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Welcome to Planet Analog

Hello there, I’m Brad Albing, and I’m excited to be your host on the new Planet Analog! As editor in chief, it’s my goal to work with you all to develop the next chapter in the storied history of this site, which for many of you has served as the filter of note for anything to do with the true art of analog design for over 16 years. It’s an honor I don’t take lightly, though I will ask you to be patient with me as I find my own way around our new home.

So, “What’s new? Why the new site? And who are you?” I hear you say. Well for starters, everything is new. The analog world is developing and changing rapidly. New design tools are becoming available, and designers are expected to quickly accelerate up steeper and shorter learning curves while acquiring multi-disciplinary skills to meet the analog/mixed-signal and digital requirements of next-generation — and even today’s — designs. Analog designers, both new and expert, need as much help as they can get, as quickly as they can get it.

Enter the new Planet Analog. Developed on a community platform custom built for fast, rapid-fire blogs, conversations, and discussions using the latest in online media, the site is dedicated to teaching and sharing the fundamentals of analog while keeping you up to date with the latest developments, tools, technologies, trends, tips and tricks, and techniques. Oh, and to having a bit of fun in the process too, otherwise, what’s the point?

As for me, well, I’ve been doing analog design for over 30 years, most recently at Intersil as an FAE, and before that with Philips Medical, so I have a bit of experience and know-how under my belt that I’m eager to share as we go along. That said, this is a two-way street and I’m hoping to learn as much as anyone as we go along.

We will explore many analog topics here. Some of the topics may be esoteric or deal with odd nomenclature and jargon. I’ll try to explain as we go and am hoping you’ll chime in wherever you think you may have a better explanation or tip. I encourage you to read all the posts from me and from our guest contributors. I also encourage you to comment, agree, disagree, argue, fuss, and perhaps even be provocative (within the bounds of good taste) about what is posted.

With so much going on it’s safe to say I can’t do all the writing, I encourage you to join our merry team of analog experts and become a contributor by submitting your own blogs. These blogs are typically 500 word (±100 words) essays on any topic that relates to analog design and can be any combination of useful, interesting, fun, informative, or all of the above.

That could mean analog circuit design, IC design, trouble-shooting, amusing stories and anecdotes, etc. As you know, analog covers a broad area — could be op-amp circuitry, power supplies, sensors, ADCs, DACs, DAQ systems, interface, RF, EMI, EMC, PLLs, etc. And they could actually be longer if you've got something to say that needs more space. But if you don’t need a bunch of space, just keep in mind that these don’t have to be The Great American Novel, just a quick blog.

As I alluded to above, part of my mission is to bring new engineers into the fold — perhaps get engineers who are primarily doing digital design to look into analog engineering. Or to encourage college-level students to pursue analog engineering. That’s why we need to get a dialogue going, and we need that dialogue to be encouraging and respectful. As I said above, it can be provocative, but within the bounds of good taste.

For the newer engineers, there are no stupid questions. You aren’t born knowing about how offset voltage drifts with temperature or how to get two very high-speed ADCs properly interleaved. So when someone brings up a topic and there is a need for more info, jump in and ask questions. Keep discussing until you know all you need to know. We will probably have blogs posted from time to time that discuss in a detailed manner how to prototype particular circuits. If you duplicate some of that prototype work on your own lab bench, you should gain even more insight into the design problems being discussed. And again, ask questions about what is posted. Keep pushing to learn more.

In sum, I hope to be able to leverage what I've been taught by those who came before me over the years to help inspire us all to generate the questions that we can answer here together on Planet Analog: All Signal, No Noise.

15 comments on “Welcome to Planet Analog

  1. HaileyMck
    January 11, 2013

    We need more resources like this…i've been watching electronic evolve and become more important for decades (I remember when only high end cars had microprocessors for example).  The issues are getting more complicated and we need all the help we can get.

  2. MarilynC
    January 11, 2013

    Looks like you have an interesting bio, a great site, and some interesting topics to explore. I'm looking forwarrd to learning more about the analog world with you as a guide.

  3. Keith Dawson
    January 11, 2013

    “All signal no noise” — love it. I'm not an analog engineer but have ongoing curiosity about almost anything of a technical nature. I hope to learn here!

  4. TomMurphy
    January 11, 2013

    Glad for Brad, and I like his new “planet” which is a good reminder of the analog reality around us. I hope to learn a lot from the blogs and won't be shy about confessing my confusion when that arises.  Thanks for a great new site!

  5. TheMeasurementBlues
    January 11, 2013

    Brad,

    Analog engineers are probably the most vocal of all those in electrical engineering. I base that on my experience as editor of EDN Design Ideas for three years. Put a circuit on your site (you don't need many words) and let them analyze away. They'll tell you everyting that can possibly go wrong, and that's good because we learn more when circuits don't work than when the do. Let's face it, nobody analyses working circuits, only those that don't.

    We could all learn from analyzing good designs, but too often, if something works we just go on to the next design.

    When I was DI editor, the best circuits got the fewest comments. Digital circuits also drew few comments. That's because they're digital: The either work or they don't. Analog with all it's subtleties, is much for open to discussion. So, just keep posting schematics in the blogs and you'll have great fun here.

    The beauty of analog circuits is the every schematic is a teardown for us to analyze, scrutinize, and learn from, and improve.

     

  6. TheMeasurementBlues
    January 11, 2013

    Brad, I know you'll keep the SNR high.

  7. alison diana
    January 11, 2013

    Fantastic debut, Brad. Planet Analog looks like a great place for engineers to come together, share ideas, and see what's going on. Congrats on creating such a fantastic community.

  8. Brad Albing
    January 14, 2013

    I'm aiming for 100%. We'll see how close I get….

  9. Brad Albing
    January 14, 2013

    Thanks! I appreciate you taking the time to read my stuff. And to comment. And yes, there should be some good discussions going on.

  10. Lee H Goldberg
    January 14, 2013

    I'll second the kudos on the subtitle. With so many techology/engineering sites adopting En-Gadget's breezy, flashy, nearly content-free style, it's really a pleasure to stumble on an editor who is intent on setting their sails for deeper waters.

    As a somewhat analog-challenged former embedded engineer, I'll look forward to learning a lot from the contributors and the readers that a homey, thoughtful forum like this is likely to attract. I'll do my best to not a complete lurker and add my $0.02 whenever I've got something potentially useful or interesting to say, but will be careful to avoid adding to the “noise floor”.

    Congratulations and thanks again!

  11. rick.merritt
    January 14, 2013

    I hope to learn a few things about what's hot in analog by following the site.

    I look forward to meeting you at DesignCon

  12. MClayton
    January 17, 2013

    Over the years there have been many tutorials in he analog world, from devices to circuits to processing tricks needed for precision performance.   This site might help bring some digital folks into the realities of analog, since many of them work on SOC's now days, but have “analog guru” partners.  It might also help students, reduce the fear of analog process, device and design interactions. 

  13. Brad Albing
    January 17, 2013

    Agreed – our thinking is that the work we are doing here can only help.

  14. patrick_m
    January 17, 2013

    Hey Brad, just wondering: when or why would you interleave two high-speed A/Ds?

  15. Brad Albing
    January 18, 2013

    Hi Patrick – short answer – when you need a very or super high-speed conversion rate and the ADCs you have are not fast enough (by a factor of [e.g.] 2 or 4). Improving the S/N ratio is also a factor. For a longer answer – well, that'll be a topic for another blog.

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