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Content posted in June 2011
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Photo gallery: Inside TI's RFAB
Semi Conscious  
6/30/2011   16 comments
Representatives from Texas Instruments last week invited a few members of the media to Richardson, Texas, for a tour of RFAB—the semiconductor industry's first 300-mm analog fab and first LEED certified fab.
Photo gallery: Paris Air Show 2011
6/29/2011   1 comment
Taking place from June 20 to 26, 2011, at Le Bourget airport, near Paris, the Paris Air Show showcased some of the best flying machines conceived, built and operated in recent times.
The newbie rules! (in Engineering Investigations, at least)
Design Contests & Competitions  
6/29/2011   5 comments
Your votes have been counted and we have a landslide winner! Our winner may be a newbie, but the runners-up have experience galore...
Arcade-style gaming with your iPad!
6/28/2011   7 comments
An old chum just sent me an email. The subject line was “iPad Space Invaders Console”; the body of the message contained a link and the text “Must get one!”
The interface roadblock
6/28/2011   1 comment
Interface – verb: Interact with (another system, person, organization, etc); noun: A point where two systems, subjects, organizations, etc., meet and interact.
Open communications for the smart grid
6/28/2011   3 comments
Here, Tony Paine, CEO of Kepware Technologies, explains that open connectivity is a critical element for a reliable smart grid and automated meter applications for the natural gas, water, and electric utilities.
Cooperation needed for HD video delivery over packet networks
6/28/2011   Post a comment
As multi-gigabit HD traffic of the future moves to universal packet transport, video OEM system design engineers and mixing editors in the media studios need to come to a common understanding of how this kind of multimedia-heavy packet traffic can be monitored and controlled.
GPS an unreasonable search?
6/28/2011   23 comments
Today the AP reported that the US Supreme Court will take up the case to decide whether the use of GPS devices violates the fourth amendment to the Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches.
Does EDA matter anymore?
6/27/2011   1 comment
EDA is still critical to chip design, but it's not keeping pace with increasing IC design complexity.
TI shows some very serious intent in analog-focused arenas
6/27/2011   7 comments
Texas Instruments pushes ahead in diverse market areas and technologies, aided by investments in process, product, and people, as it strives to expand its market position and lead
Running around in ever-decreasing circles…
6/23/2011   4 comments
I tell you, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do all of the fun things that need to be done – so now I’m running around in ever-decreasing circles shouting “Don’t panic! Don’t Panic!”
Hail the bar code, despite its age--and alternatives
6/23/2011   10 comments
This relatively ancient tag still has lots of life, and has spurred many sensing developments
Photo gallery: Engineering's messiest desks
Engineering Pop Culture!  
6/22/2011   92 comments
Check out user-submitted photos of some astonishingly messy engineering work stations. It's clearly a sign of genius.
A electronics-shopping challenge for you
Engineering Pop Culture!  
6/22/2011   29 comments
You walk into Fry's or Best Buy and the opportunity of a lifetime awaits. How do you respond?
Rapid prototyping with TI Stellaris: Easy
6/22/2011   11 comments
Think you've seen some awesome bachelor-party pranks? They're nothing compared to this...
I’m pining for the Norwegian fjords
6/22/2011   6 comments
How exciting – I’ve just been asked to give the keynote presentation at next year’s annual FPGA-Forum, which is to be held in Trondheim, Norway.
Audiophoolery, father of computer music & how to listen
Audio DesignLine Blog  
6/22/2011   1 comment
The latest audio-related items that recently caught my eye include free listener training software, a look back at the life and work of a computer music pioneer, and more "audiophoolery" - this time in a column at Slate.
Next-gen TVs and computer displays with six primary colors
6/21/2011   6 comments
Traditional TV and computer displays are based on three primary colors (using RGB pixels). But I recently ran across a couple of papers describing prototype displays that are based on six primary colors.
Cloud Computing for EDA
6/21/2011   Post a comment
Hype aside, cloud computing could shatter compute-resource limitations on EDA tools.
MTT-S IMS2011 is complete—but the work continues
RF & Microwave Designline Blog  
6/21/2011   Post a comment
One of the key highlights: Our engineers and scientists had more than 1,000 interactions with attendees from industry and academia.
Drowning in chargers
RF & Microwave Designline Blog  
6/21/2011   36 comments
I'm begging my engineering friends out there: can you PLEASE fix this.
Sensors: More than MEMS
6/21/2011   2 comments
The fact that I spend too much time focusing on consumer electronics was brought home to me vividly by a visit to the recent Sensors Expo 2011 in Chicago. Far from the niche show that I expected, it was swamped by over 4,000 attendees checking out 140 exhibiting companies, making navigating the aisles a good application for GPS, LIDAR, a 3-axis accelerometer and a collision-avoidance system.
How messy is your desk?
Engineering Pop Culture!  
6/21/2011   36 comments
Engineers' desks can alternate between spartan and fodder for a hazmat team. What's yours look like?
Maybe the CEO job is overrated
Semi Conscious  
6/20/2011   8 comments
AMD continues to roll along, even as the search for the company's new CEO continues more than five months after Dirk Meyer was forced to resign.
