Breaking News
Comments
junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Makers and chip guys
junko.yoshida   4/18/2014 1:31:35 PM
NO RATINGS
I kinda feel that I am on the wrong side when I am being skeptical about the newborn love between chip guys and makers. I see this being a new trend. And possibly a big one. And yet, for chip vendors to really leverage the power of 'makers' and 'open source' communites, there seems to be still a long way to go. 

What's your view on this?

joe.raffa
User Rank
Rookie
Re: Makers and chip guys
joe.raffa   4/18/2014 2:27:42 PM
NO RATINGS
It's a "spray and pray" strategy, not unlike the turn the VC industry has taken by investing in 400 (or more) startups.  It's hard to see where the next consumer-facing hit is going to come from, whether it is in social media or a cool gadget, so it makes sense to spread a wide net, if you can do it cost effectively.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Makers and chip guys
junko.yoshida   4/18/2014 3:17:36 PM
NO RATINGS
@joe.raffa. Thanks for your comment. Yes, "spray and pray" seems to be exactly where this seems to be going. The question is then how best to cast a wider net.

I heard from a chip executive I was interviewing in Beijing last month...as soon as he posted a reference design (of his new chip for wearables) on WeChat (China's widely popular messaging board), he received a ton of request for people wanting that board.

It tells us that 'makers' -- no matter where they are located -- are hungry and the social media definitely helps. 

Susan Rambo
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Makers and chip guys
Susan Rambo   4/18/2014 4:16:01 PM
NO RATINGS
@joe.raffa: It's a "spray and pray" strategy

That's a good way to describe it. Also getting product out to makers is like advertising/marketing -- hopefully one of those makers will be an influential engineer.

LarryM99
User Rank
CEO
Re: Makers and chip guys
LarryM99   4/18/2014 6:49:40 PM
NO RATINGS
@susan.rambo: That's a good way to describe it. Also getting product out to makers is like advertising/marketing -- hopefully one of those makers will be an influential engineer

Engineers tend to use parts with which they are familiar. If a prototype is developed on particular hardware, that hardware will be the default for going to production. As long as the chip vendors can minimize the support costs for a lot of startups by handing them off to groups of enthusiasts it's hard to see this as a worse gamble than creating reference designs.

If nothing else it creates a way for them to get deeper into retail channels. These maker components are showing up on the shelves at Fry's, which makes them much more accessible than having to go through the distributers.

alex_m1
User Rank
CEO
Re: Makers and chip guys
alex_m1   4/19/2014 2:22:23 PM
NO RATINGS
One interesting place to look at the effect of maker communities on real products is the mbed community: it's relatively old, uses commercial friendly licenses and is relatively easy to transfer to manufacturing. Not sure how to get the data. Maybe asking mbed or arm, the company behind the project, is a good way.

lroee
User Rank
Rookie
Re: Makers and chip guys
lroee   4/21/2014 12:12:11 PM
NO RATINGS

Well I'm glad that someone else feels this way. I constantly find myself trying to explain where the maker stuff fits. I do a lot of contract design for smaller companies and it's not uncommon for the CEO to proclaim that he is going to replace everything with Arduino.

Never mind that 90% of the product is custom power stuff. Typical wishful thinking I suppose.

I also run into a lot of younger less experienced folks that think the only one who makes microcontrollers is Microchip. They invented it right!

I try to explain that they might be better off using a $99 board from Freescale rather than trying to splice all sorts of Arduino stuff together. It falls on def ears. Somehow free source is not as good as open source. C is scary and sketches are not.

On the other hand, it could take days to find that $99 demo board on the Freescale website and even at that it might not be obvious that it is actually what you want. It is also not all that easy to figure out that the free versions of their development tools are hugely productive high quality tools. What a deal!!

I am sure that the same is true for many other vendors. The issue is that for me this particular one is easier than Arduino for virtually everything I do. However it has taken some time to tease that out.

If a manufacturer can gain some visibility outside of the small group that already knows them, so much the better if it's not a huge investment.


junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Makers and chip guys
junko.yoshida   4/21/2014 1:03:58 PM
NO RATINGS
@Iroee, you wrote:

I also run into a lot of younger less experienced folks that think the only one who makes microcontrollers is Microchip. They invented it right!


