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Tech Smorgasbord Archives - 25

RF Cafe University"Factoids," "Kirt's Cogitations," and "Tech Topics Smorgasbord" are all manifestations of my ranting on various subjects relevant (usually) to the overall RF Cafe theme. All may be accessed on these pages:

 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37

Top 10 Cities for Business & Careers (source: Forbes)

Forbes just released their new list of business and career friendly cities. Des Moines, the leader, has a cost of doing business that is 15% below the national average. 33% of adults there have college degrees and 92% a HS diploma. Median home price is just $149k. Not far away in Cedar Rapids are RFMD, Skyworks, Rockwell Collins, and other electronics companies. Notice that most of the best locations are in "flyover country."
  Best Worst
1 Des Moines, IA Canton, OH
2 Provo, UT Youngstown, OH
3 Raleigh, NC Stockton, CA
4 Fort Collins, CO Detroit, MI
5 Lincoln, NE Utica, NY
6 Denver, CO Salinas, CA
7 Omaha, NE Flint, MI
8 Huntsville, AL Modesto, CA
9 Lexington, KY Vallejo, CA
10 Austin, TX Merced, CA



Etymology of Company Names (source: RF Cafe)

We encounter many company names on a daily basis, but usually do not give a lot of thought to the origins of those names. Since the advent of the Internet, a lot company names were constructed as a phonetic variation of the original spelling in order to allow a unique domain name to be procured; e.g., 3Gmetalworx and Fotofab. Others are a form of "portmanteau," which is a combination of two words to create a new word. Anatech (analog technology) is a good example there. Sometimes the name has a meaning of personal importance to the founder like with Adobe, which named after Adobe Creek running behind the house of co-founder John Warnock (not after a clay brick hut). Here is a more extensive list of tech companies I have compiled.



Top 10 Geek Anthems

(source: CNNTech)

RF Cafe Smorgasbord: Top 10 Geek AnthemsA while back I posted an article titled "Science in Music" that pointed out examples of where themes of scientific topics either completely dominated songs or were a significant part of them. CNN just posted a story titled The Top 10 Geek Anthems that covers the same sort of thing. It includes such songs as Thomas Dolby's 1982 Top 40 hit "She Blinded Me with Science," Jonathan Coulton's "Code Monkey," and M.C. Frontalot's 2005 "Nerdcore Rising." M.C. Frontalot... Jonathan Coulton? Who are they?



Magnetic Communications

(source: Popular Science)

RF Cafe Smorgasbord - Magnetic communicationsWe are used to thinking in terms of electric and electromagnetic fields for communications (NFC and radio, respectively). However, neither of those media are very efficient at penetrating dense earth, rock and metal, such as with collapsed buildings and mines. Even sites with LF emergency radio systems suffer from slow data transfer that restricts use to simple text messages. Ferro Solutions is developing a system that transmits voice signals with magnetic waves which travel through solid matter more easily than does RF. A composite that melds piezoelectric material with a magnetostrictive metal (which changes shape when it's exposed to a magnetic field) is used on both the Tx and Rx ends.



Passive Component Mfg (source: EE Times)

As with most other forms of manufacturing in the U.S., the share of passive components made here is dwindling significantly. Crippling regulations make it nearly impossible to compete with countries like China that put its economy's - and thereby is citizens' - well being ahead of the whims of special interest groups. Of course, those special interest people are happy to consume the products made in those other countries. Total overall dollar value decrease is due to price erosion, not decreased usage.
Passive Component Consumption $B US
  07 08 09 10 11
SEA 10.8 12.8 11.3 11.6 12.2
Jp 3.97 4.08 3.67 3.30 3.17
Eu 3.95 3.95 2.55 2.08 2.39
Am 3.30 3.12 2.16 1.89 2.19
Tot 22.0 24.0 19.6 18.9 19.9
SEA = Southeast Asia,

Jp = Japan, Eu = Europe,

Am = Americas & ROW

Tot = Total



Patent Power 2010 (source: IEEE Spectrum)

U.S. companies are falling wayyyy behind in patent awards for electronics. The the highest one - Microvision - ranks #13. Japan's Hitachi has the #1 slot. Japan also owns #3, #4, #5, and #6. Oh, and #13, #16, #17, #19, and #20. Get the picture?

