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Content posted in August 2010
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Engineers chase hard disk errors of the most elusive kind
Engineering Investigations  
8/31/2010   9 comments
"NO TROUBLE FOUND" errors spell trouble for design engineers
Avnet and Actel offer great SmartFusion mixed-signal FPGA workshops
8/31/2010   6 comments
Avnet Memec and Actel are hosting a series of one-day workshop that provide hands-on experience working with Actel's SmartFusion mixed-signal FPGAs and design tools.
FPGA-to-ASIC conversion with zero NRE
8/31/2010   10 comments
KaiSemi performs automated FPGA-to-ASIC conversion with Zero NRE, functional guarantee, and a very short cycle time; this is a full turnkey solution that is seamless to the customer.
Power Management: Designing from a System-level Perspective
8/30/2010   2 comments
It's no longer enough to look at power subsystem design separate from system-wide implications
Let's not adopt this bad habit of journalism
8/30/2010   21 comments
Good engineering combines data- and fact-driven analysis with experience, hunches, and a sense of what's going on.
Light string has contradictory instructions
8/27/2010   19 comments
What to do when a product's safety labeling contradicts the design itself
EE Times August 2010 Caption Contest: Vote for your favorite!
8/27/2010   Post a comment
Though it was difficult, our esteemed judges have selected the five finalists in our August cartoon caption contest
The future of SoC verification: Is it enterprise computing?
8/26/2010   4 comments
The next generation of verification tools may be less about simulation or formal analysis, and more about managing and merging data sets, scheduling resources and mining data sets. If that list sounds familiar, it could be because what we are really seeing is the gradual convergence of verification with enterprise computing.
Apple should build a fab
8/26/2010   83 comments
With Apple and its key foundry partner, Samsung Electronics, on a collision course in several end-user markets, Apple should consider building its own fab to make the A4 chip for its iPad and iPad.
False detection plagues IR LED/Detector pairs
Engineering Investigations  
8/26/2010   10 comments
While troubleshooting an optical positioning system, an engineer learns the importance of seeing
The device designer: Tim Moffat
8/26/2010   Post a comment
Over the next few weeks I will be talking about how and why we built an Altitude Logger (with GPS assist) using PIC® microcontrollers with eXtreme Low Power (XLP) technology.
Simplifying control in the RF front end
8/26/2010   3 comments
Yesterday, the MIPI Alliance announced its new interface specification for RF front-end (RFFE) control. I contacted the MIPI Alliance, and Jori Arrakoski, Senior Architect at Nokia was kind enough to answer my questions.
Student Entrepreneur: Why is harvest not the focus?
8/26/2010   14 comments
PhD student Simon Barker explains why he is working on launching a company that does not operate in the domain of his study, energy harvesting.
Lighting and System Design: Coming soon to a computer near you
8/26/2010   2 comments
To help engineers catch up with the latest developments in lighting technologies and applications, Digi-Key and EE Times are presenting a virtual conference titled "Lighting and System Design" on Aug. 26.
Software is from Mars, hardware is from Pluto
Engineering Pop Culture!  
8/25/2010   24 comments
Engineers learn the hard way why it’s critical to communicate when a major requirement gets missed
Out of billions, one bit in error
Engineering Investigations  
8/25/2010   24 comments
When management insists on 100% error-free performance, engineers go almost mad searching for why a telco interface box failed its Acceptance test
Flickering bulbs clue to signal integrity problem
Engineering Investigations  
8/25/2010   4 comments
An engineer investigating a flaky control system exploits all the available resources
Why is NASA audio so bad?
Audio DesignLine Blog  
8/25/2010   51 comments
Posters at an audio forum offer up a variety of reasons (some serious and some not-so serious) for the low audio quality of NASA space mission communications.
How strong are your IP assets?
8/25/2010   10 comments
There is no question that a portfolio of patents can provide tremendous value to a company. In fact, many will agree that trying to compete in a high technology industry without adequate patent protection is insane if not merely futile.
SpaceX and the new space race
8/24/2010   5 comments
SpaceX and other commercial vendors deserve a shot at ferrying astronauts and supplies into orbit.
Welcome to the extreme power, extreme location blog!
8/24/2010   13 comments
Intrepid design engineers plan a mountaineering trip on which they'll test a specially-designed MCU device optimized for low power and extreme environments.
Mandating an FM radio in every cell phone: what are they thinking, and why?
8/24/2010   41 comments
Does the proposal to force handsets to include FM radios make any sense, or is it a futile stab at "back to the future"?
Mentor moves tools toward 16-nanometer
8/23/2010   6 comments
Foundries and EDA vendors don't have time to wait for resolution to multiple challenges and uncertainties around sub-20-nm design, according to Mentor Graphics' Joseph Sawicki (shown).
Extreme engineering team bios
8/23/2010   Post a comment
The extended bios of our team of bloggers for the extreme engineering blog
China bar Cisco, Motorola and HP
8/23/2010   47 comments
Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola and other major U.S. high tech companies should be barred from doing business in China based on the logic of eight U.S. Senators calling for an investigation of Huawei Technologies.