I couldn't help but chuckle, but hey, what a great job Microchip has done to convince the younger crowd as though Microchip is the only game in town! Hats off to Microchip.

lroee
User Rank
Rookie
Re: Makers and chip guys
lroee   4/21/2014 7:17:03 PM
NO RATINGS
And by the way, Microchip has a business model that does support the small guy a lot.

I also do a lot of design work for a small local assembly house. The fact that you can pretty well count on a Microchip controller being available almost forever is a big deal.

There are a lot of 15 and 20 year old products chugging along making millions of dollars simply because Microchip still has the parts. Maybe more importantly they are normally in stock someplace.

This is in very stark contrast to many components in the bleeding edge consumer market.

I think this is pretty important to the start-up that wants to ramp up to produce stuff rather than look for a big win and sell off.

Somehow you need cool open source designs that are solidly built and can be easily expanded with off the shelf parts that will be available for decades.

 

jmoore852
User Rank
Rookie
Re: Makers and chip guys
jmoore852   4/21/2014 8:13:34 PM
NO RATINGS
Microchip is a great example of how enabling the maker world counts. I have long disliked the uChip 8-bit processors - they're Harvard architecture and very RISC - the sort of thing you really don't want to program in assembly language. And yet, for almost 30 years, they've had almost a lock on the maker world. The reason: by accident or on purpose, they enabled a maker movement centered on their PIC product. You could buy them in tiny quantities, they were cheap, and there were folks teaching how to use them - most notably, Don Lancaster. As a result of this, there are PIC processors in all sorts of devices.

Hobbyists often end up as entrepreneurs, and their products will use what they are familiar with - even if they have to hire engineers to build them. Others go on to become engineers, and bring that experience with them. Many engineers are hobbyists, and will get experience with what is easy for them to buy and tinker with.

Companies who ignore the maker movement will be the dinosaurs.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Makers and chip guys
junko.yoshida   4/22/2014 8:56:48 AM
NO RATINGS
@jmoore852, thanks for sharing your opinions. I like what you said about hobbyists and engineers:

Hobbyists often end up as entrepreneurs, and their products will use what they are familiar with - even if they have to hire engineers to build them

Points well taken. But as I  talk to chip vendors, they seem to be also reaching out to non-professional engineers with their "kit."

Do you know of such examples and do you think that will ever succeed?

jmoore852
User Rank
Rookie
Re: Makers and chip guys
jmoore852   4/22/2014 3:47:06 PM
NO RATINGS
"Do you know of such examples and do you think that will ever succeed?"

I frequently hear of these, but can't name a specific one.


The very nature of the hobbyist/maker/midnight-tinkerer world is that you won't know who will succeed until they do. Look at Apple Computer - two guys in their garage. The same with Hewlett-Packard.

Also, one needs to be careful of the definition of "professional" vs. non-professional engineer. I know a number of very successful engineers who have no college degree, for example. To me, a professional engineer is someone who does engineering (design based on scientific knowledge) as opposed to tinkering, and who does it successfully.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Makers and chip guys
junko.yoshida   4/22/2014 4:42:31 PM
NO RATINGS
@jmoore852, agreed.

I also define "professional" engineers as those who do engineering for living, rather than just a hobby.

alex_m1
User Rank
CEO
Re: Makers and chip guys
alex_m1   4/22/2014 7:09:08 PM
NO RATINGS
One example:

http://cookmellow.com/meet-mellow/

this well designed sous-vide cooking machine. the machine is running squirrel - a scripting language used by electric imp which is easy for designers to work with , and not the usual c/c++ so common in embedded.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Makers and chip guys
junko.yoshida   4/23/2014 11:22:36 AM
NO RATINGS
@alex_m1, wow, this sous-vide cooking machine is actually very cool. I love cooking but I did not know such a machine existed! 

So...this is what electric imp could do for you. Amazing.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Makers and chip guys
junko.yoshida   4/21/2014 1:47:59 PM
NO RATINGS
@Iroee, that said, I think you hit the nail on the head when you wrote:

On the other hand, it could take days to find that $99 demo board on the Freescale website and even at that it might not be obvious that it is actually what you want. It is also not all that easy to figure out that the free versions of their development tools are hugely productive high quality tools. What a deal!!


Chip vendors need to make their offerings more discoverable...

