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Help Predict Robot Apocalypse at EE Live! Alumni/Alumnae Breakfast
3/6/2014

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kfield
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WOW factor
kfield   3/6/2014 6:34:21 PM
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Well I know that I can't WAIT for this event - I hear the bacon is going to be pretty good, along with the entertaining discussions.

Susan Rambo
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Re: WOW factor
Susan Rambo   3/6/2014 8:29:59 PM
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I don't know what's more exciting: robot apocalypse or breakfast. Both sound like fun.

Susan Rambo
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Re: WOW factor
Susan Rambo   3/6/2014 10:35:22 PM
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But why is bacon such a cultural icon right now? What started that trend? Please explain.

Douglas442
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Re: Whoa factor
Douglas442   3/7/2014 1:46:05 AM
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"because the use of a homemade time machine is frowned upon in certain circles"

 

Boy oh boy!... Is that ever the truth!


In fact, I've known some former job-supervisors who did ( and probably still do ) very, VERY, seriously believe that ANY concern with such-and-similar matters ( whether it's just a playful preoccupation with such abstractions or not ) should be restricted to being within the exclusive purview of their own personal versions of a popular deity.


And, let me tell you... those types ( sometimes just like a character straight from out of a Victor Hugo novel or a Ben Kingsley role ) really are, often, perfectly willing to go well out of their way to NOT do the careers of any such transgressors any good at all!

 

Bad bosses... really bad bosses. And how that manifests itself, especially in some Central Valley communities, is something that has to be experienced to be understood.


A sad thing, really...


... those folks who imagine themselves to be justified in trying to put the stops on the raw creativity of others. All for what is often really little more than being just for the sake of pure self-validation.


And... apparently... without realizing that the root cause for most of such endeavors is that it's just plain fun!




Max The Magnificent
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Re: Whoa factor
Max The Magnificent   3/7/2014 8:50:38 AM
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@Douglas: And... apparently... without realizing that the root cause for most of such endeavors is that it's just plain fun!

Just don't step on any butterflies -- I learned that the hard way -- I do so miss the 8th wonder of the world (ooops, I mean what was that that just flew past the window behind you?)

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Whoa factor
Max The Magnificent   3/7/2014 8:52:57 AM
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@Douglas: Boy oh boy!... Is that ever the truth!

LOL Will you be going to EE Live! This year? I would LOVE you to give a 5-minute Gadget Smackdown talk about your Dr Who console (if you're interested, email me at max.maxfield@ubm.com)

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Whoa factor
Max The Magnificent   3/7/2014 8:54:10 AM
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@Douglas: I would LOVE you to give a 5-minute Gadget Smackdown talk about your Dr Who console...

That's a brilliant way to disguise a homemade time machine, by the way -- no one would ever guess -- I'm jealous

 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: WOW factor
Max The Magnificent   3/7/2014 8:40:17 AM
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@Susan: But why is bacon such a cultural icon right now?

It's not a cultural icon -- it's nature's own health food.

betajet
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Re: WOW factor
betajet   3/7/2014 9:44:00 AM
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Susan wrote: But why is bacon such a cultural icon right now?

Wikipedia has a long item about Bacon ManiaEnjoyez-vous!

It's too early in the morning for me to look at chicken-fried bacon, but here are the money quotes:

"Arun Gupta of The Indypendent has pointed out how bacon possesses six ingredient types of umami, which elicits an addictive neurochemical response." [my bold]

"The standard joke in the restaurant chain industry goes: When in doubt, throw cheese and bacon on it."

Susan Rambo
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Re: WOW factor
Susan Rambo   3/7/2014 9:50:34 AM
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One good thing about robots: they aren't powered by bacon. Max, on the other hand, is.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: WOW factor
Max The Magnificent   3/7/2014 4:09:43 PM
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@Susan: ...robots: they aren't powered by bacon. Max, on the other hand, is.

I get 4MPR (four miles to the rasher) on a good day if there's no headwind :-)

Susan Rambo
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Re: WOW factor
Susan Rambo   3/7/2014 4:11:25 PM
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You are quite efficient.

Susan Rambo
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Re: WOW factor
Susan Rambo   3/7/2014 10:37:13 AM
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Maybe that's why Pork Farmer magazine would always beat out Embedded Systems Programming for annual industry awards. They had addiction on their side.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: WOW factor
Max The Magnificent   3/7/2014 4:16:51 PM
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@Susan: ...why is bacon such a cultural icon right now?

Hard to say .. while we are pondering this conundrum, could I tempt you to some:

Adhesive bacon bandages

Bacon salt

Bacon-scented air fresheners

Bacon-flavored popcorn

A bacon doormat

Bacon soap

Bacon jam

and, the one I really want for Christmas (size 3XL LOL): A Bacon T-Shirt

 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: WOW factor
Max The Magnificent   3/7/2014 4:18:52 PM
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Ooohhhh -- here's another "stocking filler" for the discerning lover of bacon -- Bacon Magnetic Poetry -- it's a bargain at only $5.99!!!

