Ransom Stephens

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Writer

Ransom Stephens is a technologist (ransomsnotes.com), science writer (ransomstephens.com), novelist (novels.ransomstephens.com), and Raiders fan.


Ransom Stephens

's contributions
  • 05.27.2016
  • Don’t confuse PAM4 SER and BER
  • You should be troubled. The specifications--at least the last ones that I saw--restrict the allowed timing nonlinearity so that a common time-delay reference *can* work. But the specs do not require that you, the designer, use a common time-delay reference. I suspect that the first generation of PAM4 equipment will use common timing. but will move to three independent slicers on lines that operate at 100+Gb/s. I've heard a lot about using an ADC instead of a slicer and that opens design options, too but at the cost of power, heating, geography---the usual suspects.
  • 04.01.2016
  • You can't think out of a box built of TLAs
  • Didn't mean to push your buttons, Bob, but if you don't know the acronym you're not thinking in useful directions. I'll write some more on the neuroscience of innovation, but the key is to open up understanding and TLAs shut it down. Say Al Einstein comes into your lab. He can't help you solve your problems if he doesn't know what they are and if you speak in jargon, he won't. So do you prefer that people sit quietly and pretend they know what you're talking about? Or would you rather they ask? I think you'd rather they ask. ( I also prefer bull twanky to pucky :)
  • 10.24.2014
  • Simulated Education: STEM must change!
  • Of course they're both problem solving, the simulation technique can be applied to any reasonably understood system, ANY! But plug and chug only works for a tiny fraction of the problems scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians encounter.
  • 10.24.2014
  • Simulated Education: STEM must change!
  • I could convince Bob I'm right in a heartbeat. If the results are false then, indeed something's wrong with the model and the student has the honor and receives the education of fixing it. I agree that play time is important, but 10 weeks off? Come on.
  • 09.15.2014
  • 10 Things I saw at IDF2014
  • My first IDF in 2004 had all the negative components of a trade show with none of the buzz. Instead of showcasing new technologies from the EE physical layer all the way to the gee whiz gadgets, it was more like a plugfest centered on what vendors could do with Intel products and none of the vendors expected to generate sales leads, so they weren't very enthusiastic. While parts of IDF14 were kind of silly in their attempts to mimic an Apple product release, they also had some fun with the Makers and Arduino apps along with a nice spectrum of tech from active optical cables to 100 GbE to cutting edge dozen+ core server blades (which didn't make my top 10 because I couldn't get a good photo). Plus, the swag. At IDF04 I think they gave out pens, this year I got a killer one-arm backpack. And the food. Oysters in 2014, I don't think they even had donuts back in 2004.
  • 08.06.2013
  • The science and technology of Sensory Deception
  • Thought I'd mention... The Sensory Deception is a "Big Deal" on Kindle, which means it's cheap: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009R2WK82/ref=s9_hps_bw_g351_i17/192-9093052-3358250?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-10&pf_rd_r=0K2FP9PZSNKWB825ZJ24&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1876970902&pf_rd_i=6180870011
  • 08.05.2014
  • Measuring money—the beer standard
  • Hey Rich, Interesting comments, though I don't think anything in this article contradicts what you say. Of course, it's worse than printing, only 8% of the US Dollars in circulation take the form of cash! Printing money is really a metaphor for increasing (and decreasing) numbers in accounting databases by manipulating the bond market--but that's a topic for another article. If you put your money under the mattress, then it's out of circulation. Money that's out of circulation can cause deflation which, I'm led to believe but am just barely convinced, has far worse repercussions than inflation. Instead, you put money in a bank. The bank loans a good deal of that money to people---well, you saw It's a Wonderful Life and George Bailey's rant when there was the run on his Building and Loan. The result is that savings in banks and their subsequent loans add to the money supply. Say I put $100 in the bank and the bank loans $80 of it to you. Then I've got $100 in my database and you've put $80 to work and we end up with $180 out there. Of course you have no guarantee that "fiat" currency--i.e., engraved paper and cheap metal disks-- can be exchanged for anything, but the same is true for gold or land or even beer! If you're starving and I'm thirsty, you're not accepting gold from me for your beer and I'm not accepting gold from you for my food. Ultimately this is my thinly veiled point: a beer standard is no more nor less arbitrary than a gold standard. As for that 50 year-old beer... Sir, how dare you insinuate that a beer would find solace in my fridge for more than a week! :) Ransom