 

fredrik.nyman
User Rank
Rookie
Re: Makers and chip guys
fredrik.nyman   4/21/2014 1:25:04 PM
NO RATINGS
Why not just consider it marketing?  Consider how chip-makers have traditionally sponsored the educational market with discounted tools.  I think there is a parallel here: no immediate upside for the chip maker, but over the long-term, they are seeding the job market with people familiar with their products and toolchains.

 

 

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Makers and chip guys
junko.yoshida   4/21/2014 2:09:32 PM
NO RATINGS
@fredrik.nyman, I think chip vendors do already see this a part of their marketing. I think that's a given. The issue, then, is how best they can seize the opportunity, beyond selling their reference design boards at $99. I think what I am wondering is if anybody found that magic formula.

pinaz
User Rank
Rookie
money for nothing and the chips for free?
pinaz   4/18/2014 3:00:24 PM
NO RATINGS
Reference designs and firmware sell silicon, but no one wants to pay for it (this applies to both end users and for the chip companies).  The reasoning I've heard from the "business-types" in a chip company was their belief that Maker exposure would lead to reference firmware, drivers, etc. being written for free by users on the Internet rather than hiring and paying for developers internally.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: money for nothing and the chips for free?
junko.yoshida   4/18/2014 3:12:34 PM
NO RATINGS
@pinaz, you wrote:

Maker exposure would lead to reference firmware, drivers, etc. being written for free by users on the Internet rather than hiring and paying for developers internally.


You are spot on. That's exactly what I had suspected...

Does anyone among our readers disagree on that?

AZskibum
User Rank
CEO
Re: money for nothing and the chips for free?
AZskibum   4/19/2014 9:54:10 PM
NO RATINGS
The maker community's collective efforts to develop firmware, drivers, etc are great, but do you honestly think a chip company would rely solely on that -- software that the company itself cannot support -- as the only means of enabling its reference design?

betajet
User Rank
CEO
Re: money for nothing and the chips for free?
betajet   4/20/2014 9:31:18 AM
NO RATINGS
ASskibum wrote about: ...software that the company itself cannot support...

As long as the community-developed software uses a standard open-source license, the company can at any time fork the software and support the fork themselves.  If it's a copyleft license like GPL, the company will need to release the improved source code with binaries.  If it's a permissive license, they don't ever have to release source code again.  (At least that's my understanding, IANAL).

The community has done the hard work of exploring what the software should do and figuring out what tricks are needed to get around the quirks of the chip, so those high-risk, high-cost (in terms of programmer time) factors are taken care of.

A great way to bring the software in house is to hire the key community developers, which gets the company immediate expertise and demonstrates that yes, programmers can make real money writing free software.  Plus, if the key developers wrote all the code they can relicense the software to the company on a proprietary basis.

betajet
User Rank
CEO
Business Area One
betajet   4/20/2014 9:46:10 AM
NO RATINGS
Here's another factor.  In many large companies, there is Business Area One (IBM terminology), which is the largest money-making part of the company.  For IBM, this used to be mainframes, for Intel it's the x86 line.  Typically, the management of Business Area One calls the shots.  After all, if BA1 fails, the whole company goes under.

In some companies, if you're not in BA1 you're a second-class citizen.  If you're a chip-maker, the silicon guys are BA1.  So software and making evaluation and development boards could easily end up having second-class status and the company will have trouble hiring and retaining good people for those jobs.  In that case, outside software and eval board developers could end up producing far better products than the company itself.  If a chip has exciting capabilities, people in the developer community will get excited and create wonderful software and boards, provided that the chip-maker publishes adequate documentation.  "Of course, the whole point [...] is lost, if you keep it a secretWhy didn't you tell the world, eh?" [Dr. Strangelove (1964)]

rick merritt
User Rank
Author
Re: money for nothing and the chips for free?
rick merritt   4/20/2014 9:54:57 PM
NO RATINGS
@AZskibum: I agree. I see the maker crowd as an extra, a freebie and a Hail Mary pass to those who are in trouble.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: money for nothing and the chips for free?
junko.yoshida   4/21/2014 1:00:34 PM
NO RATINGS
@AZskibum, no, i don't think that a chip company would rely "solely" on firmware, drivers, etc. developed by the open source community...but it would help, I imagine, the problem of having to handhold so many potential customers by fielding all the questions.

