Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2014

Chess Bloopers

At, I play as arcanechessplayer [my very first account] or misterheartbreaker, both very long names for which I sincerely apologize. Challenge me to a match anytime when I'm online, or add me as a friend.

In this match, I [black] was up against Nick-T [white] from Greece. He made a mistake at the middle of the game and the rest was a domino effect. Surprisingly, he didn't quit so I have to credit him for his sportsmanship.

I [black] play against Ismetsah [white]. As you can see, if it wasn't for the rook and advanced pawn, I would be in big trouble. Sadly, all his passed white pawns were what cost him the game. We were both left with pawns and one rook each. He neglected my advances at the left for a time and was forced to sacrifice his rook. In the end, he resigned when he was a move away from checkmate. Those bundled pawns do seem very intimidating though.

Playing Against the President of the United States (I lost of course)

Almost just a minute into the game a…

Canon in D [Lee Galloway's version]

Of the various arrangements made with Canon in D, I find Lee Galloway's version most interesting. The melody is enticing even if it is a lot simpler compared to the original and other versions. I hope my playing and recording will suffice (no strict adherence to rhythm or dynamics - I wanted to upload this just in time for the holiday season). I'll upload a better video when I get the chance. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Favorite Pictures: Astronomy Picture of the Day

7 years ago, I got myself into a NASA website, which featured a special picture on astronomy everyday as well as a brief annotation that doesn't include any confusing jargon. Sometimes they would post breath-taking sceneries [which I love]. Below I share some of my favorites so that others may know that such a website exists [linked above]:

Bridging Technical Communication Barriers Between Cultures Unraveled

Understanding technical concepts in different languages can sometimes prove as a difficult affair, specially when you have to communicate it. In this article, I discuss what challenges are present and the possible courses of action that can be taken.
The Significance of Proper Technical Communication Making your point precise and clear is highly important when it comes to defining technical specifications. Neglecting such a precaution could be costly, and in the semiconductor industry, very costly. Being a design verification engineer for a foreign company, communicating the changes we made to further improve the evaluation results must be understood by the designers [such as directly soldering wires to board pads to reduce path resistance]. If there is a misunderstanding, then problems will occur during the next evaluation. The same goes the other way around. Another case would be board design. Imagine if the assembly group misunderstood a board specification. There is a chance that …

The World’s Greatest Engineering Movie Unraveled

This summer, a survey was held to figure out what Electronic Design readers thought was the World’s Greatest Engineering Movie. There were a lot of good competitors such as (the ones I’m familiar with) Iron Man and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Now, during the competition, a certain movie caught my attention. It seemed to be sweeping off the other competitors like cookie crumbs (sorry, ran out of metaphors). I only had the slightest idea of what the movie was (which is typical because most movies that gain popularity nowadays are the ones with the big “boom-boom” factor) and when I watched it through our local video store (yes, I’m not a pirate), I no longer wondered why it won the contest so easily.

The Winning Factors
Apollo 13, had all the right elements that make engineering such a beautiful discipline. One man’s dream and ambition, an intricate web of problems caused by a small unexpected error/failure, a retaliation of brilliant ideas of engineering ingenuity, and a little smile from t…

Automating Your Measuring Instruments Via MATLAB Unraveled

[Disclaimer: All content in the articles of this blog is based from resources available to the public and general practice. No proprietary or copyrighted content nor any kind of information revealing the protocol and procedures of any company will be disclosed. This signifies that all content in the articles of this blog are purely crafted from academic resources, online reference materials, personal experience, etc.]

When designing a circuit, there are times when you want to test the circuits behavior while varying an input or output electrical characteristic. This task can get very exhausting specially when you want to sweep over a very wide range. For example, going back to my article on using NI Multisim to determine line regulation of 2 different circuits, doing that on the test bench may take an eternity. Luckily, there are ways to automate such daunting measurements. In this article, I give a brief introduction on how to automate your measuring instruments with Agilent’s VISA a…

An Appreciation for the Beauty and Importance of Our Environment

The Earth is approximately 12800 km. wide.

     How wide exactly is 12800 kilometers? Well, if we take a golf ball and compare it to the size of the Earth, it would be like comparing a molecule to the size of the golf ball. Yes, the Earth is big. Big enough to fit billions of people in it as well as a diversity of other beautiful species. And if we think deeply on the matter, there is a bias where we tend to associate gigantic figures with characteristics of invulnerability or immortality. Take for example the Titanic, which was the biggest ship of its time. It was so big people thought it was unsinkable. Yet just a few days after its maiden voyage, it tragically sank to the depths of the Atlantic, taking hundreds of innocent lives aboard it. Is it possible that majority of mankind is having the same bias right now of the planet we are living in? The Earth, spanning 12800 km. in diameter, is virtually indestructible.

     I have read a lot of literature on the environment from global …

Capablanca Positions Unraveled

Perhaps the most challenging and exciting end-games for me as a beginner in chess are the Capablanca positions, where a series of pawns of the same number and an equal amount of officials by value (usually a single bishop/horse) are left on both sides. One simple mistake can be critical and could easily be the deciding factor of a game. Perhaps a strong mental intuition is required to gain an advantage in such an end-game.

     Let us take an example below: (White to move)

     Try and compare 2 moves: Nd2 with the intention of supporting the advance of c4, and d4 with the intention of supporting c5.

Which move is the best? Both seem harmless enough to the new eye.

Let us first have a closer look at Nd2.

Nd2        C5

D4          ...

