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2018 December 7

Slow progress on editing book

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 23:38
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On Nov 25, I listed the global editing left to do (except for the first step, which was done):

  • 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.

I thought that I might be able to power through the editing and be done by Nov 30.But here it is Dec 7, and I’m less than half way through doing the “important-box” sweep (250 out of 534 pages done). I have gotten the figure credits done, and I’ve fixed most of the figures in the first 250 pages.

I also redid a couple of figures—one was using old Bitscope-generated data, when I could now get much more and much cleaner data with the Analog Discovery 2.  The other one I fixed was a fairly recent one showing ringing in a Schmitt trigger inverter that had capacitive feedback—I made it clearer by increasing the feedback capacitance to make the ringing last longer.

I also cleaned up the instructions for the thermistor lab and the hysteresis lab.

Because I feel I need to release some version of the book next week for the BME 51A class, I’m probably going to end up doing two releases—one next week and one the first week of January.  I’d like to get at least the important-box sweep and spell check done through page 354 (the end of BME 51A), which I should be able to manage before next week’s release.

There are still 10 overfull hboxes (1 in a chapter title, 4 in the reference list, and 5 in the index), with the worst overfull boxes in the reference list.  The problem is partly with the inflexible spacing of bibliography entries and partly with hard-to-break urls.  Since the worst of them is only 17 points too wide, I may not bother fixing them.

I’ve not even looked to see whether there are widow and orphan lines—though I have set the penalties for them high and set \raggedbottom, so LaTeX should avoid making them. 

I’ve not done any spell checks yet—I’ll start that after I’ve made any more major modifications through page 354.  I did spot and fix a few typos while doing the sweep for important boxes.

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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 25

Progress on editing book

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 10:17
Tags: ,

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 draw.io~\cite{draw.io}.}   

2018 November 19

New book cover draft 5

Filed under: Circuits course — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 13:51
Tags: , ,

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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