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IP Nightmares
Engineering Investigations  
4/9/2013   6 comments
While we accept the necessity of IP, everyone seems to have plenty of grips as well. What are your biggest complaints about IP developers or users?
What were they thinking: no transparency
Engineering Investigations  
4/5/2013   3 comments
I am getting on my soapbox today to complain about the way tickets are sold for large concerts. This may not be true where you are but this is the way it is done in Portland…
My MP3 player won't shut up
Engineering Investigations  
3/26/2013   13 comments
Thanks to some type of hardware/software glitch, my inexpensive MP3 player just won't shut down.
What were they thinking: A clock
Engineering Investigations  
3/22/2013   18 comments
It is amazing what some people consider simple or complex. While time is not the most rational number system and decimal might be easier, this patent has another idea…
Embedded vision: Is your smartphone watching you?
Engineering Investigations  
3/18/2013   11 comments
The new Galaxy S4 smartphone from Samsung will be able to use its camera to watch you watching it.
Un-compromising a compromised iPhone?
Engineering Investigations  
3/5/2013   4 comments
My friend has an iPhone, which he believes has been compromised.
PCBs help take the measure of Mars
Engineering Investigations  
3/1/2013   1 comment
Determining thermal effects on general purpose pc boards is tough, but it’s another story to control PCB reliability in mission critical applications where device failure is not an option.
What were they thinking: Can a mouse be used for that
Engineering Investigations  
3/1/2013   8 comments
Crazy patents are often the work of a single person who wants to become a mad inventor, but large corporations do it as well…
What were they thinking: the iWatch is coming
Engineering Investigations  
2/22/2013   1 comment
OK, so perhaps that is a little premature, but Apple thinks the idea has enough merit that they have filed a patent about it. At the moment it has not be granted, but it does provide some interesting insights…
What were they thinking: heated glasses
Engineering Investigations  
2/15/2013   19 comments
I love it when something thinks they are being really clever and yet it is also clear that they don’t have a clue. How many ways would this invention not work…
USB 3.0 makes itself right at home
Engineering Investigations  
1/31/2013   1 comment
The latest connectivity technology promises to revolutionize electronics in the home.
Dis-ARMing the data center – Separating myth from reality
Engineering Investigations  
12/12/2012   11 comments
ARM keeps talking the microserver talk, but when is it going to start walking the walk? And is it even worth it?
Circuit protection; shock tactics in real time
Engineering Investigations  
11/12/2012   2 comments
When you’re dealing with something as volatile as electricity, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. At least, that’s what fuse maker Littelfuse believes, and the reason why the firm is putting its not so little weight behind an initiative that promises to deliver rapid responses, in real time, to engineers working on designs requiring circuit protection.
Prototyping your way to shorter design cycles
Engineering Investigations  
10/30/2012   Post a comment
This articles contains two case studies where design teams on different continents were able to reduce their design cycle time. In both of these examples, the design teams used virtual prototyping and accurate models...
Simulations show pilots should steer clear of wind farms
Engineering Investigations  
9/6/2012   20 comments
Questioning the risk of wind farms for ultra-light aircraft, researchers have developed a simulation tool that can compute how power plants influence aircraft at various wind speeds and wind directions.
How well does Gorilla Glass work?
Engineering Investigations  
9/6/2012   6 comments
Most smart phones these days come equipped with Gorilla Glass - a scratch resistant and toughened glass. But exactly how tough is it? Can you safely drop your device? What about all the shrapnel in my pockets - will they scratch or damage my beloved smart phone?
Controlling noise – the great engineering challenge for wireless devices
Engineering Investigations  
9/4/2012   4 comments
Increased RF design complexity makes it almost impossible to fully contain noise and emissions that impact transmission and reception.
iPhone iOS6 finds better connection when Wi-Fi is overwhelmed
Engineering Investigations  
8/30/2012   13 comments
Rumor has it that Apple’s new iOS 6 operating system, due to launch in the next quarter, will contain a feature that keeps users connected to the best possible network at all times.
Opinion: Security is the Achilles heel
Engineering Investigations  
8/16/2012   9 comments
One of the first changes that must occur is in the way Internet of Things System-on-Chip devices are designed and manufactured…
Deconstructing complex semiconductors layer by layer
Engineering Investigations  
7/5/2012   4 comments
Recently, our sister company UBM TechInsights delivered a webinar on how it goes about doing the magic it does to uncover the secrets within semiconductors and other bits of integrated circuitry used in all the devices we’ve come to know and love.
Multi-Platform Integration
Engineering Investigations  
4/19/2012   8 comments
Balloons, they seem like a simple product ... that’s what I use to think before I was asked to build a machine to make foil balloons.
Controller PCB problem solved
Engineering Investigations  
1/24/2012   7 comments
Problem with a controller PCB causes significant yield loss at an off-shore drive assembly plant and Ravinder is sent in to investigate...
Wire we fixing this
Engineering Investigations  
1/19/2012   5 comments
Dwight has a story from his academic years and work done at a company that "built just about anything."
