16 November 2011

Book 2 Chapter 1

Chapter 1, "The importance of fixing"

In this chapter, Jim tells the story of his start at M.I.T., and how his mentor, Prof. Jerrold Zacharias ("the father of atomic time"), shaped his early career. The key development was Zacharias's refusal to pay for instrument repair and calibration. He simply demanded, "You fix everything." This moment was Jim's introduction to fixing (and stealing good ideas from) Tektronix oscilloscopes, starting with a 1A7 plug-in. As the saying goes, "Good artists copy, great artists steal."

Jim goes on to discuss his educational philosophy with regard to vintage test equipment. "The inside of a broken, but well-designed piece of test equipment is an extraordinarily effective classroom."

He concludes with a quote I love (and have cited before; see Scope Sunday 1): "It just seems sacrilege to let a good piece of equipment die... fixing is simply a lot of fun. I may be the only person at an electronics flea market who will pay more for the busted stuff!"

Best quote (in the caption of Figure 1-1 (above) on page 4): "Oh boy, it's broken! Life doesn't get any better than this."


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