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Engineering & Science Notable Tech Quote Archive #33

Notable Tech Quotes - RF CafeThe number of statements uttered verbally and/or in print is uncountable. Some are more noteworthy than others either because of sheer brilliance, good humor, or utter inanity. We all hope our own remembered words, if any, fall into one of the first two categories rather than the third. I do a lot of reading and find many notable quotes to use that fit the theme of RF Cafe; they fall into all three categories. I always try to verify quotes from original sources or at least from printed books like The Experts Speak, of which I own a hard copy. Enjoy.

Notable Tech Quote Archive

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"Rears & Sorebutts: Name Given to Sears & Roebucks catalogs used for TP" - Anon


"The first rule of antennas is everything affects everything." - Dave Casler, KE0OG


"Thinking like a customer is not too bad a way to design products." - Bob Pease, National Semi, Pease Porridge


"Binary Incest: Computer models using other computer model results as input." - Kirt Blattenberger


"Can AAA deliver enough electrons to get your stalled EV to the nearest charging station?" - Kirt Blattenberger


"Education degrees should be done away with; we need subject matter experts." - Kirt Blattenberger


"We started the company in my basement. Because the only place we could go from there was up.”  - Don Shepherd

"We started the company in my basement. Because the only place we could go from there was up.” – Don Shepherd, AR (Amplifier Research)


"Consider that typewriters had ¢ keys. Computers have $ keys. There's inflation for you." - Kirt Blattenberger


"Wind and sun energy is never 'renewed,' hence, it is not 'renewable.'" - Kirt Blattenberger


"Good filters make good neighbors." - FCC Defining Spectrum Rights Presentation


Remember When ... hourly workers at defense companies were treated like enlisted and salaried like officers?


My father hated radio and could not wait for television to be invented so he could hate that too. - Peter DeVries


Remember When ... larger electronics systems companies had in-house machine & PCB fabs?


Remember When ... dress shirt, tie, and sport jacket were the uniform of the day?


Remember When ... ESD wrist bands weren't needed to avoid damaging electronic components?


"By 2005, it will become clear that the Internet's impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine's" - Paul Krugman - Nobel Prize winner (what a maroon)


"Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master." - Christian Lous Lange


Remember When … impoverished children in forgotten countries didn’t suffer to deliver your electronic stuff?


Remember When … schematics were drawn with pencil and paper and required layout planning in advance?


Remember When … rechargeable batteries weren't likely to catch fire if ruptured?


Notable Tech Quote: "I know the sky is not the limit because there are footprints on the moon."

Buzz Aldrin "No Dream Too High" - RF CafeEdwin Eugene "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., has always been my favorite astronaut. Neil Armstrong, of course being the first man to step foot on the moon, is a legendary favorite and probably has better name recognition. He was known to be very practical, brilliant, and businesslike. Michael Collins orbited the moon in the Command Module and never did get to land there on subsequent missions. Buzz, while equally brilliant, liked to play the jokester / prankster role and could be very openly honest about his opinion on persons and matters. He could be intimidating because of his reputation for not abiding Bravo Sierra, and rarely being wrong. Chapter 1 of his book No Dream Is Too High, is entitled, "The sky is not the limit ... There are footprints on the moon!" Buzz is a strong advocate for visiting and colonizing Mars.

10/ /2021

Remember When … solder joints were shiny after cleaning off the rosin flux?


Remember When … speed dialing was forcing the telephone dial back around to the home position?


"Just because I taught you everything you know, doesn't mean I taught you everything I know." Unknown engineer mentor.


Remember When … you needed to wait for the TV and radio tubes to warm up?


Remember When … your car had an electromechanical blinker relay that you could hear clacking?


"It's not always clear at what point you want to stop honoring people for being creative and instead put them in jail." - L.G.


Notable Tech Quote: "Intelligence is a constant..."

Nomophobia: The smarter your phone is the dumber you are - RF Cafe"Intelligence is a constant. The smarter your phone is the dumber you are." - Anon.   Scientists have assigned a word to describe the psychological condition where a person experiences fear and/or anxiety over not having access to a cellphone -- "nomophobia" (short for "no mobile phobia" ). Per Wikipedia: "...cell phones are 'possibly the biggest non-drug addiction of the 21st century,' and college students may spend up to nine hours every day on their phones, which can lead to dependence on such technologies as a driver of modern life and an example of 'a paradox of technology' that is both freeing and enslaving." "...young adults and adolescents are more likely to suffer from nomophobia." I only carry a cellphone while travelling out of town, and then turn it on only when I need it. Governments and corporations know practically nothing about my daily movements.


"Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." - Anon


Notable Tech Quote: Scott Willoughby on the JWST

Notable Tech Quote: Scott Willoughby - RF Cafe Unfortunately the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is now 20x over budget and 14 years behind schedule. "'It's like building a Swiss watch at 40-feet-tall... and getting it ready for this journey that we take into the vacuum at minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit (−240 °C), four times further than the Moon,' said Scott Willoughby of lead contractor Northrop Grumman. He was speaking at the company's spaceport in Redondo Beach, California, from where the telescope will be shipped to French Guiana to be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket, with NASA targeting October 31 for liftoff."

Notable Tech Quote: Isidor Isaac Rabi

Notable Quote by Isidor Isaac Rabi - RF CafeAmerican physicists Carl Anderson and Seth Neddermeyer were studying cosmic rays when they discovered the muon in 1936. The discovery of this particle was so surprising that Nobel laureate Isidor Isaac Rabi exclaimed: "Who ordered that?" Dr. Rabi was an American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1944 for his discovery of nuclear magnetic resonance and was a pioneer in the development of the cavity magnetron.

Notable Tech Quote: Red Green

Notable Tech Quote: Red Green Duct Tape WD-40 - RF Cafe"You need only two tools: WD-40 and Duct Tape: If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the duct tape." - Red Green.


Notable Tech Quote: Carson's Consolation

Notable Tech Quote: Carlson's Carson's Consolation - RF Cafe"Nothing is ever a complete failure; it can always serve as a bad example." - Carson's Consolation. I tried to find out who this Carson guy is, but to no avail. It is probably not John Renshaw Carson, who developed the well-known amongst RF Cafe visitors bandwidth rule stating BW = 2·(Δf + fm). The same quote is sometimes referred to as Carlson's Consolation. Regardless of its progenitor, the tenet holds true.


Notable Tech Quote: Joel Hallas, W1ZR

Joel R. Hallas Notable Tech Quote - RF CafeJoel R. Hallas (W1ZR), ARRL QST magazine's monthly "The Doctor Is In" column writer, has written many notable quotes over the years while responding to readers' questions. Most of the Q's and A's are about antennas, transmission lines, and impedance matching. The October 2020 issue contains the following statement which is profoundly important to remember, particularly where antennas are concerned, "...but ground is always somewhere." It might seem like a Captain Obvious statement, but people not overly familiar with the effects of a ground plane - be it solid, mesh, or an array of radials - can and does have a huge effect on the radiation pattern and effective impedance of every kind of antenna. Mr. Hallas' middle initial is given as "R," but is might as well be "E" - for EZNEC - because of his masterful and frequent use of it in analyzing antenna setups and which often includes pattern plots in his answers. It just figures that since I mention it, EZNEC is not mentioned this month.


Notable Tech Quote

Dunning–Kruger Effect Chart - RF Cafe"...Difficulties in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments." - Dunning-Kruger. The full title of the paper authored by David Dunning and Justin Kruger outlining what has become known as the Dunning–Kruger Effect is entitled, "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments." In layman's terms, it could be put thusly: "The dumber a person is the more [s]he believes [s]he knows more than everyone else." This phenomenon can be seen all over social media and within the burning, looting, and mayhem protestor hordes terrorizing cities across the world. Of course it is also exhibited in politicians who try to rationalize the behavior and do nothing to prevent the wanton destruction of private and public property.


Notable Tech Quote: British Radio Sets

Notable Tech Quote: Hermann Göring on British Radio  - RF CafeOn the eve of World War II, the Brits built an amazingly successful twin-engined bomber called the D.H.98 Mosquito. It proved to be the bane of German cities, bridges, and dams. More than a decade after the aeronautics industry had switched from wooden to metal airframes, de Havilland engineers decided to design the craft using materials and techniques familiar to model airplane hobbyists - balsa, plywood, spruce, silk, and dope. The April/May 2020 issue of Air & Space magazine has a great article entitled "World War II's Strangest Bombing Mission" containing a quote from Hermann Göring which is like music to the ears (double entendre intended) of our English brethren. To wit: "Famously, the RAF's speedy wooden workhorses left a lasting impression on Göring. According to a 1973 history of the Luftwaffe, he later blustered, 'The British, who can afford aluminum better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building... They have the geniuses and we have the nincompoops. After the war is over I'm going to buy a British radio set - then at least I'll own something that has always worked.'" Key up "God Save the King/Queen."


