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 What Would Joe Do?

Posts Tagged ‘Steve Jobs’

Executive Privilege: Presidential Libraries at DAC, LBJ to AdG

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

 


Presidents and CEOs share a common difficulty: the past
. A past that’s sometimes of their own making. They come into office full of enthusiasm and an agenda for improvement and innovation, only to find that the past serves increasingly as an impediment for moving forward.

Of course, the difference between Presidents and CEOs is that the former get libraries built in their name to commemorate their contributions, whether or not they’re able to conquer a past legacy left to them by predecessors.

CEOs, on the other hand, don’t get libraries when their tenures end. They either get tons of criticism, or occasionally tons of praise – but no library. They do, however, often get millions of dollars in compensation and stock during their administrations, and usually a pretty golden handshake when they’re done. Something that goes a long way to easing the pain of criticisms they may endure during and after their years in power.

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Ajoy Bose: The Man Behind the Microchip

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

 


You would probably have learned more about Ajoy Bose
by reading his biography than by attending Jim Hogan’s gentle exercise in collegiality on Tuesday night, March 1st, in Silicon Valley. The conversation between these two giants of EDA, hosted by EDAC as part of DVCon week, was consistently unstructured, whimsical and seemingly without outline.

The next day, I sat in a coffee shop and struggled to find a handle with which to write a coherent summary of the previous night’s random access memory album. But that handle would not reveal itself.

Then I happened to glance over to a nearby table where another caffeine addict was buried in a book: The Man Behind the Microchip. I asked the addict who exactly was the subject of the book and the answer came back: Robert Noyce.

So Robert Noyce is the man behind the microchip, I pondered. The only man behind the microchip? Like Steve Jobs invented the iPod/iPad/iPhone? Or Thomas Edison invented the electric light?

No wonder, I realized, it was hard to get a handle on the previous night’s Hogan/Bose interview. They didn’t do anything. Robert Noyce did it all. And without help. Hogan and Bose did nothing, and ergo had nothing to offer their audience.

These two were not part of a vast conspiracy of contributors, all adding their particular drips and drops of innovation into the trickle of technology, that rolled into a small creek of creativity, that ran into a moderate-sized stream of science-turned-engineering, which poured into a roaring river of real change, which crashed into a seething sea of twenty-first century digital life.

Of course, that’s nonsense. Robert Noyce did not do everything, and Hogan and Bose did not do nothing.

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Strange bedfellows: Synopsys & Software Freedom Conservancy

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

 

Open source EDA software has been of interest to many, albeit not all, for a number of years. The appeal is intuitive: price point, ability to modify code, ability to weigh in on the design and usability, and so on. The drawbacks are also intuitive: unstable code, insufficient and/or eccentric documentation, ebb and flow of volunteer developers, lack of long-term support for algorithms and code, inability to interact with customers at a detailed enough level to provide software that truly solves problems and supports design.

There are two other drawbacks as well. Open source software is difficult to monetize around and it’s the antithesis of all things proprietary. The EDA industry, however, is profoundly proprietary. End of story?

Surprisingly, no. If you google “Synopsys Open Source”, you’ll get a whole page of links with this intro: “The following open source software are included in one or more Synopsys FPGA software products. Each is a link to information and source code for the respective package. In addition, when required by the open source license agreement, source code or information on acquiring source code is also included with the software product.”

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Carpe Diem to Nanu Nanu: Keeping it all inside

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

 

Amidst this terrible summer of death in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, Ukraine, Gaza, Sudan, Syria and Iraq, how can we be so narcissistic as to mourn the death of an entertainer, a man who did nothing more than ham it up on stage and in front of the camera?

I’ll tell you how. It was Robin Williams. A man who was far more about the wistful, sun-and-fog-filled spirit of the Bay Area, than he ever was about the glitz and gluttony of Hollywood. A product of this region, a neighbor, and a most-beloved native son, he was our Robin Williams. Someone who reflected our eclectic tastes, our egalitarian nature, our breezy weather, our naughty frantic energy, and the boundless opportunities here to stretch one’s imaginations, talents, and zany innovations to the limit.

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Annoying: Today’s top tedious tech

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

 

There are a lot of things about life in the 21st century that are annoying, things related to our environment being super-saturated with technology. Electronic stuff around the house that never goes dark so you have to cover them with an old sock to get some shut-eye; wireless devices that send out vibes that tingle in your hands and wrists when they power up; kids who respond to text messages but not voice, kids who respond to voice messages but not text; and the pile of old cellphones and PDAs holed up in a dark corner of that drawer in the kitchen.

For the sake of this blog post, however, a specific bucket of annoying has been chosen for special shout out. Listed in no particular order, all of them show up with sufficient frequency to make you wonder if we’re really making progress here.

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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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