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The end of Moore's law

Posted 26th February 2012 at 04:28 AM by abraxalito

Of late I've been enjoying snacking on this book EDAgraffiti which is a romp through various aspects of the economics of semiconductors. Recommended for those who are interested not just in the technical side of the digital revolution but also the commercial perspective too.

One comment from the book jumped out at me, which was a prediction made by Clayton Christensen a few years ago about the end of Moore's Law. He's reported as saying the following at an engineering conference organised by Cadence. Moore's Law will come to an end when the semiconductor industry tries to deliver more capability than the mainstream requires at a price which is higher than the mainstream wants to pay. 450mm wafer processing technology and EUV lithography pretty much do seem to fit the bill here.

This article on The Inquirer is saying pretty much the same thing - gaming and video transcoding have kept the push for faster PCs alive but even in those applications demand is now...
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Anyone notice parallels here with Intel?

Posted 23rd January 2012 at 12:25 AM by abraxalito
Updated 23rd January 2012 at 12:27 AM by abraxalito

Could Kodak's demise have been averted? | Technology | The Observer

My best bet for why Kodak is history comes towards the end of this relatively short piece:

More insightful analyses point to the fact that Kodak had a near-monopolistic grip on a market that was giving it a 70% margin on its products and processes, and that therefore the people who ran the film part of the business were the ones who carried most weight in corporate discussions.
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Interesting blog post about fake chips

Posted 3rd December 2011 at 03:27 AM by abraxalito
Updated 5th March 2012 at 02:50 AM by abraxalito

On Counterfeit Chips in US Military Hardware bunnie's blog
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The Von Neumann architecture is becoming the niche.

Posted 15th November 2011 at 02:50 AM by abraxalito
Updated 5th March 2012 at 02:51 AM by abraxalito

http://garysmitheda.com/paper/ARM-Techon-note.pdf

Its a single page review of ARM Techcon. At the end I think he means 'PC design' not 'PCB design' as he's written.

He says:

If Intel doesn’t do something soon this might not be much of a war.

He knows some guys at Intel read his analysis so I think he's sugaring the pill. Intel is rather like the hare in the old fable of the tortoise and the hare. The hare woke up and tried to catch up with the tortoise but it was too late. That's exactly where Intel is right now - they've become awake to the issue but they've missed the boat.
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A man with cojones...

Posted 27th October 2011 at 08:33 AM by abraxalito
Updated 5th March 2012 at 02:49 AM by abraxalito

How often are you likely to read the words 'Jobs eventually relented' ? Read and weep Intel; Tony Fadell: respect.

Steve Jobs Wanted Intel Chips for the iPad - Digits - WSJ
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What's in a datasheet?

Posted 7th October 2011 at 05:38 AM by abraxalito
Updated 14th November 2012 at 01:47 AM by abraxalito (Updated with link to new article 14th Nov 2012)

Yesterday I had this very interesting exchange with RocketScientist about his open source design for a headphone amp, the O2.

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/headp...ml#post2736266

The nub of the issue raised here is - should designers stick only to what datasheets tell them about parts or to what extent use what's 'common knowledge' about parts to eek out better performance?

I was surprised to learn from RS that offsets within dual opamps are so closely matched in practice - its a really new discovery for me. So why don't semiconductor manufacturers tout this feature? Or perhaps RS just 'got lucky' with the relatively few samples he tested?

My experience of reading opamp datasheets is that the specs for offsets (both the typicals and the max) degrade in going from single to dual devices, where the devices are all on one die. Let's have a look at a relevant opamp from...
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Highly evolved converters - the next generation

Posted 8th September 2011 at 03:47 AM by abraxalito

Its been over a year since I blogged about DACs, so, long overdue, here's an update. I've abandoned my considerable development on the AD1955 because I found something that's more interesting - multibit. In the first instance - NOS.

A while back I bought a TDA1543 NOS DAC to play with, just to see what all the fuss was about with NOS. Plenty of people have waxed lyrical about the sound. At first listen, I wasn't impressed although it had a certain tonal richness in portraying orchestral instruments that was alluring. Bottom line - its soundstage was compressed front to back. This made it sound a little 'forward' - foreground instruments and voices were more highlighted compared to acoustic spaces ('background').

A second aspect which plagues pretty much all NOS DACs is their frequency response can hardly be termed 'accurate' - owing to the sinc function of first-order hold, they exhibit a significant HF roll-off which begins around 5kHz and reaches 3.2dB...
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New mobile phone

Posted 6th July 2011 at 05:50 AM by abraxalito
Updated 8th September 2011 at 03:08 AM by abraxalito

My trusty HTC Touch Pro2 kept dialling my last caller last week without my permission so I decided it was overdue for retirement. Can't say as I've ever really bonded with this phone - mainly due to the pants Windows Mobile 6.1.

Last Sunday I went into the Meizu shop and snapped up their M9 to replace it with. This is the first phone (out of 8 I think) I have bought based primarily on the OS (Android) rather than the hardware. That's evidence for the disruptive marketing behaviour of Google in the mobile space. Android wasn't quite available when I upgraded to the HTC around 2 years ago. Now they're claiming around 0.5million activations each day.

One interesting facility in the network menu settings is:

3G networks - turn off to save battery life and stabilize signal

I'd heard that running 3G soaked up juice but this 'stabilize signal' is a first on me. Its quite something when a new technology has the facility to disable it...
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The cloud of unknowing

Posted 30th June 2011 at 11:48 AM by abraxalito
Updated 8th September 2011 at 03:09 AM by abraxalito

Is the cloud disruptive?

Here's a cloud website that I consider to have tremendous disruptive potential as technology:

Datasheet Zone & DrawSCH : One stop to find datasheet,IC pinouts and application circuits & Draw schematics online for free!!!

Its potential for being disruptive innovation is so far untapped because I can discern no marketing strategy as yet. I've written to the founder and suggested having a dialogue about all the possibilities presented here. If I get a response, then I'll write more in a later post.
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When all you have is a hammer...

Posted 28th June 2011 at 06:36 AM by abraxalito
Updated 8th September 2011 at 03:10 AM by abraxalito

... as the saying goes, everything starts to look like a nail. That's what's happened to me now I've started to look at business through the eyes of disruptive innovation. Its all around, everywhere I look I'm seeing signs of what I call 'disruptive stress'. Perhaps just 'disstress' would be the right term for it - businesses are disstressed.

Nokia is one big business, but its quite clear they are disstressed, big-time. Their 'cooperation' with Microsoft can only lead to one thing - being embraced and swallowed whole and digested as Boa Constrictors are wont to do. Wikipedia says of the Boa :

The size of the prey item will increase as they get older and larger.

OK Nokia's not of great interest to audio guys, so how about one a little closer to home? This morning in my inbox I received the regular missive from EETimes, replete with the latest gossip from the semiconductors world. Topping the bill - Freescale, with its monstrous debt pile. They...
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