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Content posted in December 2010
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Designing the optimal digital media experience
12/31/2010   1 comment
Remember when phones were used only for making voice calls, and TV was the only way to view video in the home?
Big stories to track at CES 2011
12/29/2010   4 comments
Big stories to track at CES are the rapid proliferation of tablet computers; new “superphone” devices and applications; the changing operating system landscape; and the decline of the video disc and rise of streaming video services.
12/27/2010   7 comments
My wife and I were recently talking about the play, Man of La Mancha, when I brought up the subject of the nobility of electronics engineering, and the dichotomy between those viewing engineering as strictly mercenary, and those seeing it as a noble calling.
Has a radical idea ever been the solution to your intractable problem?
12/27/2010   25 comments
Whether you call it "out of the box" thinking, or going against conventional wisdom, it drives some amazing innovation
The digital version of the Nativity story
12/24/2010   10 comments
Since it’s Christmas Eve as I pen these words, there is a lot of holiday-related “stuff” bouncing around the Internet. Two pieces that caught my eye are...
Freescale’s David vs Japan Inc. Goliath
12/23/2010   9 comments
During my recent visit to Japan, I had the pleasure of meeting David Uze, president of Freescale Semiconductor Japan, in his Tokyo office.
Call any rib roast, call it by name
12/23/2010   20 comments
A new consumer electronics gadget fills the universal need for people to develop a meaningful dialog with the food they cook.
Poor contacts stop model trains on the track
12/23/2010   28 comments
Refusing to accept that poor performance was normal for Z scale model trains, an engineer sets out to devise a better electrical contact to eliminate stalling at slow speeds.
December Cartoon Contest finalists - Vote Now!
12/23/2010   3 comments
We've narrowed down the list to the final five--help us pick the funniest caption!
Moore's Law could enter the fourth dimension--via the third
12/23/2010   34 comments
The semiconductor industry may stay on track with Moore's Law even if it delays scaling down, while finding a better solution for interconnect and lithography by scaling up—to the third dimension.
My Windows roadmap for tablets and more
12/22/2010   23 comments
An ARM-based version of Windows for tablets is just the start of what Microsoft needs to deliver to keep its software franchise relevant.
The fabless company that wasn't
12/22/2010   6 comments
Despite maintaining three fabs, Avago Technologies was ranked 10th among fabless firms in 2010 projected revenue. Say what?
Stop! Look! Win a bunch of cool development boards and tools from Microchip
12/21/2010   29 comments
I’ve been chatting to the folks at Microchip about all of the cool development boards and tools they have for different applications, and they’ve sent some to me for me to give to you…
China's surprise holiday present for you
12/21/2010   14 comments
What if China's preoccupation to compete with the rest of the world created a product so useful and inexpensive that it benefited the world enormously?
Evolution of design methodology II: The re-aggregation era
12/21/2010   10 comments
Part two of the two-part essay co-authored by Paul McLellan and Jim Hogan about evolving design methodology and how it will change the industry.
Opinion: Six myths of chip making
12/18/2010   30 comments
Here are six "myths of the semiconductor industry," according to Malcolm Penn, founder and principal analyst with Future Horizons (Sevenoaks, England).
So, you want to play games do you?
12/17/2010   1 comment
There are all sorts of cool games available on the Internet … here are a couple that will keep you busy for a while…
Quantum mechanics saves Santa
12/17/2010   2 comments
With regard to my previous blog on Santa Claus, someone on the Yahoo How Things Work (HTW) group has located a rather interesting rebuttal (“It’s all Quantum,” as Terry Pratchett would say)…
Scientific analysis of Santa Claus
12/16/2010   7 comments
As a kid I remember that I used to wonder how Santa managed to visit all of the kids in one night. This analysis explains all (or not, as the case might be)…
Opinion: 8 embedded trends for 2011
12/16/2010   8 comments
Here are eight key trends for the embedded software and tools market in 2011, courtesy of market research company VDC Research Group (Natick, Mass.).
Is the fade-out of college radio bad for engineers?
12/16/2010   36 comments
In addition to its role in music, college radio is often a hands-on training ground for engineers
I love my Optoma PK301 Pocket Pico Projector
12/15/2010   8 comments
Now that I’m aware that Pico Projectors exist, I seem to be seeing them everywhere. In fact, it appears that the whole Pico Projector concept is a market poised for explosive growth.
What will it take for FPGAs to become as ubiquitous as processors?
12/14/2010   20 comments
In which we mull the rising number of FPGA design starts, the falling number of ASIC design starts, and the impact that this is having on the EDA industry…
How to have fun with klunky old terminals
12/14/2010   9 comments
An engineer innovates and makes junked PCs work as remote terminals
Valve jam poses near-disaster for EEs
12/14/2010   10 comments
EEs learn that knowledge and experience in electronics does not translate into hands-on experience in other fields.
