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Hot Stuff: You Might Rent the Car Seat that Heats Your Derriere or Your Next Running Shoes

When the first reports of BMW creating a marketing program to rent heated seats in its newest vehicles, the news coverage was designed to make my blood boil. “Pigs!” I thought. “They’re just bleeding their customers dry because cars have become always-connected rolling software platforms.” Here are some of the headlines that led me down the garden path:

“BMW owners outraged over $18-a-month charge to use heated seats” – Theo Wayt, New York Post

“The future of cars … Read More → "Hot Stuff: You Might Rent the Car Seat that Heats Your Derriere or Your Next Running Shoes"

Meet the HRRG 4-Bit Mixed-Technology Computer

Time seems to be passing extremely fast these days. Every time I blink, another week passes by; every time I sneeze, I lose another month; and every time I… but we digress. Just a few weeks ago (or possibly several months ago the way things are going), someone posted a comment to one of my columns saying they were surprised they hadn’t seen an update regarding the status of my HRRG Computer project here on EE Journal.

If you were to ask me, I’d probably say that I … Read More → "Meet the HRRG 4-Bit Mixed-Technology Computer"

Flight Simulation Stresses USB Hubs and Reveals Other USB Pitfalls. Here are Some Helpful Hints

Ron Sartore is a serial entrepreneur and a USB veteran. He started a company named Anchor Chips in 1995, back before USB was a standard. When the USB revolution started in 1996, Sartore jumped on the standard and Anchor quickly became a leading supplier of USB controller chips, dubbed “EZ-USB.” Cypress Semiconductor bought Anchor Chips in 1999. (Infineon bought Cypress Semiconductor in 2019 and they’re still selling EZ-USB chips.) Sartore’s “semi-retired” now, but he’s still learning, designing, and building, thanks to his hobby, flying simulated aircraft, which he’s managed to turn into yet another business. As … Read More → "Flight Simulation Stresses USB Hubs and Reveals Other USB Pitfalls. Here are Some Helpful Hints"

O-M-Gosh, I’ve Been Zeked! (Part 1)

I have to acknowledge that I’m speechless, and that’s not something you can expect to hear me say very often. The reason for my glazed look is that I recently had a video conference with an amazing 11-year-old called Zeke. After chatting with Zeke and his father, Eric, I now have a sneaking suspicion that I’ve wasted much of my life and failed to reach my full potential.

In many ways, Zeke reminds me of me when I was his age, the main difference being that he’ … Read More → "O-M-Gosh, I’ve Been Zeked! (Part 1)"

Are You Ready for Ubiquitous Connectivity?

Let’s do a thought experiment. Suppose you find yourself trapped in a small space like an elevator and someone looks you in the eye and poses the question: “Are you ready for ubiquitous connectivity?” How would you respond? “Yes,” “No,” “Maybe,” or “What the heck is ubiquitous connectivity when it’s at home?”

Actually, that’s not a bad question. Let’s break it down. In its more general usage, connectivity refers to the state or extent of being connected or interconnected. More particularly, in the context of computing, … Read More → "Are You Ready for Ubiquitous Connectivity?"

$4 Logic Analyzer Based on Raspberry Pi Pico

Here’s a truly inspired project. Dr. Agustín Gimenez Bernad, a Senior Developer in ServiZurich S.A. in Spain, has created one of the most brilliant hacks I’ve seen yet. He’s built a 24-bit logic analyzer that samples at 100 Msamples/sec and stores 32K samples from nothing more than a $4 Raspberry Pi Pico board and some clever code. There’s a lot to learn from this project, which is posted with some very fine documentation on GitHub, but if you just need a $4 logic analyzer, there’s still a lot to be admired.</ … Read More → "$4 Logic Analyzer Based on Raspberry Pi Pico"

Retro-Futuristic-Steampunk Technologies (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this who-knows-how-many-parts-there-will-be Retro-Futuristic-Steampunk Technologies mini-series, we focused on one of my favorite display technologies in the form of Nixie tubes. We also featured a photograph showing the main control room of an abandoned power plant in Hungary that—much like your humble narrator—was simply oozing with style.

Read More → "Retro-Futuristic-Steampunk Technologies (Part 2)"

Intel oneAPI and DPC++: One Programming Language to Rule Them All (CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, etc)

Nvidia has something that Intel and AMD covet. No, it’s not GPUs. Intel and AMD both make GPUs. However, they don’t have Nvidia’s not-so-secret weapon that’s a close GPU companion: CUDA, the parallel programming language that allows developers to harness GPUs to accelerate general-purpose (non-graphics) algorithms. Since its introduction in 2006, CUDA has become a tremendous and so-far unrivaled competitive advantage for Nvidia because it works with Nvidia GPUs, and only with Nvidia GPUs. Understandably, neither Intel nor AMD plan to let that competitive advantage go unchallenged.

Read More → "Intel oneAPI and DPC++: One Programming Language to Rule Them All (CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, etc)"

Let’s Read Our Little Cotton Socks Off (Part 2)!

In Part 1 of my soon-to-be-famous Let’s Read Our Little Cotton Socks Off mega-mini-series, we closed with my noting that much of what I know (or, at least, what I think I know) leads me to believe that life in one form or another is pervasive throughout the universe. We also posed the question: “But what proportion of this life is intelligent?” (Truth be told, the actual question was: “But what proportion of … Read More → "Let’s Read Our Little Cotton Socks Off (Part 2)!"

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