RF Cafe Software
About RF Cafe
1996 - 2016
BSEE - KB3UON
RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The Internet was still largely an unknown entity at the time and not much was available in the form of WYSIWYG ...
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These items are an archive of past Topical Smorgasbord items that have appeared on the RF Cafe homepage. In keeping with the "cafe" genre, these tidbits of information are truly a smorgasbord of topics. They all pertain to topics that are related to the general engineering and science theme of RF Cafe. Note: There is also a huge collection of my 'Factoids' (aka 'Kirt's Cogitations') that might interest you as well.
Add another term to your wireless lexicon: Bluejacking. If you own a BT-enabled wireless device and have not yet been Bluejacked, your time is coming. Bluejacking is mostly a harmless way to prank someone, but it can be intimidating. Popular "victim" spots are on trains and in coffee shops. One trick is to Bluetext someone a "free latte offer" and watch when he tries to collect at the counter. Sending, "I like your pink top," to someone who knows you must be within 10 meters of her is probably not a good idea. Not that I am encouraging it, but there are lots of stories to read for ideas on Bluejacking, Bluechatting, Bluedating, and other things Blue.7-9-2009
Caveat Emptor: Résumé Fraud on the Rise
According to recent news reports, incidences of résumé fraud are on the rise. Most directly assert, or at least imply that it is due to the global economic slow-down, but the fact is it goes on even in the best of times. Recall the 2006 case of former RadioShack CEO David Edmondson, who made up two degrees he never earned. Studies indicate that more than 20% of résumés have claims of academic degrees never earned, and 60% exaggerate their professional accomplishments (title, salary, etc.). Extensive background checks can cost many thousands of dollars. Experts suggest the best defense is to pick up the phone and verify any claims important to you as an employer.6-11-2009
Does Your Company Do Facebook?
Given the popularity of the social networking websites, it seems only natural that companies have created presences in hopes of exploiting the concept. Younger engineers are almost certainly Facebook savvy. AWR recently had a press release announcing their official Facebook page. It contains, among other things, press releases. Comdel and Analog Devices also each have an official page. Other companies like RFMD have Facebook pages set up by employees, but are not sanctioned by the company.5-14-2009
Science & Engineering Body Art
(source: RF Cafe)
Tattoos have taken a decided turn toward the cerebral. A growing trend of science and engineering themed tattoos are appearing on the trendy streets and college campi. Professor Stevens Johnson sent me this photo of his newly minted photon wave tattoo. He also sports a custom "Planck Scales" design, with "Gauss' Theorem and Stokes' Theorem in a tribal motif" being nearly ready for prime time. Women in science have adopted the practice as well, thus helping to quash the tramp stamp nomenclature.7-16-2009
10 Most Difficult Jobs to Fill
|10||Machinist / Operator|
How My Heisenberg Light Came On
Most of us have heard of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which states that both momentum and position of a mass cannot be precisely determined simultaneously. I never quite conceptualized the idea until recently when reading an article where it was alluded to without explicit mention. Basically, in order to measure momentum (ρ=mv), you need movement from location A to location B - two different locations to establish velocity - hence the inexact determination of position when precisely measuring momentum. Vice versa for precisely measuring position.5-21-2009
Free Advertising Advice
(source: an RF Cafe original)
Being engineers, technicians, and hobbyists, RF Cafe visitors' interests tend toward hands-on themes. We like to learn how to do things ourselves, and few venues facilitate learning better than a video. That is one reason the TV show How It's Made is so popular with techies. I cannot find any RF product or service companies that have videos demonstrating how they do their "thing." How about shooting a 5-minute video of how to manufacture a cavity filter, tweak an amplifier for optimal gain & noise figure, or measure the radiation pattern of an antenna in an anechoic chamber? It might be the next viral hit with YouTube nerds, and invaluable free advertising for you!.7-23-2009
(source: technology Review)
Intel R&D guys are working on a system allowing vehicles to talk to each other via headlights and taillights. Traffic lights will be in on the conversation as well. As envisioned, a processor will interface with distributed sensors and transceivers to alert drivers of impending hazardous situations, even taking automatic evasive action if necessary. Warnings will be provided with displays and audible signals - including through wireless multimedia devices. Reader comments include, "I'd rather have a system that let me send a message to the bozo ahead that his turn signal has been flashing for the last 5 miles."6-25-2009
IC Manufacturer Top 20 Ranking
(source: IC Insights)
Lightning + Wind Turbines
(source: Machine Design)
Integrating wind turbines into the established electrical grid is a tough job. Voltage and current synchronization for such an inconsistent motivation force (wind) requires complex equipment. Severe weather is a great concern as well - particularly lightning strikes. Those 100+ meter tall towers with blades extending another 100+ meters into the sky are perfect opportunity for a discharge. Mitigation schemes like embedding lightning rods in the blades and installing robust overcurrent and overvoltage protection do a good job, but it all comes at great cost. Billionaire T. Boon Pickens recently abandoned his $2B investment in wind power because of unforeseen cost issues.7-30-2009
Top 2009 Recipients of Government $$$
|Top 10 Defense Contractors|
|Savannah River *||$3.3B|
IMS 2009: RF Cafe Will Be There
(source: IMS 2009)
On Tuesday, June 9, both Melanie and I will be attending the IMS show in Boston. We will be there as spectators, and will be roaming the exhibit hall most of the day. Our plan is to visit as many of our advertisers (the folks who help deliver RF Cafe to you), and as many of our website patrons (like you) as possible. Please stop us to say hello. If you hand me a card or paper with your name and contact info, I will put you in for an RF Cafe prize drawing. Click on the image above for how to identify us while there.6-4-2009