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eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« on: January 24, 2022, 10:53:49 pm »
Dave looks at a classic Philips quarterly journal from 1970 and asks why companies don't make historical documents like this any more featuring the employees who worked there?
Bonus rant on Theory of Operation documents.

 
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Offline Ed.Kloonk

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2022, 11:10:00 pm »
When you had a problem you couldn't solve, the guy with the pipe would be the one you always go to. Might not have got the answer straight away, but they'd figure out what to do.
Expert texpert choking smoker. I am the eggman.
 
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Offline MK14

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2022, 11:42:58 pm »
In answer to your nice video, the pictures, I think, are generally staged (I suspect, but I mean that there was a cleanup, re-arrangement of equipment and personnel may not be all the same people, who are usually there). It would go, something like this, I would guess.....
At the beginning of the week, there might be a meeting and they explain about the photographer coming tomorrow morning (time made up). Perhaps large cardboard boxes are passed around, and they are told to empty all junk and mess into them, by this afternoon.
If you want to see what I suspect is a real/genuine picture (EDIT: on reflection, even that picture seems to have had some partial tidy up), here is one:



EDIT: On the other hand, production line pictures, do seem to be more genuine, more of the time.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2022, 12:50:52 am by MK14 »
 
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Offline ssander

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2022, 11:43:27 pm »
NASA have done progress images, etc for projects such as the JWST, Mars rovers

https://www.jwst.nasa.gov/index.html

https://mars.nasa.gov/

Print media is last century


 

Offline bdunham7

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2022, 12:07:18 am »
Because the new corporate masters don't want to give the working folks the impression that they are important.  That notion apparently died during the 90's.

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Offline SilverSolder

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2022, 12:20:11 am »

Older t&m equipment documentation is a treasure trove of educational material...

Then there are the publications like in Dave's video, or the old HP Journals, and so on.  All rich sources as well.

Modern corporations are rarely run by engineers, and are even more rarely run in a "custodial" fashion with a sense of responsibility for the field as a whole.  These days, we are seeing the result of applying the world view of sterile accountants to our way of life for several decades....   a financial crisis followed by Covid!  :D
 
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Offline MrMobodies

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2022, 04:50:12 am »
Interesting video. I found a batch of some network card selling in the states in 2008. I knew nothing about it and could not find any information about them. I took a risk buying them. When I plugged one in there a 3com driver that worked and it worked quite well. I had to provide cooling as it got a bit hot. It seemed more responsive compared to the onboard nic at the time.



Many years later I found a document for it "Tigonbk.pdf, that explains how it works, how you could program it in operation (I believe through the driver via some hidden serial port on the board) and i thought it was fascinating.



Unfortunately no schematics I can find.

I have been using them in a firewall since 2015 and Freebsd still supports it.

I found history interesting how Alteon got brought out by Nortal which was sold to HP in 2009 and then Radware.

I found some research and testing and other stuff over the years:
https://slideplayer.com/slide/16743616/
https://slideplayer.com/slide/9559745/

I went into my local college in 2011 and saw a director asking if they run courses that explain how things like circuits and controllers work in operation. Apparently this director use to go there as a student in the 1980's to repair televisions. He said they don't run courses like that anymore due to demand. If a TV or recorder break people just find it cheaper and easier to go the shop and get a new one and it's now a throw away society and they don't build many of them that great either.

I have always been fascinated but I faced so much of discouragement and negativity over the years and thanks to EEVBLOG I am learning now what I would have wanted to learn back many decades ago when the schools I went to stopped suddenly the electrical classes and merged it into some technology lesson that focused more on woodwork and textile stuff.

I think they should bring back this sort of stuff. I find a bit like shopping, I can see what ingredients goes into the good and that's what I find inspires confidence.

Now I came across a few customers in the past believing any old claim say from their ISP that they just signed up for about their fancy new "ultra powerful" WIFI router covering everywhere in their house that they moved into without realizing how it may work and even testing it first when it arrives. Instead they decorate quickly, move in and then call me out when they find out it doesn't cover everywhere by which time it is too late and they don't want to see wires or trunking and sometimes they complain about the drop outs in the powerline adapters as if it was a mystery if some kind expecting it to work without any understanding or reading the manual that high load or certain appliances can cause it to cut out.
 