Why not bxc5? Well bxc5 Bxc5 threatens a3 and g3.

...          dxc4
cxd4      Kb6
Nf3        a5
(by now, white should realize the growing trouble at the left side of the board)
e5         axb4    (white is attempting to break the defense at the righ…

Fast Facts: Analysis of Line Regulation of Different Voltage Regulators Unraveled

 Voltage regulators (as the name implies) regulate a certain amount of input bias to a specified voltage level. A zener diode is the most basic of all voltage regulators, though it is characterized by a significant amount of voltage drop across it. If we want a low voltage drop across our regulator, low drop-out (LDO) voltage regulators are available. They may come in a variety of packages and even offer extra features (such as the TPS7333QP which offers an extra "reset" function to shut down its load (microcontroller) in the event of an undervoltage condition).

     One important characteristic to look at in voltage regulators is their line regulation. Line regulation (as the name implies again) is a measure of how well the line voltage is maintained with respect to a varied input bias. For example, if we feed a voltage regulator with 7 V, it yields a 5 V output. But when we feed it with 13 V, line voltage/output becomes 5.3 V. Thus we can say that our sample voltage regul…

Path Loss Models for Microwave Links Unraveled

Free Space Model

     The free space model only accounts for the loss in signal power due to spreading of energy over a 3-dimensional space.

FSPL of FSL = (4*pi*f*d/c)^2

f - frequency
d - distance
c - speed of light
Wavelength (lambda) - c/f

     We notice from the formula that as the frequency increases, the loss becomes greater, which is intuitive since more wavelengths are needed to cover a given distance compared to the lower frequency wavelengths. Naturally, as the distance increases, the loss becomes greater as well.

ITU Terrain Model

     This model considers the Fresnel zone, aside from the free space loss at distances (-20*Cn+10) and closer (where Cn is the normalized terrain clearance).

Total Loss = -20*Cn + 10 + FSL

Cn = (h1-h2)/sqrt((lambda*d1*d2/(d1+d2)));
h1 - height of LOS link
h2 - height of obstruction
d1 - distance to obstruction from TX 1
d2 - distance to obstruction from TX 2
lambda - wavelength

Weissberger's Model

Total Loss = FSL + 1.33*(f^0.284)*(d^…

Some Important Pointers on Antenna Theory

To create radiation, there must be an acceleration/deceleration of charge (i.e. changing current or AC current/voltage). This also implies that DC won't work on straight conductors as radiators unless the conductor is bent or has discontinuities (presence of centripetal acceleration in charge)If pulses of shorter and more compact duration are fed into a radiating element, stronger radiation with more frequency components will occur (I don't know by what magnitude radiation is amplified but it could serve as a possible driver of Microwave-generated hurricanes, though I doubt that the amplification factor could reach that high).Radiated fields do not need the continuous presence of electric charge to sustain their existence.An omnidirectional radiator is non-directional in one dimension while it is directional in other dimensions. An isotropic radiator is non-directional.The regions of antenna radiation can be divided into 3 parts:
-Reactive Near Field Region

Exists at R<0.6…

In Love Unraveled

Inspired by "Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines" of Pablo Neruda (a favorite of mine) and a blog post by Don Tuite of Electronic Design ("Engineers Who Write (For a Living)), I've composed the poem below.

The Moment of a Lifetime

One bright July Morning,
I sat in a pensive stare,
Filled with troubled feelings,
Perhaps more than I could bear.

The birds outside chirped in blight,
Ignorant of life's afflictions,
But little did I know that tonight,
My dreams would change direction.

As sudden as a shooting star,
That grants one's deepest desires,
Something caught my eye from afar,
That would set my heart on fire.

There she was the daughter of Venus,
Envied by her own mother,
For hers were the hearts of countless men,
Hers until a time no one knew when.

I made a wish to the keeper of time,
A foolish wish made by a man in love,
To freeze that moment, that second forever,
To dream that we were happily together.

Another moment passed,
A wish in vain,

Fast Facts: Differential Equations Unraveled

There has always been some petty difficulty in grasping the intuitive idea of a differential equation, maybe due to the endeavor required in deriving the implication of such or due to the analysis required in arriving at the solution (which can't be easily visualized for a beginner). Thus, in this text I will attempt to explain it in as conceptual an approach can be (but I won't cover technicalities like how to arrive at a solution given this kind of differential equation because any standard textbook can do that).

To begin with, I shall review the basic meaning of a differential:



    Naturally, we aren't very much concerned with the higher derivatives if we are still new to the topic because they represent the rate of change of the rate of change of the rate of change of the rate of change, ... of some characteristic of a system. And if it existed, i.e. the higher order differentials were non-zero, …

Some Common Acronyms and Terminologies in Engineering Technology

When I was a student, I have been reading various literature on electronics and communications design trends, in the hope of becoming more articulate in my profession and to quench some curiosities. I tried reading some magazines such as "Electronics Design". Darn, it was hard to comprehend! I would just skim through the pages and try to understand the concepts (except for Bob Pease's section - ED readers will know). About 20 minutes later I would have a magazine of New Scientist/Time/Reader's Digest/National Geographic on my hands. Of course, all that changed as I begun to take up higher level courses. Suddenly, all those SNR and clocking considerations made sense. Now, as a graduate with a complete arsenal, I rarely have to read an article that has me jumping to Wikipedia every now and then. Rarely, because some acronyms and terms that have only gained popularity in the industry recently are not part of a fresh graduate's repertoire. So here, I share some …