Than Thara Wara Nona

I recently received an email comment about my blog writing that I think does a very good job of illustrating one of the frustrations that many design engineers face.

Please have someone teach Duane the difference between “then” and “than”. It really makes him look dumb, and I very much doubt that Duane is dumb. It’s just painful see these everywhere in his blog. regards

I’ve also been called out on “it’s” vs. “its.” At least, I seem to mostly have the “to”, “too” and “two” down. Now, I’m a reasonably educated person and writing is a significant part of my job, so you would think that I wouldn’t fall into traps like this. Undeniably, I do. It drives me nuts. I even have a couple of websites that I refer to (when I think about it) to help with such things. Site one and site two, but obviously I still fall into the traps.

So, how does that relate to the frustrations of a design engineer? Well … read my blog. Most of my writing is about a very similar issue. Check this one about via in pad. And this one about parts libraries. Or this one about shorting potential under a QFN.

None of those problems was created by “dumb” people. Likely, all those boards were created by intelligent, highly skilled, well-trained engineers — people who got picked on in school for blowing the curve, or were called “Spock” by kids not on a college track. Yet, what does such an error get? It may get a blog post here. It may get a Twitter comment like this that I wrote about. Of course, some times silly little oversights like this have more dire or more expensive consequences.

And the moral of the story — attention to detail and continuous learning. Never stop trying to learn. Never stop double-checking. I have to refer to my two grammar sites and other references. If you’re a designer, never stop researching. Dig into those data sheets. Read up on best practices. If you’re working a job over multiple sites, always make sure everyone’s using the same rules.

Over the next few days, I’m going to go back through my past posts and see how many of these “than/then” errors I can find and rework. Ugh.

Duane Benson
Never give up. Never surrender.

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About Duane

Duane is the Web Marketing Manager for Screaming Circuits, an EMS company based in Canby, Oregon. He blogs regularly on matters ranging from circuit board design and assembly to general industry observations.