As somone said, "Friends help friends for free" is what chip companies are dreaming as the purpose of their so-called "community," is it not?

AZskibum
User Rank
CEO
Re: money for nothing and the chips for free?
AZskibum   4/23/2014 10:55:46 AM
NO RATINGS
My personal opinion is that they view the "community" more from a Marketing perspective -- a potential source of extending functionality or enabling new applications. Some of that activity will have commercial value, but much of it -- maybe most of it -- will not. That is a far cry from the notion that the community will do a bunch of work for free, thus saving the company the expense of hiring developers to do the work internally.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: money for nothing and the chips for free?
junko.yoshida   4/23/2014 11:05:52 AM
NO RATINGS
@AZskibum, I am glad you are making a clear distinction here. That's very helpful. So the friends help friends free" model might be happening in an open-source community, but so-called "community" organized by a chip vendor is more or less a marketing front. You need real professionals to help friends...eh...customers. 

TonyTib
User Rank
CEO
Re: money for nothing and the chips for free?
TonyTib   4/23/2014 12:10:57 PM
NO RATINGS
I do think in general that chip maker dev boards do not develop a real community; after all, the biggest ecosystems aren't (Arduino, Beagle, etc).

However, sometimes it does happen, with the MSP430 LaunchPad being the best example (I'm sure TI's inintial <$5 pricing helped). 

mbed is an intesting case; from a quick glance at Wikipedia, it looks like was started by two engineers on their own time, but it currently has a lot of chip maker support with dedicated developers to do the core development.

BTW, Squirrel was developed by Alberto Demichelis; it is also used by a number of games.

C VanDorne
User Rank
CEO
Re: money for nothing and the chips for free?
C VanDorne   4/21/2014 1:43:35 PM
NO RATINGS
This makes perfect sense.  Business folk have never been comfortable with their dependence on the technical types around them.  Think about it, we speak a different language but we can understand theirs better than they can understand ours; we are happily capable of creating the stuff that they sell - they are not; we're comparitively well paid right out of college; and finally, sans fibing, we're probably just as good at golf.  I don't even think they like taking elevator rides with us.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
tough business
junko.yoshida   4/18/2014 3:48:18 PM
NO RATINGS
I just got a response back from Adapteva's CEO via twitter.

When I asked him if I am wrong being such a skeptic, he tweeted back:

@junkoyoshida You are right to be a skeptic! The chip business is brutal...need to to spend wisely & sell lots of chips to survive.

betajet
User Rank
CEO
Documentation, documentation, documentation
betajet   4/18/2014 5:14:19 PM
NO RATINGS
JMO/YMMV

IMO the key to success in selling lots of chips to lots of customers is excellent documentation.  Some companies have the philosophy that "documentation is expensive" and write terrible, insufficient documentation, so even if the technology is excellent underneath you'll need so much tech support to use it that the vendor can only support a few large customers.  Meanwhile, your competitor can put excellent documentation out on the Internet, for free, and as if by magic the they will sell oodles of chips -- a few at a time to each customer, at least initially -- but those individual chips add up.  JMO/YMMV

As someone who loves to work and play with technology, my chief frustration is insufficient documentation so I am unable to do what I want with the chips.  There are far more parts out there than I or any engineer can possibly evaluate, so if I start running into roadblocks it's often much easier to switch to a different part than to try to overcome the roadblocks.  If there's sufficient open documentation, I can figure out what's going on myself and share that knowledge with others at the appropriate forum.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Documentation, documentation, documentation
junko.yoshida   4/18/2014 6:00:57 PM
NO RATINGS
@betajet, I think you are right on the money!

Indeed. 

When I talked to a Marvell engineer at EE Live! last month, I asked him what his company is planning to do between now (they were about to close the Indiegogo thing) and September (when they actually start shipping Kinoma Create).

His answer was:

"we hope to ensure enough documentation, sample projects, and example applications for Kinoma Create users to dive into."


Based on your comment, apparently, that's exactly what chip vendors must do. 

tb100
User Rank
CEO
Re: Documentation, documentation, documentation
tb100   4/21/2014 2:26:08 PM
NO RATINGS
I see two sides to this.

