The best spent 10 pence

A couple of years ago we got a new tv. Everything about it was ok except the sound, which was pitiful because it just wasn’t very loud.

The solution to this came from an unexpected place. In a jumble sale I found and old pc surround sound system. I asked them how much for this? They asked for 10 pence. I obliged them this huge sum ( haha) after an hour or so of sorting out wires n stuff and finding a jack cable ( I have a house full of junk), I had a tv with a thumping sound… immense!

All I need to do now is stop them breaking the damn thing with their WII controllers! Duhh…


What is it about PCB’s that make them such an interesting piece of engineering?


I’m asking myself this question as I sit here on a Friday evening after a week of fairly intensive work on PCB design documentation etc…  From my point of view I create a multitude of different board designs from single layer power supply application boards to multilayer test boards being used in instrumentation.  Each of these types of designs have their own frustrations and delights I suppose (sorry couldn’t think of a better word) so what is it?

The answer isn’t simple and the fun isn’t in the documentation it has to be said, but then it never is, but as most PCB designers know it’s a necessary part of the job and normally do it well!  Every design though no matter what it is you’re doing, how big or small the board is has at least one point where the challenge becomes apparent and you’re sitting there with U2 (or whoever) blowing your ears out and you think right – how do I do this? Perhaps this is it, perhaps it’s not just the signal integrity, the EMC, the mechanical constraints or for that matter how it’s going to fit into the case…  It’s all of it.  PCB design isn’t playing with coloured lines to join the dots.  It’s the challenge of putting all the bits of the puzzle together, all the constraints, the requirements and then after all this the requirements that the designer places on themselves to create a functional, manufacturable PCB design.  And when this has been completed and all the problems solved you sit back look at it and think not only thins is good, but the sense of satisfaction gained from completing it really is like nothing else.  It’s like completing the Rubik’s cube from a mess (not that I’ve actually done this). For me that’s what PCB design is about and there is nothing like being given a good meaty juicy project from scratch and letting the creative spirit loose to carry out a design like this.  That’s why I find my little PCB design world so exciting.

We’re going forwards… aren’t we?


We keep hearing about the advancing pace of technology and sure, everywhere you look there’s people with a small computer in theie hand – tweeting, messaging, browing or watching a video. Consumer electronics is far more advanced than even 5 years ago…

So, things are moving forwards right?

Far be it for me to tell you, what goign on… instead let me highlight a few things:

1) About 10 years ago you could travel from London to New York in a super sonic plane.

2) Less than 10 years ago mankind was using a re-usable spacecraft to get into orbit.

3) My solder used to contain lead, which was easier to use than this lead free stuff.

OK, being a little silly with the last one… but the point is – what’s happened to the big things that used to happen that would inspire little boys to be a pilot or an astronaught. While I’m no oracle or wise man… I have some thoughts:

Firstly, The world is now run by accountants and administrators who have so much red tape around them they either can’t move, won’t move or are afraid to.

Next, since these great things were created, everyone seemed to sit on their laurels and not really push out ‘the next thing’ maybe becasue of the accountants and stuff… this meant that these much loved icons of human achievement ran out of life before they could be replaced.

I also think that we’re losing our imagination, not everyone, but with our lifestyle increasingly money centred and fucussed on the ‘next cool thing to own’ we don’t think much beyond life’s box to those things that could be achieved if we tried.

Don’t get me wrong, in so many ways, the pace of technology is running riot, but some things have been left behind and we will maybe never get them back becasue of mainly money (the world is currently broke) and the desire to see them. Will we ever do this sort of thing again ‘just becasue we can?’ or is technology and inspiration now going to be completely goverened only by those who are prepared to invest in it for the benefit of only the very few that can afford it?

Me – The beginning…

OK, so I’ve toyed with the idea of writing blogs for some time now as I think about things in life and my mind thinks of stuff in it’s own twisted and surreal way.

There’s nothing I like more than a good debate with questions, strange ideas, answers and more questions. It can take the mind on a journey that you never expected. So this is my first deranged scribbling You can expect many more to come over a whole range of things…. I speak my mind, it has to be said. I don’t intend to hurt or insult anyone who has the unfortunate burden of reading any of this crap… if I do I apologise in advance.

I hope that for my scribblings are amusing, entertaining and who knows, maybe even educational. Keep a watch out, you never know what will come next! 🙂