Tag: electronics

Member Post

 

MCAT prep is going well. How well I’ll do on the test, I hesitate to guess, but it encourages me as I go through the Barron’s guide to exclaim I still know that! or even I used to know that! Or even I forgot that at least twice! That happened when a practice question showed […]

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The Muse

 

The Muse was a digital algorithmic music composing machine invented in 1969 by Artificial Intelligence researchers Marvin Minsky and Edward Fredkin at MIT. It was built with the digital logic circuitry of the day; gates, registers, and counters in simple integrated circuits.

While strongly associated with electronic music, The Muse was not a “synthesizer” as it only played a fixed level square wave. Instead, it created original melodies from algorithmic processes, something that hadn’t been seen before. There were no pre-programmed sequences or random sources involved.

Minsky and Fredkin formed a company named Triadex to manufacture the units, which sold for $300. Accessories included an amplifier and a light show in matching enclosures. Multiple Muses could be linked together and synchronized.

Member Post

 

In about 1975, my first husband and I had returned to Seattle from Minneapolis, and were living on a shoestring.  He had found a job as a transformer winder at a company that made industrial transformers, and I, with my MA in psychology, was working as a pricing clerk in a hospital pharmacy.  Now, Larry […]

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Remembering Heathkit

 

What’s Heathkit? Well, the version I knew, and which was the most successful edition, was a company that offered a large variety of electronic and electrical equipment in kit form to the public. That’s a far cry from the original Heath Company, which was founded in 1912, as an aircraft company by Edward Bayard Heath, an early aviation pioneer.

Heath Parasol 1935.

I, Circuit Board

 

SamsungDo you know how modern electronics are manufactured, or where they come from? Do you know where their component parts come from? The answers may surprise you. That cellular phone or computer you use to check Ricochet may say, “Made in China” on the backplate, but really it should just say, “Assembled in China, Made Everywhere Else.”

There’s been much talk this election season about “getting tough on China” because of their manufacturing costs, or currency valuations, and there have been solutions proposed that sound like Great Patriotic Trade Wars to rectify the supposed ills of international trade, but unless you have some grasp of everything that goes into manufacturing, you are not likely even to begin to see the glimmer of the spiderweb of international trade that gets your computer into your hands.

No matter what electronic device you are using to read this (unless you printed it out), you are holding an assortment of components, chemicals, and raw materials that might have originated in over 40 nations around the world and passed through many others on their way to your hands. Some individual parts may have gone through three or four nations just during their own sub-assembly processes. You truly have a sample of the whole world in your hands or on your desk. I ought to know, as I am a part owner myself of an electronics manufacturer.