The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Muntzed the car to death

And how did Muntz get his circuits designed to be so inexpensive? He had several smart design engineers. The story around the industry was that he would wander around to an engineer's workbench and ask, “How's your new circuit coming?”

After a short discussion, Earl would say, “But, you seem to be over- engineering this—I don't think you need this capacitor.” He would reach out with his handy nippers (insulated) that he always carried in his shirt- pocket, and snip out the capacitor in question.

Well, doggone, the picture was still there! Then he would study the schematic some more, and SNIP… SNIP… SNIP. Muntz had made a good guess of how to simplify and cheapen the circuit. Then, usually, he would make one SNIP too many, and the picture or the sound would stop working. He would concede to the designer, “Well, I guess you have to put that last part back in,” and he would walk away. THAT was “Muntzing”—the ability to delete all parts not strictly essential for basic operation. And Muntz took advantage of this story, to whatever extent it may have been true, and he publicized his “uncanny” ability to cut his costs—in yet more televised advertisements.

What's All This Muntzing Stuff, Anyhow?

Reminds me of my friend Bill's father. Bill got the old family car once he got his license (hey, it was a 'Vette … okay, a Che“vette”). Over the years as the car broke down, Bill's father would repair it, and rip out more and more of the engine block. “Don't need this hose,” he'd say, “since it doesn't snow.” Or “don't need this belt, since it never snows.”

Slowly, over time, the engine became more sparse as Bill's Dad work the engine over. Eventually though, the engine became too spare and it broke down just outside of FAU and never ran again.

Bill's Dad might have muntzed the car to death.

Obligatory Picture

[“I am NOT a number, I am … a Q-CODE!”]

Obligatory Contact Info

Obligatory Feeds

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site:, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

It is assumed that every brand name, slogan, corporate name, symbol, design element, et cetera mentioned in these pages is a protected and/or trademarked entity, the sole property of its owner(s), and acknowledgement of this status is implied.

Copyright © 1999-2024 by Sean Conner. All Rights Reserved.