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A book about the clever, clever Michael Jay Geier, masquerading as an Electronics primer
on 18 September 2016
Geier is a terribly clever person and he is desperate for you to know this.
I wanted a book which would help me to fix basic household appliances. This book purports to be just such a teaching device, giving advice even on the purchase of screwdrivers. Nevertheless, from the very start Geier is including references to things which are of pretty limited relevance to a beginner, such as electroquadrostatic litholators (p.1), dehumidifiers and kerosene heaters (p.6) and equivalent-time sampling (p.13), along with lots of unfunny and distracting word-play and innuendo.
Geier is some kind of prodigy, being an ice-skater, table-tennis player, jazz-harpsichordist, and all the rest of it (p.vii). He is, in short (as his equally enthusiastic friend says in the Foreword), a "renaissance man" (p.xv). It is to be pitied that this man's breathtaking talents do not extend to an ability to write a sensible, concise guide to - as the title page puts it - "repairing your own electronics".
Far be it from Geier to start with some quick, simple, cheap, useful projects which would immediately improve the life of the reader (such as how to test an AA battery, or how to replace a fuse). Instead, we get long, long, long ramblings about the best kind of (several-hundred-£££) oscilloscope to buy, and grave warnings about how if it is "set to 10 volts/div, you can estimate only to down to about 1 volt, since the same graticule box now represents 10 volts instead of 1, so each subdivision line represents 2 volts" (p.93). Note that by this point in the book (Chapter 6), the reader has not even been shown how to safely hook a up a light to a battery. Instead, Geier is droning on about astigmatism, probe compensation, GND, DC voltage offset, and low-frequency roll-off.
This book should really have been called "Electronics: A Refresher Course", but then, I suppose, it would not have sold so many copies. Even now, as I go through these pages once again, months after purchasing the book and having acquired a great deal of useful electronics know-how from other sources, I am appalled both at the misguidance of this book and at the unrelenting silliness of its clever, clever author.
If you are a clever, clever person who already knows about electronics, then go straight for this book - and don't forget to give it a 5-star review. If you are looking for a straightforward guide without an author's self-satisfied sniggering rising from every page, look elsewhere.