The report covers many industries other than electronics, like aerospace, telecom services, semiconductor manufacturing, and computer systems.

Electronics Patents
Rank Company
1 Hitachi
2 Hon Hai Precision
3 Sony
4 Casio
5 Panasonic
6 Kyocera
7 LG Electronics
8 Sharp
9 Samsung
10 TDK



Read the TOU or Surrender Your Immortal Soul (source: FoxNews.com)

RF Cafe Smorgasbord - GameStation: Read the TOU or lose your immortal soulMaybe you missed this news. I did. On April 1st of this year, British online retailer GameStation added this clause in the Terms of Use for all purchases: "By placing an order ..., you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamesation.co.uk or one of its duly authorised minions..." 88% signed w/o reading it. Lawyers(like the green guy) will likely cite this as cause for invalidating any online agreement.



Dilbert on "That Lost 4G Phone" (source: Dilbert.com)

RF Cafe Smorgasbord - Dilbert on "That Lost 4G Phone"Unless you visit the Dilbert.com website regularly, you might have missed these couple comic strips dealing with the lost & found 4G iPhone. Per Dilbert creator Scott Adams, "I found this story too delicious to resist, but I worried that the story would become stale before my comics would work through the pipeline. I think the soonest I can get something published is in about a month. I drew two comics while considering my options." Adams figures it would be June 18th before they ran in their normal position... So here now, exclusively for you blog readers, the totally unfinished first drafts of those comics. You will never see these in newspapers." You're welcome.



GPS Thwarted (source: FoxNews)

RF Cafe Smorgasbord - GPS ThwartedRadar detectors are marketed not as an enabler to speeders, but as a tool to remind motorists that they are unintentionally exceeding the posted limit. Right. Now this GPS signal jammer is being sold as a means for protecting your privacy (whereabouts) in vehicles equipped with GPS reporting systems. Maybe. Whatever the intended end use, they are being used by auto thieves to prevent law enforcement from exploiting the capability of the likes of OnStar from tracking and even shutting down the vehicle. GPS signals are highly vulnerable and easily jammed - even the differential GPS signals used for landing commercial airliners.



Top 20 Defense Contractors in 2010

(source: Defense Systems)

Since the 1980s, defense contractors have been under increasingly extreme pressure to deliver top-notch systems under conditions where employees - particularly salaried ones like engineers - are pressed to the edge of human tolerance in terms of budgets and demands on personal time. It is only the love of the work that keep many mission critical people in the game, and I am thankful for them. These companies are at the top of a list of 100. See the report for details.

1  Lockheed Martin
2  Northrop Grumman
3  Boeing
4  Raytheon
5  General Dynamics
6  KBR (who?)
8  L-3 Communications
9  Computer Sciences
10  ITT



Top 10 Cities for Recent Grads (source: PRNewswire)

CareerRookie.com and Apartments.com have printed the results of their third annual "Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates" survey. A primary consideration was the cost of living like the price for a 1-BR apartment, but it also included culture and lifestyle amenities for personal development. Tip from RF Cafe: Consider income tax-free states like AK, FL, NH, NV, TN, TX, WA & WY.

City Rent
1.  Atlanta $723
2.  Phoenix $669
3.  Denver $779
4.  Dallas $740
5.  Boston $$1,275
6.  Philadelphia $938
7.  New York $1,366
8.  Cincinnati $613
9.  Baltimore $1,041
10. Los Angeles $1,319



Energy Star Fraud (source: Popular Mechanics)

RF Cafe Smorgasbord - Energy Star Fraud - feather duster air cleanerIt is a good thing government programs are so well designed and implemented that the opportunity for fraud is miniscule. Surely this "air cleaner," a space heater with a feather duster strapped to it, is a rare exception. After all, it took a full 11 days to get it approved and listed on the Energy Star website. It qualifies for a tax refund. Oh, wait, there are a lot more. How about a gasoline-powered alarm clock, non-existent computers and appliances, and much more - all approved post-haste compliments of the EPA. These extreme examples were part of a test by the GAO and illustrate the ease with which fraud is committed. Real cases are not given... there probably aren't any, right? Right.


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