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Content posted in January 2011
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It's cold. It's dark. And the TDR you need is missing.
Engineering Investigations  
1/14/2011   21 comments
A home-made time domain reflectometer saves the day for engineers working half-way between the Arctic Circle and the North Pole
Space Log: Giffords' astro husband may still fly
1/13/2011   1 comment
Astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, has not ruled out commanding a shuttle flight scheduled for launch in April.
The mysterious case of the Chicago blackouts
Engineering Investigations  
1/13/2011   7 comments
Engineers are baffled by a sub-transmission line for an electric company losing power at dinner time
Vote now for January cartoon caption contest finalists!
Design Contests & Competitions  
1/13/2011   117 comments
Vote for the best of five finalists in our January cartoon caption contest
Chip market set for modest growth in 2011
1/13/2011   2 comments
For now Peter Clarke is seeing 2011 as a "normal" year for the semiconductor industry in which growth is set to be in the 2 to 6 percent range.
Recapping the "Entrepreneurial Engineer" posts from 2010
The Entrepreneurial Engineer  
1/12/2011   Post a comment
A recap of Sean Murphy's "Entrepreneurial Engineer" posts from 2010.
Seven growth opportunities for the chip industry during market upturn
1/12/2011   Post a comment
Many semiconductor companies continue to struggle with a wide range of issues including excessively narrow focus on engineering chips rather than deeply understanding end markets now and going forward, inefficient global operations, and insufficient innovation. To overcome these hurdles, capitalize on the market upturn and build momentum and growth, what should industry leaders do now?
Opportunity knocks; management fails to answer
Engineering Pop Culture!  
1/12/2011   25 comments
How CDDI and 100BaseT got started by a bored engineer
The Evolution of Smart Switching: The Impact of On-Board Test Script Processor Architecture
1/12/2011   Post a comment
Fortunately for electronic components manufacturers, who face ongoing pressure to reduce cost of test by boosting throughput, some switch hardware vendors continue to invest in the development of smart switching technology using more sophisticated on-board testing intelligence.
What color is your problem?
1/12/2011   5 comments
Engineers solve problems, certainly, but all problems are not created or solved equally
Book Review: At Home by Bill Bryson
Engineer’s Bookshelf  
1/11/2011   12 comments
During the recent holiday I read Bill Bryson’s latest tome – At Home – and, as usual, he far exceeded my expectations. As Bill says: “Houses aren’t refuges from history. They are where history ends up.”
From the Edge: Don't attend virtual conferences? Here's what you're missing
1/11/2011   2 comments
I thought that virtual conferences were still a thing of the future. I was wrong.
FPGA Technology at the pointy end of the spear
1/11/2011   14 comments
To feed the need for speed by telecommunications applications, the signal integrity performance of the interconnects has had to constantly improve. But there is a sea change occurring in the FPGA world that is changing this trend.
The most important R&D performance metrics
1/11/2011   4 comments
If you want to improve your R&D capability, focus on these three metrics: engineering utilization, productivity and throughput.
NXP wants to give you money
1/10/2011   15 comments
Today, the company has kicked off its contest and is looking for RF engineers and students to submit creative application ideas for RF power devices.
Three puzzles to ponder
1/10/2011   39 comments
I’ve been thinking of a few puzzles that I’d like to share. Let’s start with a bit of an “old chestnut” just to get our brains oiled up and ready for action…
The ESL dilemma
1/10/2011   1 comment
When ESL first started to emerge I knew it would apply here as well, but was unsure about the outcome. Would Mentor, Synopsys, and Cadence fall into insignificance?
From the Edge: Access literary treasures
1/10/2011   Post a comment
I love books - the escape into other worlds, delving into minute details on a myriad of subjects and even the smell of ink and binding glue… I can't help be impressed by the British Library's news of a Smartphone app that allows access to world literary treasures via mobile devices and iPad.
Memory in 2011
1/10/2011   1 comment
What will be the influence of the tablet PC market on memory? How will memory technology need to evolve to support a growing and changing market? Will the gulf between the needs for consumer/portable (tablet) PCs and servers get even wider?
The myth of parental controls
1/8/2011   31 comments
Can you protect your kids from the perils of the internet with software alone?
