Debug Tools are for Losers...Oh, and Teams that Meet Schedules

Blue Pearl Brings Sanity to Debug

by Kevin Morris

We don’t need no stinkin’ FPGA debug tools! Debug tools are for those “other” engineers. You know, the ones who make mistakes.

As engineers, it’s hard to admit we’re fallible. Most of us have spent our careers, and maybe our whole lives, being lauded for our technical prowess. We pride ourselves on our ability to solve problems quickly, to design things that are robust and reliable, and to anticipate the twists and turns that the real world will throw at our creations.

That’s why I feel bad for the people at Blue Pearl Software who have to sell their tools. They have to begin the discussion at a place that’s already uncomfortable for most engineers. We don’t want to talk about our mistakes. We don’t really want to admit that we ever make them. And, on the rare occasion when we do have a problem, we try to forget about it as soon as possible. Our hindsight goggles may be 20/20 on the good stuff, but we can all be a little forgetful about our missteps.


How Fungible Is Your Technology?

Musings on Strength and Vulnerability

by Bryon Moyer

Fungible [fuhn-juh-buh l]: adjective, Law. 1. (especially of goods) being of such nature or kind as to be freely exchangeable or replaceable, in whole or in part, for another of like nature or kind. [Source: Unabridged. Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015]

Fungible. Not a word most of us use on a daily basis. In fact, most of us will probably never utter those syllables. (OK, no fair reading this out loud just to prove me wrong…) Being a legal phrase, I guess that makes sense. I’ve mostly seen it used in only two contexts: finances and employees.


(Raspberry) Pi in the Sky

A Fish Fry Greatest Hit

by Amelia Dalton

Fish Fry is going raspberry this week, Raspberry Pi that is! My special guest is none other than the co-creator of the Raspberry Pi board Gert van Loo. Gert and I are chatting about how the Raspberry Pi board was created, how Gert built upon Raspberry Pi to create the Gertboard, and why he thinks IO education is important for the next wave of engineers. Also this week, I'm chatting with Cliff Ortmeyer (newark element14) about the interesting intersection of hackers, makers, and engineers.


Horses for Courses

HSA Foundation Works to Treat All Processors Equally

by Jim Turley

Can’t we all just get along? The DSP programmers don’t talk to the CPU programmers; the GPU programmers won’t sit at the lunch table with the device-driver programmers. Hey, gang. We’re all nerds. Let’s work together.

That’s the altruistic but daunting task of the Heterogeneous Systems Architecture (HSA) Foundation, a nonprofit group formed to define hardware and software standards that allow all types of processors, regardless of race, creed, religion, orientation, or country of origin, to play well with others.


Xilinx Gets All Arty

Oh, and Ships Their First 16nm Fin-FET Zynq Device

by Kevin Morris

Sure, the announcement that Xilinx is now “shipping” their first 16nm FinFET-based super-amazing Zynq UltraScale+ All Programmable MPSoCs is kinda’ a big deal. Zynq UltraScale+ is unquestionably the most capable SoC we’ve ever seen, and it is difficult to even imagine the game-changing applications that will be built with this device.

Just as a refresher, Zynq UltraScale+ is a multi-core heterogeneous computing device that includes quad-core, 64-bit, ARM Cortex-A53s, dual-core Cortex-R5 real-time processors, a Mali-400MP graphics processor, enormous amounts of advanced FPGA fabric, a hardened H.265/264 codec unit, an “Advanced Dynamic Power Management Unit” for ASIC/ASSP-grade application power management, a configuration security unit to help lock down your design, forward-looking DDR4/LPDDR4 memory interface support, and copious amounts of on-chip ultra-high-speed “UltraRAM” for buffering and so forth.


Direct Line to the Cloud

RTI Eliminates the HTTP Middleman

by Bryon Moyer

We’ve spent quite a bit of energy talking about various communication patterns for use in the Internet of Things (IoT). There’s the ever-popular publish/subscribe (P/S) for sending data around, and then there’s request/reply (R/R) for controlling devices.

And we’ve blithely referred to data being sucked into the Cloud for more processing before commands are sent back down to devices. But we haven’t looked in any detail at how data gets from the local infrastructure (perhaps a gateway) into the Cloud. It turns out that this is where two very different worlds meet, as described by RTI with their recent release of Connext DDS 5.2.

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