Notable Tech Quote: Concerning "Wavicles"

In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World - RF CafeIan Stewart, author - RF Cafe"Matter was neither particle nor wave, but a bit of both - a wavicle." - Ian Stewart, in "In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World," 2012, regarding the dual nature of light as covered in the chapter on Schrödinger's equation for wave functions. BTW, the real term used is "wave–particle duality," which is a quantum mechanical principle stating that all matter–energy has both a wave and a particle nature. The wave behavior of light is exhibited in its ability to be diffracted at a sharp edge. It is the particle nature which accounts for the photoelectric effect.


Notable Tech Quote: WHO on CORVID-19

Notable Tech Quote: WHO on CORVID-19 - RF CafeThis was a Tweet put out by the World Health Organization on January 14, 2020: "Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan China." Since Twitter posts have a way of disappearing when proven embarassing, that hyperlink goes to an archived Google page. For some reason Archive.org is not able to save Twitter pages (I tried to force a save, but it failed). President Trump initiated the travel ban on January 31, 2020 (and caught heck for it), two weeks prior to WHO's infamous Tweet telling the world not to worry.


"Sorry. Privacy is a thing of the past." - Martin Cooper

"Privacy is a thing of the past," Martin Cooper - RF CafeOn May 21st, 2010, in an interview with CBS News entitled, "The Cell Phone: Marty Cooper's Big Idea," cell phone inventor Martin Cooper, was asked, "Isn't there almost a Brave New World sensibility behind all of this being connected? What does it do to our privacy?" His reply: "Sorry. Privacy is a thing of the past." There are two aspects of that loss of privacy. One is the vulnerability of data collection by anyone with the technology (including Big Brother). The other aspect is loss of privacy by choice due to people blabbing all their business in public where anyone nearby can hear. The former is unavoidable by the cell phone user, while the latter is completely avoidable - and preferable, since almost nobody want to hear you yak about your personal business.


Notable Tech Quote: John von Neumann

John von Neumann - RF Cafe"Young man, in mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them." - John von Neumann,, mathematician & physicist


Notable Tech Quote: Apollo 12 Astronaut Alan Bean

Notable Tech Quote: Apollo 12 Astronaut Alan Bean - RF CafeThe November 2019 issue of Astronomy magazine included an interview with Apollo 12 moon-walking astronauts Alan Bean and Pete Conrad. It is the 50th anniversary of the world's second manned excursion to the moon's surface on November 19, 1969. Amongst the science experiments and tasks to be performed was the deployment of a plutonium fuel cell that would power the equipment remaining on the surface after the Lunar Module blasted off. Most of the gear had been set up without incident, but the fuel rod got stuck inside its transport cylinder. None of that science gear would be of any use with out a power supply. After unsuccessfully trying to free the rod without risking damage, it finally came down to whacking it with one of those infamous $400 NASA hammers to get it out. Bean's comment to Houston upon completion was, "Don't come to the Moon without a hammer."


Notable Tech Quote - Standards

Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Computer Networks - RF CafeComputer Networks, 2nd edition - RF Cafe"The nice thing about standards is that you have so many to choose from." - Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Computer Networks, 2nd edition, page 254.




Notable Quote

"Television won't last. It's a flash in the pan" - Mary Somerville, radio executive


Notable Quote by Les Rayburn, N1LF

Notable Quote by Les Rayburn, N1LF - RF CafeThe November 2019 issue of QST (login required) is chock full of great articles. The one entitled, "Indoor Antennas for VHF Weak-Signal Work," written by Mr. Les Rayburn (N1LF) discusses ways to stealthily mount an antenna in your attic in order to work around HOA restrictions and/or to protect your installation from weather abuse. Considering the close proximity to living quarters, he offers caveats and mitigation suggestions regarding RF exposure during transmission and subjection to high noise levels from his own home and from nearby neighbors. The notable line pulled from the article is, "Neighbors equal noise." The situation gets worse every day. Here's my own attic-based TV/Radio antenna installation.

November 1, 2019

Notable Quote: Steve Ford, WB8IMY

Steve Ford, WB8IMY, Notable Quote - RF Cafe"It was made clear that I was not to touch this sacred totem, especially the threaded rods..." - Steve Ford, WB8IMY, in an article entitled, "Duplexers & Diplexers," in the October 2019 issue of QST magazine. That statement was made in regard to a cavity-tuned duplexer that was part of a Ham radio repeater installation. Mr. Ford, a monthly columnist, discusses the difference between a duplexer and a diplexer. A pull quote from the piece is, "If you're about to pay less than $100 for the device in question, it is a diplexer. If the price tag has four digits to the left of the decimal, it is a duplexer." Do you agree with that generalization? Unfortunately, the ARRL does not make the magazine articles available to non-subscribers.

