What’s All This Bob Pease Stuff Anyhow?

Bob Pease in a Nutshell

Bob Pease in a Nutshell

If you’ve done any electronics hacking, designing, pondering, or frustrating, you may have googled your way to Bob Pease and one of his articles that follows the title format, “What’s all this XYZ Stuff, Anyways?” where XYZ is an arcane, important mystery of electrical engineering steeped in dogma, myth, and cloudy mystery. His M.O. is to blow all that fuzz away and leave clear understanding and core concepts. He’s one of those authors that make you feel smarter. Here are some of his articles from Electronic Design. They paywall many others, but they were nice enough to share some of the Best (by their reckoning) and the Control Systems ones are certainly of interest to me

What’s All This P-I-D Stuff, Anyhow?
What’s All This Double-Clutching Stuff, Anyhow?
What’s All This Negative Feedback Stuff, Anyhow?
What’s All This Spicey Stuff, Anyhow? (Part II)
Bob’s Mailbox: Audio Quality, A Crazy Rack, And The PE Exam
What’s All This Input Impedance Stuff, Anyhow?
What’s All This Current Limiter Stuff, Anyhow?

If you like watching him chat it up and seeing the demos, his videos by TI and others are all over youtube, which I am sure he could have replicated using 6 op amps and a pair of LEDs.

Ender’s Game and the risk of picture booking

Ender's Game, the original mysterious cover art that will now be superseded by the 'Now a Major Motion Picture' version

Ender’s Game, the original mysterious cover art that will now be superseded by the ‘Now a Major Motion Picture’ version

When I was a kid, we got those great little flip books with a record or tape included. The tape had all the narration and sound effects of, say Return of the Jedi, and the book had the accompanying snapshots from the movie. You knew it was time to turn to the next page in the book when the audio tape made a ‘beep’ or if the production team was clever, a lightsabre noise.

This is well and good when quickly mapping a 2 hour movie into a 20 page kids book with a cassette tape inside the front cover, but not so good when working in the reverse and using source material like, an galaxy-spanning drama that asks Big Questions about meaning of dominance and empathy through a bullied child-genius bred to save humanity.
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Book Review: Information Graphics published by Taschen


Taschen, 145,366 pages (approximately)

This is physically the largest book I own, and I managed to get it home from LA in my carry on baggage somehow. Probably the most thoughtful part of this book is the initial mini book that is slightly inset in the first 96 pages; It is a historical view of information graphics, from their origin through the 20th century.

Taschen book: oil rigThe book is an example of its subject, being information and graphics. It is inspirational, in that it can be opened randomly for a new hint into visualizing numbers and making meaningful emphasis out of large data sets. But it can also be used systematically to identify the type of data that must be presented and solutions for its presentation: the sections are divided into graphics which best show data based on Location, Time, Hierarchy, and Category.

Of course, this is a book, and so animated, or interactive infographics can’t be easily shown, however I’ve found that if you can’t get your meaning across in a static infographic, at least as a storyboard or infographic, you are not going to benefit a user by making them play with your interactive interface.


There is a reason that the pioneer and voyager space probes have infographics written on them, as their first means of communication with any alien intelligence that may find them, and this is certainly a universal language which it is worth being literate in. As with any language, it is harder to create simplicity that it first seems, and this book is a great support to lean up against in the first few minutes of planning your next bar chart or 9 dimensional genetic map of Canadian immigration patterns. Continue reading

Oh yeah, the Arduino

$T2eC16d,!)kE9s4,BL5tBRnWzK3EZg~~60_35The California Science Center is now home to the Space Shuttle Endeavour, and while I get together my article on the exhibit, I wanted to share a bit of fun that was had with the Metal Earth laser cut “metalgami” model I picked up there:

These little models are precision made and kind of make you wish you were precision made to the same level. This is somewhere between origami and “Slot A into Tab B” kind of work and the fun is definitely in the assembly.

Still, it is a little bit of genius to see how each 3D form comes from a piece of a common metal sheet, and all you really need is a pair of tweezers and maybe a few wooden dowels and a straightedge to get some of the curves right.

Is it for Kids? Certain kinds of kids – the ones that work with Lego Technic or Kinex or, of course, origami. Is it for Engineers who grew up with the Shuttle? Heck yes.

Arduino for time-lapse

The time-lapse video was made with an arduino board that triggered the infrared remote receiver of an EOS-M every 2 seconds or so. Extra parts were a 9V battery (in the 5V board power input) and a standard IR LED. The EOS-M is a cheap way to get a good APS-C -sized sensor in a tiny package, but has no straightforward way to remote trigger via a cable.


Canon APS-C wide zooms – EF-M versus EF-S

Yay Canon Canada

EF-S 10-22mm with adapter versus EF-M 11-22mm

EF-S 10-22mm with adapter versus EF-M 11-22mm The red area shows an overlay of   equivalent size.

I have had the 11-22 for a week or so now from Henry’s here in Canada and took the chance to compare it to the 10-22 EF-S with the EF-M to EF adapter on the EOS-M. Up until now I’ve kept the 10-22 on the EOS-M for tourist and casual shooting as well as a few commercial shoots as a secondary camera.

Considering that a good micro four thirds  super wide costs $650-$800 and the EF-S 10-22mm is closer to $900, $400 is a bit of a steal.

Here are my findings in using it and comparing it to the EF-S 10-22mm

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