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Keyssa Connector Isn’t a Connector

“There is no Moore’s Law for pins.” – Ajay Bhatt, Keyssa

I admit it: connectors are boring. They’re the night-shift janitors of the electronics world, a nuisance for PCB layout people, and about as sexy as a head cold. Still, you gotta have ’em.

Or do you? One startup company has come up with a “wireless connector,” an oxymoronic bit of technology that makes more sense the more you think about it. It’s a niche solution to a specific set of problems, but sometimes … Read More → "Keyssa Connector Isn’t a Connector"

The Pivot to Relevance

Imagine that you were a company investing lots of cash in a specific new-product direction, and you went to your customers to tell them the good news – and they reacted with, “Meh… I’ll never use it.” What would you do with that? Double down? Or change directions?

That’s an oversimplified view of what happened at GlobalFoundries earlier in the year. You might have heard the big newsRead More → "The Pivot to Relevance"

The Radio Shack at the End of the Universe

“Let’s do the time warp again.” – Riff Raff

My relationship with Radio Shack goes back more than 50 years, when the company opened a store on Shelbyville Road near my home in Louisville, Kentucky. Heck, I even worked in a suburban Radio Shack as a freelance repair person for a summer during my college days, and I’ve still got the 50th anniversary Radio Shack commemorative coin celebrating the opening of the company’s 1000th store, … Read More → "The Radio Shack at the End of the Universe"

CPU Security Gets Hardcore

It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry” – Thomas Paine

Sometimes security is just for show and sometimes it’s the real thing. You can get a retiree to put on a blue uniform and stand outside a suburban bank to provide a bit of security theater. Or you can have a team of armed Navy SEALs infiltrate a beach on a moonless night. Just depends how much security you really want.

If you’re hardcore about your system’s security, then you’ … Read More → "CPU Security Gets Hardcore"

Ye Olde FPGA Acceleration

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that FPGA-based compute acceleration is suddenly a hot topic. And, even from under the rock, you probably got the memo that Intel paid over $16B to acquire Altera a couple years back – mostly to capitalize on this “new” emerging killer app for FPGA technology. These days there is an enormous battle brewing for control of the data center, as Moore’s Law slows to a crawl and engineers look for alternative ways to crunch more data faster with less power.

A Tale of Two Spectrum Analyzers

“Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” – Satchell Page

Dave Jones, the multitalented proprietor of EEVblog.com has posted more than 1100 online videos covering all aspects of electronics, including numerous teardown videos that I used frequently in a prior life to highlight certain revealed design aspects in the equipment he’s torn down. Recently, Jones posted a 1-hour (!) teardown video of the new Siglent SVA1015X, which is a low-cost, combo spectrum analyzer (SA) and vector network analyzer (VNA). The Siglent SVA1015X SA/VNA sells for $1395, configured as … Read More → "A Tale of Two Spectrum Analyzers"

Memory vs. Image Quality

“Sometimes a loss is the best thing that can happen.” – Snoop Dogg

Audiophiles claim to hear which way their speaker wire is braided. Oenophiles (aka wine snobs) say they can taste the type of soil the grapes were grown in. Car buffs can recite make, model, and year based on a glimpse of a taillight lens.

And graphics professionals can detect subtle differences in compression algorithms. All you pixel whisperers out there, look away now. We’re about to do some lossy compression.

< … Read More → "Memory vs. Image Quality"

Xilinx Scores Azure Acceleration Win

Xilinx scored a major win recently, with Microsoft’s Azure cloud group reportedly making a commitment to use Xilinx devices in something like half of their future Azure deployments. Until now, Azure has been solidly in the Intel PSG (Altera) camp for FPGA-based acceleration. Microsoft says that every Azure server for the past several years has been equipped with FPGAs, and, until now, those FPGAs have come exclusively from Intel/Altera. Microsoft also claims that Azure is the “world’s largest cloud investment in FPGAs”.

Translation: … Read More → "Xilinx Scores Azure Acceleration Win"

One Layer at a Time

Their first job was to soften up the target. They did that using paratroopers who prepared the scene quietly and unobtrusively. Once that was done, the bombing campaign could begin in earnest.

In the era of fine feature resolution, sometimes it’s necessary to refine our processing tools. After all, backhoes are good at digging holes, but they’re not OK if you’ve shrunk the size of the hole to a couple of inches across; you need something more precise.

Rather … Read More → "One Layer at a Time"

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  People of a certain age, who mindfully lived through the early microcomputer revolution during the first half of the 1970s, know about Bill Godbout. He was that guy who sent out crudely photocopied parts catalogs for all kinds of electronic components, sold from a Quon...