Buggy Bingo

Undo Software’s Live Recorder Makes Production Bugs A Thing of the Past

by Amelia Dalton

Needle in the haystack got you down? Got them buggy software blues slowin' your stride? Never fear, Fish Fry is here with a podcastin' elixir to blow those blues (and bugs) away. In this week's episode, we tackle production software bugs with Undo Software CEO Greg Law. Greg is here to unveil the new bug-busting capabilities of Undo Software's production bug insecticide: Live Recorder. Also this week, we check out why the Palo Alto Starbucks may not be the best spot for a super-secret meeting about your new IOT prototype. Finally, we see how The MathWorks is taking the maker movement to a whole new level - with math.

 

Ambiq Apollo MCU Gets Funky With Voltage

Leveraging Physics for the Betterment of Humankind

by Jim Turley

“Reality is that which, if you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” – Philip K. Dick

We all work with the same laws of physics. That’s why they’re laws, not guidelines. We deal with Ohm’s Law, Shannon’s Law, Cole’s Law (thinly sliced cabbage), and others. And one of the immutable laws of electronics is that power consumption is proportional to voltage. Raise the voltage, and you raise the power consumption, all other things being equal. And of course, that works the other way, too. Lower voltages reduce power. Very tidy.

So why, oh why, do chipmakers have such a hard time reducing the power consumption of their microprocessors, microcontrollers, DRAMs, and other devices? Just lower the voltage! Did you not attend Electronics 101? How hard can that be?

 

Verifying Your Awesomeness

The Mire of Modern System Verification

by Kevin Morris

If a clock tree fails in a forest, and there are no vectors to catch it…

Verification has always been the black sheep of the engineering family, and for understandable reasons. Design teams are made up of intelligent, capable, and - dare we say occasionally arrogant - types who don’t take kindly to the notion that their work contains errors. Yet, we have verification teams who make their entire career finding the bugs in the work of designers.

Does this sound like a recipe for peace and harmony?

As system complexity has exploded, design productivity has largely kept pace. There is, of course, the ubiquitous EDA marketing slide - a graph over time showing an expanding “gap” between the number of gates we can design and the number of gates Moore’s Law will allow us to put on a chip.

 

Silicon Fingerprints and Smartphone Modules

Adventures in Unclonable Function Technology and Project Ara Development

by Amelia Dalton

Ready. Set. Authenticate. This week’s Fish Fry investigates how Microsemi FPGAs are changing the cyber-security landscape one PUF (Physically Unclonable Function) at a time. My guest is Tim Morin from Microsemi. Tim joins Fish Fry for the first time - discussing the zeros and ones of PUF technology, explaining why it's so important to today’s IoT products, and revealing what it's really like to own fourteen (whoa) horses. Also this week, I unveil some seriously cool news from the most recent Google Project Ara Developer’s Conference.

 

2014 Letdown

Have We Lost The "Wow" Factor?

by Dick Selwood

At a recent semi-social, semi-business function, I was asked what I thought the highlights were in electronics in 2014. I was stumped. Not only could I not think of a highlight then, I still can not think of anything that really stuck out in the year.

I've sat through many new product presentations and press briefings and received many more press releases, and there is a lot of creative thinking and very good solid engineering going on, resulting in good solid products that are meeting customer needs. I've written about some of them and hope to write about more some time later in the year. There have also been some things that have been a complete waste of time – but I have been moderately successful in trying to wipe those from my memory.

 

Little Conexant Makes a Big Noise

Telecom Company Turns its Attention to Games, Cars, and Tablets

by Jim Turley

Conexant is one of those companies that used to be big. Like Polaroid, Pan Am, Commodore, Westinghouse, or Life magazine, it carries a once-proud brand name that belies its current station. The company was spun off from mighty Rockwell International 15 years ago during the height of the networking boom, and it has steadily decimated itself since. A string of divestitures capped by a complete Chapter 11 reorganization two years ago have seen the one-time telecom darling reduced to a private firm with about $120 million in total sales.

That’s not to say that Conexant isn’t successful. And with over 300 employees drawing a paycheck, Conexant is no hole-in-the-wall outfit. But it’s not… y’know… a big deal.

 

Electronic Design - Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

An In-Depth Interview with Kevin Morris

by Amelia Dalton

Time to break out the sparklers, the bailing wire, and your best O-scope. We’re having an EE party In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Moore’s Law. In this week’s Fish Fry, we investigate how Gordon Moore's legendary 1965 article in Electronics Magazine set the stage for a remarkable half-century of innovation in our industry. We also look at how (and why) Moore's Law may not mean as much going forward as it has in the past. My guest is Kevin Morris, editor-in-chief of EE Journal. Kevin is here to chat with me about how the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law plays into the future of electronic design, his FORTRAN days, the learning curve of FPGA design, and even a little bit about his favorite project of all time.

 

New Year’s Resolution: 1024 x 768

Hazy Predictions for the Coming Year in Technology

by Jim Turley

With a quick polish of the crystal ball (okay, it’s a snow globe) and a tip of the hat to Scott Hilburn, I do hereby make my official and semi-seriously considered prognostications for The Year in Technology, 2015 Edition.

  • Tesla Motors will reject separate takeover offers from Daimler Benz, BMW, and Nissan/Renault. The battery-car manufacturer has been flying high lately, even becoming the #1 selling car – of any kind – in the country of Norway. That success has attracted interested suitors eager to learn about Tesla’s battery technology and/or to co-opt the brand’s shine. Tesla is nevertheless likely to spurn all outside offers, remaining steadfastly independent. You will be able to buy Tesla batteries for other devices/appliances before long, however.
 

More Indoor Location Services

Few-Centimeter and -Meter Accuracy from BeSpoon and CSR

by Bryon Moyer

We’ve talked before about the challenges of navigating indoors. It was a hard problem then; it remains a hard problem today, with numerous technological contributions coming here and there to help out. For the most part, there’s still no blockbuster new technology to put render all that has come before obsolete, but what follows is a look at a couple of recently-announced real-time location service (RTLS) approaches that continue to build on this pile of solutions.

Be the Spoon

We’ll start with a self-contained proprietary system. In fact, it’s so proprietary that it has its own phone, although, in reality, the phone is more of a development kit than a product. In fact, they announced three such kits a couple of months ago.

 

Instruments for the Black-Turtleneck Crowd

Saleae Logic Analyzer is a New Take on Lab Equipment

by Jim Turley

“Oh, and one more thing…”

You can almost hear the ghost of Steve Jobs introducing the Saleae Logic Pro 16, gesturing to a rear-projection screen as he slips the device out of his pocket. It’s that kind of logic analyzer.

Huh, what? Trendy, stylish, desirable test instruments?

Believe it. The Logic Pro 16 is a hardware logic analyzer that even a design aesthete would love. It’s the lab instrument for the SoHo/Noe Valley/Pearl district crowd. And I have one. And no, you can’t borrow it.

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