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Content posted in July 2010
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Do we still have the patience and stamina for deep-space missions?
7/31/2010   15 comments
The challenges of these amazing, incredibly distant missions has obstacles beyond the obvious technical ones
Cut down a tree with a herring?
7/30/2010   4 comments
The Ethernet community needs to expand its perspective and look at other application spaces.
Student Entrepreneur shakes to charge
7/30/2010   9 comments
PhD student Simon Barker is pleased to see his topic of interest, energy harvesting, make it in to mainstream consciousness.
Apple iPhone 4: Can't engineers just say no?
7/29/2010   16 comments
Apple’s recent troubles raise questions about who exactly is empowered to stop-ship when a product doesn’t conform to design requirements
RFID privacy concerns are overblown
7/29/2010   7 comments
Wal-Mart last week kicked its on-again, off-again RFID tagging program into higher gear. We're still standing.
Spoof: Top 10 fears of today’s engineers
7/29/2010   1 comment
It’s that time of the year again when engineers air their most secret fears in the darkest corners of the forest. This time, though, a journalist was lurking in the woods and heard the secret whispers of some engineers, including an unidentified freshly minted engineer and a mid-career engineer at an unknown company.
15 unknowns for electronics companies
7/29/2010   15 comments
Electronics sales are surging, further lifting profit margins and boosting cash piles. Still, unease continues. We identify 15 unanswered questions for vendors.
TSMC forecast indicates chip cycle nearing its peak
7/29/2010   2 comments
TSMC's Q2 financial results show that the wild swings of the last two years are over along with signs that the chip market cycle is nearing its peak.
The ripple effect
7/29/2010   8 comments
Part of the reason so many semiconductor projects miss schedule is that staffing levels are not aligned with the level of complexity that the design team needs to undertake. This is solvable problem.
Phase-change memory: A rebuttal of Micron’s article
7/28/2010   23 comments
Ron Neale writes about issues of scalability for phase-change memory technology and challenges Micron to provide more details of its progress.
I'm starting to feel sorry for and worry about Apple--not because of their iPhone RF problem
7/28/2010   15 comments
Now that Apple is a wireless connectivity company, they're getting "friends" they don't need
Intel architecture and wire-speed packet processing
7/28/2010   Post a comment
Maury Wright discusses applications for products tied to 3G or 4G wireless networks or even high-speed wired networks.
Shanghai Embedded Systems Design Contest - Part 2
7/28/2010   Post a comment
After a long and arduous process the winners of the Intel Cup Embedded System Design Contest were announced on Saturday afternoon, at Shanghai's Jaio Tong University.
Musings about Tabula and other FPGA startups
7/28/2010   6 comments
It has been a bad few weeks for FPGA startups. Tier Logic and Abound Logic (M2000) closed the doors, both apparently unable to get funding to continue. After some prodding from several high tech journalists, some bloggers, and a slew of calls from investor/wall street types, I started looking into the Tabula FPGA technology.
Space Log: Sally Ride and engineering
7/28/2010   5 comments
Astronaut Sally Ride is working to promote U.S. engineering education. Tech companies should do the same by hiring engineering graduates.
Rambus prevails over Nvidia. So what?
7/27/2010   2 comments
Rambus scored a victory over Nvidia at the International Trade Commission. But what will it mean?
“Time out” for a teaching moment on mobile-device antenna issues, especially as wireless moves to 4G smartphones
7/23/2010   1 comment
Let's step back to take a broader view of the iPhone and related situation
Why legislative mandates of engineering goals are a bad--and even dangerous--idea
7/23/2010   27 comments
I am frustrated by these progress-by-fiat actions, and what they imply about engineering effort
Show notes: Conversation Central with Brian Fuller
7/23/2010   Post a comment
Karen Bartleson and Rick Jamison interview Brian Fuller, the new product strategist for EE Times Group, about social media for engineers.
Do we have to make the reliability versus repair tradeoff?
7/22/2010   9 comments
Today's products are much more complicated and reliable than their predecessors, in many cases, but when it comes to fixing them, well. . . .that's another story
Lead times: Damned if you do, damned if you don't
7/22/2010   8 comments
Some chip makers are pulling in lead times, others are pushing them out. At least one Wall Street analyst sees both as red flags.
Optimizing your system through careful resistor choices
7/22/2010   1 comment
Careful resistor evaluation in light of improving materials science and manufacturing processes can serve to optimize a system design in terms of cost, size and performance.
SunFab's end bodes ill for future of U.S. energy tech
7/21/2010   7 comments
The exit of an influential technology company like Applied Materials from the thin-film solar market can only be seen as a serious setback for the sustainable energy industry.
The 3 reasons engineers will (eventually) love Twitter...
7/21/2010   2 comments
Eric Mantion is convinced that Twitter is an "undiscovered gold mine" for engineers and offers 6 simple steps to getting started with Twitter.
Lost in translation: Shanghai Embedded Systems Design Contest - Part 1
7/21/2010   Post a comment
Stewart Christie reviews some highlights - and some lowlights - from his trip to Shanghai Jiao Tong University to be a judge in the 2010 Intel Cup Embedded System Design Contest.
