The eternal war against the guys in building B

I wish that I could travel back in time, hand a copy of Horowitz’s book The Art of Electronics to younger me and say, “Read this thing. It will make talking to hardware engineers a bunch easier.”

I realize now that all the time the H/W engineers were wringing their hands and pulling their beards and basically being insufferable about how many watts something was consuming, what they were really saying was, “This stupid thing is drawing two fucking amps at 5 volts and we are going bugfuck crazy supplying that over a two meter wire and into a case which you say can’t have a fan. Can you save us from thermal and emotional meltdown by running about 50Mhz slower?” And we software engineers didn’t get it, and our reply was a haughty “No, we’re a platform, we might need those CPU cycles someday,” and we didn’t know that we’d come this close to being knifed in the kidneys after getting off an elevator reprogrammed to go to the darkened sub-sub basement of the Lair of the Hardware Engineers (building B), from which no software engineer has ever escaped, topologically intact.

So the next time I hear a switching power supply whine in protest, I will think of it as the squeals of pain of the engineers whose life I turned into a living hell because of my lack of appreciation for P = IV. I’m truly sorry. I wasn’t thinking. (And this is just the first chapter of that book).

Then again, we can do a crapload of really cool things with another ten percent of CPU reservation…


Author: landon

My mom thinks I'm in high tech.

One thought on “The eternal war against the guys in building B”

  1. Similar story over here. I’m currently relearning all the analogue electronics I’ve forgotten since secondary school. Slowly but surely I’m working my way through a university entry level textbook on the physics of electronics. I bought a two channel 20Mhz oscilloscope, a signal generator, a dual lab power supply, and a host of analogue components for the price of a cheapish PC. The equipment was all made in China and is of good quality. I’m old enough to be amazed that such a setup can be bought for so little money. I expect to be finished this time next year.

    I’ve also spent most of this year messing around with digital electronics and FPGAs. I’m now at the point where I’m designing and implementing my own CPUs. I just got myself a good book on degitial design and Verilog and a Nano-DE0 FPGA development board and worked through the book. It’s been great fun and alot easier than I expected.

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