Head: The new Planet Analog editor says “hi”
Hello to all! I'm Bill Schweber, and I am taking over Planet Analog from Steve Ohr. Although I am new to this site and the EE Times roster, I am not new to the industry, engineering, or the world of “analog.” I've been involved with the analog world specifically, and electronics industry in general, at another publication for many years.
I'll be responsible for assessing, focusing on, and writing about the analog world from the perspective of an engineer–since that's what I am. I have a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering, I've worked as a system designer and debugger on closed-loop control systems, I've held applications, marketing, and public relations roles at a major analog IC company, and I have written hundreds of technical articles, opinion pieces, product analyses, as well as three textbooks. So analog is, to me, more than just a buzzword or catchphrase.
What's my “broad-brush” view of the analog world and its practitioners? Serious analog designers will tell you, somewhat facetiously, that “digital” design is just a specialized case of “analog” design, and often a good op amp is worth a thousand logic gates (look at the design and BOM for a high-speed peak detector using an all-analog circuit, compared to one using an A/D in continuous-sampling mode and a processor).
I believe that there are two groups of designers who are doing “analog”: those for whom analog design and considerations are an inherent part of their signal processing chain–whether it be related to sensors, real-word I/O, the physical layer of connectivity, power sources and rails, or large amounts of current and voltage; and there are those for whom it is a necessary although unwelcome environment, such as designers implementing high-speed systems, especially those with sensitive, low-level circuitry in the same design. This second group is worried about crosstalk, RFI/EMI, slew rate, line loading, and other realities that the nice, clean world of ones and zeroes doesn't consider in principle, but must do so in practice, and they have come to “analog” as a consequence of physics rather than objective.
I know that analog design is an often mysterious mix of analysis and intuition, of discipline and experience, and of careful planning and inexplicable observations. My goal is to serve both audiences, so perhaps they will find a way to respect each other's priorities and objectives along the way!