based on repairing the clocks.

I believe there is a contact point cleaning technique associated with the fix like there are with the old style voltage regulators. I didn’t bother to learn the technique although it was outlined well in my El Camino and my Scout manuals that were written back when English dominated over Engrish. Instead, I chose to swap in an electronic version of the combined voltage regulator and alternator. I did leave the old voltage regulator hooked up and I enjoy the click it makes as the points contact when I turn the key on.

Getting back to that engineering mecca of ebay, searching the “toys and games” category for analog started getting into cool stuff like trains and servo motors. There was even a slot car version of a newer Camaro listed. This brought back memories of sparking slot cars zipping down a track. It always seemed that the cars with the ugliest bodies would beat my favorite versions such as the 60’s Batmobile. So much for a turbocharged jet engine pushing you along.

Searching analog in the category titled “Musical Instruments and Gear” in ebay surely resulted in a list of goodies that will most likely get me into trouble with the wives of my readers. There was “Cosmic Sound Effects – MIRROR GLOBE ANTENNA THEREMIN Synth – Analog – Sci Fi” a cool object entitled that popped up. Easy with the plastic boys even though ya just gotta have it.

Searching analog on ebay under the category “Cell phones and accessories” resulted in a lot of watches again. I thought watches were categorized as “jewelry and watches” instead of automotive, toys, and cell phones. No wonder the google algorithm penalizes users for Alt Text. It seems as though the practice of using any term and way to differentiate a web listing has spilled over from web pages to ebay. As usual, the practice of deception by a few bad apples penalizes the entire crowd.

Rumor has it that google.com actually penalizes websites for using Alt Text terms repeatedly. Regardless of the emphasis on watches, the category of “Cell phones and accessories” had a Motorola brick phone at number four as well as a VINTAGE Motorola Analog Cell Phone – 1990’s Bag Car Phone SCN2500A. I remember having one of these bag phones because it had a longer transmission range than the digital phones of the time. The bag looked like a classy bible. During the 1990’s when this phone was popular, I was laying down electronic GPS breadcrumbs in the desert while researching my first book, “The Four Wheel Drive Trails of Arizona”. I felt the extra signal power might get me out of a pickle if I needed it. Fortunately, that never happened.

It’s sad to think the Motorola analog phone versions that killed that company’s market leadership now bring prices for being nostalgic. The failure to leave analog phones in favor of digital ones along with that boat anchor known as Iridium (satellite-based phone) brought down a major company.

Searching analog on google.com resulted in a number of definitions and a reference to Analog Devices. Other such searches led to Burton which was totally based on clothing with nothing involving analog in terms of electronics or anything for that matter. More word-smithing and bait-and-switching just to get a page ranked I s’pose.

Searching analog on YouTube had some dude named Tyler the Creator topping the charts. This is probably some teeny bopper viral dude that’s selling a lot of music. Personally, I was more interested in some of the educational lectures that popped up. There were also some analog photography videos I might go back and check out.

In closing, realize that I went five pages out in my google search and the word “planet” never popped up. This isn’t a barb at the Planet Analog website. Rather, it’s a reference to the popularity of those people who “get it” like analog based engineers. We seem to be few and far between. Myself, I kind of like going where the competition is a little thinner. I keep telling my sons to stick with it because every time someone drops out, the competition is less. Of course there is some pride in the coolness of being analog….and like “The Big Bang Theory” is just might be cool to be analog someday.

4 comments on “Searching the Word ‘Analog’ on the Internet

  1. dayvidM
    February 22, 2017

    I must be an old-timer, I went to UA specifically for grad courses in analog IC design. Let's see IIRC: Drs. Hamilton, Kerwin, and Huelsman come to mind. Must be one or two others I've forgotten. Strong influence with Burr-Brown.

  2. jasonback
    May 10, 2017

    Searching the Word 'Analog' on the Internet

  3. Effective-Technical-Writing dot com
    June 27, 2017

    I worked with Dr. Ron Shrimpg (spelling?) and Dr. Witulski from the UofA.  Both eventually left I believe as other department agendas pushed analog to the back burned.  Kind of sad when you think about it as no matter what the market conditions for jobs were, analog designers were always needed.  We are creating fewer every day.  I myself would enjoy it if it didn't mean being changed to a screen 10 hours per day….yesterday was only 14 hours running my company.

  4. DavidHamilton
    October 1, 2018

    What I'm finding very interesting about this is that a few years down the road when they realise that the analogue designers are become a rarity, everybody is going to come flooding back. Hopefully the ones that have stuck around will be revered and demanded for like we deserve. Or at least that's wishful thinking for the good part of it now right? But honestly, I really do hope that people appreciate the expertise Analogue specialists bring to the party sooner rather than later!

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