Rumors abound with regard to Google’s Android@Home
6/20/2011   19 comments
How exciting – I’ve discovered which secret wireless protocol was used in Google’s recent Android@Home demonstration…
Viewpoint: EDA vendors must focus on making silicon profitable for their customers
6/20/2011   Post a comment
EDA vendors need to concentrate on providing differentiated solutions and technologies that address all of the main business issues facing their customers.
England raises security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved"
6/20/2011   12 comments
I friend in England just sent me a rather funny email that describes the various terrorist threat levels used by different countries…
I feel like a fool…
6/17/2011   6 comments
Here’s an old joke that usually gets a laugh. When someone says “I feel like a fool,” you should immediately reply, “So do I, but where are we going to find one at this time of the day?”
Applied's CMP announcement offers insights into 20-nm timing variations
6/17/2011   Post a comment
Applied Materials' announcement of a new application for its Reflexion GT CMP system opens a window on the pitched battle that process and equipment engineers are fighting against process variations as the industry lumbers toward the 20-nm node.
If you can't drive a Chevy Volt, drive a plug-in Prius
6/17/2011   38 comments
The Prius Plug-In Hybrid is the car I'm driving for a week. Give me any questions or comments you may have.
OMG – I just saw the most amazing video!
6/17/2011   4 comments
My erstwhile next door neighbor Dave just emailed me with a link to the most AMAZING video on YouTube – this one literally had me saying “Wow!”
Power Tip 36: Higher-voltage LEDs improve light bulb efficiency
Power Tips  
6/17/2011   11 comments
Understand why higher voltage is a better choice, and how to achieve it.
Moore's Law, the bifurcation of the semiconductor industry and 3-D integration
6/16/2011   9 comments
With all the gloom and doom facing the semiconductor industry and especially with the "end of Moore's Law" coming up soon as many experts predict, let's look at several facts relating to the unbelievable ride the industry has had for the last 40 years.
ASICs versus SoCs – is there a difference?
6/16/2011   7 comments
Now, before you say “The boy’s an idiot, of course there’s a difference,” perhaps you should hear me out and then tell me what you think…
Happy Father's Day
Engineering Pop Culture!  
6/16/2011   13 comments
Father's Day is Sunday. How did yours influence you, especially as it pertains to your career choice?
Why AMD is opening up Fusion...
6/16/2011   6 comments
The transition to many-core processing is going be accompanied by a step up in abstraction. As CPU and GPU become the new chip building blocks AMD is trying to take the higher ground with is Fusion System Architecture.
Reflections on the cellular industry's evolution
Engineering Pop Culture!  
6/15/2011   12 comments
A look back at a 20-year-old Motorola announcement suggests we're lousy prognosticators
The inventor of the bagpipes…
6/15/2011   7 comments
I had a rather interesting time yesterday evening, because I was invited to give a presentation on the use of social media to a group of inventors in Birmingham, Alabama.
A prediction ahead of its time?
6/15/2011   3 comments
Weeks before DAC this year, I made the bold prediction that this would be the year in which the FPGA-based prototyping woke up from its sleepy position.
Go 'back to the basics' to solve switching and measurement problems
Test & Measurement Designline Blogs  
6/15/2011   1 comment
For many engineers, solving a measurement problem is a matter of going back to the basics of switching. Here are some common switching-related error sources to consider when troubleshooting measurement problems.
ESC Silicon Valley Virtual Event
6/15/2011   Post a comment
Sad to relate, I didn’t manage to attend ESC Silicon Valley this year (it was on May 2–5), but I just heard that UBM Electronics is offering a virtual version of this event…
Lawyers & engineers: too many, too few, just right?
Engineering Pop Culture!  
6/15/2011   36 comments
Is having lawyers who are also engineers a good thing, or does it just amplify the problem?
Should Google be in 'white-space' radio?
6/15/2011   4 comments
Five companies founded the Bluetooth special interest group. Peter Clarke asks who would be the modern-day equivalents for a SIG to support the roll out of the white-space radio Weightless standard.
Watch the Woz on ESC Virtual Conference
Social Mania  
6/14/2011   Post a comment
Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder, highlights the ESC Silicon Valley Virtual Event June 16.
What are the best iPad apps?
6/13/2011   9 comments
I finally broke down and purchased an iPad 2. Now I'm pondering which apps I need to download. Any suggestions?
Impressions of IMS2011
RF & Microwave Designline Blog  
6/11/2011   1 comment
Basestations, Backhaul, and Radar
Terahertz Thursday: The bleeding edge of research opens up new opportunities
RF & Microwave Designline Blog  
6/11/2011   9 comments
Today’s focus at IMS2011 is trends in millimeter wave technology, which is a hot topic this week. To easily understand the trends, it’s best to look at the different frequency bands being measured.
Video: I’m so happy with my (now working) Geiger counter
6/10/2011   3 comments
My (now working) Geiger counter is sitting on my desk happily clicking away to itself and I wanted to bring you up to date with the current state of play…
Nonlinear Wednesday is sure to resonate with all involved
RF & Microwave Designline Blog  
6/10/2011   Post a comment
From IMS 2011: It promises to be a large-signal, nonlinear type of day.
My head is in the clouds, but will my feet stay on the ground?
Engineering Pop Culture!  
6/10/2011   28 comments
The "cloud" is hot, but is it the answer to our problems?
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Max Maxfield
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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