Little Conexant Makes a Big Noise

Telecom Company Turns its Attention to Games, Cars, and Tablets

by Jim Turley

Conexant is one of those companies that used to be big. Like Polaroid, Pan Am, Commodore, Westinghouse, or Life magazine, it carries a once-proud brand name that belies its current station. The company was spun off from mighty Rockwell International 15 years ago during the height of the networking boom, and it has steadily decimated itself since. A string of divestitures capped by a complete Chapter 11 reorganization two years ago have seen the one-time telecom darling reduced to a private firm with about $120 million in total sales.

That’s not to say that Conexant isn’t successful. And with over 300 employees drawing a paycheck, Conexant is no hole-in-the-wall outfit. But it’s not… y’know… a big deal.

 

Securing Your System with FPGAs

Microsemi Introduces FPGA-based Hardened PUFs

by Kevin Morris

Security used to be the purview of the select few - those working on defense projects, financial systems, or other “high-security” devices and platforms. Today, however, with IoT, wearables, connected cars, smartphones, tablets, and so forth, everything is connected to everything, and practically every device owned by every human on earth is able to make safety- and financially-critical transactions. That means security has become important in just about every system we design today.

Unfortunately, security has to be designed into our systems from the ground up. There’s no such thing as a padlock and chain we can throw on top of our existing system-level design to shore it up. And, for real security, we need features built into the hardware itself, rather than relying solely on software to keep the fort safe.

 

Nav Grade Goes MEMS

Sensors In Motion Collapses the Umbrella

by Bryon Moyer

OK, so, those of you who have notions about consumer-grade inertial measurement units (IMUs)? Listen, I need you to do something for me now. Actually, not for me, but for your own good. I need you to sidle over to the nearest chair and ease into a comfortable seated position. Believe me, you’ll thank me in a minute

Because today we’re going to look at a corner of the market we haven’t explored before. We’ve spent untold hours on the challenges of pedestrian navigation, but what about navigation for items that are, shall we say, less pedestrian? Like airplanes. Or cars. Or tractors.

 

Electronic Design - Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

An In-Depth Interview with Kevin Morris

by Amelia Dalton

Time to break out the sparklers, the bailing wire, and your best O-scope. We’re having an EE party In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Moore’s Law. In this week’s Fish Fry, we investigate how Gordon Moore's legendary 1965 article in Electronics Magazine set the stage for a remarkable half-century of innovation in our industry. We also look at how (and why) Moore's Law may not mean as much going forward as it has in the past. My guest is Kevin Morris, editor-in-chief of EE Journal. Kevin is here to chat with me about how the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law plays into the future of electronic design, his FORTRAN days, the learning curve of FPGA design, and even a little bit about his favorite project of all time.

 

Amazon’s Head in the Cloud

Remarkable Depth and Breadth in Cloud Computing, and an Intriguing New Service

by Bruce Kleinman, FSVadvisors

At face value, it is a bit of a brain twister: Amazon’s goal of being the “everything store” on the one hand, that is, and its massive cloud services business on the other. At first glance, not exactly peanut butter and chocolate. Walmart and Costco are not actively hawking their data processing capabilities—which one imagines as quite formidable—on the open market.

Turn the clock back a few years and it makes sense. Amazon developed their massive datacenters in-house because their requirements could not be readily met with existing solutions. As time passed, they developed more and more value-added differentiation. And, at some point, someone thinking well outside the box suggests “let’s monetize our unique datacenter capabilities by selling them in the emerging cloud computing market.” At least that is how I envision it going down; I am sure reality was more nuanced and more interesting.

 

New Year’s Resolution: 1024 x 768

Hazy Predictions for the Coming Year in Technology

by Jim Turley

With a quick polish of the crystal ball (okay, it’s a snow globe) and a tip of the hat to Scott Hilburn, I do hereby make my official and semi-seriously considered prognostications for The Year in Technology, 2015 Edition.

  • Tesla Motors will reject separate takeover offers from Daimler Benz, BMW, and Nissan/Renault. The battery-car manufacturer has been flying high lately, even becoming the #1 selling car – of any kind – in the country of Norway. That success has attracted interested suitors eager to learn about Tesla’s battery technology and/or to co-opt the brand’s shine. Tesla is nevertheless likely to spurn all outside offers, remaining steadfastly independent. You will be able to buy Tesla batteries for other devices/appliances before long, however.

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