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Content posted in November 2010
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Falling IC development productivity means lost engineering jobs
Blog  
11/30/2010   23 comments
Steadily declining IC development productivity means more job losses for engineers in the U.S. and Europe to their less expensive counterparts in second-world economies. And the trend is accelerating as chip design complexity outpaces gains in productivity.
Awesome! Two amazing books for free!
Blog  
11/30/2010   14 comments
Did you see my reviews of the books uC/OS-III The Real-Time Kernel by Jean Labrosse and uC/TCP-IP by Christian Légaré? Well, I just heard how you can get FREE copies of both these works…
The 450-mm development dilemma
Blog  
11/30/2010   3 comments
The semiconductor capital equipment industry has still not recouped $14 billion in investment in 300-mm wafer processing technology and is not prepared to develop 450-mm tools.
What comes next after smartphones?
Blog  
11/30/2010   8 comments
Where will the underlying wave of technological and commercial innovation strike next in smartphones?
ESL, FPGAs, and configurability
Blog  
11/29/2010   1 comment
Here’s a taxonomy for ESL and FPGAs that will hopefully prevent definitions from becoming as word- distorted and confused as they have become in so many other areas of EDA.
From RTL to GDSII in Just Six Weeks!
Blog  
11/29/2010   37 comments
The amazing story of how one man single-handedly invented a new computing architecture, designed a multi-million-gate SoC, and went from RTL to GDSII tapeout in just six weeks.
Commentary: Engineering a prosperous future
Blog  
11/29/2010   2 comments
Economic uncertainty has stalled high-tech hiring, but economic recovery requires that the technology industry make full use of its human capital.
Debug: More return for less clicks
Blog  
11/29/2010   6 comments
The tremendous growth of the semiconductor industry over the past 40 years is in part attributed to advancements of the EDA industry that caters to chip design companies. Although most design steps have been automated, a significant aspect that still remains primitive is that of RTL debugging.
Boeing Dreamliner's travails yields lessons for most engineers
Blog  
11/27/2010   18 comments
The technical challenges and problems of the Boeing 787 show that progress can't be scripted
The evolution of design methodology
Blog  
11/24/2010   8 comments
In nature, long periods of relatively stable environments are occasionally punctuated by large-scale changes that are the catalyst for evolution to create a large variety of mutations, and then for natural selection to weed out the unsuccessful ones. The environment in which design methodology lives is similar.
The case of the calendar screw-up
Blog  
11/24/2010   15 comments
A calendar gets the dates mixed up.
Software, services & open platforms drive nextgen handset design
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11/24/2010   Post a comment
As various players begin to roll out application stores in one form or another, or tie up deals with specific content, the mobile industry is entering what could be a decisive phase in its business cycle
Echoes of bonuses past dance in our heads
Blog  
11/23/2010   8 comments
I've been recalling tales lately of the extinct holiday bonus and the strange beast of today's performance bonus that has replaced it.
Moore's Law enters the fourth dimension
Blog  
11/22/2010   18 comments
For Moore's Law to remain relevant, the semiconductor industry must rethink it to include the long-ignored dimension of efficiency.
Semiconductor success is no longer about the chips, it’s about end customers
Blog  
11/22/2010   3 comments
To achieve high performance, semiconductor companies must lend a more attentive ear and more sharply focus their attention on customers.
Your duck is dead
Blog  
11/22/2010   5 comments
Sometimes there’s a joke that’s so bad it’s good (if you see what I mean). This one is an oldie that’s made the rounds, but it still makes me grin…
IP in FPGAs: Blessing and a curse
Blog  
11/22/2010   12 comments
With the IP-SoC 2010 event next week in Grenoble, we see FPGAs finally getting some kind of exposure. But, Dave Orecchio of GateRocket indicates that FPGA designers need to be aware of the unique nuances of using IP in these programmable platforms, and put in place tools and methodologies to overcome the IP use obstacles to success.
Space Log: What we can, can't afford
Blog  
11/19/2010   9 comments
We're broke. Something has to give. I propose human spaceflight. What are you willing to give up?
Very funny *Pitchman* video from Lattice Semiconductor
Blog  
11/19/2010   2 comments
I just received an email from Brian Kiernan, who is the Corporate Communications Manager over at Lattice Semiconductor. Brian pointed me at a really funny video on YouTube.
Put aside the science-fiction movies: what are the best "engineering" movies?
Blog  
11/19/2010   98 comments
There are some movies which celebrate engineering innovation and ingenuity as part of their story line; here are some of my favorites
What's inside the Dell Streak and Archos 7 tablets?
Blog  
11/18/2010   3 comments
Patrick Mannion and I tear down the Dell Streak and Archos 7 tablet PCs live at ARM TechCon.
Sanmina-SCI aims for transparent interconnects
Blog  
11/18/2010   3 comments
An executive at Sanmina-SCI recently demonstrated to me that every aspect of the electronics industry all the way down to the printed circuit board. is wagged by two heads, user expectations and economic feasibility.
Technology waits for no one and nothing
Blog  
11/18/2010   2 comments
Referring to the lyrics of "Time Waits for No One", co-written by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, Bob Smith of Magma explains that, in the world of electronics, technology waits for no one, especially IC developers or EDA suppliers.
Real men have fabs…or do they?
Blog  
11/17/2010   10 comments
Jerry Sanders' famous quote from the early days of the foundry industry is rightly mocked today, but a slightly modified (and more politically correct) version may still be applicable.
