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Content posted in July 2011
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Chips in Space: The importance & challenges of collaboration
7/30/2011   4 comments
As a youngster, hobbying in electronics and amateur radio, and reading as much as I could get my hands on, there was one photograph that really caught my eye. It was of a man working on the first amateur satellite, known as OSCAR, which stands for Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio.
It's a new TV season soon, and again, engineers are mostly missing
Engineering Pop Culture!  
7/29/2011   38 comments
Once again, it's doctors, lawyers, and police who get the attention; and maybe that's OK
The Periodic Table of Programmable Logic – Rev #1
Programmable Logic DesignLine Blog  
7/28/2011   43 comments
Wow! Just yesterday as I pen these words I posted my blog suggesting that we might create a Periodic Table of Programmable Logic and I’ve been overwhelmed by the response…
Consumer electronics turn to MEMS for gesture control, precision location
7/28/2011   7 comments
Sharply falling costs, and greatly improved software to ease design-in, look to be about to enable the next generation of inertial sensor applications to distinguish mobile consumer devices. Finding the right part just got easier
7/28/2011   24 comments
With the launch of, EDN and UBM Electronics provide engineers access to over 185 million parts, with features such as comparison, parametric search, search save, and alerts.
Periodic Table of Programmable Logic
Programmable Logic DesignLine Blog  
7/27/2011   12 comments
Now here’s something you don’t see every day…
Audio listening enjoyment: Do technical specs matter?
Audio DesignLine Blog  
7/27/2011   14 comments
When it comes to audio listening enjoyment, it isn't always about the specs.
Research points to vulnerability in Xilinx FPGAs
Semi Conscious  
7/27/2011   1 comment
A recent paper published by a team of German researchers concludes that the bitstream encryption mechanism of Xilinx Virtex-4 and Virtex-5 FPGAs can be "completely broken with moderate effort" through side-channel analysis attacks, posing a potential risk of IP theft and more serious issues.
Noisy neighbor disruptor circuit
7/26/2011   42 comments
A neighbor's blasting radio was driving Fred crazy and making it impossible to study for finals...his solution was both devious and incredibly simple!
Co-design – Myth or Reality?
7/26/2011   13 comments
We are now on the right track to co-design, rather than the track that the early research took.
Next IEEE WCET exam this fall
7/25/2011   Post a comment
For those of you pursuing the certification, good luck! For those of you that have it, what do you think of the process? Has it helped you acquire a job or advance your career?
How important is courtesy?
7/25/2011   14 comments
"When restraint and courtesy are added to strength, the latter becomes irresistible," Mohandas Gandhi.
The long, cold shower
7/25/2011   5 comments
I don't even want to imagine what Murphy's roommate could possibly have done to elicit this kind of payback...
Book Review: 100 Power Tips For FPGA Designers by Evgeni Stavinov
Engineer’s Bookshelf  
7/25/2011   5 comments
In many ways this is an unusual book – one that will provide something of interest to almost every reader…
A cornucopia of iPad apps (Part 1)
Engineering Pop Culture!  
7/25/2011   3 comments
Is it really just a little more than a month ago that I took the plunge and purchased an iPad? I find that hard to believe, because I can’t remember life without it…
Pulling the plug in Afghanistan: Will it affect your business?
7/25/2011   2 comments
With the termination of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, defense spending seems likely to trend downward. How will your business feel the impact?
SparkFun electronics training for kids
7/25/2011   3 comments
The folks at SparkFun have a bunch of interesting training courses coming up for kids who live in or near Boulder, Colorado.
Chips in Space: The building of an amateur satellite
7/25/2011   23 comments
Over the next several weeks, this limited-series guest blog will relate the story of how my colleagues and I came to build an amateur satellite, the challenges we ran into while doing so and, hopefully, its successful deployment from the International Space Station at roughly the end of July or Early August.
10Gb/s Ethernet and 10GBase-T for the data center
7/25/2011   7 comments
Sometimes, technology adoption is driven by the simple things like cabling and compatibility and that can be the case with the migration from 1Gb Ethernet to 10Gb Ethernet.
Flat versus hierarchical PCB design – which is best?
7/22/2011   5 comments
I would be very interested to hear what you like with regard to flat and/or hierarchical PCB design techniques.
Do NOT read this blog!
Programmable Logic DesignLine Blog  
7/22/2011   76 comments
It seems that henceforth I may have to include disclaimers with any of my blogs that are on non-programmable-logic-related topics saying…
A Volt for a week
7/22/2011   16 comments
I have a Chevy Volt to drive for a week. If you have any questions on the car or its operation, post them here and I'll try and answer them.
GPS Car locator app for droid smartphones
Programmable Logic DesignLine Blog  
7/22/2011   4 comments
Car Locator, which is available from the Android Market and the V CAST App Store, is a very clever application.
How long has ST-Ericsson got?
7/22/2011   18 comments
With the debts owed to its parents mounting rapidly Peter Clarke ask how long ST and Ericsson will continue to bankroll their wireless chip joint venture.
