Mark's blog

What I Learned from Apple - The Good, the Bad and the Wild Horse

I've been a Mac user since 1986. I plunked down about five grand for a Mac II with a 13" monitor that awed everyone who looked at the floating balls in living color on the monitor's start-up screen. Steve Jobs coming back with his Unix operating system was like the second coming. Between my family and my job I've purchased or approved of the purchase of dozens of Macs.

What I Learned from Apple - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I've been a Mac user since 1986. I plunked down about five grand for a Mac II with a 13" monitor that awed everyone who looked at the floating balls in living color on the monitor's start-up screen. Steve Jobs coming back with his Unix operating system was like the second coming. Between my family and my job I've purchased or approved of the purchase of dozens of Macs.

Today's Batteries — They're (Much) Older than You Think

Last year I visited the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in New Jersey with my college roommate friend and my two teenage boys. In it are Edison’s home, laboratories and factory where the Genius of Menlo Park changed technology and history. The inventions that Edison invented are overwhelming. Edison was not just the most prolific inventor of all time; he was a manufacturer who successfully brought one idea after another into the marketplace. He's my hero.

The Difference between pH and ORP - Take Two

The writing of my book How Instrumentation Works has been the driving force behind most of the blog entries. I have been pleasantly surprised that a fair number of people have actually read the entries. After all, I have yet to publicize it beyond its nearly hidden status as just another menu item on the website.

I am especially gratified that no one called me on an entry I wrote about two months ago on the difference between pH and ORP. It contained a major misunderstanding. You can't read it because I yanked it. Why leave evidence behind of a mental blunder?

Why innovation is not always easy

Just about everyone I know has either read the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson or has seen the movie. And it seems that just about every company that makes something wants to be like Apple and introduce the next great product. I am part of this enormous club though I am quick to tout my credentials as I did buy my first Mac in 1985. Despite my dislike of the ads that, as Jonathan Franzen opines, exude with "insufferable smugness," I still hold up Apple to be the epitome of innovation. So does most of the world.

The Most Amazing Example of "Rugged and Reliable" You Will Ever Find

I purchased Aquametrix over 3 years ago because of the reputation of the company for making probes that, as we like to say, are "rugged and reliable." That claim is still central to our marketing message. I believe it to be more true today than it was 3 years ago but I'm also the first to say that no product shines in every possible use and ours are no exceptions.

The Best Way to Really Learn Something....

... is to write a book. No doubt you already know that, if you want to insure that you understand technical material, then there is no better way to do so than to teach it to someone else. But writing a book brings your credibility as an authority to a whole new level.

Update on the 2400

It's been over a year since we announced the imminent arrival of the Mother of all controllers - the 2400.

This multi-input, multi-parameter controller is slated to be the best controller on the market when judged in terms of ease of use, set-up, flexibility, output options, and ease of ordering. The 2400 will handle simultaneous inputs from 5 probes—pH, ORP, conductivity, dissolved oxygen and flow—and will do so without having to buy a single card.

My Great American Novel

I always wanted to walk into a cocktail party and nonchalantly toss off the phrase "I have a book deal" or "Excuse me. I have to take this call. It's my editor." I drive a Volkswagen so status symbols normally have no appeal to me but the book deal thing has been my only secret longing (since appearing on the Johny Carson show is no longer possible). 

Does anyone know how a pH probe works?

It's the most common, the oldest and the simplest measurement made in all of electrochemical measurements. And yet, I have found that almost no one understands how the humble pH probe works. I don't mean the measuring circuit that comes after the bulb that sticks in the water. I mean the bulb itself. How does the pH of the water affect that little glass envelope so that the rest of the probe can make a measurement? It turns out that even authors who write articles and books on the subject don't always have a grasp.

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