The IEEE Standards Association's 2010 Awards Night
12/13/2010   Post a comment
Synopsys wins IEEE-SA Corporate Award.
Throughput, not productivity, is what matters
12/13/2010   16 comments
Semiconductor industry executives are often surprised when I assert that productivity isn't that important, at least as far as R&D performance metrics are concerned.
Transforming the U.S. semiconductor business model
12/13/2010   11 comments
In the Silicon Valley, the semiconductor industry is very much yesterday’s news, ignored by venture capitalists, talented employees and trade publications. That makes industry pundits wonder what’s happening to the U.S. semiconductor industry, especially the startups who aspire to become another Atheros, Marvell or NVIDIA.
Wi-Fi Direct kills off BT high speed
12/13/2010   3 comments
Wi-Fi Direct is a mechanism to add a soft access point in one device so that two different products can form a direct point to point secure wireless connection. Supposedly it will be easy to set up and relatively fast. The objective is to avoid having to configure a consumer device with all of the info required to use a standard WiFi access point and enable a somewhat simpler point to point file transfer.
Three months' design work in four weeks
12/10/2010   10 comments
Engineer scurries to make up time adding a missing feature to a display generator
IEDM: A perspective from afar
12/10/2010   1 comment
Stuck in snowy Ottawa, I missed the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting in San Francisco, but the press kit offered more than enough fodder for a column.
Dell low-balling Compellent?
12/9/2010   2 comments
Is Compellent a good match for Dell? I'm thinking it might be.
One man’s treat, another man’s twaddle
12/9/2010   23 comments
The news business is dead. Toss in a few lilies and start filling the grave.
Are "zombie" expressions causing confusion for your audience?
12/9/2010   18 comments
When we use outdated terms and phrases, we risk ambiguity or misunderstanding
Mobile tsunami makes landfall in 2011
12/9/2010   15 comments
New platforms from Google (two of them), RIM, HP, Intel/Nokia and more have all been spotted not far off the California shore.
How noble is your profession?
12/9/2010   16 comments
Here's a radical idea: I propose that laid-off and unemployed engineers work pro bono, for the good of the public, on at least one project that they think could benefit humanity.
Pet's Eye View Camera - The perfect Christmas gift?
12/8/2010   7 comments
One of the problems at Christmas is coming up with the perfect gift for a particular person or for a particular occasion, such as a family gathering…
Free book on power supply management and control from Lattice
12/8/2010   7 comments
This “Power 2 You” book provides designers with 150 pages of technical details and design considerations for implementing common circuit board power management functions.
Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7
12/7/2010   23 comments
Here are some more rambling musings with regard to migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7, including a simple (yet cunning) idea that could potentially make someone a lot of money…
Whither interoperability? The myth of the grand, unifying EDA database
12/6/2010   16 comments
All of the attempts at creating EDA tools that are interoperable through the mechanism of a grand-unifying open source database have failed and are likely to continue to fail. Why?
What’s new in medical electronics?
12/6/2010   Post a comment
Understand some of the trends, standards, and challenges they bring in connectivity and test
The Second Commandment for Effective Standards in action
12/3/2010   4 comments
A lawsuit reveals why standards organizations need strong policies on intellectual property.
Alien life and Metropolis II
12/3/2010   1 comment
So here’s the deal – yesterday evening while sitting in my car waiting for my son to get out of school I was searching for alien life (as you do) when I ran across Metropolis II…
Student Entrepreneur: Five reasons why PhDs are made for business
12/3/2010   22 comments
Simon Barker, EE Times' resident student entrepreneur, ponders his PhD studies and decides they are a good fit for business. It's all about problem-solving, organization and commitment.
Mix-and-match dc-to-dc converter design
12/3/2010   2 comments
Extreme cost-saving measures in a voltage converter design lead to high rate of returns with a diode blown to smithereens
Where there's smoke, theres' a bad design
12/3/2010   9 comments
Thermal mismanagement wreaks havoc with an avionics display dumping lots of heat
The expanding floating-point performance gap between FPGAs and microprocessors
12/2/2010   4 comments
Here’s an updated version of a classic work comparing the peak performance of 64 bit floating-point calculations between FPGAs and microprocessors.
Consumer vs. medical electronics
12/2/2010   Post a comment
Medical designers could benefit from the economies of scale offered by consumer electronics. But...
Fabless follow-up
12/2/2010   8 comments
Several readers responded to my last column, where I lamented the fabless approach to the chip business. Perhaps I was not quite getting to the heart of the matter, so here goes another shot.
Actors can "switch gears", but can engineers do the same?
12/1/2010   39 comments
Can you go from being a circuit designer to software engineer, or vice versa?
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