Written by Tony Harris, February 8, 2017
The value of note taking and retention of documents is severely reduced if one is unable to locate the information at a later date. We are lazy these days, I fear. With the advent of “search” applications we just type a few words into our PC and hit enter. Seemingly, miraculously, relevant documents are unearthed. And so our filing systems have become all but redundant. I have pieces of paper that collect upon my desk and when they have reached an amount that I find annoying, I file them. I do this by sorting them into two groups. The first I unceremoniously dump into the shredder, and the second I simply stuff into a manila folder – mark it “Important and Confidential” and shove it into a filing cabinet in my office. This works very well for the retention of documents. But it leaves a lot to be desired with respect to the retrieval aspect and so calls into question the value of the whole activity in the first place. Of course, as I file said documents, I am convinced that I shall remember where they are. But then in actuality, when I try to find something, the fact that I know of their existence only increases my frustration. I get incensed as I randomly and fruitlessly pull out filing drawers, folders and documents and then vacillate between the scanning and perusal of page after page.
But I did take refuge in the belief that this was a universal problem with varying solutions all based on the effort and time that one puts into maintaining a system. Jan, my wife, for example files all the required documents for taxes, insurance, appliance operating manuals and is able to locate them as required. Although I do not have the necessary skill set to perform this task, it is a fairly simple set theory problem, with well defined labels.
The other day, I was asked a question by a customer in Australia as to the IMD performance of E&I amplifiers with 12 tones at 2 watts per channel. I was fairly sure that I did not have any information on how to glean this data from our test records and after a quick Google search left me empty-handed I decided to ask Serge Juhel, an old colleague of mine for help. I say old colleague as I have known him for a long time and he is old. Serge came to the rescue with the calculation of PEP and the recommended CW power required. In addition to attaching a document delineating the test procedure, he also copied an old colleague of ours, John Pritiskutch (yes; we’ve known him for a long time and he’s old) and asked him to verify the calculations and check the formulae. John kindly did this but noted his surprise that we were having this discussion as Serge had previously authored a document which I was copied on, that explains the calculations in detail. John had thoughtfully attached a copy of this document to his e-mail.
The document that John attached was a scan of a print out of an e-mail that Serge had sent me in 1992.
This is 2017! What sort of archival system does John have? The question was about multi-tone IMD performance v two-tone measurement. What can you file that under and be able to retrieve it??? Remember, this is a paper system. The document he sent me was scan of a print out. The print out was from a “dot matrix’ printer!
So in conclusion; I’d say, if you are looking for the answer to an RF question ask Serge Juhel; he probably can answer it without looking for notes. Or ask John Pritiskutch, he also can probably answer without looking for notes, but if he needs to – he has them!