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Offline MrMobodies

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2022, 05:53:38 am »
Another thing I remembered. I wanted one day to find a good switching plugpack 12v power supply with a few amps as many of them that i had kept on failing. So I went down a bootsale and brought a lot of them back and then smashed many of them open to see what was inside.

I found a LiShin, FSP and LG, some were glue shut and some had screws under the feat.

I concluded that LI SHIN LSE9901B1260 and the FSP both 12v 5a seemed to have best construction and components of the lot and they are screened. Whereas the LG and some others had no screening and the fewest components, no surge just a fuse so those went in the bin and kept the cords. I went to search for the Lishin and found them new and used joblots 5 and 4.16a selling on ebay which I load tested any joblot but what inspires my confidence is that it is serviceable as I found the schematics for one of them. I couldn't find many FSP's of the same type selling and at the price of the other.



I found those LiShins to be very reliable. Out of the many over the years I only had one of them that did not to come again so one day maybe I could try and repair it with the schematic. I use them for all sorts of things, cameras, 12v switches or any 12v appliance.

A 12v 2a? cheapo looking thing someone gave me that they got from Amazon for about £10 for their musical keyboard that failed within a year nearly about the same price I paid for one of those new LiShin 4.16a  at the time:



I think something might have exploded in there on the bottom tight neae the cap but as been glued shut not very serviceable to open and put back and no screening.
Very throw away not good for less than a year of occasional use.
 
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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2022, 06:12:11 am »
Why don't companies do WHAT anymore? Is the state of electronics Youtubing so dire the leaning into the clickbait titles is really necessary?
 
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Offline DH7DN

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2022, 07:40:48 am »
From my experience (I don't work in the electronics field), there are not many resources left to do such work. In the end, someone has to do the job: photographing, layout, writing articles, peer review and publish. Companies are very careful publishing such stuff. Small companies can't afford this, bigger companies have PR departments to do this. They have different "communication channels" to promote their products (Application Notes, White Papers, online seminars etc.). Another example would be: Does one really want to photograph a mass-production lines where you see worker bees doing their job under questionable working conditions?  :-//

Nevertheless, I personally like those kind of documentation because it's timeless... One can see people from a different era and the pictures show us little details such as the guy with a smoking pipe or even fashion thrills like "Mr Fancy Pants" from Curious Marc YT ;D

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Online PartialDischarge

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2022, 07:55:17 am »
Amongst the books that I used to learn signal processing with was a book written by Philips  engineers. Excellent book, it had a series of chapters on audio signal processing which they did develop for their products.
One of the best discrete signal processing books that I have...


« Last Edit: January 25, 2022, 07:57:20 am by MasterTech »
 
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Online tszaboo

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2022, 09:05:25 am »
They do. Took a photo of everyone, put up a picture of people on the wall that work in different branches. They took a photo of the office for company newsletter, that is to be send out to our customers. It is all filled with fake setups, please move your monitor its in the way, etc... Hated every second of it.
 
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Offline Neutrion

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2022, 12:50:22 pm »
I think it could be mostly because of:
1. Trying to avoid industrial spying which now happens on a mass scale especially from one direction.
Yes you could let some important stuff not to be photographed, but that also needs organisation, and it is easier just not to take the risks. Or to fake the whole lab.That applies also for detailed technical documentation, and repair manuals I suppose.

2. Overoptimisation of companies.
You need an actual engineer to produce these documents, but you have them doing engineering, and have the wanketeers do the marketing stuff, who have no clue.
And if one can't point out the actual cost/benefit ratio for the company, there wont't be any extra resource allocated.
 
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Offline golden_labels

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2022, 01:54:26 pm »
My picks:
  • Induces costs, but perceived as not bringing any benefits that outdo alternative marketing methods.
  • Any information witheld is financial value.
  • Organizational structures and the meaning of a brand have shifted greatly since mid 20th century. Revealing inner working of a company would inevitably harm brand’s image.

I doubt it’s anywhere the main concerns of companies,(1) but a specific part of such a release — showing or mentioning particular people — touches the matter of privacy of the employees.


