Breaking News
Blog

Jobs house burglarized

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Threaded | Newest First | Oldest First
old account Frank Eory
User Rank
Rookie
re: Jobs house burglarized
old account Frank Eory   8/22/2012 8:45:54 PM
NO RATINGS
Nice blog Brian. Indeed, there are some rare historical treasures in that square mile. It may be difficult to preserve such treasures in a residential area, but thanks for your words that help spread the memory.

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
re: Jobs house burglarized
David Ashton   8/22/2012 8:50:30 PM
NO RATINGS
"...gave birth to the invention of the three-element radio vacuum tube 100 years ago this year." That, in my opinion, is something worth celebrating. The triode marked the beginning of electronics as we know it. How about an EETimes campaign to get this event properly recognised, Brian?

pmoyle111
User Rank
Rookie
re: Jobs house burglarized
pmoyle111   8/24/2012 8:03:35 PM
NO RATINGS
Arguably, the triode still produces the finest audio to be had.

Brian Fuller2
User Rank
Rookie
re: Jobs house burglarized
Brian Fuller2   8/22/2012 10:03:29 PM
NO RATINGS
David, great minds think alike. This post actually started out as a celebration of the century-mark of the De Forest work, focusing on the fact that this amazing place has a crappy little historical marker buried in the flowers outside. I'd like somehow to tie it to you guys... maybe a degrees-of-separation thing... what you're working on today is related to this which was related to that which was a direct descendant of the tube. Thoughts?

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
re: Jobs house burglarized
David Ashton   8/22/2012 11:26:32 PM
NO RATINGS
HI Brian. A year so so ago I put together a presentation on the history of electronics for a course I was doing. I had the triode as being invented in 1907. However the wording on the plaque gives 1911-13 as the years when it was put to practical use in amps and oscillators. One of my slides made the point that the ICs of today contain a billion or more transistors in a small fraction of the size of a tube. And these days there would be engineers who use these things who don't even know about tubes. We've come a long way....

Bert22306
User Rank
CEO
re: Jobs house burglarized
Bert22306   8/23/2012 1:23:47 AM
NO RATINGS
I'm with you entirely on the importance of the triode. And as you no doubt know, but some in the US might not, it is aptly named "valve," in English and other languages. Because that's exactly what it is and why it was so transformational. I wasn't aware that the electronic tube was also invented there. I think that predates any reference to "silicon," as in "Silicon Valley," eh?

Traces
User Rank
Rookie
re: Jobs house burglarized
Traces   8/23/2012 3:37:11 PM
NO RATINGS
Lee De Forest? Inventor of the triode? Lee DeForest was, at best, a confidence man, and was proved the fool in court by Armstrong when LD couldn't explain in any fashion how the triode worked. LD patented many configurations of wires in tubes (including some with the grid outside the plate!) without any idea whatsoever how they worked. Engineering has no business venerating such a guy.

cdhmanning
User Rank
Rookie
re: Jobs house burglarized
cdhmanning   8/23/2012 7:17:30 PM
NO RATINGS
I have not looked into this specific case in any detail, but at the time very few people understood the physics behind many things that "just worked". The patents covering the crystal set (late 1800s if I remember correctly), talked about microscopic sparks because they didn't understand the quantum mechanics behind semi-conduction.

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
re: Jobs house burglarized
David Ashton   8/24/2012 1:32:46 AM
NO RATINGS
@Traces...LdF had a PhD apparently, so he could not have been stupid. And he won the court case against Armstrong (though it seems the technical community sided with Armstrong). It is not disputed that de Forrest "invented" the triode (he called it an Audion) though he did not fully understand how it worked, and Armstrong later did. But how many "inventions" have been only basically used by the inventor and later developed by others? Edison initially used DC for electricity transmission, others later proved that AC was better. Jack Kilby's first germanium IC was really crude, Robert Noyce and others refined it using silicon at Fairchild. Very few inventors started right from scratch, and most of them had their inventions developed and refined by others. But they laid major milestones along the way and it does them a disservice to detract from that.

Traces
User Rank
Rookie
re: Jobs house burglarized
Traces   8/24/2012 3:54:23 PM
NO RATINGS
@cdhmanning, @David Ashton: I certainly agree that the paper trail of patents proves definatively that LD filed one patent (among the dozens he filed with wires inside evacuated envelopes) that has the correct configuration of wires and plates to make a functioning triode, but he also has dozens-1 of completely nonfunctional configurations, as well. Newton said that if he saw further than most men, it was because he stood on the shoulders giants. Armstrong is the giant here, offering a fundamental advance in understanding that would allow others after him to see further. LD offers future generations nothing. Who should engineering venerate?

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
re: Jobs house burglarized
David Ashton   8/25/2012 8:56:59 AM
NO RATINGS
Good points (especially about the patents - he apparently got one for a device with the grid wires outside the plate...) but he did first come up with a working device and did practical demonstrations of it before the lawsuit in 1916. As for veneration, I'd go with the Wikipedia assertion that "De Forest is ONE of the fathers of the electronic age" (my caps). Armstrong was obviously another of them and I'd agree that he's been a bit short changed by history here.

pmoyle111
User Rank
Rookie
re: Jobs house burglarized
pmoyle111   8/24/2012 8:07:05 PM
NO RATINGS
Marconi was another such charlatan. Supposedly inventing baseband 11 yr after Tesla had invented Broadband!!! Then there's Edison and the DC power thing with again Telsa and 3 phase AC.

