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 What Would Joe Do?

Archive for June, 2012

Pop Pop iPop :: Prince King Potentate

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

 

The week of Fourth of July in the U.S. is a short work week and one where most people are on vacation, or at least thinking about it. So let’s take a break from the day-to-day stress of work and worry, and think about other things as well – things like innovation.

The following was first published in October 2011 in EDA Confidential, just a few days after Steve Jobs passed away.

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Pop Pop iPop …

Over the last 60 years, three wildly different anarchists have grabbed the Common Man by the throat, forced him to take off the blinders, stop signing on the bottom line, and cease obsessing about crossing those damn t’s or dotting those accursed i’s. In so doing, these three more than any others of their time redefined the modern zeitgeist and created 20th Century Man, a hominid unrecognizable from any that came before.

And, because the risks of fomenting chaos often – and perversely – generate great rewards, these guys also raked in an outsized share of the cosmic pie and were anointed, respectively, Prince of Pop, King of Pop, and Potentate of iPop.

It wasn’t all goodness and light, however; the Fates insisted on having the last word in the unscripted and tumultuous glories of the three. Clearly flying too close to the sun, not a single one of them lived to see a 60th birthday.

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Uncanny Valley: the talking heads of Jean Paul Gaultier

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

 


Over the last few weeks
, quite a lot of things have happened here in the Bay Area: some expected, some unexpected, some uncanny, and some downright Uncanny Valley.

For instance, it was expected that the Bay-to-Breakers would run early on May 20th, but unexpected that the weather would be so lovely on that morning. It was expected that a solar eclipse would happen just before sundown on the same day, but unexpected that the weather would hold out so millions in the Bay Area could see it. In other words, no fog in the morning or the afternoon.

It was expected on May 27th that the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge would be celebrated with extraordinary fireworks, but unexpected that the fog hovering off the coast should wait until just after the fireworks display to finally enter in through the Golden Gate.

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EVs: an Electric Car in Every Garage

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

 

Despite all the press and buzz around cars like the Tesla, EVs (electric vehicles) are nowhere close to becoming a widespread phenomenon.

First of all, the battery technology at the heart of the EV power train is still problematic. The batteries are heavy and take up a lot of space. Lithium-ion batteries – the type most popular in electric vehicles – are flammable, although electric vehicle enthusiasts argue that gasoline is also volatile. EV batteries are extremely expensive to replace, tens of thousands of dollars for a complete pack, and must be swapped out after 100,000 miles of use. Finally, a fully charged EV will only go about 100 miles* before the charge is depleted, a problem compounded by range anxiety. EV owners are reluctant to let their batteries drop below a 50-percent charge, so are unwilling to venture farther than 50 miles between chargings.

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EDA M&A: Atrenta acquires NextOp

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

 

The news crossed the wires at 8:00 am this morning: Atrenta announced it has acquired NextOp Software, “allowing Atrenta to expand its de-facto standard SpyGlass RTL platform to include functional verification using NextOp’s patented dynamic assertion synthesis technology, and creating a more complete SoC Realization platform.” Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With the acquisition, NextOp President & CEO Dr. Yunshan Zhu becomes VP of New Technologies reporting to Atrenta Chairman, President & CEO Dr. Ajoy Bose. NextOp Co-founder & CTO Dr. Yuan Lu becomes Chief Verification Architect reporting to Zhu.

EDA luminary Jim Hogan is quoted in today’s Press Release: “I’m glad to see private/private acquisitions like this happening again after such a long dry spell. Atrenta could be leading a trend in renewed growth for the EDA sector.”

I spoke by phone with Ajoy Bose and Yunshan Zhu earlier in the week about the upcoming announcement.

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SWVP: Gary Smith’s Four Horsemen of the Approximation

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

 

Everybody loves the phrase, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but usually don’t remember the specifics. According to Wikipedia, the horsemen each ride a steed of a different color – white, red, black, and pale – and thunder towards us bearing apocalyptic messages of Conquest, War, Famine and Death. You know: The stuff of video games and CGI blockbusters. Ignore them and you lose.

This year at DAC, GSEDA analyst Gary Smith presented his own apocalyptic message in back-to-back presentations on Sunday evening, June 3rd, and again on Monday morning, June 4th.

Why was Smith’s message apocalyptic? Because he too had four horsemen, and they too cannot be ignored. Without them, products will fail. It’s that simple.

Smith’s horsemen are neither rapacious nor ravaging, however. Instead, they represent the methodical four-step process for co-development of hardware and software, which if done properly moves to completion in carefully controlled lock-step and produces successful results.

