"For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them." -- Aristotle
I've started a new blog series titled "Zynq Design From Scratch." I will tell you more about this in a moment, but first let me set the scene. I started blogging in 2006. The following is what I wrote in my very first blog:
I have decided to start my own blog. I have a lot of spare time after leaving my job at Ericsson, the telecommunications company. They gave me 18 months pay so I will stay afloat until I find something else to do. My plan is to start my own company and do consulting work in ASIC and FPGA design. I never wrote a diary in my whole life but the prospect of having hundreds of readers makes it more thrilling. I will write about everything that happens in my life from running the marathon to building my own wine cellar. I will write in English although my mother tongue is Swedish. I would like to make contacts all over the world not only in Sweden. That is why I named my blog "New Horizons". Welcome to my blog!
I started by writing some blogs about my private life, like a trip to Spain and running the New York Marathon, but I never really felt comfortable writing about myself and my family. I was too much of an engineer after almost 40 years in the electronic business. So I began to look for other subjects to write about and came up with idea of writing about FPGAs. I called my blog "FPGA design from scratch," and the following is what I wrote in my first entry:
I have been designing ASICs for more than 15 years. A few years ago I started to realize that there is another player in town and that is the FPGA circuit. With increasing NRE costs and with the long turn-around times, ASIC designs have become high-risk projects. At the same time FPGAs are getting bigger and faster and many companies have therefore decided to only use FPGAs. I also realized that I have to learn how to design using FPGAs, if I were to get any consulting jobs, especially here in Sweden. This is my story of how I hopefully will learn to use FPGAs in my future designs.
Meeting with Max
I was writing my FPGA blog throughout 2007. I spent hundreds of hours on it and started to get more and more readers. In August 2007, Clive Maxfield at EE Times wrote an article about my blog, and all of sudden I had 500% more readers. This was the beginning of a friendship that lasts to this day (in 2012, we actually got to meet face-to-face when Max was invited to give the keynote presentation at the FPGA forum in Trondheim, Norway. (See Just call me “Max the Viking!”) At the end of 2007, I got a job as an FPGA designer (thanks to my blog), with the result that I had no free time for blogging for the next few years.
Restarting my blog
Looking back, it seems like five years simply disappeared, but in August 2011 I restarted by blog with a new entry titled "FPGA design from scratch: Part 51." It probably won't surprise you to hear that it didn't take long for Max to find out about my new blog, and in September 2011 he wrote a new column about my blog in Tutorial: Designing an FPGA from scratch – It’s like déjà vu all over again!
And now, it is time for a new déjà vu (didn't somebody just say that?), because I have started a new blog called Zynq design from scratch. Almost a year ago I received a parcel by post from America. When I opened this parcel, I found the box shown in the following image:
The ZedBoard was a present from someone involved in promoting the new Zynq device from Xilinx, but with no strings attached. At that time, I was busy working as an ASIC designer and had no time to play with the board. It wasn't until December 2013 that I had a chance to unpack the box and power up the ZedBoard.
Fortunately, around the same time that I was powering up my ZedBoard, I received an email from Per and Andreas at Silica (Avnet) here in Stockholm, in which they offered a one-day hands-on training class on the Zynq-7000 using the ZedBoard (this was part of the Xilinx Speedway Design Workshops).
This training session gave me the head start I needed. I went home and started to play with my ZedBoard. As part of this, I decided to start writing my new blog, and here we are. If you've read my "FPGA Design From Scratch" blog then you will feel at home. I will follow the same overall concept and describe the whole design flow in an easy-to-understand fashion. So far, I have put together 20 sections, as shown below, and I will continue to add more in the coming weeks and months:
I would very much like for my new blog to be interactive and not just a one-way document. Thus, I invite you to visit my blog, ask questions, make comments, and offer suggestions for topics you would like to see me cover.