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Internet for Everyone: a Parable

Introduction: A friend of mine recently moved to the suburbs and found that distance from the city is inversely proportional to progress. Here is his firsthand dispatch, smuggled out of suburban Portland, Oregon, barely 15 miles from Intel. If a cell tower falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it…

This is a case study in internet (un)availability in places deemed inconvenient for service providers. Internet connectivity used to be something of a luxury, part of what you sacrificed if you wanted to … Read More → "Internet for Everyone: a Parable"

I See Zebus and Zebras Everywhere!

It’s funny how, the older you get, things seem to increasingly circle around. You start off thinking you are heading in a new direction, and then you suddenly find yourself back where you started. I don’t know about you, but just re-reading the previous sentence reminds me of the lyrics to Time by Pink Floyd — the part that goes, “And you run, and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking, racing around to come up behind you again. The … Read More → "I See Zebus and Zebras Everywhere!"

Microchip TimePictra Masters Time

What do GPS, cloud data centers, power substations, the Department of Homeland Security, and Microchip all have in common?

A very clear sense of time. 

I’ve often thought that Microchip has the world’s best company name. It’s so descriptive. Tell any random stranger that you work at Microchip and it instantly answers all sorts of follow-up questions. It’s right there in the name, isn’t it? The company makes microchips. 

Except when it doesn’ … Read More → "Microchip TimePictra Masters Time"

RIP, Cloud-Connected Devices

Clouds are ephemeral, passing quickly from sight, carried away on the lightest of breezes. Apparently, so are cloud-based products. 

Consumer giant Samsung has decided to deep-six its entire SmartThings product line, starting with users’ home hubs. As of last week, SmartThings hubs stopped working. They’re essentially bricked because, like all cloud-based services, they sail upon the whim of the host company. Samsung decided it didn’t want to build and support SmartThings products anymore, so it simply blew them away. 

This, despite the … Read More → "RIP, Cloud-Connected Devices"

Accelerating C/C++ Without Tears or Tribulations

Just to make sure I have your attention, let’s start with the conclusion and then I’ll tell you how we got there. Is that OK with you? Good. In that case, the conclusion is that the clever folks at CacheQ have come up with a cunning solution that can take your regular single-threaded C/C++ code and compile it in such a way as to achieve multi-threaded acceleration on CPUs with multiple physical cores, all without any effort, pain, tears, trials, or tribulations on your part. Interested? If so, read on…

< … Read More → "Accelerating C/C++ Without Tears or Tribulations"

Your Car: 25 GB/Hour of Personal Data

What defines creepy? Is it a dark abandoned house with creaking floors and a history of mayhem? A doll with eyes that seem to follow you? A backwoods loner with a chainsaw? 

Or is it your car? Your car takes you to work, to your friends’ houses, to your favorite vacation spots, and back home again. It goes everywhere with you — or you with it. It’s your closest companion, along for every ride, every adventure, and every misadventure. So what would happen if this close companion blabbed to a … Read More → "Your Car: 25 GB/Hour of Personal Data"

Lattice Launches CertusPro-NX

There is an interesting side effect of Moore’s Law’s relentless march, where some technologies atrophy even though they are still extremely relevant and applicable in the mainstream. Take, for example, the case of the 100K LUT FPGA. Not that many years ago, a 100K LUT FPGA was solidly in the high-end, and numerous applications took advantage of the generous helping of flexibility and hardware programmability that such a device brought to the table. At that time, the big FPGA vendors charged a premium for these devices, and customers lapped them up with glee.</ … Read More → "Lattice Launches CertusPro-NX"

Edge AI On The Cheap and Deep

There’s an old salesman’s adage that “confused customers never buy.” That’s why glossy sales brochures don’t have a lot of technical information, and why car salesmen don’t delve too deeply into features and benefits. Too much information can lead to analysis paralysis, and, while that might be fun for engineers, it’s bad for business. 

There’s a separate but related effect in engineering. A new technology might be interesting and impressive, but if you don’t immediately grasp how to use it, it won’ … Read More → "Edge AI On The Cheap and Deep"

The A, B, C of USB for Beginners

I don’t wish to appear greedy, and I certainly don’t wish to boast (I pride myself on my humility), but I do flatter myself that I know more than my fair share of Bobs (that is, people called Bob, not the hair style of the same moniker). I could start naming names, but (a) they would all be called Bob and (b) we would be here all day.

Suffice it to say that one Bob in particular is much on my mind at the moment, not least because … Read More → "The A, B, C of USB for Beginners"

Find Your Security in the Cloud

Sometimes the biggest engineering challenge is overcoming NIH. The dreaded “not invented here” syndrome has derailed many a project, cost untold millions, wasted months, and produced inferior products. NIH is like our own children: it’s hard not to fall in love and overlook the flaws. 

Sometimes what we need is a whack on the head and someone to tell us, “This is not your core competence! Give it up and let an expert do it!” It’s tough love in the engineering lab. 

Read More → "Find Your Security in the Cloud"

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