OrCad and Allegro Speed Up Board Design
The PCB Design tool race is perhaps the most stable and long-lived competition in all of electronic design automation. Since at least the 1980s, commercial tools have fought to own the screen of board designers as they convert ideas to schematics to metal traces etched into a substrate. Through all of those decades, the basic process has always been the same. Craft a schematic drawing with components from a library, verify that the thing will probably do what you intended, and create a board layout that physically hooks the parts up the way you specified.
Board design tools have never seen the kinds of explosive market growth - or the dramatic revolutions in methodology - that other areas of EDA have experienced. Where chip design went through waves of revolutionary change from schematic to language-based design to high-level specification, the level of design abstraction in PCB design has remained remarkably stable.
Sometimes Going With Your Hunch is the Best Business Strategy
“As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.” – Ernest Hemingway
They say you should never meet your heroes. But I met one of mine, and it couldn’t have turned out better.
Meeting your heroes is supposed to lead to disappointment and regret. Your favorite sports star will turn out to be a foul-mouthed child abuser. A respected civic leader will be taking bribes from all sides. Your childhood movie star crush will be revealed as a rude, self-absorbed, talentless twit. Better to cling to the gauzy illusions than to discover the ugly reality.
My heroes were mostly nerds. Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Arthur C. Clarke – that crowd. When I started working as an engineer, I admired people who created things.
A Review of Adoption Rates and Issues
Go to any of the dozens of conferences dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT), and you’re likely to hear it: “The consumer IoT isn’t gaining adoption at the rate initially hoped.”
That matches with my anecdotal experience – at least amongst my non-tech friends, for whom being the first on the block with some new gadget doesn’t constitute a value proposition. One friend was even annoyed that her boyfriend bought her a Nest: “I just want a stupid thermostat!” But, being anecdotal, my experience doesn’t really tell us anything about what’s going on in the wider context. So I set about to see if there was any data to quantify what’s happening with the Consumer IoT (CIoT).
Food Trucks, Art Shows, and Design Automation
What do algorithmic art, food truck fare, and EDA software have in common? This year's Design Automation Conference! In this week's Fish Fry, we get a special sneak peek into the year's biggest EDA event with DAC Chairman Chuck Alpert. Chucks gives us the lowdown on all of the coolest events at the expo this year (Austin food trucks on the show floor?!), the details of the inaugural DAC art show and super cool keynotes (soccer playing robots?!), and much more. Also this week, we take a closer look at how a unique collaboration between Posterscope and NBS is hoping to stop mosquitoes dead in their tracks - one billboard at a time.
Device Packaging May be Going to the Ball
Two weeks after the three-ring circus that was embedded world (see "Embedded World Diary"), I was at another event: SEMI's ISS Europe. This was on a different scale and had a different topic. SEMI is the trade body for the companies that build the kit and supply the materials that, in turn, are used to make micro- and nano-electronics. ISS Europe (Industry Strategy Symposium) is a two-day event where members of SEMI are briefed on the trends that are going to shape the industry.
Now some of these trends, particularly the big global socio-economic issues, such as the overall economic climate and the important role of China, were discussed in “May You Live in Interesting Times".
Intel’s Had Another Bad Year. How Would You Fix It?
“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” – Yogi Berra
It’s earnings season again, and that means another round of bad financial results and job cuts from the world’s best-known chipmaker, Intel. The company announced last week that it would lay off about 12,000 workers over the course of a year, amounting to a draconian 11% cut in headcount.
Look around your cubicle farm. Now imagine one cube in nine is empty, as if by alien abduction. And you get to pick up the slack.
There’s nothing much we can add to the headlines or the hand-wringing about how the darling of Silicon Valley is now potentially past its prime. The company’s not in a death-spiral. It’s not all that grim, and upper management is saying all the right things about “transformation” and “execution.”