27 September 2011

Book 1 Chapter 4

Chapter 4, "Is analog circuit design dead?"

Is analog circuit design dead? All of these publications, all of these great circuits, and Jim's whole career are evidence to the contrary. Clearly, the answer is "no", and Jim writes a great polemic. (Did James Solomon really say, "all classical analog techniques are dead"? That's terrible.) Twenty years later, we don't hear much from the "analog is dead" choir. The "war" of which Jim speaks here is long over. Few doubt the value and necessity of the analog interfaces. Analog may not be king, but without analog, digital would have nothing to rule over.

On the other hand, I do have to relate that I was recently asked why I was bothering with designing low-noise RF amplifiers: "Can't you just use an analog-to-digital converter?" (Um, no.)

"Do all you bit pushers out there get the message?" Yes, Jim, I think they finally did.

I love the quotes from George Philbrick (from an article that is also reprinted in this book, as Chapter 2), and the shout-out to Korn and Korn and Henry Paynter's "Palimpsest on the Electronic Analog Art". Good reading, all around. Best quote (page 17): "Analog computers did not die out because analog simulation are no loner useful or do not approximate truth; rather, the rise of digital machines made it enticingly easy to use digital fakery to simulate the simulation."

Finally, consider Figure 4-2:


If you ever, ever, ever see a Tektronix 556 in somebody's trash, please call me.



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