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Interesting blog post about fake chips

Posted 3rd December 2011 at 04:27 AM by abraxalito
Updated 5th March 2012 at 03:50 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 03:50 AM by abraxalito
Updated 5th March 2012 at 03:51 AM by abraxalito

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 09:33 AM by abraxalito
Updated 5th March 2012 at 03:49 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 06:38 AM by abraxalito
Updated 14th November 2012 at 02:47 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.

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 04:47 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 06:50 AM by abraxalito
Updated 8th September 2011 at 04:08 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 12:48 PM by abraxalito
Updated 8th September 2011 at 04:09 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 07:36 AM by abraxalito
Updated 8th September 2011 at 04:10 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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The historical roots of disruptive innovation

Posted 23rd June 2011 at 03:08 PM by abraxalito
Updated 8th September 2011 at 04:10 AM by abraxalito

I've been chasing back a little of the history of CMC's idea which I expounded on in the last post. There's nothing new under the sun of course so I'm sharing here some of the writing of Joseph A Schumpeter as I find it pretty inspiring.

I first learned about Schumpeter from reading a book on management compiled from the extensive writings of Peter F. Drucker ('The Essential Drucker'). In one chapter Drucker sounds very much like he's reading from his crystal ball and predicts that where Keynes' ideas ruled the 20th century in economics, it would be Schumpeter's theories that reached ascendancy in the 21st. Having read some of Schumpeter based on that recommendation I'd say that Drucker was indeed spot on.

Here's a short taste of what Schumpeter has to say -

The first thing to go is the traditional conception of the modus operandi of competition. Economists are at long last emerging from the stage in which price competition was all they
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Disruptive technology or disruptive innovation - what's the difference?

Posted 19th June 2011 at 09:12 AM by abraxalito
Updated 8th September 2011 at 04:11 AM by abraxalito (Added link to CMC's own webpage)

This week Bruno Putzeys posted about his innovator's dilemma. You can read that post here:

In brief he's designed and produced some disruptive technology (UcD, and now nCore) and can't quite see the way forward to turning that technology into disruptive innovation. Disruptive technology is not automatically disruptive innovation - it needs a suitable marketing strategy before its truly innovation. Bruno's using the traditional marketing plans for OEM amplifier modules and finding he's not making much headway.

'No one puts new wine into old wineskins, if it is the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins and so both are preserved'. - Matthew 9:17

Jesus might just as well have been lecturing at Harvard Business School here because this is precisely the message of Clayton Christensen's book...
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