Monthly Archives: April 2014

Flux Strap / Flux Band

You know the thing I am referring to. A strip of metal (usually copper) is wrapped around a transformer to provide a shorted turn to stray field. A Flux Strap or Flux Band?

 Transformer 2
Transformer with Flux Strap or is it a Transformer with a Flux Band?

What do you call it?

I have searched in vain for a Standard way of depicting this thing (whatever you call it) on the schematic symbol. In the face of this vacuum, I have adopted my own which seems to be clear to people who have never seen the symbol before. This is an advantage over some other attempts to depict it, which have been misinterpreted as a metal shield between primary and secondary.

Flux band symbol (500 x 435)My way of depicting a Flux Strap on the schematic symbol

Are any readers aware of a Standard way of showing this, or even one that is commonly accepted in some circles?

20-07-2014 I return to report that nobody did come back to me with the details of a Standard way of depicting a flux strap, so I used the style of depiction that I had sketched out above. Here it is as used in my work.

Circuit Diagram

April Fool

In the last post, I wrote that a friend had sent me a job ad “not because it was an interesting job, but because it was amusing.” This friend of mine is a “grass is brown on both sides of the fence” sort of guy. He characterized the ad like this:

“Greedy entrepreneur with no management skills embarking on a start-up venture, in a field he has little knowledge of, seeks a high-calibre Professional Engineer with experience in all facets of business management, project management, systems engineering, electronics design, CAD design, embedded firmware engineering, computer high-level application software development, electronics prototype testing and debugging, components procurement, verification testing, etc, willing to work long hours under pressure of unrealistic short-term delivery schedule, for a salary commensurate with a recent graduate or technician.”

Maybe he was right, but it is not necessarily mischief (implied by his words “Greedy entrepreneur”) that can lead an advertiser to grief. Maybe sometimes, he is genuinely out of his depth.

Yesterday another job ad came to my attention. I couldn’t help reading between the lines. Here is how the ad started out:


I have removed the identity of the advertiser. There are some interesting points to note here. The first is the use of the word “Graduate”. This is a perfectly fine word with a well understood meaning. It means that someone is required who has little experience, and little pretensions for being high up in the peck order. It also means, of course, that this job will be near the bottom of the pay range.

The ad goes on:

We see that this person (who is a junior (“graduate”)) is to work in the “Engineering Division”, and yet reports to the State Manager. Where are all the other people in the “Engineering division” in the hierarchy? It looks to me as if this “Engineering Division” is to be a one man show. Where is the graduate to turn to for engineering mentorship? To the State Manager, we have to suppose. How qualified he might be for this is something we will have to judge as we take in more of the ad.

The ad has a block of “motherhood statements”. I suppose that they have to be put in, but they don’t help much.

Is this person to be a completely raw graduate? Well, no. The ad does state that they want a person with one to two years experience. How should the person have filled in the last one to two years? The ad gives us a clue.

What is an applicant for this job who claims to have the required (or even most of) the required experience in the last one to two years? Superman? No. A bullshitter.

This is absolutely impossible. The ad writer betrays a complete lack of understanding of what an engineer does, and how long it would take to gain that experience. I do hope that the ad is not written by or approved by the State Manager, for, if so, he will be completely incapable of providing this graduate with the necessary engineering mentorship.

Yet, I do not see evidence of a “Greedy entrepreneur” here. I fear that the advertiser is just out of his depth if he has aspirations of having an “Engineering Division” under his control.

I am glad I am not a candidate, and are consequently not in danger of being the successful candidate. I am glad I am not that State Manager as well. He will be saddened by the experience he has laid out for himself.

This ad is not amusing, but it certainly leaves one thinking.

I fear it will all end in tears.

Post Scriptum.
The name of this post? My friend (the one who chose the term “Greedy entrepreneur”) also took a different slant on this ad.  He wrote “Richard, Have a look at the date on the ad. I think you might have your answer.”


Deliver us from Evil

I am interested in words, but usually this is not the forum for exercising that interest. However, one example of the use of words has cropped up a few times that might push its way into this place.

This is the use of the words in the expression “deliver the project”.

“Project” is an abstract noun, so one thing you can’t do with a project is deliver it. You can certainly deliver the fruits of your labour if you have been working on a project. When I was at a very early stage in my project oriented career, a wise colleague taught me that right at the start of a project, one had to define and agree on the “deliverables”. This is really good advice, as this is a strong defensive move against those who seek to move the goal posts after you kick the ball. My colleague wasn’t as wise as he looked, however, as he drove the lesson home by showing me what happens when you don’t “define the deliverables”.

It became clear that those who say and write “deliver the project” do not mean “deliver the deliverables”. What they are imagining is much more akin to “perform the tasks that make up the project”. At first, I thought that this must have been a sort of insider talk that belonged to one particular group, but since then I have encountered it in other places. This usage seems to crop up amongst those who have little focus on delivering the deliverables. It certainly is not an established usage. It is not supported by the Oxford English Dictionary, or even by those American on-line dictionaries that define “leverage” as a verb.

Just today I was sent a job ad by a friend; not because it was an interesting job, but because it was amusing. Here is part of it (not the amusing part):

At any time in the past when I read “from concept to delivery”, I would have been sure that I knew what was meant. I would have said that the writer obviously means “from beginning to end”. Do we need to ask if, these days, it might mean only “from first thought to execution”, a span of focus that leaves off the important step of actually handing over something at the end. The delivery of the outcome of the work is the end of the work. This idea of what delivery is is too important to be diluted by variants.