@Bill, sa_penguin... the first time I came across DIP switches I was told never to use a pencil, good to know there was some truth in that advice. I hate using ballpoint pens too as they leave sticky ink all over the switch. A straightened paperclip is a good tool for them.
sa_penguin you've never had to troubleshoot a problem caused by a switch with graphite from a pencil being used to set a switch have you. I have and it can be very hard to track down especially if there's some vibration present.
I also am curious about that app. After years of using Equation Editor for the MS Office tools, I'd like to see what a more modern app can do. Equation Editor got the job done, but it was cumbersome to use.
An excellent writer on the history of design and engineering is Henry Petroski, and his many books include The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance. As thorough, and entertaining, a treatment of the subject as you're likely to find.
@sa_penguin. When I first arrived in Australia I needed a 3-1/2 inch diskette. Which we used to call "stiffies" in Zimbabwe. It caused considerable amusement among my colleagues when I asked for one. Apparently Australians had no means of differentiating between the old 5-1/4" floppies and the smaller 3-1/2 inch ones......
A good sharp pencil tip helps access reset buttons on some devices. The "blunt end" is good for pressing small buttons, close to each other. When Homer Simpson was too fat to use phone buttons, all he really needed was a pencil.
"Blunt end" is a safe euphemism. Here in Australia, the part used to "rub out" mistakes is called a "rubber". I once tried to borrow a rubber from an overseas US student, there was some cionfusion for a while.
>the super-cheap pencils aren't worth it; the wood is so crappy, every time I sharpen them it uses about half the pencil to get a good point.
Maybe that explains why the electric pencil sharpener bin fills with shavings so quickly. Of course, nobody thinks to empty the bin. It was so full last time that shavings and lead fell all over the countertop. I had to vacuum it and wash it. The unfinished wood shelf holding the sharpener can't be cleaned. I'll have to sand it.
Replay available now: A handful of emerging network technologies are competing to be the preferred wide-area connection for the Internet of Things. All claim lower costs and power use than cellular but none have wide deployment yet. Listen in as proponents of leading contenders make their case to be the metro or national IoT network of the future. Rick Merritt, EE Times Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, moderators this discussion. Join in and ask his guests questions.