Xilinx new rad-hard Virtex-5QV FPGAs – what a good idea!
7/21/2011   Post a comment
I am really excited by today’s announcement by Xilinx as to their new space-grade rad-hard Virtex-5QV FPGAs. Why? Let me explain...
Introducing a new high-level synthesis tool called HercuLeS
7/20/2011   4 comments
One of the great things regarding my being the editor of Programmable Logic Designline is that I get to hear about all sorts of cool things, such as…
the fall guy
7/19/2011   3 comments
Martin participates in a prank and then takes the fall when the victim is...annoyed. Is this fair?
Will laser weapons beat the battle of the budget?
7/19/2011   Post a comment
With Congress slashing budgets, will directed-energy weapons survive?
Free Webinar: Prototyping multi-million-gate ASIC designs
7/19/2011   1 comment
Learn how new FPGA-based prototyping systems from Synopsys enable early HW/SW validation, debug, and development for much larger SoC projects than ever before.
Xilinx Xcell Journal wins two “Awards of Excellence”
7/19/2011   1 comment
I must admit that I’ve long been a fan of the Xcell Journal quarterly magazine from Xilinx. This is a high-quality publication that always features a wide variety of interesting articles.
Freedom of choice in platforms
7/19/2011   Post a comment
This year has seen three test platforms continuing to develop their market message and attract new users from older platforms such as GPIB and VXI, the choices seem to continue to expand for users.
Cisco sings the consumer blues
7/19/2011   12 comments
I blame Wall Street and overly ambitious management as the twin bad guys behind Cisco Systems' woes--and invite you to chime in with your diagnosis.
Crazy about ESP
7/18/2011   3 comments
Telling your dorm mates you believe in telepathy can open you up to all sorts of, well, antics
The case of the exploding stairs
7/18/2011   15 comments
A little harmless fun...this time 1940's college dance style...
Am I a racist? Are you?
Programmable Logic DesignLine Blog  
7/18/2011   27 comments
I just took an online test described in Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.” The result has certainly given me something to ponder…
Boosting brain power
7/18/2011   1 comment
Anyone else have any insights into how to boost brainpower?
Boosting brain power
7/18/2011   18 comments
My life is full. So is my brain. Anyone else have any insights into how to boost brainpower?
Too much ado about Freescale's debt
7/17/2011   3 comments
It’s summer, I am traveling, and you’d think the last thing I should be thinking about is Freescale’s $6.6 billion debt. I agree. But somehow, that’s where my head is.
Samsung, TSMC and the A6: not OR but AND?
7/15/2011   11 comments
With Samsung falling out with Apple at the system level, does that mean TSMC is guaranteed to be the sole source of the A6? Maybe not argues Peter Clarke
Caffeine makes me jumpy
Design Contests & Competitions  
7/15/2011   3 comments
Aaron Hershberger wins the June cartoon caption contest
Arguing with a phone
Engineering Pop Culture!  
7/14/2011   15 comments
Cabbies once were institutional knowledge machines for their regions. Now, they've surrendered to the machine.
I want to build a “Hassler” – does anyone have the circuit?
Programmable Logic DesignLine Blog  
7/14/2011   16 comments
This is an audio circuit that generates interference when someone speaks loudly – it provides a way to “train” your colleagues to speak in a softer tone.
Set your clocks to moron time
7/13/2011   4 comments
When two roommate share the same schedule, the third becomes the odd man out
Call the exterminators
7/13/2011   9 comments
Well before annoying smoke-detector chirping, there was a mischievous 'cricket' for Mrs. Librarian
Fun with electrolytic capacitors
7/13/2011   18 comments
How we scared the, um, stuffing out of people in the dorm bathrooms
Free webinar – Creating high-reliability, high-availability designs using FPGAs
7/13/2011   2 comments
This one should be a lot of fun, not the least that yours truly (yes, me, myself, I) will be acting as the host…
Embrace your inner geek!
Programmable Logic DesignLine Blog  
7/13/2011   3 comments
Did you know that July 13 is “Embrace Your Geekiness Day"? (This is not to be confused with Geek Pride Day, which is celebrated on 25 May)
Minimizing cable-induced measurement errors in high current applications
7/13/2011   Post a comment
In my job as an applications engineer, I’ve been fielding lots of calls about test and measurement problems that engineers encounter with high current applications like characterizing high power LED modules and high brightness light-emitting diodes (HBLEDs). At higher test currents, the appropriate cabling techniques are particularly important in obtaining repeatable and accurate measurements and maximizing performance.
Power Tip 37: Trade AC-line range for input-capacitor ripple current
Power Tips  
7/12/2011   Post a comment
Understand the relationship between these two critical parameters
Xilinx continues fast rollout of 28 nm 7 Series FPGAs
7/12/2011   Post a comment
I just heard that the folks at Xilinx have started shipping the first member of their Virtex-7 family of 28 nm FPGAs – the VX485T – to advanced customers.
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