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IPad Air; Google Barge; Gary Smith Hospitalized (Great Reads 11-1-2013)

Comments(0)Filed under: Cadence, EE Times, EDA tools, Brian Fuller, design automation, Apple, EDA vendors, electronics design, EDA software, Google, computer design, iPad Air

Up in the Air

Apple's iPad Air became available this week, the latest in the big consumer company's tablet lineup. And our friends at iFixit have already broken theirs - for our benefit.

Rick Merritt at EE Times reports the device packs a faster A7 microprocessor (believed by Chipworks via its teardown to be 1.4GHz compared with 1.3GHz in earlier Apple tablets).

Merritt, referencing iFixit, writes:

"Probably the biggest change in the iPad Air is the use of a significantly smaller battery to get to the tablet's thinner size and lower weight. The Air's 3.73V, 32.9 WHr, two-cell battery replaces the previous iPad's 43 WHr, three-cell behemoth, iFixit noted."

Floating Mystery

Google Mystery Barge

A barge floating in San Francisco Bay has tongues wagging. CNET Editor Daniel Terdiman, employing some classic Reporting 101 digging, first reported on the mystery early in the week. His take was that the mystery box was to be a floating data center or warehouse for Google glass (see CNET photo, right).

Late in the week, the San Jose Mercury News surmised that it might be a floating showroom for Google X projects.

The mystery continues.

What do you think?

Or do you even care?

Gary Smith Hospitalized

Upsetting news earlier this week reported by John Cooley via Lori-Kate Smith: Gary Smith, the legendary EDA analyst, was rushed to the hospital with lung issues late last week.

As of Halloween, Gary was reportedly about to be discharged home with antibiotics and some oxygen as he works to get his lungs back into shape. Gary had a bout with cancer several years ago; the radiation during that time reduced his lung capacity, according to Lori-Kate.

Looking forward to seeing his jovial self ASAP and perhaps getting him back for another episode of Unhinged! In Episode #2, Gary talks turkey about EDA (no surprise there!).

Get well, Gary! 

Pret-a-Porter Energy Harvesting

Just imagine portable devices or clothing that could harvest energy from vibration or some other manner. (I've always thought heated clothing for extremely cold climes is a perfect application).

That what the folks at Intel Labs are thinking as well, as reported by our friends at Intel Free Press.  

Research scientist Alanson Sample captures the hope in this beautiful quote: "I think solving the power problem will create the illusion of magical devices."

Sample goes on to say:

"Some of the devices that I create are kind of like cold-blooded animals - when it's cold they don't move, when it's warm, they do. When a device doesn't have much power, it may only be able to send a packet once every couple seconds, but when there's more power it has more functionality; maybe it can tell you location, temperature, velocity or even stream audio or video. It's all dependent on how much power it has."

Check out this great story on the Intel Free Press site. (BTW, I had lunch this week with Managing Editor Benjamin Tomkins and founding editor Bill Calder. Theirs is one of the most interesting and pioneering sites for electronics journalism today).

Tackling Verification Challenges

The era of ubiquitous and complex IP integration is in full swing, but often design teams end up using older verification methodologies to validate interconnects.

Hao Wen and Jianhong Chen of Spreadtrum and Dave Huang of Cadence, writing in Chip Design Magazine, describe a systematic approach to tackle the challenge and improve verification efficiency. They discuss a verification environment that they created with the Universal Verification Methodology (UVM).

Connecting with the Connected Community

If you design with ARM-and that would be a lot of you!-then you've probably tapped into the worldwide ARM Connected Community for help and insight. ARM this week relaunched the community on the Jive platform, making a great place for technical conversation even better.

But don't take my word for it. I caught up with our old Cadence colleague Joe Hupcey (now a product marketing director at Jasper Design) at ARM TechCon to chat about the new community's benefits:

Fatal Flaw

There's a reason we can never have enough verification. We have an innate human desire to know for certain that our designs are bullet proof. And often it's to make them as safe as possible.

Recently, Toyota lost a U.S. court case in a fatal accident involving unintended acceleration.

EE Times' Junko Yoshida reports that a report used during the trial found, among other things, software bugs that caused memory corruption as well as unmaintainable code complexity.

Check out her complete story here

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