Replacing Apocalypse with Approximation, Gary Smith’s Four Horsemen of the Approximation represent Design Exploration (not Conquest), Making Apps (not War), Firmware (not Famine), and Sales & Marketing (not Death).

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49DAC Unplugged: Images from San Francisco

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

 

The 2012 Design Automation Conference, June 3rd to 7th at Moscone Center in San Francisco, hosted thousands of people. These photos capture only some of the images at the show. They were all taken with an iPad3, an odd but effective form factor for a camera, and were edited on an HP Pavilion dm3. Click on any image to see the larger version.

The YouTube videos below — Gary Smith Blues, Moscone Flags, Forte Bagpipes — were also captured with an iPad3.

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49DAC Unplugged: Tiempo, SypherMedia, SOCtronics, SkillCAD, Ausdia

Monday, June 11th, 2012

 

This is the third in a series of blogs describing conversations with small companies that exhibited at 2012 Design Automation Conference in San Francisco, June 4th to 6th.

Since I published the Monday@DAC and Tuesday@DAC blogs, both Dan Nenni and Mike Demler have published attendance numbers for the conference. Interesting that the two sets of numbers see the same cup as either half-full or half-empty.

Per Nenni, the cup’s half-full when comparing DAC 2011 in San Diego to DAC 2012 in San Francisco: “Conference attendees were up to 1901, up 9% on last year. But exhibits only passes were way up to 2783, an increase of 39%. Even booth staff was up 11% to 2704.”

Per Demler, however, the cup’s half-empty when comparing DAC 2009 to DAC 2012, both in San Francisco: “Conference attendees remained essentially flat compared to the last San Francisco DAC, at 1,962 in 2009 versus 1,902 this year. Exhibit-only attendees dropped by nearly 20%, from 3,337 three years ago to 2,703 in 2012. It is interesting to note that Booth Staff actually increased slightly, from 2,697 to 2,704.”

Demler added: “An analysis of the DAC exhibitor list reflects many of the changes that have occurred in the industry. Fewer than 100 companies on the show floor, approximately half of the exhibitors, actually develop design tools.”

Demler also observed that PDF Solutions, a company whose CEO is on the EDAC Board, did not exhibit at DAC 2012. PDF Solutions does not consider itself a design tool company, however – see my interview with John Kibarian here – so even had the company exhibited that may not have alleviated concerns.

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49DAC Unplugged: Methodics, Synaptic, Instigate, ProximusDA, Fractal

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

 

Each year, both Gary Smith and John Cooley provide a “Must See” list of companies they recommend attendees seek out and talk with at the Design Automation Conference. DAC 2012 was no different: Gary’s 2012 list had 27 companies and Cooley’s had over 80. Short of one, all of the companies on Gary’s list also appeared on John’s.

However, there were almost 200 exhibitors at DAC in San Francisco so clearly many companies exhibiting were not on these lists, which made for an interesting exercise: Go out onto the Exhibition Hall floor and only talk to companies who are not on the lists.

That’s what I did each day in San Francisco, walking up to booths without an appointment and in the process finding a host of articulate technologists, and their enterprises, which seem to exist under the radar at DAC. On Tuesday, June 5th, I spoke with 5 of them.

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49DAC Unplugged: SynTest, CAST, Apsim, StarNet, Doulos

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

 

Each year, both Gary Smith and John Cooley provide a “Must See” list of companies they recommend attendees seek out and talk with at the Design Automation Conference. DAC 2012 was no different: Gary’s 2012 list had 27 companies and Cooley’s had over 80. Short of one, all of the companies on Gary’s list also appeared on John’s.

However, there were almost 200 exhibitors at DAC in San Francisco so clearly many companies exhibiting were not on these lists, which made for an interesting exercise: Go out onto the Exhibition Hall floor and only talk to companies who are not on the lists.

That’s what I did each day in San Francisco, walking up to booths without an appointment and in the process finding a host of articulate technologists, and their enterprises, which seem to exist under the radar at DAC. On Monday, June 4th, I spoke with 5 of them.

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49DAC Unplugged: Bob, Chris, Ry, Steve, Jennifer, Wally, Jill, Lee

Monday, June 4th, 2012

 

DAC started with a boom on Sunday night, June 3rd. EDAC reports that 900 people registered for the opening reception, and by the crush of people in Salon 7 in the basement of the San Francisco Marriott Hotel, it looked like everybody showed up. [Although perhaps not quite 900…]

Setting up my word processor on a cocktail table at the back of the crowd, I manged to see numerous thought leaders in EDA as they swam by, in and out of the stream of people that swirled throughout the wine, buzz & music-laden ballroom as EDAC’s Executive Director Bob Gardner’s Jazz Trio entertained up on stage.

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