First, more than once I've seen a big project at a large company start with some engineer, who tinkers with microcontrollers at home, say "I think I can solve this problem with a microcontroller." 

In these instances, companies that cater to the maker community get the win, because engineers are not going to tinker at home with products that are hard to buy or get documentation for.

On the other hand, I've seen cases where companies only care about the big win. An example would be a win in an Apple or Samsung phone. They make all their money on this win, so the smaller potential wins and the makers are little supported if at all. In fact, these big wins are so competitive that there is absolute secrecy. If you aren't Apple or Samsung, or maybe one or two other companies, they are not even going to admit the chip exists, much less give you any documentation.

It is interesting that you mentioned Marvell, because I've seen cases of this where Marvell and Broadcom seemed to be competing for the big win, and so coming from a small company, I had a lot of trouble getting any documentation at all out of the companies.

So I think we'll continue to see companies using both approaches, depending on which customer they are targeting.

_hm
User Rank
CEO
Nothing comes from nothing nothing ever could
_hm   4/18/2014 6:29:53 PM
NO RATINGS
Nothing comes from nothing. This love may look blossoming, but it is an elusion. For professional product designed to the specification of customer, one need to put so much of design effort.

We do use similar concept and situation. But that is only for proof of concept stage. That is only 10% of design work. We need to improvise and fine tune design - that is another 90% work. 

alex_m1
User Rank
CEO
Maybe
alex_m1   4/18/2014 7:47:24 PM
NO RATINGS
I wonder if today, instead of making all the money in 1M units/year chips ,some ic companies make a larger part of their money in 50-100kunits/year sales, since more things are sold at that levels and at those levels companies care more about time to market and less about every cent. If this is true and growing,it's another reason for the maker strategy to make sense.

Also, since the iphone,a higher level of product design is required, which calls for using experienced product designers(not just makers), their tools(arduino, javascript and tools  they learn at the weekend) and many prototypes . An such tools might even make sense in production as a way to rapidly respond to a changing market, with relatively small cost increase.

 

Matthew Quint
User Rank
Freelancer
Look towards the future
Matthew Quint   4/18/2014 7:47:50 PM
NO RATINGS
Long before the  Maker movement became popular, I was a PR manager at Signetics. Many engineers and tech editors happily recounted stories of receiving free 555 timer samples from the company for use in school projects or garage experiments.  These giveaways helped make the 555 one of most popular devices of all time.

Even though, Signetics was not an epic success like Intel, it did help educate generations of engineers and find millions of homes for the venerable timer.  The moral of the 555 story is that looking at the immediate bottom line is not the only way to evaluate the love fest between makers and chipsters.

 

 

 

Sheetal.Pandey
User Rank
Manager
Re: Look towards the future
Sheetal.Pandey   4/19/2014 9:17:09 AM
NO RATINGS
Yes it is quite practical to have chips and evaluation board's cost below $100 so that engineers can buy it themselves instead of waiting for long process in corporates to get the funds approved. Have seen the frustration of engineers due to delay in funds approval.

cander111
User Rank
Rookie
Off the Island
cander111   4/21/2014 11:53:28 AM
NO RATINGS
Good article. I think there is another angle here.

Back in the 70s, the standard success story was 'management didn't want to take risks on eating their current business, so we struck out on our own with an idea". Not a problem, since HP, DEC, and IBM ruled and the pesky startup types were just a pain in the management's butt anyway. No Prez will loose his job.

In the past few years, the opposite situation has come up. When Intel turned down Apple's request for a processor for iPhone/iPad, the storm cost people their jobs and the company a good chunk of their capitalization. Every BoD now hammers Exec staff on how hip they are to new types of customers. No chip company Prez will survive without a 'maker' story to tell the BOD. "Yes, we are building tools for the guys in dirty Hoodies who hack IoT stuff!" No one on the BoD is asking about ROI questions about the unwashed semi-masses yet. 

It is easy to put a small team in place, give some love to the open source community, and issue a bunch of Press Releases. Not so it you have to go to the BoD and explain why you missed a market. 

Ask former Intel execs.....

me3
User Rank
Rookie
But this is the only bright spot
me3   4/21/2014 1:09:42 PM
NO RATINGS
The goal for small startups should not be to "help chip guys" but to disrupt them. Modern chip food chain is ill suited for innovation. This movement has the potential to kick the door open.