September 20, 2019

Notable Quote

"The world would be improved if cellphone sterilized their users." - Anon


Notable Quote by "The Father of GPS"

Notable Quote by "The Father of GPS" - RF Cafe"Reliance on satellite navigation and timing systems has become a single point of failure for much of America and is our largest, unaddressed critical infrastructure problem." - Dr. Brad Parkinson, aka "The Father of GPS." According to the Wikipedia entry, "Bradford Parkinson is an American engineer and inventor, retired United States Air Force colonel and recalled emeritus professor at Stanford University. He is best known as the lead architect, advocate and developer, with early contributions from Ivan Getting and Roger Easton, of the Air Force NAVSTAR program, better known as Global Positioning System (GPS)."

July 25, 2019

Notable Quote: "That's One Small Step for [a] Man..."

"That's One Small Step for [a] Man..." - RF Cafe"That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." - Neil Armstrong, from the moon on July 20, 1969. Armstrong says he did utter the word "a," and that the scratchy radio transmission masked it. Having been a huge fan (short for "fanatic") of the space program and builder / launcher of model rockets, I was sure to watch the momentous event on TV as it was broadcast live from the moon on a Sunday evening at 10:56 PM EDT, a month before turning 11 years old. The Estes model rocket company issued certificates to rocketeers who launched any model during the flight time of Apollo 11; of course I got mine with an Alpha rocket.

July 18, 2019

Notable Quote: Neil Armstrong

Notable Quote: Neil Armstrong - RF Cafe"It's an interesting place to be. I recommend it." – Neil Armstrong re having visited the moon. That remark came during a CBS 60 Minutes interview in November 2005. We are approaching the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon mission, and yes, America was great for having achieved it. You might also interested in knowing that Neil Armstrong was an aeronautical engineering graduate of Purdue University, ostensibly the alluded-to "Parvoo University" that teenage electronics sleuths and Ham radio aficionados Carl & Jerry attended. 

July 11, 2019

Notable Quote by Neil Armstrong

Notable Quote by Neil Armstrong - RF CafeAs we approach the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, many magazines are publishing articles about the event and the background leading up to it. I have tagged a couple notable quotes from astronauts involved that will be posted over the next month or so. The June issue of Discover magazine included this one as delivered by Neil Armstrong to the National Press Club: "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer, born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams. ... Science is about what is. Engineering is about what can be." Amen, bro.



"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." - Earl Weaver


Notable Quote: Wernher von Braun

Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun - RF CafeWernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun, chief designer of the V−2 rocket that terrorized London in the 1940s and chief architect of the Saturn V rocket that launched the first men to the moon in the 1960s, is quoted as saying, "The best computer is a man, and it's the only one that can be mass-produced by unskilled labor." von Braun was one of many German scientists conscripted to do the National Socialist German Workers Party (aka Nazi) regime's bidding during World War II - formally an Schutzstaffel (aka SS) officer. He and his research team surrendered to the Americans in 1945 after escaping to Austria when the end of the Third Reich was imminent. His willingness to be part of the Nazi German war effort is fuzzy; therefore, I have a hard time fully appreciating his significant contributions to the U.S. space program. Reportedly, von Braun experienced a genuine Christian religious conversion that changed his life.


Notable Quote by Albert Bandura on Self Efficacy

Notable Quote by Albert Bandura on Self Efficacy - RF Cafe"People with high assurance in their capabilities approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided." - Albert Bandura, psychologist specializing in self-efficacy and observational learning. For the record, I rarely find anything quotable from psychologists, but I found this one recommended by "Aviation Through Aviation" editor Bill Pritchett, of the Academy of Model Aviation's Model Aviation magazine ...


Notable Quote: Filtering in the Time Domain

Notable Quote by the Unknown Engineer - RF CafeThe unofficial RF Cafe grammar checker is a retired electrical engineer / ham radio operator. While discussing filters lately, he wrote this: "Sometimes filters just aren't worth the hassle, for instance many moons ago I acquired a 1,000 foot reel of wire that I used to make a 1,000 foot long wire antenna for a crystal radio, but unfortunately there was a 50 kW 'blowtorch' of a station nearby and I couldn't realistically filter it out and any filtering I did try would just add loss, but I knew the station went off the air for 'regularly scheduled maintenance' so I just waited until they were off the air and the band was wide open! If you want to pick nits, I guess you could say that I filtered that station in the time domain instead of the frequency domain." Brilliant ...


Notable Quote from SETI's Jill Tarter 

Notable Quote from SETI's Jill Tarter - RF Cafe"If whatever signal remains has reached anyone, it clearly hasn't inspired a reply." - Jill Tarter, SETI, regarding, 'We joke that the first message extraterrestrials will pick up is I Love Lucy; it was among the first big broadcasts. But Lucy's light-speed antics are pretty garbled by now." Spring 2018 issue of Popular Science magazine.


