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Posts Tagged ‘EE Journal’

The Golden Age of EDA Editorial

Sunday, August 17th, 2014


There once was a golden age for EDA editorial.   Seems funny to say nowadays, when we see EDA editorial in a virtual shambles…where one or two publications gamely soldier on as pure play editorial ventures…while others have adopted various sponsorship business models, thereby incurring the snide, not-accurate accusation of being pay-for-play vehicles.

Among the handful of first-tier publications back around the turn of the century, EE Times clearly was the go-to book for EDA.   Staffed by a corps of editors who brought their sharp, keen-edged industry knowledge to their reporting, no EDA startup thought they launched themselves successfully without being covered in EE Times.   And the formula worked for quite a while.  I still remember how those 240 page tomes came to the mailbox each week.

There were two people who figured prominently in the EE Times braintrust.

Brian Fuller, as editor-in-chief, oversaw and created much of what was successful for the various sections that covered all of electronic design.   And there was Richard Goering, the longtime EDA editor with his imposing manner, startling industry knowledge and contacts.   Richard was perhaps best known for refusing to allow canned presentations during interviews.  He’d ask for material before the interview, then start off the interview with those famous words, “I’ve looked over your material and have a few questions,” and run the 30 -45 minute interview.  It was a little like Steve Jobs saying, “Oh, and one more thing.”

EDA editorial has changed, needless to say.  Fortunately, we have Fuller and Goering here to talk a little about what EDA editorial used to be, what it is today, and what we can look toward in the future.   We’ll post their thoughts over the next several weeks, usually on a Monday.

I can’t think of any individuals more qualified to speak cogently on this subject.


Brian Fuller

Brian Fuller

Richard Goering

Richard Goering















ED:   Brian, Richard, thanks for taking time to reminisce a little and to analyze and speculate about where we’re at now.  So let me kick it off with this question:

What’s happened to electronic design editorial and where is it today?

BRIAN:  Ed, to your question what’s happened to electronic design editorial is pretty simple: it’s still there…it’s just in a different place.

ED:   I keep referring to a golden age for EDA editorial.  There was one, wasn’t there?

BRIAN:  Yes, there was!  Think back 20 years ago and you had at least three major publications with EDA editors of one type or another: EDN, Electronic Design, EE Times, Electronic News (not to mention overseas publications).

ED:  There also was Computer Design, the first publication covering EDA to bite the dust.

BRIAN:    That’s right!

ED:  But I interrupted you…

BRIAN:  EE Times, of which I am most familiar, had 2.5 editors at one point covering the design automation industry from the technology and business standpoint.

ED:  So what happened?

BRIAN:  Well, we all know the backstory since then: In 2001, the dot-com bubble burst. Semiconductor and EDA companies shifted marketing dollars to their own site development and to those publications they thought could deliver more eyeballs.

ED:   What about the notion that EDA vendors never bought sufficient advertising and therefore killed their own editorial?

BRIAN: It wasn’t just with EDA, but I think EDA started the ball rolling, and they were big advertisers so the impact was significant.   Electronics publications had to prioritize areas that they were going to cover. Paul Miller, then CEO of UBM Electronics, said pretty bluntly “EDA marketers: If you’re not going to support us, we can’t invest in editors.”

That was the end of Mike Santarini at EE Times; just a few years later it was the end of Richard Goering, now my colleague at Cadence.

RICHARD: Well, not really the “end” of Mike or myself; Mike went to Xilinx, and I’m now at Cadence. But I do agree with Brian that a lack of advertising revenues ended my career at EE Times.

ED:  So what do we have today?

RICHARD:  Not much is left in print.  EE Times, EDN and Electronic Design still exist on-line, but in more of a blog format than traditional journalism. Their EDA coverage is limited.

BRIAN:  Richard’s right. There isn’t an EDA “press corps” in the old definition of the term. The electronics publishing industry has restructured itself into smaller, more specialized sites with much lower overhead than the traditional electronics publishing houses, and they are quite healthy. Editors do cover EDA from various angles, but they also cover lithography and foundry and SoC design and so on.

These are outfits like SemiWiki, EE Journal and its sister publications, Semiconductor Engineering, Chip Design Magazineand so on.

Over this same period, those companies that shifted their marketing dollars away from third-party publishers to build out their own sites, realized they needed content experts, because that¹s never been their strength. So, as more editors have been turned out onto the streets from third-party publishing, industry companies have eagerly snapped them up to build content.