Student Entrepreneur launches an iPad business
8/20/2010   10 comments
Simon Barker, resident student entrepreneur, has launched a business based on the Apple iPad tablet computer
Getting LTE device design right
8/19/2010   3 comments
Designing mobile devices for LTE is very different from previous mobile design efforts
The curious case of the open fuses
Engineering Investigations  
8/19/2010   16 comments
Fingers point all around when units start failing prematurely in the field
Engineer investigates a noisy, high gain amplifier
Engineering Investigations  
8/18/2010   9 comments
Tension rises when all the usual steps to minimize noise fail to fix the problem with an amplifier for a seismic application
Embedded processors in FPGAs amplify verification challenges
8/18/2010   2 comments
In an entry on the RocketBlog, Dave Orecchio of Gate Rocket says embedded processor cores for DSP, microcontroller and microprocessor functions are becoming increasingly common in FPGAs.
Space Log: China and space
8/17/2010   2 comments
The Pentagon's annual report on Chinese military power again highlights the "high ground" of space as the next arena for superpower competition.
NXP design contest-Building a better Bitchin' Betty
8/17/2010   14 comments
Dave Termohlen has accomplished much in his 25 years as an engineer, but he may just be hitting his stride with Bitchin' Betty.
A case for not choosing the latest components
8/17/2010   18 comments
An engineer's tale shows how quickly the leading edge can become the bleeding edge when new components are unexpectedly cancelled or never produced
Student Entrepreneur turns to Plan B
8/17/2010   7 comments
The Student Entrepreneur's idea for an iPad stand goes on the back burner as he seeks out a Plan B.
Studying failure is a great way to learn, or maybe not
8/17/2010   13 comments
It's easy to look back and see that a project was misconceived, but it can also squelch innovation
Bigwig messes with robotic system, causing problems for the programmer
Engineering Pop Culture!  
8/15/2010   10 comments
The humor factor proves problematic for the engineer responsible for a robotic delivery system
Design engineers battle system engineers on early workstation project
Engineering Investigations  
8/15/2010   6 comments
Design engineers battle systems engineering while working on an early-generation HP workstation
Hot debut in even hotter market: Oree's LED-based planar lighting
SmartEnergy Designline Blog  
8/13/2010   25 comments
LEDs are hot, really hot. So when I got a call asking if I’d spend a few minutes with a startup claiming to have the next big thing in LED lighting, I jumped on it. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Oracle's Google suit on Android
8/13/2010   12 comments
Oracle suit against Google over Java patents won't chill the enthusiasm for Android which is seeing use in everything from iPhone-like smartphones to insulin pumps.
Embedded developer battles elusive FFS corruption problems
Engineering Investigations  
8/13/2010   2 comments
Peeved customers and antsy managers dial up the pressure on engineer troubleshooting failures in the field
Things that go bump in the lab
Engineering Investigations  
8/13/2010   8 comments
Engineers investigate a mysterious thumping that coincides with a burst of data transmission bit errors
The future of electric aircraft
8/13/2010   3 comments
It can only fly for 15 minutes but it is a breakthrough all the same. Improved batteries have finally made a manned electric helicopter a reality. It follows rapidly on announcements of all electric fixed wing aircraft from Germany (PC-Aero), France (EADS), Italy (SkySpark), China (Luneec) and the USA (Sonex etc) and an historic 24 hour flight by Solar Impulse powered entirely by the sun.
Enter the EE Life August 2010 Cartoon Caption Contest
8/12/2010   138 comments
Submit the winning caption--win a signed copy of the cartoon and bask in warm glow of admiration from your peers
Interview: Paul van Besouw, Oasys Design Systems
The Entrepreneurial Engineer  
8/11/2010   3 comments
Sean Murphy sat down with Paul van Besouw, CEO of EDA startup Oasys Design Systems, to talk about the company, it's progress and the work required to be an EDA entrepreneur.
My solar-powered driveway lights are a nice, cheap, science project
8/11/2010   23 comments
Science-experiment opportunities are everywhere, if you know where to look
A serious case of component overload
Engineering Pop Culture!  
8/10/2010   26 comments
An engineer finds himself literally knee-deep in resistors, thanks to a well-intentioned, but misguided purchasing agent
Jon Rubinstein short list Apple and HP
8/9/2010   7 comments
Jon Rubenstein (shown) may be on short lists for a top slot at both Apple and Hewlett-Packard following the exits of Mark Papermaster at Apple and Mark Hurd at HP.
High-end measurement equipment - progress comes at a price
8/9/2010   1 comment
Given the small market and high development costs associated with leading-edge equipment, one must ask why not simply focus on the low to mid range market where the volumes are much larger and product development costs are more reasonable?
Reality check needed: New technology doubles solar conversion efficiency
SmartEnergy Designline Blog  
8/9/2010   18 comments
Researchers at Stanford have developed a cesium-coated gallium nitride PETE device that converts both light and heat into electrical energy, potentially doubling the efficiency of solar panels.
Book explores the increasingly vital world of small antenna theory, design
8/9/2010   5 comments
As products get smaller, the antenna is an integral part and challenge of the design and product
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