Susan Rambo
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Re: WOW factor
Susan Rambo   3/7/2014 4:21:25 PM
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No offense, but I feel sick now. LOL.   Max, question: You are you going to let Altera and Xilinx fall behind in the STEM Impact Award contest?

Max The Magnificent
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Re: WOW factor
Max The Magnificent   3/7/2014 4:26:12 PM
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@Susan: ...are you going to let Altera and Xilinx fall behind in the STEM Impact Award contest?

That's unfair -- it's like asking me to choose between a bacon sandwich and a bacon surprise -- I can't vote for one without feeling guilty about not voting for the other -- I'm sitting on a horny dilemma the horns of a dilemma and it's not very comfortable, let me tell you.

betajet
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Re: WOW factor
betajet   3/7/2014 6:00:47 PM
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Susan asked: Max, are you going to let Altera and Xilinx fall behind in the STEM Impact Award contest?

IMO, Altera and Xilinx are disqualified by refusing to document their FPGA bit streams, which prevents STEM students from really learning about FPGAs by producing their own FPGA tools or adapting open-source ones.  The essence of science and engineering is looking "under the hood" to see how things really work.  Where would STEM be if Intel, Motorola (now Freescale), IBM, and ARM had refused to release their machine-language instruction sets?

JMO/YMMV

Susan Rambo
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Re: WOW factor
Susan Rambo   3/7/2014 8:56:38 PM
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Do you think it's a bad business move not to document the FPGA bit streams? Seems like a good opportunity for students to get good foundation in FPGA, as you suggest. If you get them when they're young, maybe a loyal customer is born?

betajet
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Re: WOW factor
betajet   3/7/2014 11:15:24 PM
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Susan asked: Do you think it's a bad business move not to document the FPGA bit streams?

Absolutely.  I've been complaining about this for decades.  By keeping the bit streams closed, there's no point in anyone doing research in improving FPGA tools and languages, and the use of FPGAs for a high-performance reconfigurable computer is impractical, as described in this Geek Times article from 2007.

The excuse given by FPGA vendors is that FPGA customers are afraid that someone will steal their products, yet people ship millions of computer-based products with open machine languages.  Besides, all the latest FPGA chips have bit-stream encryption or have the FPGA embedded with the configuration storage so you can't easily watch the bit stream.  Are the FPGA vendors saying that this encryption is not effective?

My opinion is that closed bit-streams -- and therefore closed design tools -- have prevented FPGAs from having the success enjoyed by microprocessors.  Where would Intel be if the 8080 and x86 had closed instruction sets and you could only program them in PL/M?

Maybe this will change soon.  After all, GPU vendors are starting to document their architectures -- even Broadcom!  A chip-maker needs to sell silicon.  Preventing people from using your chips by keeping documentation closed does the opposite IMO.

DrFPGA
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Re: WOW factor
DrFPGA   3/22/2014 5:15:03 PM
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Actually, there is a very significant amount of FPGA research going at the university level. They use some open source FPGA architectures to look at different algorithms and have, in the past, been included in some manufacturers architectures.

I think the issue is really the complexity in documenting the architecture and answering the many questions that would come up. If the FPGA guys thought that the support cost would generate any return I think they would happily make the investment in supporting a more open source policy...

betajet
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Re: WOW factor
betajet   3/22/2014 9:42:39 PM
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DrFPGA wrote: I think the issue is really the complexity in documenting the architecture and answering the many questions that would come up. If the FPGA guys thought that the support cost would generate any return I think they would happily make the investment in supporting a more open source policy...

Thank you for your reply.

If that's the issue, all a vendor needs to do is to give the community permission to reverse-engineer the FPGA architecture using the vendor's tools.  The vendor doesn't have to document anything or answer any questions -- all it has to do is allow the community to do the work and publish it.  For at least two architectures I've looked at, it's actually quite tractable to reverse-engineer the architecture, but you've got to use the vendor's tools to do so which is usually a violation of the EULA.

Except for an old Atmel architecture, everything I've read so far indicates that vendors do not want this to happen and are ready to sue anyone who tries.  If that's not the case, I'd be extremely grateful for some links because this closed architecture nonsense has been a pet peeve of mine for decades.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: WOW factor
Max The Magnificent   3/7/2014 8:38:53 AM
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@Susan: I don't know what's more exciting: robot apocalypse or breakfast. Both sound like fun.

If there's one thing I've learned in my travels through time, it's that you need to have a good breakfast to carry you through the next robot apocalypse.

 

DrFPGA
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Looka like the robot lawyers are going after you
DrFPGA   3/22/2014 5:17:25 PM
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for using their image without paying a royalty (their currency is storage space)...

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