Prpl: Routers Can Be Secure and Open
The FCC is worried. You and they spend all this time and energy getting your radio certified, and then some bozo hacks in, changes how the radio works, and puts you out of spec.
And so, back in early 2015, the FCC issued some guidelines or questions regarding WiFi devices – particularly home routers – in an effort to ensure that your radio isn’t hackable.
Being a Collection of News Tidbits from Across the Industry
“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” – Sam Keen
It’s summertime, which means half of your cow-orkers have ambled out of the office, everyone in France is on vacation or on strike (or both; it’s hard to tell sometimes), and you’d probably rather be on some remote beach having someone fetch you another umbrella drink.
Let’s take a look at what your industrious colleagues have been doing while you were slathering on SPF50.
Matching Treatment to Patient
imec's Technology Forum in Brussels was strongly attended (by around a thousand people), despite the issues of international terrorism and national industrial disputes. The terrorism alert meant that just getting into the meeting halls required standing in long queues with bag checks and physical screening. The industrial disputes meant that many of the local delegates were delayed in traffic jams around Brussels.
Once in the hall, there was a lot of good stuff provided by senior people from around the semiconductor industry and the wider world. Just a reminder – imec is a Belgium-based research and development organisation that is pushing the boundaries of nano-electronics. It works in cooperation with every major semiconductor company, most foundries, and most equipment manufacturers. (Find out more on its website www.imec.be.) This meant that high-level people from the likes of Analog Devices, GlobalFoundries, Infineon, Intel, Mentor Graphics, Panasonic, and Samsung - to name just a few - shared their expertise with the attendees.
Test Your Business Skills with These Two Example Companies
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said, ‘faster horses.’” – Henry Ford (apocryphal)
A lot of business ideas seem obvious only after the fact. Google must have seemed like a crazy idea at the time. You want to do what? Build an entire business around yet another search engine? That’s nuts – how would you compete with Yahoo!, AltaVista, Northern Lights, InfoSeek, Lycos, and all the other generic and undifferentiated search engines? How would you ever make money? Turned out to be a pretty lucrative business, though.
Customer Service is Sometimes Your Only Real Product
“Now all that matters is if you can install your own Ethernet card without having to call tech support and confess your inadequacies to a stranger whose best career option is to work in tech support.” – Scott Adams
As engineers, we tend to think that we create our company’s products. Along with our friends over in Manufacturing, we make what we sell. Everybody else in the company is just ancillary; a kind of necessary evil.
Trouble is, nobody told the customers about that.
High- and Low-Level Assessments
The Internet of Things (IoT) is still the Wild West. Anyone can wake up some morning and declare a new idea for a sensor, a new protocol, a new product, a new application… pretty much anything – as long as it has “IoT” in the title of the press release.
And that’s great for spawning fresh ideas. But as civilization encroaches on this untamed territory, notions of governance are being suggested for limiting some of the possible excesses. We’ve talked about protocol standards numerous times before, but there are a couple of new, different standard efforts underway that relate not so much to agreement on how to behave, which is the role of protocols, but rather to the quality of the systems. For today’s discussion, the focus is on security.
CrossLink Changes the Camera Interface Game
We're talking about the building blocks of electronic design in this week's Fish Fry. First, we take a closer look at some groundbreaking transistor technology. We investigate new research coming out of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology that could finally make graphene tunneling transistors a reality. Also this week, we examine Lattice Semiconductor's CrossLink pASSP with Subra Chandramouli. Subra and I dive down into the details of this new programmable bridging device and reveal how ASSP and the FPGA parts of the CrossLink story can help you with your next camera or interface-enhanced design.
Google and Oracle Battle it Out Over Code Copyright
“I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” – Chris Robinson
I’m not a lawyer (thankfully), but that won’t stop me from rendering a legal opinion: This is nuts.
Let’s start with a car analogy. You decide that your trusty, rusty Ford F-150 pickup truck needs an oil change and a new oil filter. You buy the oil and the filter at your local auto-parts store, jack up the old wreck, and proceed to change them both in your driveway. Ford has no problem with this.
Lattice CrossLink pASSP Fits Into the Odd Spaces in New Designs
“Better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond.“ – Anonymous
In biology, it’s known as a niche - a narrowly defined set of circumstances wherein a certain specific plant or creature can thrive. Outside of its niche, the beast in question perishes. Within its niche, however, it is king.
Marketers have hijacked the term, of course, and they use it in a vaguely pejorative way to describe limited market opportunities and conditions. A small-potatoes company is known as a “niche player,” while a specialized business opportunity is dismissed as a “niche market.”
Intel Axes Smartphone Chips Amid Big Restructuring
“A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.” –US Senator Everett Dirkson (likely misattributed)
You can’t axe 12,000 jobs without losing a few products along the way. Intel is starting to prune some low-hanging branches off of the product tree.
The company is sending all of its smartphone and tablet processors into the wood chipper, even though some of those chips are already in production and others are so far down the pipeline that they’re just weeks away from their release date. No matter; Intel is officially out of the smartphone business – insofar as it was ever really in that business – and focusing its efforts elsewhere.