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Content posted in October 2003
Designers are taking back the JTAG test bus!
10/30/2003   Post a comment
It's not just for test anymore: Recent extensions to JTAG not only enhance its test coverage, but also make it useful for design as well, says this National Semiconductor technologist. Suppliers of CPLD's and FPGA's were quick to support IEEE 1532 standard for Boundary-Scan-based In-System-Configuration of programmable devices. Now designers have a way to develop flexible systems where functionality can be adapted to a specific customer or application, he says.
Let's reverse the trend of reverse auctions
10/28/2003   Post a comment
The Internet is delivering most of its promises, but the use of online reverse auctions could drive products into a commodity status with the potential for all but eliminating product R&D, devaluing and destroying service, and likely bringing the electronics industry to its knees.
Silicon Valley is still the brightest bulb, but lights of innovation are shining all over
10/27/2003   Post a comment
Dot-bomb, nuclear winter, call it what you will, the economic travails of the past three years have rocked Silicon Valley to its core. As business conditions slowly improve, it's worth asking whether the South Bay will continue to exert the dominance that has earned it near-mythic status as the world's epicenter of semiconductor and electronics IP design.
Improving software quality
10/22/2003   Post a comment
Why do we still use programming languages that too easily permit defective software to be produced? Is debugging that much fun?
Future Opportunities in the Mobile Power IC Business
10/21/2003   Post a comment
Communications Industry Researchers, Inc. says that most manufacturers of Power ICs for mobile electronic device ??devices such as notebook computers, cell phones, PDAs and portable DVD players believe opportunities abound over the next decade, as the mobile sector grows and its power management requirements become more complex and more demanding.
Electronic Big Brother: should he watch you?
10/16/2003   Post a comment
Has the embedded systems industry demonstrated the capability to handle the tricky problems that electronic surveillance introduces?
Steamed up over temperature
10/15/2003   Post a comment
Temperature ratings are illusive, reminds Bill Klein in the latest installment of his popular "Call I Took Last Week" last week series. You need to pay attention, not just to "mins" and "maxes," but also to ambient temperatures, junction temperatures and even storage conditions, Bill says. He certainly knows how to get your attention: You don't want your system crapping out prematurely, do you?
China's low labor costs are no substitute for diligent supply chain management
10/13/2003   Post a comment
For hundreds of OEMs and EMS providers in the United States, Europe, Japan, Taiwan, and elsewhere in Asia, the allure of China's vast low-cost labor pool has proven irresistible. However, the savings realized by paying Chinese factory workers $1 a day may be so intoxicating that they are masking new costs and supply chain management issues that manufacturers are finding convenient to overlook.
Embedded Processors of Tomorrow
10/10/2003   Post a comment
Future embedded processors will be a combination of the unrecognizable and the all-too-familiar. Unrecognizable because they'll be festooned with coprocessors and accelerators, intrachip networks, elaborate value speculation, unfathomable branch prediction, enormous multilevel caches, and inscrutable instruction sets. All-too-familiar because old embedded processors never die. Expect to see 8051s, Z80s, and more descendants of the x86 line soldier on in low-end systems.
Fixed-point math in C
10/7/2003   4 comments
Floating-point arithmetic can be expensive if you're using an integer-only processor. But floating-point values can be manipulated as integers, asa less expensive alternative.
No easy answers for Motorola's semiconductor business
10/6/2003   Post a comment
Will new leadership at Motorola Inc. change the fortunes of the company's troubled Semiconductor Products Sector (SPS)? Although most of Motorola has fallen on tough times during the past few years, SPS has fallen harder and faster. With SPS facing problems, including excessive costs, a loss of technological leadership, and a major downsizing of its manufacturing operations, a new vision and strong leadership will be needed to rescue this division, iSuppli believes.
eCos porting guide
10/6/2003   Post a comment
The first task when using any new operating system is to get it up and running on your hardware. The open-source eCos RTOS makes that part pretty easy.
Embedding with GNU: newlib
10/6/2003   Post a comment
newlib is often the most appropriate choice for a C runtime library in an embedded system. Read on to find out why.

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