Analog Devices' digital signal processing group has jumped into the vendor-driven engineering community fray with an online community center where designers can get answers to their technical questions either from ADI specialists or their peers.
The site is called EngineerZone (ez.analog.com) and according to its own description, "is designed to provide a quick and easy way for users of ADI's Embedded Processors & DSPs to help each other with technical questions."
While it's currently focused on embedded processing and DSP, there is work afoot on an analog version, or so ADI tells me. Kind of odd that a company called Analog Devices should launch the digital help line first. Anyway...
Recognizing its audience time pressures, it's pretty straightforward: log on (easy to do, just takes a minute), ask question, wait for answer. As it's launching today and is still in 'beta', there may be a few kinks, but at first brush, there are none: it's intuitive and useful. Which is pretty much all you need. Here's a sample discussion, using the most recent question about PLL register setting in XML on the Blackfin processor.
There are some interesting nuances though, particularly with respect to user status level which is a way of allowing you to demonstrate your expertise (really beneficial if you're a consultant or independent contractor) and of getting rewarded with points for your effort. Get enough points and get raised to the next level.
Points are awarded for posting new forum threads and replying to existing threads. You will earn more points if your reply is chosen by the author as the 'correct' or 'helpful' answer in a thread. There are eight status levels, ranging from member to Grand Master.
Maybe they should add a ninth: You're Hired"?