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2018 November 27

Analog Discovery 2 sale

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 08:30
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For today and tomorrow only, Digilent is having a 30% off sale on Analog Discovery 2 USB oscilloscopes.  The price is not quite as good as the Academic discount, so this sale is useless to students and university faculty, but it might be of use to some of my readers:

Enter the following coupon code at check out


Offer cannot be combined with any other offers (such as the Digilent Academic Discount). Coupon is valid for the Analog Discovery 2 and is active until 28 November 4 AM PST. Coupon must be redeemed on and is not valid at any other distributor or website.

2018 November 25

Progress on editing book

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 10:17
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I got all the to-do notes removed from the book by Thanksgiving and started doing the global editing:

  • sweep through the index—standardizing entries, adding new ones, making sure that entries pointed to all relevant parts of book.
  • sweep through figures—checking size, positioning, and (where relevant) figure credits
  • check coherence of lab instructions for each lab.  Some specific point editing may have left inconsistencies.
  • sweep through full text looking for important sentences or paragraphs that need to be highlighted with “important” boxes.  (I started adding the boxes last year, but I have not done a sweep of the whole book looking for where they are needed.)
  • check for overfull hboxes (bad line breaking)
  • check for widow and orphan lines (bad page breaking)
  • spell check all files.

So far, I have done just the first entry on the list: the sweep through the index. I thought it would take only an afternoon, but it took two full days, and in the process I added two more to-do notes where looking for index entries pointed out other deficiencies.
I’ve since fixed those to-do notes, so I’m now ready to start the sweep through the figures. This should go fairly quickly, even though there are 298 figures, unless I decide I need to redraw or rephotograph something—that could take a long time.

I’ve created a couple of LaTeX macros to standardize some of the figure credits, which should also speed things up a bit:

\newcommand{\citeschemeit}{Figure drawn with Digi-Key's Scheme-it~\cite{SchemeIt}.}
\newcommand{\citedrawio}{Figure drawn with\cite{}.}   

2018 November 19

New book cover draft 5

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 13:51
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Here are some tweaks to the book cover, based on blog-reader comments from New book cover draft 4:


What people were commenting on


I fixed the spacing in the title, italicized the subtitle, shrank the schematic, fixed the symmetry of the op-amp inputs, fixed the “–” label, moved my name to the right and bolded it, and made more space between the EKG trace and my name.

I’m a little worried that the schematic is mathematically centered, but not visually centered, because of the greater amount of negative space on the right.

Any more suggestions? The feedback from my blog readers on this has been quite valuable.

2018 November 18

New book cover draft 4

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:40
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My best book cover design so far (Another book cover design) was based on a design by a former student.  My son suggested that the schematic diagram was too wimpy, and that I should make it more cartoony with bold colors.  This also fits well with some of the content of the book, as students are taught to color-code the nodes of a schematic for easier wiring. So I drew the schematic using hand-coded SVG and placed it on the inkscape SVG cover design getting:

I can easily change the colors of anything here, but it is important that the four nodes (the wires in the schematic) be different colors.

Any more suggestions? The feedback from my blog readers on this has been quite valuable.

2018 November 17

Another book cover design

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 20:47
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A former student (a Danish exchange student) sent me an SVG file with a couple of book cover designs.  I liked them better than what I came up with, but found them a little too grey (like some of the old Springer monograph series), so I redid one of them in brighter colors:

This design avoids the border symmetry that Bob Therriault rightly criticized and looks a little better than the flat background I was using.

Because it is an inkscape svg file, it is moderately easy for me to modify (my previous designs were done in Photoshop Elements, which is both harder and easier to work with, depending what you are trying to do.  I may want to redo the EKG trace from the original data, as he was working with just the low-resolution image I had posted, so the Inkscape object is a bit cruder than I’d like.

What do people think of this design?  What can/should I do to improve it? Colors? Fonts?


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