NTSB final report on C310 N5225J (Doug Bourn) — Just the facts, ma’am

Earlier this week the NTSB released its final report on the crash of N5225J, a Cessna 310R that crashed into East Palo Alto in February of 2010 when on an instrument departure from KPAO. Continue reading

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What does the FU in IFU really stand for?*

I really had to wonder this a few days ago as I removed a new smoke alarm out of the box because I was replacing the roof on the house. (yes, California is a funny place)

Replacing a smoke alarm seemed easy enough. What could it take? Just a couple screws, a battery, and I’d be In Like Flint.


Here’s the trick question of the day: “Which comes with more instructions: a $9 smoke alarm or a $400 iPhone?” Right– it’s the smoke alarm. Feast your eyes on this:

On the left are in the instructions for the smoke alarm (all in English), and on the right, the iPhone’s. Okay, yes, I admit that I didn’t unfold the iPhone instruction packet, but there’s not much there even if I did.

My question is, “WHY?!”

Really. Do we really need this many instructions for a smoke alarm? Well, my guess is that the lawyers say, “Yes.” Every possible misuse had to be accounted for and warned against. Every accident that ever occured where a smoke alarm might not have done its job perfectly resulted in another sentence, another picture, another set of guidelines to achieve a successful smoke alarm experience.

And the iPhone? Actually, I’ve never read that little booklet, and my experience is incredible. I’m scared to think how good it might be if I actually read the instructions.

* [Feel Useless]

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Careful what you photograph

I recently read with dismay about malicious Russian QR codes that cause your Android phone to send $6 txt msgs to the BGs.  All you need to do is scan the code, and off goes your $6, adjusted for currency exchange rates, of course.

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Try *this* with your fancy new iPhone 4S camera!

Many have written about the new iPhone4S’s camera, and how it might displace quite a few point-and-shoot models.  Still, there are some things it can’t do, or you wouldn’t want to do with it.  This is one.

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An Interview with Woz and Jobs — from 1979

UPDATE (Nov 19th): The IEEE newsletter can now be found here, and the article begins on page 21.  Many thanks to the authors and the interviewer, Robin Bradbeer.

In the most recent issue of IEEE Consumer Electronics Society Newsletter (Fall 2011) you’ll find two articles from Practical Computing April & May 1979: one is an interview with Steve Wozniak and the other with Steve Jobs.  I believe this issue of the newsletter went to press before the announcement of Steve’s death.

The articles are quite interesting as they tell a story so common to the companies that MindTribe encounters.  For those of us who’ve been in or around the computing industry since the 1970’s, it’s especially interesting to see how certain technical decisions took form, and how they led to the predominant architectures we work with today.

Reach out to your IEEE member friends for a copy of the newsletter, or your local geek hoarder for a copy of the 1979 magazines.  I encourage all to read the two articles for a perspective on the men and the technology that affects us all to this day.

– Tim Prachar

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Clamping, Bounding, and Pease moments

Here’s a great article with more from analog guru Bob Pease.  The collection of analog circuits for diode clamps and ideal zeners are all pretty useful.

And the photos of Pease are classic!

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What’s All This Electrosmog Stuff, Anyhow?


From time to time new words are coined in the tech world, and some stick like glue while others evaporate like old political jokes. And often these terms are formed not by the tech community, but by those outside of it. Enter Electrosmog.

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