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42 The PCB Design Magazine • April 2015 by Tim Haag iNTeRCePT TeChNoloGy TIM'S TAkEAWAyS The Utility Belt coulmn Back in school, I had planned on a career in music, specifically playing jazz clarinet or saxophone. But that didn't happen. Instead, I enjoyed a long career as a circuit board designer that eventually lead to my current career as a customer support and training manager. Even though a career in music was never re- alized, many of the lessons learned during my musical training have helped me in this career. One of those lessons came from a grizzled old saxophone teacher who taught improvisational jazz. He drilled us on the basics of music: scales, chords, arpeggios, etc. As he said, "You always want to have some- thing in your pocket to pull from on those nights when you just aren't feeling as creative as usual." He was talking about having some basic jazz patterns to fall back on while impro- vising, but the same general concept can be ap- plied in our industry: Make sure you have some good basic tools in your utility belt to help you out when you need them. The utility belt is a great thing to have. Bat- man would be long dead without his, and Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor would be useless with- out his. But for a circuit board designer, a utility belt is equally important. All of us at one time or another will have questions about the CAD system we use, and one essential tool to have in your utility belt is a list of people you can go to for help. At the top of this list should be your CAD system's friendly customer support staff (like me), so make sure that your company has current and up-to-date access to your CAD system's technical support. I couldn't begin to tell you the many times that I have helped customers with a simple an- swer to a perplexing question. Just the other day I had a customer who was really stuck. He obviously knew our software well, but he was missing that one piece of information that he needed to break through the log-jam. I was able Figure 1: What's in your toolbelt?