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Content posted in September 2010
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Why do we even bother to listen to pundits, since they are so often wrong?
9/20/2010   16 comments
Experts and their crystal balls are everywhere, and we still pay them attention even though their record is dismal
FitBit teardown at ESC: Exploring the confluence of MCUs, wireless and MEMS
9/19/2010   6 comments
With its combination of wireless, low-power processing and MEMS, few personal fitness monitors are as hot as the FitBit, which is why it’s going under the knife at this week’s ESC in Boston on Tuesday. However, this isn’t just another teardown: not by a long shot.
Accessing memory-mapped classes directly
9/17/2010   2 comments
If you think using pointers to access memory-mapped devices is too slow, here are some alternatives you can try.
Book Review: The Symbiotic Universe by George Greenstein
Engineer’s Bookshelf  
9/17/2010   6 comments
Our existence depends on a network of highly unlikely circumstances. And when I say "our existence" I mean any form of life anywhere in the universe. For example...
Darren takes a detour to Arizona
9/17/2010   12 comments
Darren decides to slack off at the MASTERs Conference instead of going for a salubrious training run in the 100+° (40+°C) Arizona summer sun.
EDA Videos... some are great, but some...
9/17/2010   3 comments
There are some really clever (funny and/or educational) videos out there on the Internet created by EDA and electronic companies, and then there are some eye-wateringly bad ones...
One great big diode, conducting lots of current
9/17/2010   16 comments
When a controller goes up in smoke, engineers learn never to assume the other guy has done his job
CD Review: Magnification by YES
9/17/2010   7 comments
I only recently became aware that YES have a CD out called Magnification. Some of the tracks sound very much like the original YES (like listening to YES for the very first time), while others...
The seemingly broken serial port
Engineering Investigations  
9/17/2010   8 comments
Engineers learn importance of understanding the entire system spec
A closer look at analog verification
9/17/2010   Post a comment
The power of digital verification is being brought into the analog domain with the aid of improved modeling and test bench methodologies.
Space Log: Back to the moon, with machines
9/17/2010   2 comments
The moon has been probed like never before over the past year.
Book Recommendation: Bill and Dave...
9/16/2010   4 comments
I just received a recommendation for a book called *Bill and Dave: How Hewlett and Packard Built the World's Greatest Company* by Michael Malone...
Eeek! Altium is going to buy Morfik
9/16/2010   17 comments
Altium has announced its intention to buy Morfik. The interesting thing here is that Morfik is not an EDA company – it's an Australian software company....
Do-it-yourself: is this the best of times, the worst of times--or maybe both?
9/16/2010   24 comments
Today's technology is a mixed-bag for home-based experimenters and hobbyists
Trends in data conversion for 2011: more features, better performance, lower power—and hot markets
9/16/2010   1 comment
The critical mixed-signal component space will see changes, improvements, and enhancements—and many growing markets
Engineer investigates his car's engine problems
Engineering Investigations  
9/16/2010   35 comments
With his car dying on the road and the professionals flummoxed, an engineer takes things into his own hands
Has alien life been discovered?
9/16/2010   7 comments
A recent thread on the Yahoo How Things Work [HTW] group caught my eye. It seems that there's a chance we (by which I mean humans) may have actually discovered alien life.
Book review: The Creature from Jekyll Island
Engineer’s Bookshelf  
9/16/2010   18 comments
The title of this book by G. Edward Griffin might cause you to think of a horror story along the lines of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." However horrible it is, "The Creature from Jekyll Island is not fiction..
FDA's Frances Kelsey is a 'profile in courage'
9/16/2010   10 comments
Frances Kelsey, a young FDA scientist, had the guts to stand up to a big drug company 50 years ago. As a result, Kelsey kept thalidomide off the the U.S. market.
Pesky PCI-X parity errors
Engineering Investigations  
9/15/2010   8 comments
You can fix a bug if you can trigger an oscilloscope on the problem.
The Embedded Treasure Map for IDF 2010
9/15/2010   Post a comment
Intel's Eric Mantion offers an overview of some of the Embedded events happening at the Intel Developer Forum.
I want to attend the Actel Space forum!
9/15/2010   4 comments
I just heard from the guys and gals at Actel that they are going to be holding the American kick-off of their 2010 series of Space Forums on Thursday 2 December at the Four Points Sheraton in Los Angeles, CA.
Point - Counterpoint: Onload versus offload processing
9/15/2010   Post a comment
Of the several articles posted during the last week to CommsDesign, two take a point - counterpoint stance on onload v. offload processing. But, the debate between the two companies doesn't stop there!
2010 TI Engibous student competition proves the kids are (still) alright
Engineering Pop Culture!  
9/14/2010   2 comments
The university-level analog-centric contest shows that there's innovation and hard work being done by these aspiring engineers.
From this we learn: The tale of the really fast power supply
Engineering Investigations  
9/14/2010   2 comments
"This was a solid failure…. My boss immediately announced that I had selected a power supply that did not have an adequate current rating and that I was not very smart. But I was not convinced…"
How do mirrors work (Part 2)
9/14/2010   9 comments
When you look in a mirror – it appears to invert your image Left-to-Right; Why not Top-to-Bottom?"
