Most tech-oriented holiday gift guides are for engineers, by engineers. Unless you live with your coworkers, all that'll get you is another sweater or a bottle of Old Spice in your stocking. Better to plop your laptop on the dining room table so your significant other -- or your cat -- can tune in to what you'd really like. Spoiler alert: Many of these suggestions are off the beaten path.
10) Tastier than Christmas Fruitcake
Fear not, OQO and Toshiba Libretto fans. There's a downsized computer for the twenty-first century. It's called Raspberry Pi, and if you haven't heard of it, you have to turn in your tenured engineers' pass.
The diff this time is that Raspberry Pi isn't a Wintel PC jammed beneath a Chiclet-sized keyboard. It's a tech teaching tool, propelled by the Raspberrypi.org Foundation, whose mantra is "to see cheap, accessible, programmable computers everywhere."
That's resonating with the marketplace, as evinced by Allied's notice that extreme demand and short supply may make you wait several months for delivery. I can see the look on your engineer's face when she reads the card promising the board in time for Christmas 2013.
By that time, though, there'll be lots of I/O add-ons that'll turn the Pi board into a veritable bakery of application options. Two of the most interesting came to light at Electronica in November, where I caught up with Gert van Loo, who developed the Pi board's alpha hardware. Now he's created the eponymous GertBoard, which stacks atop the Pi and enables it to control motors, robotic arms and other physical devices. "It gets [developers] off the screen and able to do things in the real world," van Loo told our Peter Clarke at Electronica. I shot a video with Van Loo, who's also queuing up a Webcam add-on, for release in 2013.
But buyers beware: The Pi will set you back $35 and the Gertboard $45. (The Webcam isn't priced yet.) Think you can afford it?
What a horrible article. NONE of this is what an engineer would want - woe be to the wife or GF who reads this and buys any of it as a recommendation.
Nowhere is a 3D printer listed, nor is there a surface mount reflow oven. Stuff we actually WANT.
This is all STUPID techie stuff - stuff that's boring to ENGINEERS. Mind you, TBBT DVDs are the exception, but with Youtube, even that's lame.
And, if you're going to write about things you don't know about, go find yourself someone OLD engineer to set you straight (they can be found at the unemployment office or greeting people at Walmart). This is laughable, particularly in having "gone to print" in EE Times:
"it mediates the flow of electronics from cathode to anode via a piece of metal mesh in the middle called a grid. "
The only thing that "mediates the flow of electronics" is a patent litigator.
In the words of Leslie Winkle, of TBBT, "Dumbass..."
Oh, it's not a plug at all - you just put your company down BIGTIME in front of a huge engineering audience.
Newark, apparently, can't deliver by Xmas, which is what the article is about.
The vacuum-tube sound is more than just soft clipping. There have been several attempts to imitate its sound using DSP's to implement soft clipping etc., but only tubes sound like tubes.
The warm (or sweet) sound is partly due to the even-order-only harmonic distortion (e.g., from a single-ended triode amp), which results in distortion products at musically-pleasing octave and perfect fifth intervals) and to the absence of evil transient distortion because tube amps can be built with little or no negative feedback.
Even though I'm a DSP researcher, as an audiophile I appreciate the sound of my SET amp in spite of its higher THD. It sounds "sweeter" than my more more expensive solid-state amp. Much of how engineers quantify amplifiers is irrelevant for audio: music is dynamic, not simply continuous sinusoids.
any engineer I've met is much smarter than any medical practitioner I've met. They're a pretty thick bunch and most of them don't keep up to date. Any engineer who doesn't keep up gets shown the door or moved into 'management'.