The Emperor of Ice-Cream
Blog  
11/16/2010   5 comments
I just ran across a poem called The Emperor of Ice-Cream (it’s the author’s hyphen, not mine). If it hadn’t been explained to me I wouldn’t have a clue what it was about. Once you do know what it’s about, however, re-reading it really makes you think…
*Footprint Graphics* or *Land Patterns*?
Blog  
11/16/2010   9 comments
OK, I know I’m supposed to spend my days pondering the imponderables pertaining to programmable logic, but FPGAs end up on circuit boards, and I just ran into a problem with regard to PCB terminology…
Are low power and FPGA an oxymoron?
Blog  
11/16/2010   3 comments
FPGAs have a reputation for being power hogs, but does that mean that no battery operated device should use an FPGA? Not so fast on that...
FPGAs: System gates or logic cells/elements?
Blog  
11/16/2010   8 comments
This is one of those questions that keeps on coming back to bite us. May 1,000 curses rain down on the heads of those marketing weenies who first came up with the concept of *System Gates*
Free Virtual Conference: System-on-Chip 2.0
Blog  
11/15/2010   1 comment
I don’t know about you, but I’m started to get rather excited about the forthcoming SoC 2.0 Virtual conference, which is to be held on Thursday, November 18…
How to bang often many than vindicatory!
Blog  
11/15/2010   12 comments
I just saw the funniest thing. It’s a blog about an interview with two guys I know, but it looks like it started off in English, was translated into Hindi, and then...
Talking Teardown with Charbax
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11/15/2010   Post a comment
Patrick Mannion and I interview Nicolas Charbonnier, aka Charbax, about the Archos 7 teardown.
Student Entrepreneur's Hawaii adventure
Blog  
11/15/2010   4 comments
Simon Barker, EE Times' resident student entrepreneur, reports back on his trip to Hawaii to present at the IEEE Sensors Conference.
Check out EDA startups on EE Times' Silicon 60 list!
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11/15/2010   Post a comment
The EE Times List of 60 Emerging Startups has been updated to Version 11.0. Do not wait and find out whose EDA companies have been added to the list, replacing others that either fell by the wayside or matured gracefully to bigger and better things.
Facts and data versus heuristics and hope
Blog  
11/15/2010   6 comments
In the next five years, many chip companies will be saddled with underperforming that persistently miss product development schedules.
The challenge facing the front-end semiconductor equipment industry
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11/14/2010   Post a comment
The semiconductor equipment industry, which has been experiencing tough sledding since 2007, failed to cope with the last two cyclical downturns and is not well positioned to face uncertain economic conditions.
Lessons from the Intel Hands-on Lab road tour
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11/13/2010   Post a comment
Intel's Stewart Christie reflects on problems encountered (and solutions discovered) during the Hands-on Lab events currently making their way throughout the U.S.
How digital signage works
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11/13/2010   Post a comment
Henry Davis considers how improvements in electronics hardware technology and software have improved the capabilities of the traditional signage application and added creative new opportunities in the digital signage market.
Best book(s) on Industrial Control?
Blog  
11/13/2010   3 comments
Hi there – I’m looking for some advice as to the best book or books I should buy to quickly ramp me up to speed with regard to all aspects of Industrial Control.
Commentary: Stakeholders see turning point for chip industry
Blog  
11/12/2010   11 comments
The semiconductor industry is at an inflection point, according to an informal survey of respected industry executives. In a severely curtailed funding environment, where will the groundbreaking innovations come from?
Truly long-range predictions can make fools of us all
Blog  
11/12/2010   9 comments
Some humility here, please: can there be any credibility to a forecast that is 25 years out?
Chris summit Kilimanjaro: Part i
Blog  
11/11/2010   5 comments
Intrepid engineer Chris McAneny describes his climb to the top
To a poet a thousand years hence
Blog  
11/10/2010   10 comments
Here’s a poem that I cannot get out of my head. I first saw it whilst on a trip to England this summer to attend my dear old mom’s 80th birthday…
First data's in the register, then it's not
Blog  
11/10/2010   5 comments
An engineer designing a VME bus-based interface card repeats an earlier mistake and remembers why you should always read the manual
ARM TechCon Teardown Smackdown
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11/9/2010   Post a comment
EE Times presents the Teardown Smackdown at ARM TechCon 2010, Nov. 10 at noon.
Baseball pitches a lesson for post-PC era
Blog  
11/9/2010   2 comments
The mobile Web era is here, but there are plenty of old PC-style platform wars ahead, so place your bets for the 2011 Smartphone World Series.
I want a Pico Projector … but which one?
Blog  
11/8/2010   11 comments
It’s funny… I had vaguely been aware of Pico Projectors for quite some time, but I hadn’t realized that they were actually available and (sort of) affordable – now I want one!
Counterfeit semiconductors: Too frequent a problem to tolerate
Blog  
11/8/2010   7 comments
One of the fastest-growing crimes the FBI battles today is the counterfeiting of electronic components.
How complex is your chip design?
Blog  
11/6/2010   Post a comment
When planning new IC design projects, such as SoCs or complex analog or RF chips, R&D organizations that have a firm grasp on the complexity of implementing the design wield a powerful competitive advantage.
These videos will make you laugh your socks off…
Blog  
11/5/2010   3 comments
Here are some mega-funny videos, such as the one about the Rockwell Retro Encabulator, which is absolutely brilliant (how the presenter keeps a straight face I will never know)!
Thunder in the Silicon Valley
Blog  
11/5/2010   12 comments
The Semiconductor Industry Association stiffens its spine.
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