Right now, we have a very interesting mixture of editors working together from two sides of the aisle, if you will, to create technology conversations.



So what is the EDA editorial braintrust these days?  See what Richard and Brian have to say about it in our next blog. 





Predictions 2014: Bryon Moyer on what’s needed from IP and EDA

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014


Bryon Moyer, Technology Editor at EE Journal, weighs in on what the chip industry needs from EDA and IP in 2014. 

“At the low level, this is going to be the year where the push and pull between EDA companies and users determines how easy FinFETs are to design with.

At the high level, it feels to me like IP and EDA need to come closer together. For years, logic design has been done using text because higher-level languages allow better design abstraction and productivity for hand-crafted designs than prior schematic approaches did. When IP entered the scene, designs were mostly hand-done, with occasional bits farmed out to IP. But now IP dominates, whether internal or third-party. Rather than having a custom-logic paradigm that accommodates IP, it feels like we need to move more to an IP paradigm that accommodates custom logic. And it’s not just about logic either: mixed signal is everywhere, and should be included more seamlessly.”


The Internet of Things

Sunday, June 16th, 2013


As Mike Demler predicted back in May, the “Internet of Things” was all the buzz at DAC this year. 

Freescale CEO Gregg Lowe talked about the opportunities and challenges in his keynote.  

Mentor CEO Wally Rhines said in his keynote that the big growth in the semiconductor industry will come with the Internet of Things. 

It was simultaneously discussed at the GSA European Executive Forum in Munich and the Sensors Expo in Chicago

What do you think? 

Is it the next big thing? 

Can EDA step up to the challenge? 

And what does it mean to our future?

Frying Fish with Amelia Dalton

Monday, September 19th, 2011

I (Liz Massingill) recently had a chance to chat with Amelia Dalton, News Editor at EE Journal and host of the weekly webcast, Fish Fry.  She shared her thoughts on the future of EE Publishing and EDA.

Liz: You must have the most unique feature in EE publishing – your weekly webcast on EE Journal.   How did you come up with the idea of Fish Fry?

Amelia: I’ve been hosting an engineering webcast series called Chalk Talk for about five years now.  Chalk Talk has been really successful and has grown a huge fan base, but it is a commercial series where a company sponsors each episode, and I wanted to do something more editorial that had the same sense of humor and spirit as Chalk Talk.  I’m the news editor for EE Journal, so every press release in the electronic industry comes across my desk.  As you know – a few of these press releases are interesting and useful, and some are completely ridiculous and quite funny.

Liz: But I’m sure you’ve never gotten one of those from us, right?  ;-)

Amelia: I came up with the idea for an engineering news-related podcast as a fun-finale to our editorial week.  I wanted to report the interesting real news, and to make fun of some of the…  less useful stuff.

Liz: Your irreverent humor has certainly appealed to me.

Amelia: I wanted to capture some of the engineering culture and something about the lifestyle and the more human side of engineers.  I envisioned something for electronic engineers that was like a combination of “The Daily Show” and “This American Life.”  I also wanted to build in a good measure of nerd appeal.  I’ve kept pretty true to that concept for the first year of Fish Fry.

Liz: So who is your target audience?

Amelia: My target audience is definitely the career electronic engineer, but as it is with the rest of our editorial content at EE Journal, I want my Fish Fry broadcasts to be approachable for anyone who works in EE and maybe even those ultra-nerdy friends of mine!  One of the things we’ve always worked to do is make complex technology accessible for less technical people and to put the deep-nerd stuff in perspective for the hard-core engineering brain.  I think Fish Fry captures that. 

Liz: Indeed it does.  How have they reacted to your on-air persona?  For me, that’s the draw that keeps me coming back!

Amelia: The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.  I think my on-air persona is a big part of that, as well as the slightly irreverent take we have on technology news! I very diligently try to put myself in the place of the “average” engineer and investigate each topic I pursue from that angle.  It doesn’t hurt to throw in the occasional Star Trek reference either.

Liz: Beam me up, Scotty.  Tell us about your background before Fish Fry?

Amelia: Not many people know this, but my father was a voice over talent and radio DJ for many years when I was a child.  I heard “Member FDIC” more times than I could count!  Before we launched Fish Fry, I had been News Editor and Chalk Talk webcast host for 5 years at Techfocus Media, which I continue to do to this day and that experience has been absolutely invaluable.

