As first-world problems go, losing your car keys is a bad one. Losing a whole warehouse full of shippable merchandise is probably worse, but warehouses typically have lots of people standing around watching over the goods. But what do you do when you've lost your car keys somewhere inside the warehouse? Needle, meet haystack. Not so easy now, huh? What are you going to do?
If you've planned ahead, you'd have little badges on your keys – badges stuffed with technology designed by DecaWave. The Dublin, Ireland startup has created an itty-bitty little chip it calls the ScenSor that's designed to solve this, and much larger, problems.
In the never-ending battle of good versus evil, Coke versus Pepsi, NASCAR versus opera, and ARM versus MIPS, the MIPS brigade has fielded a new combatant. Behold, the P5600, the point of the spear in MIPS’s epic battle to dethrone the incumbent Cortex as king of the microprocessor-IP hill.
Cloud-storage company Nirvanix just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, abruptly shutting its doors and informing its customers that they have exactly two weeks to come get their data.
Two whole weeks. For every customer to retrieve all the data that was presumably (a) massive enough to require offsite cloud storage, and (b) important enough to require offsite cloud storage.
What are you going to do, start a marathon download from Nirvanix's servers to yours? And then upload it all again to a different service? Hope you've got a really fast connection at your office. Alternatively, you’ve got two weeks to hustle your butt down to Nirvanix's San Diego headquarters with a bunch of DVDs, tapes, or USB drives under your arm.
AMD has begun to peel back the covers on its embedded processor roadmap, and it looks… okay. There are no major surprises or breakthroughs on the horizon, but the company does seem to have a plan for staying relevant to embedded engineers for at least a few more years.
The one thing AMD has going for it that no other processor vendor can claim is that it’s a "switch hitter," producing both ARM-based and x86-based embedded processors. That looks to be a sound strategy going forward, given that ARM and x86 dominate the embedded market (more on that anon). Unlike archrival Intel, AMD has swallowed its pride and branched out into ARM-based chips. And, unlike any other ARM vendor, the company has a strong x86 product line and ample talent to keep it going. It’s a two-pronged strategy that no one else can match.
There's a blog post making the rounds from a German PhD student who discovered that some photocopiers can spontaneously change the numbers on printed documents. He'd photocopy a page with a column of numbers, but the resulting copy had different numbers. It's magic!
To be clear, we're not talking about text that was just fuzzy or hard to read. The copier actively changed the document. It was swapping one number for another.
This also wasn't an OCR (optical character recognition) problem, misinterpreting the text and making a wrong guess. That's common enough. No, the machine's built-in OCR function was disabled. All the guy wanted was a simple, straightforward photocopy. Simple, right? And yet the machine, with no warning, clearly and deliberately changed numbers on his documents.
It's been said that if you just wait long enough, everything becomes fashionable again. Wide neckties, short skirts, vinyl records… they all had their heyday and later came back around into style again. The automobile market has its VW Beetle (it's not even called the "New Beetle" anymore), the Mini (a front-drive BMW that's twice as large as its namesake), and retro-styled Mustangs and Camaros galore.
Here in the electronics market we have… Freescale. The motherhood-and-apple-pie maker of microcontrollers for the masses has climbed into its corporate attic, dusted off the old photo albums, and rediscovered the childhood joy of playing with 5V components.