Gas station without pumps

2020 March 27

Lowering price of textbook

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:21
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To make it easier for people to learn electronics at home, I’m lowering the minimum price of my book to $6 during the COVID-19 crisis.  I wish I had a ready-to-go bundle of parts and online videos to help people learn at home, but creating such videos would take me a year (though I am seriously considering starting creating such videos during my sabbatical).

Creating a bundle of tools and parts would require working with one of the companies that sells parts (Jameco, Mouser, Sparkfun, …).  The markup they would require to make it profitable for them to do the bundling is pretty high, though, so for now it is cheapest for people to order parts from distributors and tools and boards from China.

2018 December 19

Textbook on sale

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 18:48
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My textbook is part of LeanPub’s special holiday sale.  For the rest of 2018, you can get it for only $4.99 (instead of the usual $5.99) with the coupon

http://leanpub.com/applied_analog_electronics/c/LeanpubHolidaySaleHoHoHo

Note: students in BME 51A should have gotten a coupon to get the textbook for free.

2018 December 1

New book cover draft 6

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 13:03
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Here are some tweaks to the book cover, based on blog-reader comments from New book cover draft 5:

 

This newest draft uses subscripts for the schematic labels and has the schematic slightly further to the right, to make it look more visually centered. I’ve also made the font (Bitstream Vera Sans) explicit.

I’m not 100% committed to Bitstream Vera Sans, but I’ve looked through my collection of 28 sans-serif fonts using FontBook and didn’t find any that looked more promising.  Even some of my favorite fonts (like Optima) did not work as well for this design.  About the only font that seemed competitive was Gill Sans, and the difference wasn’t big enough to convince me to make the change. 

Interestingly, FontBook did not report Bitstream Vera Sans as one of the fonts I have—it seems to have been installed in a non-standard location, possibly with the anaconda python installation, possibly with inkscape.

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

Progress on editing the book has been slower than I had hoped.  I’d wanted to do the release yesterday, but I’m only up to page 111 on the scan for sentences to highlight in “important” boxes, and I need to get through page 526.  In the process of doing this scan, I’ll also be checking to see whether the instructions in each lab are consistent.

I’ve found one inconsistency in the thermistor lab (are we optimizing for max sensitivity or for linearity at Top?), and left a to-do note there until I make up my mind.  In the past we’ve always optimized for linearity, though the book said we were optimizing for max sensitivity—one of the bugs that is getting fixed.

After the scan through the whole book, I still have the spelling check and the orphan/widow-line check to do.

I’m guessing that I have another 10 days work before I can release.

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:

BEFORE:

What people were commenting on

AFTER:

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.

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