They must do it quickly before the big guys change the patent laws here and weld the door shut for good. Do it while Uncle Sam is still on your side.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: But this is the only bright spot
junko.yoshida   4/21/2014 2:11:43 PM
NO RATINGS
@me3, absolutely, you are correct. The goal of small startups should not be "help chip guys."

But then, the question comes... what else chip guys should be doing to help small startups beyond igiving away their $100 reference designs? 

lroee
User Rank
Rookie
Re: Documentation, documentation, documentation
lroee   4/21/2014 6:54:39 PM
NO RATINGS
Well in a lot of cases the open design cannot be extended to an actual product because of the quantity requirements of the core chip.

Somehow the core chip made it into an interesting open source design but the mfg is not interested in supporting small customers. Of course you may not find this out until late in the game.

sujata.neidig
User Rank
Rookie
RE: Makers and chip guys
sujata.neidig   4/21/2014 11:54:13 PM
NO RATINGS
Junko, you have very valid points regarding your skepticism on the trend with makers and chip vendors! However, I think that the wearables market is different from the general IoT market because it is still a young and emerging market with high growth potential. No one really knows what the next big killer app is going to be. Innovation is critical to success in this market and innovation happens to be a key output of the maker market/community. WaRP has been developed by several companies with the intent of providing the building blocks put together in a solution that address the challenges and needs for wearables so that developers can focus on the application - the innovation.

The other intent of WaRP that's different from other DIY boards is that it's meant to be a platform that can be easily productized which addresses the pressure wearable device manufacturers face in time-to-market.

Makers aren't just the engineers who create gadgets as a hobby, they are also the engineers who create real products at start-ups, design houses and OEM companies. In the end, you're still right - the trend with chip vendors and makers is new and unproven but must be explored. Thanks for a great article! 

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
RE: Makers and chip guys
junko.yoshida   4/22/2014 8:52:26 AM
NO RATINGS
@sujata.neidig, thanks for sharing your comments.

I, for one, as a reporter who covered the news when Freescale announced WaRP earlier this year, have a great hope that it will succeed.

I do understand that such an undefined, and then, emerging market as wearable devices needs innovation and support that would help push that innovation.

In the end, it looks like this is going to be the race of who makes it easier -- in terms of building blocks, documentaion, development environment and support on the ground, rather than who has the fastest chip at the lowest power.

We shall see who will get the mindshare of the makers -- including weekend and daytime professional engineers!

jkridner
User Rank
Blogger
Adding value to processors
jkridner   5/5/2014 7:52:53 PM
NO RATINGS
@junko.yoshida,

Nice discussion. You hosted a panel discussion at CES back in 2008 where I tried to voice this coming trend. The bottom line for chip makers is that it isn't enough to have the cheapest, fastest and lowest-power part---there also has to be an ecosystem that helps enable the shortest time to market and lowest risk. Attracting a community doesn't just mean that hobbyists are going to contribute software, but also that people build confidence in the platform and third parties have an audience to demonstrate their solutions on that platform. 



Flash Poll
Top Comments of the Week
Like Us on Facebook
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Life
Frankenstein's Fix, Teardowns, Sideshows, Design Contests, Reader Content & More
Max Maxfield

Vetinari Clock: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions …
Max Maxfield
26 comments
Things are bouncing merrily along with regard to my uber-cool Vetinari Clock project. The wooden cabinet is being handcrafted by my chum Bob (a master carpenter) using an amazing ...

Jolt Judges and Andrew Binstock

Jolt Awards: The Best Books
Jolt Judges and Andrew Binstock
1 Comment
As we do every year, Dr. Dobb's recognizes the best books of the last 12 months via the Jolt Awards -- our cycle of product awards given out every two months in each of six categories. No ...

Engineering Investigations

Air Conditioner Falls From Window, Still Works
Engineering Investigations
2 comments
It's autumn in New England. The leaves are turning to red, orange, and gold, my roses are in their second bloom, and it's time to remove the air conditioner from the window. On September ...

David Blaza

The Other Tesla
David Blaza
5 comments
I find myself going to Kickstarter and Indiegogo on a regular basis these days because they have become real innovation marketplaces. As far as I'm concerned, this is where a lot of cool ...