Hughston
User Rank
CEO
re: Jobs house burglarized
Hughston   8/27/2012 2:43:39 PM
NO RATINGS
Traces really meant to be talking about Marconi and not DeForest. He got his people mixed up.

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
re: Jobs house burglarized
David Ashton   8/28/2012 9:26:11 AM
NO RATINGS
They're both in the same category I think. Both were the first to demonstrate something of great use, but both were not the people who developed it fully. The guys who did are just as worth of praise, but in this world no-one remembers who came 2nd...

Luis Sanchez
User Rank
Rookie
re: Jobs house burglarized
Luis Sanchez   8/23/2012 8:59:26 PM
NO RATINGS
Indeed nice blog. Is there something special in that square mile? There has been a lot of innovation in that place. Electronics has been a kid which has grown very very fast. But we’re reaching perhaps the limit (Moore’s). so perhaps the electronics development curve will reach a saturation point. Will innovation ever reach a saturation point? Have we’ve come out with the perfect tool (research) to never leave the innovation wagon or, will we reach the limit in which, there’s nothing more to discover… nothing more to invent?

EMCgenius
User Rank
Rookie
re: Jobs house burglarized
EMCgenius   8/23/2012 9:12:44 PM
NO RATINGS
No doubt Shallow Alto will continue to see the birth of many new ideas, but there is no magic in the neighborhood per se. The proximity to an excellent university (Stanford) is far more the source of inspiration that makes Silicon Valley what it is.

DrQuine
User Rank
CEO
re: Jobs house burglarized
DrQuine   8/24/2012 3:47:54 AM
NO RATINGS
Is there any record of the serial number of the Steve Jobs salary dollar bill? It would be wonderful if it could be retrieved (perhaps through an alert on WheresGeorge.com) and preserved rather than being a random bill that buys a quarter gallon of gasoline.

Michael.FlieslerQA
User Rank
Rookie
re: Jobs house burglarized
Michael.FlieslerQA   8/24/2012 8:40:02 PM
NO RATINGS
My intro electronics classes used vacuum tubes, as the equations are similar to MOSFETs. We called tubes "glassFETs".

Bert22306
User Rank
CEO
re: Jobs house burglarized
Bert22306   8/24/2012 9:06:38 PM
NO RATINGS
Indeed! In fact, transisors and FETs are themselves triodes, but they have the same type of characteristic curves as pentodes. Bipolar transistors use current instead of voltage as the "valve's" throttling mechanism, but in the greater scheme of things, that's just a detail difference.

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
re: Jobs house burglarized
David Ashton   8/25/2012 9:19:11 AM
NO RATINGS
For myself, I've always found solid-state devices easier to understand than bits of glass and wires filled with a vacuum. Especially when you have 2 pairs of EL34s (6CA7s over there) pumping out 20W into a nice pair of speakers. 20 Watts?? from a vacuum?? C'mon, that's black magic....

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
re: Jobs house burglarized
David Ashton   8/25/2012 9:20:26 AM
NO RATINGS
"Filled with a vacuum"?? No wonder I don't understand them. Please read "In a vacuum..."

mcottrell
User Rank
Rookie
re: Jobs house burglarized
mcottrell   8/27/2012 1:26:41 AM
NO RATINGS
Brian-- Please engage an editor to fix your number, tense, and other problems--or proofread your own creations. For the rest of you engineering history revisionists--if you can't identify the year the triode was invented and demonstrated, or you can't figure out who went on record via a patent as having done so, then stop posting nonsense. By the way, in one of the ultimate insults to to the history of technology, the spell-checker at this site does not recognize the word triode. Idiot software geeks. Best regards, Matthew Cottrell

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
re: Jobs house burglarized
David Ashton   8/28/2012 9:35:49 AM
NO RATINGS
Hmmm...touchy....and maybe a little bit arrogant? Some details of Brian's errors would be appreciated. I couldn't find anything worth writing home about. And where did you find the spell checker? I'd love to have one here... I don't want to revise history but I do think history is unkind to some whose contribution to the technology was as great as the inventor.

masher
User Rank
Rookie
re: Jobs house burglarized
masher   8/30/2012 7:31:29 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree, we are all a bit too touchy today aren't we? Who invented what first or who contributed the most; was it Ward, Loomis, Tesla, De Forest, Armstrong, Edison or whomever? The list of contested inventors and whether or not they thouroghly understood their inventions is not the subject but the fact that they all contributed something cannot be ignored and to call LDF a confidence man serves nothing. Case in point, after 50 or so years I still don't understand women and probably never will but I still endeavor to be interested and fascinated by them and enjoy them and I would never think to call one a bad name.

Koda23
User Rank
Rookie
re: Jobs house burglarized
Koda23   8/31/2012 12:16:07 AM
NO RATINGS
Another Silicon Valley landmark that is not far from these PA locations is the former site of William Shockley's transistor lab at 391 San Antonio Rd in Mountain View. http://www.mv-voice.com/story.php?story_id=7801

Flash Poll
Radio
LATEST ARCHIVED BROADCAST
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.
Like Us on Facebook

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed
Top Comments of the Week