Applemania drives iPad-alikes
7/20/2010   2 comments
Apple's quarterly results announced today included a clarion call to hoards of iPad product imitators in and beyond Taipei.
Deciphering TI’s Q2 results, investor reaction
7/20/2010   7 comments
Texas Instruments is adding capacity to whittle down analog lead times and boost market share. Are investors buying it?
The scope of energy savings in LCD TVs
7/20/2010   3 comments
New trends on LCD backlighting will change the power-consumption tradeoffs
Why nuclear reactors and cold medicine don't mix
7/20/2010   19 comments
A physicist is horrified to discover a reactor running at full power
Protect your goal with post-silicon formal verification
7/20/2010   5 comments
SoC designers are learning the benefits of applying high-capacity formal verification techniques at every stage of the design. Our formal tools are powerful and versatile enough for a wide variety of tasks such as architectural exploration and RTL verification, all the way through post-silicon debug.
Mobile application platforms: A developer's perspective
7/19/2010   7 comments
A technology and product developer examines the challenges of designing mobile applications.
Space Log: U.S. goes big, Japan small on propulsion
7/19/2010   2 comments
The U.S. wants to speed up development of a new, big rocket. Japan is taking a different approach to propulsion: solar power.
Emerging trends in embedded systems and applications
7/18/2010   5 comments
The embedded systems industry was born with the invention of microcontrollers and since then it has evolved into various forms, from primarily being designed for machine control applications to various other new verticals with the convergence of communications.
Apple's iPhone issue drives mixed feelings here
7/18/2010   17 comments
The Apple "crisis" has me conflicted, and reinforces my concern about the stature of engineering
It’s Applegate, not 'antennagate'
7/17/2010   10 comments
The iPhone 4 antenna controversy was a minor problem but it highlights the need for Apple Inc. to develop a better system of managing issues related to the company’s public image than it has so far demonstrated.
Apple 'not perfect,' but 'antennagate' overblown
7/16/2010   12 comments
Apple has rightly taken some lumps for what now appears to have been an innovative but flawed iPhone 4 design, but the significance of the issue has been blown out of proportion.
Student Entrepreneur's top ten entrepreneurs part 2
7/16/2010   3 comments
Student Entrepreneur Simon Barker completes his own top-ten list of entrepreneurs
Hubris, lessons from an Apple antenna debacle
7/16/2010   17 comments
Apple Inc. is paying a hefty price in lost market value and erosion of its image for not listening to its own engineer and others from a service provider who warned the design of the iPhone 4 could hurt signal reception.
Letter to the editor: Intersil is a contender
7/15/2010   2 comments
Intersil's CEO responds to a recent article asking if his company is a an analog contender or pretender.
Semiconductor input costs vs output prices -- managing the squeeze
7/15/2010   9 comments
Increasing commodity costs and decreasing consumer prices place big pressure on profit margins. How can IC companies and EDA vendors manage the input costs/output prices squeeze?
Dispelling the myths of High-Level Synthesis
7/15/2010   5 comments
High-level synthesis (HLS) has been a hot topic for about the last 10 years, characterized as Electronic System Level (ESL) synthesis, algorithmic synthesis, and behavioral synthesis, and C synthesis by some. I just call it “simply, a better way to design hardware.”
Can we find common ground about "common" and "ground"?
7/15/2010   8 comments
These casually used words have serious implications which we ignore at our peril
Intel results exhibit signs of dysfunctional, self-mutilating market
7/14/2010   12 comments
Intel Corp. blew the market away in its second quarter but the company’s strong performance is also indicative of a dysfunctional market that has tried and again failed to control its destructive boom and burst cycles.
Blog: Turbo Boost Technology maximizes thread performance
7/14/2010   Post a comment
Maury Wright shows how design teams can use Intel Turbo Boost Technology to optimize a hardware specification for legacy single-threaded applications.
Video camera's file management system defies logic
7/14/2010   4 comments
Keeping track of files is a headache when a camera insists on renumbering them
PCBs work flawlessly and then they don’t. Sound familiar?
7/14/2010   4 comments
A circuit designer is on the case when a client’s PCBs inexplicably can’t pass a functional test after three years
Opinion: Lessons unlearned and Nissan's pigeons
7/13/2010   5 comments
That flapping sound is being made by the wings of supply-chain pigeons coming home to roost and the pages of lesson books that executives in various industries have forgotten or are too young to have learned.
Opinion: Microsoft dying? Don't bet on it
7/13/2010   56 comments
Microsoft Corp.'s long-term viability is not in doubt despite concerns that the advent of smartphones and other applications signal the end of the PC era.
Southpaws, use at your own peril!
7/13/2010   7 comments
A stop top reminds us that the appropriateness of a design is all in the eye of the beholder
Semicon West: What a difference a year makes
7/13/2010   3 comments
One year after one of the most depressing trade shows ever, 2010 Semicon West opens amid the best of times for the chip equipment industry.
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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