March 23, 1998 Design News
Letters to the editor
Readers state their views
A UNIX clone
While as a software engineer I don't use a CAD station,
I found "CAD: The New way to spell NT" (Design
News, 11/3/97) interesting as it showed how the
WINTEL platform is earning more design-ins in new areas.
The cost of hardware is an important issue here, but
NT is not the only way to make use of WINTEL hardware
as a workstation.
The Linux operating system is a respectable UNIX clone
that runs on WINTEL hardware. Most UNIX applications
could be ported to Linux, and thereby run on WINTEL
hardware. Linux is freeware available for download over
the internet, and supported by the net use groups. If
CAD applications would be ported to Linux, users could
have their cake and eat it too, the advantages of a
UNIX platform on cheap(er) WINTEL workstations.
A question on 'answers'
I enjoy reading Design News. I find it not only
educational, and a vast resource for engineers, but
I also find it rather entertaining! I especially enjoy
"Headwork" and "Answer of the Month Contest."Which
leads me to my question...How often will winners be
chosen? Once per month? Once per year?
You should provide feedback, so people who submit "Questions"
will know that you received them. You explain the "rules"
in the little rectangle at the back of the magazine,
but you don't explain much of anything else (such as
when a winner will be chosen), etc. Thanks.
Comparisons are good
Thank you for including this case study on cost comparisons
between conventional and new technology approaches to
automation design in "Fieldbus: more costly now,
for some" (Design News 1/5/98). It is useful
to see a reminder that there is probably not a universal,
best solution for controls and wiring for both large
and small systems.
However, the data compiled by Mr. Flesher raises some
questions. I am curious whether or not the time accrued
for developing the Circuit Breaker Assembly tooling
using Fieldbus/PC-based control encompassed a significant
amount of learning time.
For example, if Device Tech were to build ten of each
of the two types of machines, would the time disparity
of 1250 vs 500 (for the Conventional PLC-based tooling)
be as great? Further, are there aspects of the Fieldbus/PC
approach which, when learned thoroughly, would make
the development of a similar machine for a different
application less time intensive?
In either case, perhaps the frustrating experiences
with the new technology could provide useful feedback
to the component and software suppliers to make the
products and the development tools better.
Additionally, follow-up on comparisons between approaches
such as these would be useful. For instance, is there
less downtime on a machine using one approach or the
other? Or, when there is a failure, how quickly and
definitively can it be located and corrected?
Another airbag hazard
After reading your article on airbags (Design News,
10/6/97), perhaps you should look into another hazard
of airbags. For years, testing of airbags has used dummies
to determine the effectiveness and hazards. Very sporadically,
I have read articles regarding the injuries imposed
on motorists?who were wearing eyeglasses at the
time of the accident.
It appears from what little information was provided
that there may be significant eye injuries as well as
complete blindness from the impact on certain eye glasses.
Robert A. Klabis
SUVs may be safer
It is easy to be critical when one hasn't "walked
(driven) a mile in my shoes." In your February
2 "Letters," one reader indicated that SUVs
should be called USVs (unsafe vehicles). Sure, it's
easy to digest the hype from TV and newspaper journalists?but
the proof is in the pudding.
Like the majority of SUV owners, I feel the CG shift
in cornering and lane change maneuvers. I adjust my
speed accordingly. Also, the safety and view available
via height more than offsets the potential of rollover
(I see problems long before you do in your Accord).
However, unlike many SUV owners, I actually have a need
to put mine in 4WD?due to climate and personal
Brigham City, Utah
In agreement with Ron Steinbach (Design News
February 2, 1998 "Letters to the Editor"),
Design News could do a great service to readers
with an article on SUV safety. The latest information
heard here is that you are four times less likely to
die in an SUV crash than in a car.
Titanic takes a 'hit' on the Web
Just wanted to let you know that I logged on today
looking for a back article on the Titanic?and it
was really easy to find! I think you've done a great
job with the site and wanted to let you know.
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