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Now, For the Bad News

“Bad news travels at the speed of light; good news travels like molasses.” – Tracy Morgan

Space is limited. Unless you’re an astrophysicist, in which case it’s unlimited, non-Euclidian, and deeply counterintuitive. But here at Electronic Engineering Journal Galactic Headquarters our space is limited, so we apply our editorial skills at cramming the maximum amount of useful information into a finite space. It’s all about information density.

< … Read More → "Now, For the Bad News"

The Solar System’s Fastest FPGAs Journey to the Sun Carrying a Microprocessor Relic on Board

The sun is mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace
Where hydrogen is built into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees
– “Why Does the Sun Shine?,” They Might Be Giants (originally from the album “Space Songs,” 1959)

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe reached its first perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on November 5. At that time, the probe was flying approximately 15 million miles above the Sun’s surface at 213,200 miles/hour, winning the spacecraft the titles of the Solar System’s fastest and closest heliocentric spacecraft. At its closest approach, the … Read More → "The Solar System’s Fastest FPGAs Journey to the Sun Carrying a Microprocessor Relic on Board"

Z-Wave: Now with More Gecko!

“A new gadget that lasts only five minutes is worth more than an immortal work that bores everyone.” – Francis Picabia

The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from. If you’re outfitting your “smart home,” you can select from underlying technologies like ZigBee, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Thread, Insteon, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and assorted vendor-specific alternatives. It seems that everybody wants to combine home automation, IoT, and wireless mesh networking. It’s a problem with no shortage of solutions.

Right in … Read More → "Z-Wave: Now with More Gecko!"

Intel’s Grand Vision

“With unit cost falling as the number of components per circuit rises, by 1975 economics may dictate squeezing as many as 65,000 components on a single silicon chip.”

– Gordon E. Moore, “Cramming More Components onto Integrated Circuits,” Electronics, pp. 114–117, April 19, 1965.

Our shuttle bus driver exited 101 and began to weave through an increasingly narrow labyrinth of residential streets. There were eight or nine journalists on the bus, and none of us had any idea where we were headed. Apparently, the driver didn’t either. Intel’s invitation had been obviously deliberately vague, informing … Read More → "Intel’s Grand Vision"

Formal and Simulation Covered Together

How do you know when your IC design is done? When can you declare verification victory? These are the questions that coverage is supposed to help with. When your verification has covered the entire circuit, for lack of a more precise way of articulating it, then you’re done. (At least, with that part of the verification plan…)

So how do you know what your coverage is? And how can different tools contribute to that metric? That was the original … Read More → "Formal and Simulation Covered Together"

Do This now! Before the IoT Security Tsunami Hits

“There will be more than 24 billion things connected to the Internet by the year 2020,” said Linda Grindstaff, VP of Content Operations in McAfee’s Office of the CTO, who keynoted at the recent Internet of Things Device Security Summit held in Santa Clara, California. That’s more than four connected devices per person on the planet. “There will be more than 80 connected devices in a household by 2020,” she said, noting that, “all of these … Read More → "Do This now! Before the IoT Security Tsunami Hits"

Microsemi Joins RISC-V Love Fest with SoC FPGA

Processors and FPGAs go together like chocolate and peanut butter, but it took a few years to get the recipe just right. Early turn-of-the-millennium attempts included the Xilinx Virtex II Pro with an on-chip PowerPC processor core and Altera’s Excalibur device with an ARM922T processor core. These early products are considered market failures. Actually, Kevin Morris called the Altera Excalibur “a monumental flop” in his article titled “Shaking Up Embedded Processing.” Why? Because you can’t just plop an unconnected microprocessor core into the middle of an FPGA … Read More → "Microsemi Joins RISC-V Love Fest with SoC FPGA"

RISC-V: The Groundswell Continues

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s interesting to attend a religious revival meeting when you’re not a member of that particular denomination. It’s a bit like attending a political rally as an outsider, or buying tickets to a live concert even though you hate the band but your date really wants to go. You smile and make polite conversation with the attendees, all of whom have something in common. And, in the end, you might come away with … Read More → "RISC-V: The Groundswell Continues"

Who Chooses Components and Tools?

Before becoming professional engineers, most of us designed and built things as a hobby. It’s rare to find an engineer who jumped right into engineering school without at least some background of tinkering and experimenting. And, when we did those projects, we had full control. We could choose whatever part we wanted or needed. We didn’t have to deal with management, manufacturing, procurement, approved parts libraries, second sources, distributor line cards, or any of the other myriad constraints that tie the creative hands of just about every working professional engineer on the … Read More → "Who Chooses Components and Tools?"

Communication Solves Flash Unpredictability

That flash thumb drive you have in your pocket is a beast of a memory. We store so much stuff in so little space; that form factor has completely democratized the storing of masses of data that would once have been assigned to a giant data center of yore. And all in your pocket now.

Of course, this comes at a cost. This is NAND flash, and when your main goal is to minimize memory area – and maximize capacity – you must trade some things off. Most notably, you can’t randomly access an individual cell – or word … Read More → "Communication Solves Flash Unpredictability"

featured blogs
Jan 16, 2019
112 Gbps Samtec Flyover'„¢ Demo Samtec'€™s Ralph Page walks us through a live demonstration of a Samtec Flyover'„¢ system which enables 112 Gbps PAM4 performance. The Credo CDR generates two ports of 31-bit PRBS data at 112 Gbps PAM4 data rates. The signal travels from...
Nov 14, 2018
  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...