March 17, 2003
Division of Labor
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After the keynote, I had a chance to meet a nice fellow in the Press Room named Fred Friedman from a company called Fabfile Systems. We stood looking out over the Exhibit Hall floor as he told me he's been to every PCB show for the past 12 years. “PCB West is the Number One show in the country,” he said. “This is the show that counts! You have board designers all across the semiconductor industry that started at this show. The industry sends their people here to refine their design skills and those designers move the industry. There's no way you're going to stimulate this industry without designers and their new designs.”
Friedman also said, “The industry has changed, budgets and motivation for attending this show have changed. It's very expensive when every booth needs a senior representative to present the thoughts of a company to the attendees. But, the fact that people have showed up at all this year is a testimonial to this show and to the companies who are here.” It was refreshing to talk to someone so determinedly optimistic about the future.
However, outside the Convention Center, Silicon Valley continues to seem like a bit of a ghost town these days - although there's a sort of serenity there as well. It's as if the people who are still up and running in the Valley plan to be there for the long, long haul. It's hard to walk down the quiet streets around the Convention Center, however, and not remember what a frantic and buzz-filled place this was at the height of the Boom. It was pretty crazy then - good crazy or bad crazy, who knows - but crazy nonetheless.
Interestingly enough, while PCB West 2003 was running at one end of the San Jose Convention Center, Synopsys was sponsoring the annual Silicon Valley Science and Technology Championship at the other end. A thousand (!!) middle school and high school kids brought in their science projects for the contest, along with their parents and teachers. When I walked past those crowds, they certainly seemed enthused and full of hope for the future. And maybe somebody out there was listening because, by the end of last week, NASDAQ had posted a one-day gain of close to 5%.
PCB Technology Leadership Awards and University Scholarship
Mentor Graphics Corp. was busy last week as well, announcing the winners of its 17th Annual PCB Technology Leadership Awards and University Scholarship at PCB West 2003. The competition is open to any design created with Mentor Graphics PCB tools. The company says that, this year, the program attracted a record number of submissions from many countries, including Portugal, Norway, Japan, Brazil, Singapore and Australia, as well as many universities.
Henry Potts, Vice President and General Manager, Systems Design Division at Mentor said, “Now in its 17th year, the program continues to attract the most skilled users of our PCB design tools.”
Industry experts judged entries in nine categories - Computer, Consumer Electronics & Peripherals, Portable Products, Data Communications, Industrial Control, Instrumentation, Security & Medical, Military & Aerospace, Telecommunications, University & Training Institutes, and Best Design Overall.
This year's winner for the Best Design Overall and Best Design for the Consumer Electronics & Peripherals category was Anna Pahoa, hardware designer for Kyocera Wireless Corp. Pahoa's entry was a flip cellular phone circuit card for the wireless communications industry. Pahoa studied drafting at the Golden West Junior College in Huntington Beach, CA, and has been drafting and designing boards since 1982.
Jonathan Andrews of Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering was selected as the winner in the University & Training Institutes category for his data acquisition system design prototype entry. He will receive a $2000 scholarship, which is co-sponsored by HP and is designed to promote innovation and excellence in education for PCB designers at colleges and universities.
This year's panel of judges included Andy Shaughnessy, Associate Editor of Printed Circuit Design Magazine, Mary Sugden, President of Copper Connection Inc., David Graff, Former President of the IPC Designers Council, Silicon Valley Chapter, Happy Holden, Manager of Advanced Technologies, Gary Ferrari, owner of Ferrari Technical Services, Inc., and David Graves, Vice President of UltraCAD Design, Inc.
Closing with a Taoist thought for the day, courtesy of Gary Smith
Effort and Destiny were arguing about who is the most powerful.
Destiny let fly an unending barrage of evidence to prove his superiority, concluding: “My dear Effort, if you are so effective, why don't you make hardworking people rich and give good people long life? And why are the intelligent unemployed and fools occupy important roles in government?”
Embarrassed, Effort admitted: “You are right, Destiny. Even when I seem to act, it is actually you who is acting.”
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-- Peggy Aycinena, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.
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