Over, But Not Out
Well, not out yet. I hope I'll be out when I take to the skies soon. Out sleeping anyway. Not out on the wing. Brrrr. I am out of the show and occupying space in a mostly empty airport terminal. I left the floor just a little early to catch a flight home tonight and I still have about an hour before boarding.
I didn't get to explore much of the show this time. In fact, I barely got out of my booth. I guess that's a good thing. I did get to talk to quite a few folks, including a number of people from colleges and Universities.
Some of these chats were actually a little disturbing. In almost all cases, the students and professors said pretty much the same thing: They limit most of their design education to components that can be hand-soldered. While I do understand the economics, that theme gives me a lot of concern. So many of the new chip designs are being produced only in super-small packages. Who's going to create new advanced designs if our students are being taught in thru-hole and old, large smt? It sounds like they're getting prepared to take design jobs in 1984.
It's not always possible to learn on a thru-hole version and then later in professional life, just move to the tiny parts. Many of the new chips don't have thru-hole versions. And with the small parts, there's a whole slew of things that need to be considered that just might not matter with big parts - paste stencil patterns, via-in-pad, escape routing, cap and inductor proximity, and on and on.
I'm not sure what the solution is. We'll have to ponder on it for a bit, but it seems like a pretty important problem to knock off.
We don't need no thought control, but we might need some frequency-drift control