Notable Quote by Dilbert

Dilbert Notable Quote - RF Cafe"Forecasts are mostly just guessing plus math" - Dilbert, 12/1/2017. It was part of a dialog with the Pointy-Haired Boss who compelled Dilbert to prepare a financial report for him ...


Notable Tech Quote: Werner von Siemens 

Werner von Siemens Notable Tech Quote - RF Cafe"Ideas alone have little worth. The value of an invention lies in its practical implementation." - Werner von Siemens, 1865. The unit of electrical conductance is named after him.




Notable Quote Oft Used by a Frequent RF Cafe Visitor

Notable Quote Oft Used by a Frequent RF Cafe Visitor"Buy the best and cry only once" (BTBCOO) means that a customer cries once at the high price, but doesn't cry again (because the higher price meant greater quality). It is not clear what retailer originated or popularized the saying. "Buy quality and cry once— buy cheap and cry forever" has been cited in print since 1922. - Anon, from The Big Apple.



Notable Tech Quote: H. Ward Silver

H. Ward Silver, Notable Tech Quote - RF Cafe"I don't know the last time you purchased some new coax, but it's sold by the foot and can cost an arm and a leg!" - H. Ward Silver, QST magazine, October 2017, Hands-on- Radio (p71). 

10/ /2017



Notable Tech Quote: Elon Musk

Notable Tech Quote: Elon Musk - RF Cafe"I would like to die on Mars... just not on impact." - Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, during 2013 South by Southwest (SXSW) interview. Begins at 44:15 in video ...



Notable Tech Quote: Robert Lanza & Bob Berman

Notable Tech Quote: Robert Lanza & Bob Berman - RF Cafe"Light is strange, but you can get used to it." - Robert Lanza & Bob Berman in Beyond Biocentrism. The book discusses some of the stranger aspects of quantum physics including the dual particle and wave nature of light, and the "spooky action at a distance" of entanglement. The biocentrism theme is weird, but there is a good review of quantum theory ...



Notable Tech Quote: Kat McGowan

Notable Tech Quote: Kat McGowen - RF Cafe"There, his new specimens joined his collection and waited patiently as only rocks can until he could find time to analyze them." - Kat McGowan, "Where Did It Begin?" September / October 2017 Popular Science (p41).

9/ 20/2017



Notable Tech Quote: Thomas Edison

Notable Tech Quote: Thomas Edison - RF Cafe"Chasing the perfect battery is a fool's journey: a catchpenny, a sensation, a mechanism for swindling the public by stock companies," wrote Thomas Edison in 1883. "Working on the latest, greatest battery brings out a man's 'latent capacity for lying." July / August 2017 Discover magazine ...



Notable Tech Quote: Jill Tarter

Notable Tech Quote: Jill Tarter - RF Cafe"You wouldn't dip a glass in the ocean, come up with no fish inside and conclude, 'No fish exist.'" - astronomer Jill Tarter regarding where humans are with SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). July / August 2017 Discover magazine ...




Notable Tech Quote by Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill Quotation from Malakand Field Force - RF Cafe"I pass with relief from the tossing sea of Cause and Theory to the firm ground of Result and Fact." - Winston L. Spencer Churchill, The Story of the Malakand Field Force - An Episode of Frontier War, p60. Other Notable Tech Quotes ...




Notable Tech Quote: Tom Gallagher, NY2RF

Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, CEO of ARRL - RF Cafe"Its catalog was the Boys' Life of electronics." - Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, CEO of ARRL, regarding the second bankruptcy filing for Radio Shack (May 2017 QST, p81) ...




Notable Tech Quote: Walter Underwood, K6WRU

Notable Tech Quote: Walter Underwood, K6WRU - RF Cafe"There is a way to tell who is used to working on transistor equipment from those used to working on tube equipment. Before those used to working on tube equipment touch their equipment, they put one hand in their pocket to avoid electrocution. Before those used to working on low-voltage equipment begin to work, they put one hand on the chassis to avoid damage from electrostatic discharge." - Walter Underwood, K6WRU, as reported by Joel Hallas in his "The Doctor Is In" column in the May 2017 issue of QST (p61) ...


Notable Quote:  Jamie Davies

Notable Quote: Jamie Davies - RF Cafe"...timeframes are the enemy, they'l figure out if you're behind schedule if you are too specific." - Jamie Davies, in a telecoms.com article titled "Euro 5G Consortium Releases Roadmap with No Direction." Thanks to RF Cafe visitor Bob Davis for the tip ...



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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 World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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