Blog Review: Oct. 30

Lego phones; finFET pain; history; pricing strategies; birthdays; bottlenecks; obviousness tests; mobile Halloween; time to market.


Mentor’s Nazita Saye has stumbled on a phone that you can build yourself from various components. When something breaks, you simply change out what’s broken. Wasn’t that the concept behind the original Volkswagen Beetle?

Cadence’s Brian Fuller launches into the discussion about 16nm headaches, including finFET parasitics, pin access and wire resistance. Looks like the transition to finFETs isn’t so straightforward after all.

Synopsys’ Karen Bartleson interviews tech reporter Mike Malone about the history of Silicon Valley, starting from the late 1940s, over the course of two videos. Grab a beer for this one.

Real Intent’s Rick Eram says that purchasing managers at semiconductor companies use the cost of a tool as a measure of its value. In most other industries, that would be grounds for a price increase.

Applied Materials’ Ricky Gradwohl wishes the Internet a happy birthday. It all began 44 years ago.

Mentor’s J. VanDomelen highlights some of the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards. These are outside the semi industry, but they are interesting.

Cadence’s Richard Goering questions whether it’s time to finally do something about the really big bottleneck in SoC development—embedded software.

Synopsys’ Richard Solomon contends there should be an engineering obviousness test as a benchmark for design. One that failed? The electro-chromatic windows on the new 787 that don’t actually block out the sun. Bring back the old sliding shades.

Mentor’s Ricardo Agulano provides three videos on pre-silicon Linux development. If you use these tools, there are some good training insights.

And in case you missed last week’s System-Level Design newsletter, here are some standout blogs:

Brian Bailey believes it’s time for the Nobel Prize committee to recognize the EDA industry.

– Si2’s John Ellis looks at the advances in power management with Apple’s new MacBook Air and why standards are so important.

– Cadence’s Frank Schirrmeister points to use-case scenarios and systems, not just hardware, as the future of verification.

– Synopsys’ Tom De Schutter observes the impact that the mobile world is having on Halloween. Who needs to actually knock on doors? You can just text them.

– eSilicon’s Jack Harding says everyone should be giving back to the industry that pays their bills. He has a point.

– Real Intent’s Graham Bell adds a bit of oral history for the industry by way of a video.

– Arteris’ Kurt Shuler notes that time to market is changing the dynamics of OEM relationships with their suppliers.

– And market guru Neil Hand points out that in a software-defined world, hardware still really matters.

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