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Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

ARM TechCon: 800 Pounds of Gorilla in a Paradise of Mass Extinction

November 5th, 2015 by Peggy Aycinena

When it comes to conferences about IP, or design for that matter
, it sure seems like ARM TechCon has become the 800-pound gorilla. With over 100 exhibitors and folks coming in from all over the world to present or attend presentations, it’s huge.

Topics du jour at the Santa Clara Convention Center on November 10th to 12th are set to include security, IoT, connected cars, innovation, investments, embedded software, mobile devices, entertainment, low power, and more security. Not to mention things that can see for you, drive for you, sense for you, feel for you, and scare the hell out of you. In other words, everything that defines life here in 2015. Or so they tell us.

But let’s look at what won’t be on the menu at ARM TechCon. International dismay over downed aircraft. International dismay over automobiles that lie when they’re tested for emissions. International dismay over cyberhacking orchestrated by one nation-state against another. And the UK’s decision to prohibit encryption of online communication to the level that nation states cannot break the code. In other words, everything the defines life here in 2015.

The other thing that won’t be on the menu? My own recent consumer history.

Due to a mass extinction [read “planned obsolescence”] of various appliances that define my own life, over the last 24 months I’ve purchased a new car, a new washer/dryer combo, a new refrigerator, a new microwave oven, a new television, a new desktop computer, and a new smart phone.

And even though per every keynote I’ve heard over this same time period, all of this electronic clutter is somehow smarter than everything that went before it – talking to the Cloud non-stop, night and day, so that when anything goes haywire with the innards of this stuff, thanks to companies like ARM who promote uber-connectivity and IoT omniscience, the Cloud will notice the problem, send warnings to me, and notify all relevant vendors to send in the cavalry to fix the wayward system – still there’s a Problem in Paradise.

Because included in the unbelievably time-consuming process of buying all of this crap, was also a lot of personal despair.

In the midst of throwing down a lotta plastic, I’ve been told that a) the systems on the car will fail sooner than later, b) the washer/dryer will give out within the next 5 years, as will the refrigerator, c) the TV won’t last even 4 years, d) the microwave will give up the ghost after 3 years, e) the phone’s battery will swell out of functionality within 24 months, and f) the computer was already obsolete when I bought it.

And the parts that are going to fail in all of this cataclysm? The electronics.


Now lest you think I’m just a naysayer looking for things to complain about, let me assure you. All of this distinctly bad news – the prophecies of yet more mass extinctions in my future – came directly from the horses’ mouths. Directly from the vendors themselves. Straight from the folks who were happy to take my plastic, but for the sake of full disclosure were obliged to reveal these Doomsday scenarios and, ergo, try to sell me a 2-year, 3-year, or 4-year product protection plan to ease the pain.

Hmmm again. You get my point.

A lot of happy talk about innovation, IoT, security, cars that think, embedded everything, and things that are designed to massively improve my quality of life, will no doubt go down at ARM TechCon.

But I’m pretty sure amidst all of that happy talk, there won’t be one single solitary word about the very real Doomsday Scenario that has nothing to do with the End of Days or International Dismay about anything.

Nobody at ARM TechCon or any other high-energy confab in Silicon Valley, or any other place like it around the globe these days, cares about the regularly timed mass extinctions of all of the stuff that all of their fancy schmancy chip-based systems go into. They just don’t care.

Because if they did, they’d have to do something about it. And how mundane would that be?

Particularly for Gorillas in Paradise.


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