Will Blog for Food

The way to a journalist's heart …

06/01 Feeding the Blog Monster in Cyberspace
05/31 Hors d'Oeuvres with EDAC in San Jose
05/16 Dinner with Mentor in San Jose
05/15 Cocktails with ARC & Toshiba in San Jose
05/15 Coffee with CAST in Santa Clara
05/08 Breakfast with Xilinx in East Palo Alto
04/19 Lunch with OneSpin Solutions in Redwood Shores
03/06 Breakfast at SNUG in San Jose

06/01   Blog Monster feeds on EDA Weekly in Cyberspace

I was copied on this e-mail yesterday. It was from ValleyPR's Georgia Marzalek and was addressed to ESNUG's John Cooley:

Subject: Fun Peggy stuff--Re: Cooley's Personal EDA Blog (May 2006 Digest)
Date: Wed, 31 May 2006 13:41:28 -0700

Hi John --

My trick for spelling that last name -- think Peggy Cinema, now add Ay to the beginning and change the m to n.

-- Georgia

Gosh, I thought, what the heck is Georgia talking about? So, I took a minute to open the link to John's industry-wide e-mail blast and - oh my!

Last week the infamous EDA Peggy (everyone calls her "EDA Peggy" because no one can remember how to spell her last name) published the results of her survey where she asked the EDA vendors: "What's going to be the 'buzz' at the upcoming 2006 DAC in San Francisco?".

She got 65 responses and, of course, 59 of them were the usual self-promoting EDA vendor infomercials pimping their own particular set of EDA tools. But, by some quirk, 6 of them slipped up and were accidentally honest!

Wow! In the category of “There's no such thing as bad press,” I guess I owe John for furthering the notoriety of both EDA Weekly and my odd last name (which is Basque, by the way).

But, to suggest that the entries in Buzz@DAC.2006 were not honest seems odder than my last name. Who's lying? Are the companies who sent in those 59 entries making that stuff up? They might be wrong - or even pompous - but that's not the same as lying. And, are those companies not really enthusiastic about the tools and the technologies that they're laboring over 50, 60, 70 hours a week, or more?

Also, to suggest that companies “pimp” their tools (ew!) seems even odder yet.

Look, companies have products, politicians have platforms, and journalists have self-promotion at the center of everything they do. That's not news. It's not illicit. It's about free markets, free speech, and freedom in general. It's not about pimping.

Pimping is about prostitution. It's about somebody owning somebody else's body and, by inference, their soul, and selling that body and soul to a john. But the third-party tool vendors don't own their products, body and soul, because the products are just products. They're not human beings. They don't have bodies. They don't have souls. And they don't suffer the way a prostitute suffers who's being held in bondage by a pimp.

The tools from the EDA vendors are just third-party CAD software applications that are used by digital, mixed-signal, and analog IC designers - and a system architect, here and there - to optimize some or all of a circuit design. There's nothing illicit or illegal about it. Designers aren't pulling up along side the curb in some seedy neighborhood somewhere to strike an unholy deal with a poor young tool who's being forced to stand out there by an evil pimp lurking in the shadows of the liquor store nearby.

CAD tools are nothing more than a few (million) lines of code written at some weird level of abstraction that reflect an algorithm (or several), which is an approximation of an intelligent, optimized way to solve a puzzle, which is eventually translated into a series of ones and zeros, which then tells some other ones and zeros what to do, which then gets translated up through yet another maze of abstraction to eventually produce a tiny little bit of semiconductor material, that's been assembled in such a way that, when subjected to an electric current coming in (usually from the left), produces a current (that exits to the right) that makes a device downstream from that bit of semiconductor material do something like ring, beep, click, turn on, turn off, toggle, twinkle, speak, or honk.

It's kind of cool, actually - a lot more cool than pimping or prostitution. Making, or using, CAD tools to design stuff is something you can be proud of. It's something you can write home about. Or blog about …

05/31   Hors d'Oeuvres with EDAC in San Jose

The EDA community - or at least the EDAC sub-set of that community - gathered tonight at the Techmart in Santa Clara to hold elections, and to hear about the endless, annoying, overwhelming governmental, legal, accounting, and export regulations that are crowding everybody's style, consuming funds that could otherwise be used for innovation and R&D, and taking some (but not all!) of the fun out of the wild and wacky world of high-tech start-ups.

But first - to soften the pain - wine, some hard liquor, a hot buffet (the pot stickers were my favorite) and plenty of schmoozing were all on the menu prior to the presentations. And after cocktails, there were the 2-minute speeches from the 13 candidates running for the 9 spots on the EDAC Board of Directors. I think those presentations helped to remind folks, in advance of the buzz-killer legal and accounting presentations, that EDA continues to be a great place to hang out.

People in this industry are just darn interesting - particularly when they're running for Student Body President. I don't want to add salt to the wound of those who ran for office tonight but learned they lost after the ballots had been cast and counted, so I'm just going to paraphrase some of my favorite parts of the some of the speeches - without attribution.

“The EDA industry is a place that makes a difference in how electronics moves the world.”

“There's lots of work to be done.”

“EDAC is an actionable organization. When we decide to do something, we can get it done.”

“Consortia like EDAC need to help cross-pollinate with other industries, so we can share ideas that work.”

“We need more investment to promote more R&D and innovation in EDA.”

“We need fresh blood in EDA. We need to welcome the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

“Innovation happens at the edge of an industry. We need to advocate for small companies.”

“The small companies in EDA can't do it by themselves, but working within EDAC we can get it done.”

“We can't deliver value as an industry unless we cooperate with each other.”

“EDAC is the watering hole of the industry. “

Looking around the room at the folks holding their drinks and plates of appetizers, I think that last was the most compelling statement of the evening.

(By the way - EDAC Treasurer and CFO, Bob Gardner, assured the Press that the list of new EDAC Board members would be on the EDAC website by morning.)

05/16   Dinner with Mentor in San Jose

Boy, that was fun! Mentor Graphics treated us to a fabulous meal at the Hilton Hotel in downtown San Jose, and then walked us over to the historic California Theater - what a beautiful building! - to hear Dr. Bill Saturno from the University of New Hampshire talk about the origins of the Maya.

It was really neat to meet him during cocktails, and then to hear his lecture. Dinner included steak and lobster, plus some wonderful wine. I continue to think where there's food, the Press aren't far behind.

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Review Article
  • October 09, 2008
    Reviewed by 'Rob'
    Your dissection of the "pimp" analogy just proves that any analogy can not only be misundertstood, but taken apart to the point that the original meaning of the analogy is lost.
    I think the "pimp" analogy was meant to express the reality that people selling their own products will strut the product like it's the best thing on earth even with all the dirty truths lurking beneath.
    Often, it's up to the customer to dig, ruthlessly evaluate and discover the truths about wether the tool really lives up to the "pimp" hype. And as other experts have already stated. The EDA industry has many point tool solutions that aim to solve numerous problems in various corners. However, the real need is more integrated and holistic solutions.

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