Author Archives: John Donovan

About John Donovan

Writer, editor, Dad


It’s been a fun and rewarding 30 years, but I’m currently officially retired and no longer managing this site. I’m leaving it up as it does contain a large number of excellent technical articles that are still valuable. Enjoy, and … Continue reading

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Power Management in SuperSpeed USB

USB has become the most successful PC peripheral interconnect ever defined, with over 10 billion USB 2.0 products installed today. Still, despite its convenience, USB has never been either the fastest or the lowest-power interconnect protocol out there. USB 3.0 … Continue reading

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Electric Flight–The Ultimate Energy Efficiency Challenge

If you think electric cars are impressive, how about an electric 747? On a smaller scale, that flight of fancy is becoming a reality. Two years ago in Santa Rosa, CA, an electric-powered 4-seat light plane won the NASA/Google Green Flight … Continue reading

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Storing Volts

While electric vehicles have been around since the late 19th century, they only became practical with the development of energy storage systems that sport a lot better horsepower-to-weight ratio than bulky lead acid batteries. By the mid-90’s automakers had pretty much … Continue reading

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Are You Ready To Be An Internet Node?

I read an interesting article in this month’s IEEE Communications on the impact that 5G wireless communications will supposedly have on us. Call me old fashioned but I still remember when mobile phones were used for making phone calls. Well … Continue reading

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When Low-Power Design Gets Personal

I lost my hearing in Hong Kong in 1996. Well, everything much over 1 kHz, that is. By all rights I should have lost it during rock concerts back in the ‘60s, but I guess the crowds made it hard … Continue reading

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Powering Down

Ever since Intel hit the Power Wall in 2004—when the Pentium 4 drew 150W and approached 1000 pins—low-power design has come into its own. Over the past decade smart engineers have come up with a seemingly endless number of innovative … Continue reading

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The RF Challenge in Portable Designs

In simpler times most designs were digital. Add a few converters to handle I/O and you could ship the product. Consumer electronics—and cell phones in particular—changed all that. Now there are few consumer designs that don’t involve a large analog/mixed-signal … Continue reading

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How Green Is Your Prius?

Electric vehicles (EVs) would seem to have everything going for them: Aside from being quiet and cool, they’re also environmentally friendly and cheap to operate. But are they really? In this month’s issue of IEEE Spectrum (Unclean at Any Speed) … Continue reading

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Build Your Own Personal Drone

When I was a boy I loved flying model airplanes. I’d laboriously build them from balsawood kits; cover them with tissue; and add a noisy .049 gas engine. Then I’d go to the neighborhood schoolyard and get dizzy flying them … Continue reading

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