(1) At least not until recently the relevant laws are being introduced across the world.
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Offline ace1903

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2022, 02:40:07 pm »
My picks:
1) I was asked to give permission photos of me to be used for marketing purpose. I refused because it was general permission. And I don't want photos of me to be on Facebook and Linkedin where some HR dummy will put them there together with some copy paste motivational sentence. Or even worse something like "our employee is happy with his birthday present..."
2) Culture of wearing lab coat at work is long gone. As introvert I am always questioning my choice of cloth and that is why I always wear simple single color shirt with jeans. Don't want to hear some comment from management people that is inappropriate or not stylish. Once photo goes in the wild you must be prepared to hear comments after years  and years.
3) In an era where all printed materials are full with photoshop-ed photos and 1$ stock photos looking ordinary puts pressure on me.
4) Process of taking photos in seventies was shot and go. Photos and prints were low resolution and mainly showed atmosphere at the working place.
In 2014 I was representative at embedded world. Photographer spent 1 hour to chose best photo trying with different angles and lighting.
Later one colleague at the office commented for the other colleague on the photo that he had long hair on his hand near his watch. I was not ready to hear that one zoomed the pictures to see that level of details.

I think that in 2022 after so many influencers taking selfies we are  looking differently on ordinary engineers and normal environment.       
 
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Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2022, 07:09:49 pm »
Because the new corporate masters don't want to give the working folks the impression that they are important.  That notion apparently died during the 90's.

Yes, that's part of it.
IMO, companies used to do this to:
1. Make employees feel proud of their work,
2. Attract talents,
3. Attract customers,
4. Document the company's history,
5. Convey the values of the company.

But things have changed.
1: Most companies do not care anymore. Turn-over has become the norm rather than the exception.
2: These days, you'll attract "talents" with loads of cash and benefits. Offer loads of it, and the fraction of people that will reject an offer based on their perception of the company will be noise. Unless maybe you're an absolute star.
3. Sadly, most customers now will fall for the hype (brand name, alleged technology) and the price tag. Products could be designed by a troop of monkeys for all they know, it doesn't matter.
4. Probably seen as a net loss of time. That has been largely replaced with a few colorful PowerPoints, made in a couple hours by marketing people.
5. Not sure how much this matters anymore?

Sure there's also the point of documenting internal processes, pieces of schematics, etc. That's something companies had no problem doing back in the days, but these days, many "hide" as much as they can, for fear of competitors getting ideas.

But as pointed out above, I think a lot of it has to do with the balance of power between companies, their employees (in particular engineers) and their customers having changed drastically.
In the end, companies used to do that because they considered it was useful for them. Now they consider it is not anymore. We just need to understand why.
 
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Offline jancumps

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2022, 09:23:13 pm »
Aah, the Evoluon on the front page. I've been in there when it was Philips' technology museum.
First time I saw magnetic core memory and a video disc.
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2022, 11:06:09 pm »
Not quite the same, but, thread recently about flipper zero production:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/crowd-funded-projects/for-anyone-considering-a-hardwaresoftware-kickstarter/
https://blog.flipperzero.one/tag/production-log/

As for the "Theory of operations" for projects, unless its a niche application, usually makes sense linking to an existing explanation than re-explaining it yourself, IMO.
Of course in a magazine or book, you can't do this, so everything has to be written out.
 

Offline cdev

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2022, 11:24:54 pm »
Because the general philosophy of de-skilling (Taylorism) pushes the idea that workers should be replaceable interchangeable parts in a machine. Frederick Winslow Taylor, wrote some of the first books on how to run a factory such as "Principles of Scientific Management" This became known as Taylorism .

Or "scientific management"

Frederick Winslow Taylor, look him up. One of the most influential people in the history of industrial engineering in the US. They wont admit how influential he has been.

That tells us something too.

Another very influential person of the same period was named Leffingwell.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2022, 11:28:15 pm by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 
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Online langwadt

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2022, 12:19:46 am »
Because the new corporate masters don't want to give the working folks the impression that they are important.  That notion apparently died during the 90's.

Yes, that's part of it.
IMO, companies used to do this to:
1. Make employees feel proud of their work,
2. Attract talents,
3. Attract customers,
4. Document the company's history,
5. Convey the values of the company.

But things have changed.
1: Most companies do not care anymore. Turn-over has become the norm rather than the exception.
2: These days, you'll attract "talents" with loads of cash and benefits. Offer loads of it, and the fraction of people that will reject an offer based on their perception of the company will be noise. Unless maybe you're an absolute star.
3. Sadly, most customers now will fall for the hype (brand name, alleged technology) and the price tag. Products could be designed by a troop of monkeys for all they know, it doesn't matter.
4. Probably seen as a net loss of time. That has been largely replaced with a few colorful PowerPoints, made in a couple hours by marketing people.
5. Not sure how much this matters anymore?