Liz: What interests you most about EDA?  Or does it?

Amelia: EDA is a very unique industry and I definitely think it doesn’t get the credit it deserves – or it’s share of the electronics industry pie.  It is really the backbone of the modern electronics industry, but your average consumer may not even know EDA exists and your average engineer may not know much about it, other than the tools he or she is already familiar with.

Liz: I know one of those engineers.  What can we do about that?

Amelia: One of the things I try to do is to help the average engineer – who is the customer of the EDA industry – better understand the companies and people behind the tools they are using every day.  I think it’s easy to expect EDA tools to cost and behave just like mass-market commercial software, but EDA tools are a completely different thing.  I can’t give EDA the revenue share it deserves – they need to figure that out on their own, but I can at least raise the awareness of the importance of EDA and the challenges that industry faces among their target customers.

Liz: And believe me, we all appreciate that. What is your opinion of the social media craze and its influence on the EDA industry or the EE industry?   How has social media influenced or altered editorial and communications in general in EDA and the EE industry?

Amelia: Engineers have been using social media for a lot longer than this most recent craze, truth be told. If you think about it – Usenet was the first social media, and engineers were using that voraciously before the web even existed.  I think a large community of engineers are still rooted in those venues and haven’t been so fast to make the move to newer properties like Facebook and Twitter.

Liz: What do you think is holding them back?

Amelia: I think most EDA companies think they should be involved in some level of social media, but they are not sure how to start.  There are some intrinsic problems with EE and social media, and the biggest is the lack of information that companies (and the engineers who work for them) are allowed to divulge.  The center of social media is about sharing information, and since NDAs, project secrecy, IP protection, and paranoia rule the roost at most companies, I’m not sure the EE community at large is able to take advantage of a lot of the community power of social media – at least for direct work-related content.  To make things even more complicated, a lot of companies still block social media sites on their company networks.  Engineers will still find ways to share information, though, whether it includes personal Facebook accounts or anonymous posts like what is found at John Cooley’s Deep Chip…But overall, I believe that social media as we see it today will have an altogether different role within EE than it does to the rest of the world.  Our philosophy on social media has been to be all-inclusive.  When I post a new Fish Fry, for example, we generally put it on the front page of EE Journal, in the e-mail newsletters, on facebook, on twitter, on RSS, and we provide a mobile version.  We want to cover all the bases.  I think we dropped the 2-cans and a string version just a couple of weeks ago.

Liz: What about the pigeon and the message in a bottle? ;-)  What does the future hold for EDA?

Amelia: Well, that’s a very good question!  I believe that the business model for EDA as a whole needs to see some serious changes in the future…when that will happen, well, I’m not sure I can predict that.  I can see how more smaller niche tool companies will be snatched up by the bigger fish, so they can have more robust tool offerings, but I think we need to see more real innovation from inside the big EDA companies as well.

Liz: Do you see other types of companies gobbling up small EDA vendors?

Amelia: I also see chip companies snatching up smaller tool companies as well, to add to their tool suites, so that is providing some competition for commercial EDA companies that they haven’t seen much in a few decades – in-house tools competing with commercial ones…  Who will be left when the dust settles, who knows?…it will be very interesting to watch it all unfold.

Liz: Along with a plethora of editorial material.  Speaking of editorial, what’s your 2 cents on EE publishing.  Where’s it going?

Amelia: I believe EE publishing is going to be an online only endeavor in the near future.  As we have made our mission from the start here at Techfocus Media, I think the electronics industry trade press needs to continuously find new avenues to reach the EE community of the world.  Publishers must be flexible with content delivery as they maintain editorial intergity.  I am deeply concerned by the number of publications that have fallen back re-writing press releases, relying on contributed articles, and the “pay for play” mode of editorial and I am very proud that EE Journal has never and will never go that way.  I believe that we, as the trade press need to report the truth wherever it may lay, and to be loyal to our audience.  Publishers need to find ways to make a viable business for themselves without violating those underlying principles of responsible and ethical journalism.  It’s possible, and taking the easy short cuts is just plain lazy.

Liz: I like the way you think, Amelia.  And I think I’ve just been…….fried.


If you want to be fried, you can catch Amelia every week on Fish Fry at:


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