HMI squeeze
Engineering Investigations  
1/18/2012   6 comments
Problems with the human-machine interface on a Korean drilling platform have the users stumped ... until they call in the engineer, of course.
Liquidated damages
Engineering Investigations  
1/11/2012   10 comments
Sometimes it's necessary to resort to a bit of stealth work to preserve your reputation...
Getting a buzz
Engineering Investigations  
12/27/2011   5 comments
A shocking development while dangling 80 feet off the ground. Oh my!
FDDI built-in test
Engineering Investigations  
11/14/2011   Post a comment
One of the many tasks I have had as a Hardware and Software Engineer is troubleshooting unintended consequences of design decisions made many years previously. Sometimes the decision was made by others, sometimes I throw a wrench in the gears all by myself.
Things that go BOOM
Engineering Investigations  
11/1/2011   6 comments
One visit to a hydro plant takes the entire Southwest Virginia Power Company offline...go Sparky!
The SED Problem
Engineering Investigations  
10/24/2011   13 comments
A famous comedian said, "I hate it when that happens!" That phrase got used every time I had to decipher, debug, or improve on Someone Else's Design.
Lights aren't so bright
Engineering Investigations  
10/10/2011   15 comments
Confusing symptoms and misleading markings lead to a lengthy fault finding process for what turned out to be a simple problem.
Audio transport yields mixed success
Engineering Investigations  
8/30/2011   3 comments
In one of my many stints of developing electronic gizmos as a contractor for the government, I was asked to build a transport device that would take in analog audio, transport it a distance, and then output it in a proprietary digital link format.
Pick the best Engineering Investigations piece
Engineering Investigations  
6/1/2011   6 comments
We've been around the world, drunk Calvados in exotic locations, waded knee-deep in exploding mice, ground our teeth at management ineptitude and learned the value of teamwork. Now, it's time to help determine the best of the latest Engineering Investigations blog submissions!
It always worked before, so you broke it
Engineering Investigations  
5/18/2011   26 comments
When a new model malfunctions right before ship, why is the software guy always blamed?
Knee deep in exploding mice
Engineering Investigations  
5/11/2011   25 comments
Does five years as an engineer mean no more mistakes? Probably not.
So many toys vying for affection
Engineering Investigations  
5/6/2011   24 comments
Do ham radio operators make good engineers or do good engineers make ham radio operators?
What’s that short in my PA?
Engineering Investigations  
5/4/2011   16 comments
What is there for an engineer to do on tiny Marion Island--home in 1984 to eight men and many, many mice?
OK, your dad primes his fuel injected engine with gas and you fixed it with a TTL logic probe...what kind of family is this anyway?
Engineering Investigations  
5/2/2011   6 comments
Troublesome truck engine takes plenty of determination and clever sleuthing. Could you have solved this one?
Diamonds are forever
Engineering Investigations  
5/2/2011   7 comments
The challenge, take a diamond sorting machine that has been working well for many years...and make it better.
We have met the enemy and it is management
Engineering Investigations  
4/29/2011   19 comments
A new factory with 200 ft of beautifully designed burn tunnels...what could possibly go wrong?
Speaking out of line
Engineering Investigations  
4/29/2011   7 comments
Fix a crashing embedded development platform or enjoy a summer evening outdoors...which would you pick?
IGBTs Transmit Woe to Analog Signal Conditioning
Engineering Investigations  
4/22/2011   10 comments
The ship date is looming, but a noisy VFAC drive creating huge signal spikes refuses to be calmed.
A Jar of Tomatoes Saves Rocket Avionics Project
Engineering Investigations  
4/21/2011   8 comments
Food preserving saved the day when a deadline was fast approaching and there was no pressure chamber to be found.
Brrr! Transmitter failure in the Arctic chill
Engineering Investigations  
4/21/2011   1 comment
What caused the transmitter to fail at night but work the next day?
Sorry, I can only do one thing at a time
Engineering Investigations  
4/14/2011   15 comments
Obscure islands, a bottle of Calvados, a protocol analyzer and a problem
Hardware mess cleaned up with software
Engineering Investigations  
4/14/2011   10 comments
Often little things (and software) matter when a design isn't working properly
Using a Tektronix 834 to fix a balky printer
Engineering Investigations  
4/13/2011   4 comments
How to fix a remote British Airways printer, while wrestling with oddball IBM bit protocols in a far-away land
'Newbie' engineer and the attack of the solder blobs
Engineering Investigations  
4/12/2011   9 comments
A 'newbie' EE proves that term is relative when he solves a pc-board failure
New Engineering Investigations: Win a Tektronix scope!
Engineering Investigations  
4/4/2011   7 comments
The new Engineering Investigations competition will give away a Tektronix scope for the winning entry
The case of the flat panel TV scream
Engineering Investigations  
3/9/2011   38 comments
A mysterious screaming noise means one man's trash becomes another man's treasure
The pain of the blame was mainly on the plane
Engineering Investigations  
3/3/2011   12 comments
Things work out much better when H/W and S/W developers work together in mutual respect as a team.
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