Express Logic GUIX Brings Graphics to Embedded Interfaces
Maybe it’s a left-brain/right-brain thing. Programmers usually aren’t very good user-interface designers. Drawing all those windows, buttons, and scroll bars gives most developers the willies.
Enter GUIX, a new GUI-design tool from Express Logic, the people who make the ThreadX real-time operating system. GUIX brings lightweight GUI widgets to smallish embedded systems, allowing programmers to stick to their programming and leave the GUI gooeyness to the liberal-arts majors.
QuickLogic Does the Cooking For You
The FPGA market is a wasteland - littered with the battered corpses of startup companies who thought they could build a better mousetrap. They attacked the strongholds of market leaders Xilinx and Altera and ended up paying the ultimate price. But none of these entrepreneurs were dummies. In fact, in just about every case they had a novel idea that brought significant advantages to the programmable logic designer.
The reason they failed, however, was remarkably consistent. It wasn’t because they had inferior chips. In fact, they often had devices with improved capabilities for whatever segment of the FPGA market they were attacking. It wasn’t because they didn’t know their customer, either. Most of them had a well-targeted marketing plan designed to win strategic business in key segments of the industry.
2013 MEMS Executive Congress
MEMS. The final frontier. What better place to check out some of the coolest innovation in our electronic engineering community than the 2013 MEMS Executive Congress. QuickLogic has jumped into the MEMS space in big way, and this week Brian Faith (VP - QuickLogic) breaks it all down for us. We're also waxing MEMS poetic with Alissa Fitzgerald (Founder - AMFitzgerald) and Peter Himes (VP - Silex) about the future of innovation in the MEMS sphere. Join us as we get our MEMS on!
New Synopsys Processor Makes Leaps in Performance
Pop quiz! What’s the second-most-popular CPU core in the world? First place goes to ARM, of course, but who’s the runner-up?
If you guessed MIPS, PowerPC, x86, Tensilica, 8051, or XMOS, you’re wrong. (In good company, but still wrong.) The correct answer is: ARC.
According to Synopsys, 1.3 billion ARC processors were embedded into chips last year, and that number is growing by about 300 million per year. That puts ARC second only to the mighty ARM. Must be something about the name. Maybe all those designers thought they were getting ARM but licensed ARC by accident.
TSensors Conference Targets a Roadmap
You’ve probably all attended one of these meetings. A high-ranking person in an organization wants to make a strategic change or raise the priority of some neglected issue or otherwise alter how things work. But in a post-Dickensian world, he (yes, it could be a “she,” although, as yet, it largely isn’t in our overwhelmingly male industry, and the “he-ness” has implications) can’t just legislate by fiat.
No, he must call a meeting with at least one level of lieutenants below him. And, together, they’re supposed to have a reasoned conversation that yields the conclusion that the leader wants. The answer is already known; it’s about giving that answer an aura of greater democratic legitimacy than simply, “Because I said so.”
QuickLogic Announces Ultra-Low-Power Sensor Hub
Sensors are literally taking over the world. Projections vary as to actual numbers - some say we will reach a trillion - but it is safe to say that we are in the middle of an exponential explosion in the number of sensors deployed in the world. Beyond the obvious gajillions in smartphones, sensors are being designed into just about every kind of embedded system you can imagine. All those sensors promise a revolution in the real-world intelligence of the systems we all design.
One of the biggest problems with putting sensors into our systems is - they’re kinda high-maintenance from a processing point of view. All day long, like cranky little toddlers, they keep dribbling out data and wanting us to deal with it. If you get very many sensors in your system, you really need a nanny to take care of them all, so you can get back to the important business of letting your embedded computer do some embedded computing.
Sorry, It's Not What You're Thinking
There’s nothing like 10 hours in the air to help you get intimate with a piece of technology that you must stare in the face the entire time.
I’m talking, of course, about the screen in the back of the seat in front of you. I had two different experiences with two different screens on two different flights last week.
On the first one, my only observation was that the screen and light controls had been moved from the arm rest (where you are forever turning the damn thing back on by resting your arm on one of the buttons) to the screen. A good thing but for one problem: figuring out how to control stuff from the screen.
Turns out there was an innocuous little dot you push to bring up a menu. A dot was apparently the best they could do as an icon; heck, it wasn’t even obvious that it was there to be clicked. You HAD to read the instruction page to know how it worked.
2013 TSensors Summit Preview
Get out your graphing calculator, an abacus, and a hand or two - we’re counting sensors. In this week’s Fish Fry, we chat with Janusz Bryzek about the 2013 TSensors Summit for Trillion Sensors Roadmap. We'll tell you how this summit started and what exciting stuff you'll learn by attending. Also, we announce the winner of last week’s nerdy giveaway (Starter Kit for PIC24F Intelligent Integrated Analog courtesy of Microchip technology) and we give everyone the chance to win a copy of the book “FRAM for Dummies”.
New Low-end x86 MCU Line Emerging from the Lab
Intel is going subatomic in its charge to empower embedded systems.
Last week the company teased out a few hints about a new low-end product line called Quark. Quark is like Atom, but smaller. (Get it? Quark? Atom? It’s nerdy.) Like Atom, Quark chips will be x86-based embedded processors, but, unlike Atom, they’ll be more like an MCU or SoC. Indeed, the first (and so far, only) Quark chip revealed has “SoC” right in its name.
Like real quarks, the Intel version is hard to capture and pin down. The company has revealed almost nothing about Quark’s features or technical merits, preferring instead to just telegraph its intention to enter the market for “intelligent systems” that need x86 compatibility.
Nirvanix Failure Leaves Customers in the Lurch
Let me just start by saying, “I Told You So.”
Cloud-storage company Nirvanix just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, abruptly shutting its doors and informing its customers that they have exactly two weeks to come get their data.
Two whole weeks. For every customer to retrieve all the data that was presumably (a) massive enough to require offsite cloud storage, and (b) important enough to require offsite cloud storage.
What are you going to do, start a marathon download from Nirvanix’s servers to yours? And then upload it all again to a different service? Hope you've got a really fast connection at your office. Alternatively, you’ve got two weeks to hustle your butt down to Nirvanix’s San Diego headquarters with a bunch of DVDs, tapes, or USB drives under your arm.