The Road from Java

Universal Portable Software Isn’t Doing Anyone Any Favors

by Jim Turley

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Watch any children’s TV show, from Daniel Tiger on your Roku to 30-year-old reruns of Sesame Street on VHS tape, and you’ll hear two messages loud and clear. One: We’re all the same. And two: We’re all different, unique, and special.

Which is it? And how do little kids reconcile these diametrically opposed viewpoints?

 

Managing Beacons from Afar

Fathom Automates Setup, Gathers Analytics

by Bryon Moyer

Malls are increasingly abuzz with electromagnetic chatter. It’s the beacon thing, adding to the already healthy (or un-) level of EM waveage contributed by our phones and other gadgetry. And, in fact, that’s kind of the point.

Beacons can, at the very least, put signals out there that assist with indoor navigation, although that’s not where we’re going today. They can also be used for marketing via loyalty apps. If a customer is inside the store with the app running, the beacons help figure out where the customer is. When he or she is in front of the perfume counter, it can send a coupon for the coveted heirloom, grass-fed maple bacon parfum d’amour “Porkée No” that’s been creating such a sensation lately.

 

Prove It!

The New Era of Design Verification

by Amelia Dalton

Can you imagine a world without mistakes? Maybe it would be cool, but most likely it would be pretty boring. Heck, it might even mean some of us would lose our jobs. This week’s Fish Fry, we visit a conference dedicated to engineering mistakes: DVCon. We investigate three major the themes of this year’s Design Verification Conference: UVM, emulation, and FPGA-based prototyping. Shishpal Rawat (Chairman - Accellera Systems Initiative) and I sit down to discuss the importance of standardization in emulation and UVM, the value of design verification tutorials, and why verification needs to happen at many different levels of abstraction. Also this week, we check out the advantages of an integrated prototyping solution which may just put ad-hoc FPGA-based physical prototyping out of business once and for all.

 

OpenAMP Allows OS Management

Someone Can Now Be the Boss of a Heterogeneous System

by Bryon Moyer

In the beginning was the operating system (OS). And the OS begat processes and the processes begat threads, and all thrived under this benevolent hierarchy. For a thread, there was nothing outside the domain of the process. And for a process, there was nothing outside the domain of the OS. Protected within the bosom of their parents, these child entities had no need to interact with other children from outside this universe. Lack of a broader view was balanced by protection from possible predations.

And so life continued, from the top down. Such an approach molded the evolution of object orientation. With some exceptions (like being able to refer to a parent), an object can see only its properties and methods, along with anything downstream of them.

 

Engineering vs. Biology

The Laws of Supply and Demand Don’t Always Favor Innovation

by Jim Turley

I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone.” – Bjarne Stroustrup

So apparently it’s not just me.

When I got my shiny new Windows 10 laptop (Hooray – no more Windows 8!) I also got Microsoft’s shiny new browser, Edge. Edge, we are told, is the replacement for Internet Exploder, Microsoft’s usual (and the world’s most popular) browser. Windows comes with both browsers installed, but it’s pretty clear that Edge is the one you’re really supposed to use. In typical Microsoft fashion, they make it difficult for you to change the default browser, and you’re challenged with a lot of “are you sure?” messages if you persist in swapping out Edge for something else. So, naturally, I started using Edge.

 

Back in My Day

Moore’s Law of Engineering Culture

by Kevin Morris

In most professions there is a notion of history, legacy, and apprenticeship. On top of the education and qualifications required just to become a member of the professional community, there is an equally important tribal knowledge that is passed down through generations of practitioners. Law, medicine, finance, real estate - pick a profession and you’ll find a cultural inertia, a resistance to rapid change - a slowly moving mass that damps out unwelcome random accelerations.

None of these other professions has ever experienced a Moore’s Law.

We have given a lot of attention to the profound impact of Moore’s Law on technology. It’s almost a sport to figure out things like: how many of my 1979 Radio Shack TRS-80s would be required to equal my 2016 iPhone 6s Plus?


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