IP, Ownership, and Cyber Piracy Today
So you’ve built yourself some lovely software. You've shined and polished the corners, field tested it, and even gotten the approval of the VCs on high. But what if, the whole time, there was a tiny hole in your code? And because of that tiny hole, the bad guys were able to waltz right in and are now using your software all willy-nilly-like without paying. Well folks, this is happening a lot more than we know. Or, maybe we do know about it but we just don’t want to talk about it. This week we’re pulling back the curtain on software piracy, IP thievery, and unlicensed software usage with Ted Miracco from SmartFlow Compliance Solutions. Ted and I discuss where the biggest piracy threats are coming from these days and how companies big and small can protect themselves from those sneaky, scurvy-ridden cyber pirates.
When Does an Embedded System Become Part of the IoT?
Yannick Chammings, CEO of French company Witekio, was explaining to me why they were changing the company name (previously they were called Adeneo Embedded), and why this was intended to show how they were changing the way in which they worked with their customers. As a part of this, he started talking about a connected climbing wall. Now climbing walls, while becoming increasingly popular, I think of as essentially dumb. You have an imitation rock face, built from a range of materials, with hand- and foot-holds screwed into a matrix of sockets. The holds can be colour-coded to indicate different routes up the wall, so a mix of different skills can use the same wall, and the routes can be reconfigured by moving the holds. (Oh - and usually the climbers are attached to a safety rope – limiting the damage should they fall off.)
Xilinx Kicks Up Cost-Optimized Offering
It’s always fun to fantasize about Ferraris and FinFETs. After all, what true engineer doesn’t get a little tingly talking about terabits of bandwidth, single-digit nanometers, and gazillions of LUTs. But, in practical terms, the vast majority of us don’t have an actual application need for the biggest, fastest FPGAs and SoCs on the market. And, while it’s fun to watch and speculate about which company can cram the most transistors onto an integrated circuit, the reality is that, for most of us, our actual requirements are much more modest.
Fortunately, the programmable logic companies realize this, and, in the midst of all the marketing bravado and chest beating about the new high-end FPGA families, Xilinx is announcing a major upgrade to their non-bleeding-edge families - Zynq, Artix, and - back by popular demand - Spartan.
…and Other News from Applied Micro and Your TV Maker
Well, that didn’t take long.
In yet another example of the “what gets measured gets done” syndrome, some TV manufacturers now stand accused of cheating on their energy-consumption testing. According to the environmental monitors at the Natural Resources Defense Council, several big-screen TVs are cheating by detecting the government-standard testing methodology and artificially reducing their power to get a rosier efficiency rating. Do you suppose the test engineers drove to work in diesel Volkswagens?
Write Once, Use Many
Noooooo! Are you kidding me? How many times has this happened so far? You know tape-out is tomorrow, right? Dangit!
Intermolecular and New Materials Discovery
The journey is not an easy one. Most engineers can't even see the finish line, let alone complete the race. The future of our industry hangs in balance and this is a competition that must be won - one way or another. In this week's fish fry, we investigate the perilous path to new material discovery with Chris Kramer of Intermolecular. Chris and I discuss the materials discovery process, the subtle interaction between process tools and new materials, and the challenges and opportunities new materials can bring. Also this week, we take a closer look at a new type of 3D printed material developed at the Hasso-Plattner-Institute, in Potsdam, Germany that can make simple machines out of 3D printed plastic.