Author Archives: John Donovan

About John Donovan

Writer, editor, Dad

Where is the next factor of 10 in energy reduction coming from?

Over the last decade chip engineers have come up with a large number of techniques to reduce power consumption: clock gating; power gating; multi-VDD; dynamic, even adaptive voltage and frequency scaling; multiple power-down modes; and of course scaling to ever … Continue reading

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Power management | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Weightless Weighs In

Now that PCs are old news and seemingly everyone on earth has a cell phone, the Next Big Thing promises to be machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, giving rise to the Internet of Things (IoT)—presumably a parallel universe to the Internet of … Continue reading

Posted in ARM, RF/Wireless, semiconductors, Spectrum, Wireless | Leave a comment

Mmm—Raspberry Pi!

Having had great fun playing with Beagle ($125) and Panda ($175) boards, I was happily surprised when my backordered Raspberry Pi suddenly arrived a few days ago. At $35 for a tricked out, credit-card size single-board computer, it was too … Continue reading

Posted in ARM, Raspberry Pi | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Does Your Rice Cooker Have Its Head in the Clouds?

Recently I read an amusing article in IEEE Spectrum titled “Android My Rice Cooker: Gateway to Future Home Invasion?Why would my rice cooker need to be part of the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT)? Because it’s lonely and wants to … Continue reading

Posted in Embedded, IoT | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Bluetooth Low Energy Gets Smart

Bluetooth has long been one of those technologies we take for granted—it’s in all our wireless headsets and increasingly in ­hands-free audio in our cars. But until the emergence of Bluetooth Low Energy it had trouble breaking out of the … Continue reading

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“To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”–FIRST mission statement At last month’s Renesas DevCon inventor Dean Kamen delivered an amusing and inspiring keynote—which … Continue reading

Posted in FIRST, Robotics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Power Wall: Are we scaling it or is it just getting higher?

Cadence hosted a Low-Power Summit this month at which Jan Rabaey was the keynote speaker. Jan is the Donald O. Pederson  Distinguished Professor in the EECS department at U.C. Berkeley; Scientific Co-Director of the Berkeley Wireless Research Center (BWRC); and … Continue reading

Posted in Cloud computing, Low-power design, semiconductors | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mixed-Signals: Tribulations of Combining Analog and Digital Design

“Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”—Rudyard Kipling Kipling’s line goes back over 100 years but today it could just as well apply to digital and analog engineers. Engineering graduates for at least … Continue reading

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Solar is only part of the solution

I’m a big fan of solar energy but also a realist, so I’ve long taken a skeptical view of claims that renewable energy sources—solar in particular—will obviate the need for more (hopefully fairly clean) fossil fuel power plants. A new … Continue reading

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Solar, Wind power | 2 Comments

Verifying the Cloud

So called “cloud computing” is the presumptive wave of the future, and not just to deliver software-as-a-service (SAAS), which will certainly challenge Microsoft’s business model. The ‘cloud’ is of course all those mainframes that Amazon, Google, Rackspace and others use … Continue reading

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