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Making a Connection

“The real secret of success is enthusiasm.” – Walter Chrysler

Last week I interviewed a real, live, professional race car engineer for the famous Andretti racing team, whose workshop and garages are based just outside the equally famous racetrack at Indianapolis. And what’s the first thing I learned?

She’s German.

Mechanical engineer Judith HenzelRead More → "Making a Connection"

Aggressive with Passives

Most of us think about capacitors the way a chef thinks about salt – knowing that it’s never the star of the show, having a keen awareness that you need just the right amount, being vaguely conscious of the fact that there are multiple, subtly different types… When we’re debugging our board, there are often times when something mysteriously isn’t working right. When all else fails, we sprinkle on a few more capacitors. It may smooth out something or decouple something or reduce some bounce. Can’t hurt. Might help.

Read More → "Aggressive with Passives"

A New PUF Mechanism

We all know that security is bubbling its way up in importance, and we all probably know that key management is an important part of keeping good security. Nothing ruins a good secret like someone discovering the keys.

There are lots of keys that get tossed about in any given transaction, but many of them are derived ephemeral keys used only for a single session or a single transaction. Those keys will all be generated using the master-of-all-keys, and that’s the key that lives on for the life of … Read More → "A New PUF Mechanism"

Watching the Weightless

We engineers like things we can count and measure. Our professional comfort zone is in the metrics, multipliers, and deltas – hard data on which we can rest our reassurances that we’ve progressed – solved the world’s problems one bit at a time. Moore’s Law, of course, is a solid long-arc barometer for the engineering collective – a sequence of numbers on which we can hang our collective hats – carving notches in the stock as we trouble our way toward infinity. And, at some level it is the basis on which we’ve built our businesses, seeking remuneration for … Read More → "Watching the Weightless"

Ignorance Is Bliss

“You must unlearn what you have learned.” – Yoda

Learning something new is hard. But un-learning something is even harder. It’s tough to convince people of something they think they already know.

This kōan-like axiom comes into play whenever we design a user interface. A good UI leverages the user’s preconceived notions of how things should work, while avoiding the subtler traps we easily forget. For instance, knobs and dials are meant to be turned, and turning them clockwise increases whatever the knob controls. That unspoken standard seems to be consistent … Read More → "Ignorance Is Bliss"

Automatic Car Driver Detection

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and, more specifically, Machine Learning (ML) seem finally to have hit the scene in a permanent way. Having grown up watching expert systems and fuzzy logic and other schemes come and go, the stars and planets – not to mention theories, algorithms, and computing power – appear to have aligned to give us something useful.

For a while, ML and “big data” were terms that were tossed liberally about to get attention – in the same way that Internet of Things was (and is). But we’ve seen more and more cases where a press release touting … Read More → "Automatic Car Driver Detection"

Tools for Advanced Packages

We’ve blissfully led separate, siloed lives for years. IC designer? Someone’s having trouble routing from your pads? “Not my problem.” Package designer? Electricals on a particular signal are sketchy? “Not my problem.” PCB designer? Someone doesn’t like that the drive on an output isn’t high enough to drive your signal? “Not my problem.” It’s so much easier when you have a restricted scope, and anything outside that scope is someone else’s problem.

But that’s not gonna work so well going forward if you really want to optimize the interactions between … Read More → "Tools for Advanced Packages"

Intel Kills Off Embedded Boards

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” – traditional proverb

Let the culling commence.

There is apparently no “IoT” in “Intel.” For the umpteenth time, Intel has killed off an embedded product that it all-too-recently hyped as the greatest thing since canned beer. You live and you learn.

Just a few days after it toe-tagged Itanium, Intel whacked three products from the opposite end of its line card, namely Galileo, Edison, and Joule. … Read More → "Intel Kills Off Embedded Boards"

Patent Trolls Take a Hike

“Patents are like fertilizer. If you apply too many… you can leach the land, making growth more difficult.” – Alex Tabarrok

If my tree accidentally lands in your yard, can you drag me to Saudi Arabia to sue me? If you get shortchanged at a Boston coffee shop, can the shopkeeper be punished in Singapore? Do the laws in Botswana limit the time you can park in a red zone? If the mayor of Canberra, Australia raises taxes, do you have to pay them?

And what does Kool-Aid have to do with property values … Read More → "Patent Trolls Take a Hike"

Business Model Bingo

In the old days, business models were pretty straightforward situations. If you were in retail or distribution – you bought stuff and sold it for more. If you were in manufacturing, you made stuff and sold it. If you were in services, you did stuff and charged by the hour or by the service. There wasn’t much creativity involved. Careful choice of business model just wasn’t a critical factor in your ability to make a living.

In the tech industry, Moore’s Law changed all that – and not necessarily for the better. When the entire economy … Read More → "Business Model Bingo"

featured blogs
Jul 17, 2017
Samtec high-speed, edge card interconnect systems are available in a variety of pitches, stack heights, and orientations. They are used just about everywhere, including computers and peripherals, telecom, datacom, industrial equipment, medical, test and measurement, instrumen...
Jun 20, 2017
For data-center architects it seems like a no-brainer. For a wide variety of applications, from the databases behind e-commerce platforms to the big-data tools in search engines to suddenly-fashionable data analytics to scientific codes, the dominant limitation on application...