Sure there's also the point of documenting internal processes, pieces of schematics, etc. That's something companies had no problem doing back in the days, but these days, many "hide" as much as they can, for fear of competitors getting ideas.

But as pointed out above, I think a lot of it has to do with the balance of power between companies, their employees (in particular engineers) and their customers having changed drastically.
In the end, companies used to do that because they considered it was useful for them. Now they consider it is not anymore. We just need to understand why.


I think at some point view of the whole; one big family with history, proud to part off etc.
changed to being see as a cheesy manipulative tactic to get people to work more for less pay

and if you are cynic, public companies now don't care about anything other than the books
looking good at the end of the quarter so stock goes up, screw the future and past
 
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Offline mawyatt

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2022, 04:17:14 pm »
Dave,

EDN magazine had a Design Ideas section every month, this had a few circuits with explanations on how they worked, so sort of a "Theory of Operation". Not a full blown document for a complex instrument like you've shown, but more of a focus on a single circuit/function. Great resource for getting circuit tidbits and such IMO.

Think the answer today why technology companies don't do this is, they aren't run by engineers/scientist anymore, but MBAs that are only focused on short term gains and executive/shareholder value. There are no more HP and Tektronix of old, when they produced exceptional products, with detailed service and theory of operation manuals, and produced great Technical Journals to illustrate and discuss the technological advancements going on in their labs :-[

Best,
Curiosity killed the cat, also depleted my wallet!
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Offline rsjsouza

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2022, 06:06:16 pm »
Like others, I would love if companies continued to publish those deep technical documents as well - actually, some do but to a more limited extent and in various other media formats such as blog posts, youtube videos, etc. As for having people from the organization showing up on this material, that is still certainly a thing as it can be told by the various Keysight videos, for example. Some employees appreciate this, others don't.

However, don't be fooled into thinking this was for engineering purposes only - it was a crafted marketing strategy that catered to the audience of that time. Nowadays, since attention spans are quite fleeting, long format documentation and educational material is out of the window in favour of nuggets of information and tips, tidbits, etc. I know this from my own experience - anything longer than a few pages or a minute or two sees a severe decrease in audience.

All in all, it is nostalgia of other times that is hitting us. I don't think these types of heavily technical documents surrounding a single product or technology will ever exist again. I couldn't find, for example, such document from Keysight or LeCroy about their 100 GHz oscilloscopes (apart from Shahriar's video, but he is a third party person). 
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Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 
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Offline Neutrion

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2022, 06:31:54 pm »
Actually performa01 who himself is also not the youngest according to himself, produced a really good in depth review of the sds1104x which is partly educational and partly tech. documentation of the scope.
Not sure if you can get such a thing with the educational scopes of the big brands.
Though he is not Siglent, the company, I am not sure about his relation to them, but all in all the effect is similar to these old articles. But I think, the effort to write it and test the scope through was quiet a lot, if it was for free, it is a huge luck to Siglent, and will help many beginers in the field a lot, and direct the to that brand.  So as a long term "investment" it might brings a lot, even if it would cost money(in this case it was actually free according to performa). But who thinks in the west in longer terms?
 

Offline scopeman

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2022, 01:12:13 am »
Hello Dave,

Well HP used to have a full department that did this for the HP Journal, HP Measure and other publications.
On the manuals I have gotten to the point to where if I see a piece of broken Rohde and Schwarz gear it has to be
very cheap as you can never get any service manuals for it. This is the reason why professionally I never considered
buying any R&S gear.

Sam
W3OHM
W3OHM
 

Offline station240

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Re: eevBLAB 94 - Why Dont Companies DO THIS Anymore?
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2022, 01:54:18 am »
Because the new corporate masters don't want to give the working folks the impression that they are important.  That notion apparently died during the 90's.

But things have changed.
1: Most companies do not care anymore. Turn-over has become the norm rather than the exception.

Which then leads to the problem of Company A's earlier marketing material featuring a person who now works for Company B.

Though I've also seen reference design projects, that clearly aren't being worked on by the original designer.
The documentation was poor so support were having to answer a lot of questions, think they are redesigning something as well.
 


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