How do mirrors work?
9/14/2010   7 comments
As part of my do-it-yourself Magic Mirror Hobby Project, I've been pondering mirrors in general, and I've come to the startling realization that – at the most fundamental level – I don’t actually know how they work.
The drama continues...
9/14/2010   4 comments
It appears that the 100 Gigabit Ethernet family will continue to be a source of technological drama for the industry, with at least two efforts on the IEEE 802.3 horizon likely to provoke industry debate.
ESC Boston: RF highlights
RF & Microwave Designline Blog  
9/14/2010   1 comment
If you are in the Boston area next week (Sept 20 to 23, 2010) or already plan on attending the ESC Boston show, here are some highlights that might appeal to RF and microwave engineers
Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) for FPGA Verification
9/14/2010   1 comment
One of the things I think is really rather clever is the cunning Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) FPGA verification and debug solution from GateRocket in the form of their RocketDrive (hardware) and RocketVision (Software).
Pop goes the capacitor!
9/13/2010   18 comments
An engineer marvels at how far component design has progressed... which is soon followed by a loud "POP!"
What's your favorite "science fiction" movie?
9/13/2010   186 comments
So many sub-genres, so many good choices: which ones do you recall favorably?
Gagging on Gaga. . . .or, can we get just a little of your time and attention here, please?
9/13/2010   29 comments
If only the accomplishments of scientists and engineers could get the coverage that entertainers do
Opinion: Apple feels smartphone sands shifting
Semi Conscious  
9/11/2010   10 comments
Apple, as cutthroat as any company, had an ulterior motive for relaxing standards on the software that can be used for developing apps for its iPhone and iPad.
LuminAR Project and the @devboard
9/10/2010   Post a comment
Intel's Stewart Christie highlights a video demonstrating a new computer form factor - a lamp-based robotic information interface that "releases pixels from the screen."
Student Entrepreneur on shares, roles, exits
9/10/2010   4 comments
Simon Barker shares difficult thoughts about his young Slotzz iPad case business. What will happen when it is time to move on?
Best book for FPGA newbies?
9/10/2010   9 comments
I know this is a moving target because new books are always leaping onto the scene, but any recommendations you have would be very much appreciated...
Amid the gloom and doom, a sliver of good news for mid-career engineers
Engineering Pop Culture!  
9/10/2010   20 comments
Hiring activity is up, says one recruiter, and senior engineers are currently in demand
Design convergences: approaches on handling the coming tsunami
9/10/2010   Post a comment
It is true that designs are going to have to meet the following requirements: increasing levels of integration of analog and digital components on the same silicon substrate, lower power consumption targets (both standby and operational) and higher performance requirements. It is also true that these have to be done within compressed design schedules and with smaller design teams spread out all over the world.
Opinion: Convergence favors ARM's client-to-server play
9/10/2010   12 comments
Peter Clarke looks at whether the A15 processor core can help ARM break into PC applications. He points out that client and server needs are converging while A15 is not one processor but a broad set of potentialities. "Hey guys, this could work."
Chris anticipates the climb
9/10/2010   1 comment
I have read books on Kili and spoken to people who have both succeeded and failed in reaching the "Summit of Africa." With training, what could possibly go wrong? During the hours and hours of walking/training I have put, in I have considered the above question.
Training for the climb to Mt. Kilimanjaro
9/10/2010   Post a comment
Engineer Darren Wenn starts training for his seven-day adventure
Amazingly funny videos
9/9/2010   1 comment
You are going to hate me for this, but I just ran across a really great website that contains some very, very funny videos. It's not my fault if you don’t have the willpower to resist... don’t shoot the messenger...
The hardware: Designing for extreme conditions and extreme low power
9/9/2010   Post a comment
A quick overview of the hardware used in Chris and Darren's altitude loggers for the trip up the mountain.
Engineer's video blogs are funny and interesting
9/9/2010   5 comments
Presented in a uniquely enthusiastic style, these unscripted video blogs by an Australian engineer manage to be both funny and interesting at the same time.
How not to tame a recalcitrant circuit
Engineering Pop Culture!  
9/9/2010   9 comments
An engineer recalls one co-worker who, like a Sprague Fairy on crystal meth, furiously threw capacitors at his bad designs
Engineer investigates strange squiggles in microscope's images
Engineering Investigations  
9/9/2010   14 comments
Looking for the source of the disturbance, an EE learns that sometimes you have to look outside your own discipline to find the answers
The case of the cooked computer video monitor
Engineering Investigations  
9/9/2010   3 comments
Perplexed by a troublesome board, an engineer turns to an unconventional diagnostic tool
New standards for audio/video bridging
9/8/2010   1 comment
The IEEE Standards Association is now addressing the need for audio/video bridging standards--standards that will eventually affect the entire supply chain.
Opinion: How Hurd's misstep became a big fat mess
9/8/2010   35 comments
Mark Hurd's misstep has become a big fat mess for HP, Oracle and their customers with plenty of blame to go around.
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