Arizona State University to use adaptive learning technology
1/7/2011   4 comments
Knewton’s Adaptive Learning Platform will be used to break down educational barriers and better prepare students for academic success
Video: Check out this Aiptek 3D digital camcorder
1/7/2011   1 comment
Yesterday I posted an article / product review combo that talked about what is coming down the pike with regard to 3D televisions that don’t require special glasses. Well take a look at this 3D digital camera…
This is aaahhh, different...
1/7/2011   7 comments
Sometimes when I think the world can’t get any stranger... it does. I just hears that Sega have started installing ‘Toylet’ games in mens’ urinals in Japan.
Windows on ARM: It's a whole new ballgame
1/7/2011   14 comments
Mark January 5, 2011 as the date of the big PC earthquake in computing with social and industrial implications that will play out for the next decade.
Noise, noise everywhere in an early ultrasound scanner
Engineering Investigations  
1/7/2011   22 comments
A junior engineer investigates noise problems with a cardiac imager and learns the value of writing everything down and not forgetting that the smallest fix may save a lot of work
What NOT to do on a job interview
Engineering Pop Culture!  
1/7/2011   30 comments
Engineer encounters logistical problems while pursuing a job opportunity on another continent
Engineers retaliate with a PDP-11 OS hack
1/7/2011   24 comments
Engineers get back at a co-worker with what is probably one of the first “shells” used on an operating system--that had a very unique purpose
Troubleshooting engineer gets the jitters
Engineering Investigations  
1/7/2011   4 comments
When his card fails Wander Transfer, an engineer wonders how the unit is going to meet spec when the stimulus exceeds spec
One sad prediction for 2011
1/7/2011   4 comments
As a Canadian, it's unpatriotic for me to say this, but I believe one unsuccessful product for 2011 will be RIM's PlayBook tablet.
The dilemma of the dimming LCDs
Engineering Investigations  
1/7/2011   13 comments
Investigating a dimming LCD, an engineer discovers the best diagnostic tool is the one that does the job
The day Fortran code shut down a mill--or did it?
Engineering Investigations  
1/6/2011   11 comments
A process engineer recounts a story involving Fortran code
Unfair advantage or open airwaves?
RF & Microwave Designline Blog  
1/6/2011   Post a comment
Ofcom (the UK regulator/authority for the UK communications industry) has cut loose the use of 2G spectrum for 3G mobile broadband.
December Cartoon Contest: Winning caption
Engineering Pop Culture!  
1/6/2011   10 comments
Announcing the winner of our cartoon caption contest.
EE vs. MD
1/6/2011   5 comments
I read a surprising blog recently, elsewhere on the Internet, in which the writer contended that you are better off becoming an engineer than a physician, because (supposedly) the hours are shorter, the school debt is lower.
It’s unanimous: Debug biggest verification problem
1/6/2011   3 comments
Sean Safarpour, CTO of Vennsa Technologies, moderated a panel on debug at last month's MTV 2010 workshop. The first question posed was: “Is debug the biggest problem in verification today?” Anticipating controversy, the audience braced itself for a back-and-forth debate from the panelist, only to find that the ruling of the panel was unanimous. Debug is the largest time and resource drain in the verification process today.
Those AC/DC modules: my, how you have shrunk!
1/4/2011   9 comments
Going from linear to switcher designs has made a huge difference in size, but what about robustness?
Video: My Blackberry Is Not Working!
1/4/2011   3 comments
This is classic old-fashioned, clean-fun, play-on-words humor that makes me grin from ear to ear.
Here’s a chance to win a dream home!
1/3/2011   8 comments
I was watching one of those “house hunter” programs on the Home and Garden (HGTV) channel last night when I saw an advert to win the most amazing Dream Home.
Sometimes social networks (in vias) are not a good thing
1/3/2011   3 comments
When measuring signal noise, it's important to be selective and data mine the most important terms.
Never slap a man who's chewing tobacco!
1/3/2011   6 comments
Some say that Will Rogers – who died in a 1935 plane crash with his best friend, Wylie Post – was one of the greatest sages America has ever known...
Don’t talk to me about paraprosdokian sentences!
1/3/2011   7 comments
I just now heard the term “Paraprosdokian Sentence,” which – I discover – refers to a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way...
CES for medical
1/3/2011   1 comment
CES is becoming a place to find solutions for medical applications.
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Just a few minutes ago as I pen these words, I posted this blog about this month's Cartoon Punchline Competition over on