Dave's Corner: The Dave Van Ess Blog - Cypress.com: Blog Posts http://www.cypress.com/?id=2201 Really cool HEX to signed interger trick in Excel http://www.cypress.com/?rID=37725  

I have been collecting integer data to be processed in Excel I use the function thats sends the data as four HEX bytes. The problem is that is is signed data. The following equation takes 16 bit hex data and converts is to the signed DEC.
 
MOD(HEX2DEC(A7)+2^15,2^16)-2^15;
 
For eight bit data use
MOD(HEX2DEC(A7)+2^7,2^8)-2^7;
 
For 32 bit data

MOD(HEX2DEC(A7)+2^31,2^32)-2^31

I find Excel to be one of the most versital Engineering tools.  It is amzing that a business friend of mind think its a business tool

Dave

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Wed, 11 Sep 2013 07:48:33 -0600
The Power of Information http://www.cypress.com/?rID=75701 One rule of economics is that if the exchange of information is free, the optimal solution will be found.  (The classic example is of a farmer renting a neighbors field so the neighbor cannot raise cows and eat his corn.  The rent is cheaper than the cost of building a fence and he raises more corn.)

If one side has most of the access to liability data then that party should be held in strict liability.   (An example is Coke bottles.  Coke knows statically how many bottles blow up when touched as a function of manufacturing cost and.  They can come up with the optimal solution for all, only if they include the cost of being made whole in their manufacturing cost.)

 

I find that companies can make information hard to get so to have you choose less than optima solution for you and beneficial to them.

 

I have been looking at a product that has two models and two power levels.  The performance data for the different models was given in different formats making the comparison.  Here are the choices and relative price:

3HP Higher End        100%

2HP Higher End          90%

3HP Lower End          80%

2HP Lower End          70%

The performance data for the different models was given in different formats making the comparison very difficult.  With the help of people much smarter than me, I was able to determine relative performance.

3HP Higher End        100%

3HP Lower End          79%

2HP Higher End          67%

2HP Lower End          66%

 

The Performance to Price ratio is:

3HP Higher End        100%

2HP Lower End         100%

3HP Lower End          99%

2HP Higher End          74%

 

This new data tell a different story.  A user may think by buying to lower cost profession model that they are getting a good deal.  In actually they are getting the worst of deal of all of them and it is tied as the lowest performer.  No wonder they made the data hard to read.

 

In the long run, if you don t provide the customer to best option, at the right price, for them, then some other company will and you lose that customer for life.

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Fri, 22 Feb 2013 10:46:20 -0600
What do you want to be called? http://www.cypress.com/?rID=75594 I was lucky to have had the chance to come to Cypress and work on PSoC.  At the interview,I immediately got it and told my wife this is the part I had been waiting for my whole career.  I have also met Engineers with as much passion or maybe more (Robert Ashby. David Smith, Barry Bines, and Gray Smock come to mind.)  I have referred to these people as zealots.

 

Well Cypress would like to put together a program to recognize these people and treat them with the respect they deserve as the Engineering gods that they are!  The problem is that some in the company feel the term zealot may be offensive to some.  Now this doesn t even make the top ten things offensive things I have said last year.  (Cypress has a whole wing of HR people that deal with the problems I cause.)  Cypress wants to call them Ambassadors.  With that name we should give them sports coats, funny hats, and hope they don t get beat up in the school yard.  (That last statement is even more offensive than zealot!)

 Questions

Do you find the term Zealot offensive?

Do you have a suggestion?

What do you think of PNuT ?

PSoC Pearl ?

PSoC Patriot ?

What would you like to be called?

 

 

I'll give a 5LP kit away for the best response!

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Wed, 20 Feb 2013 15:25:47 -0600
Self Dithering PWM http://www.cypress.com/?rID=75522  Our standard PWMs are made by continuously decrementing a register in a datapath (A0).  The compare register is used to detect when the count is below some compare value (D1) and set an output high.  For a 256 count PWM it can be implemented with a single instruction register of the datapath.  For a compare value of 50, the periodic output stream would be 206 low, followed by 50 high.  The frequency would by clock / 256.

 If the output frequency is too low and you can t increase the clock, then convert to a self dithering PWM.  If instead I change the datapath to continuously subtract 3 from the A0 and keep the same compare value of 50, the periodic output stream is:

69 low, 17 high, 68 low, 17 high, 69 low, 16 high

The output frequency is 3 * clock / 256.

 

Changing to subtracting 5 while keeping the same compare value, gives the periodic output stream:

42low, 10high, 41low, 10high, 41low, 10high, 41low, 10high, 41low, 10 high

The output frequency is 5 * clock / 256.

 

And so on.  If the value n is a relative prime to 256 (odd) and less than 128 is continuously subtracted from a register, the stream has n pulses and an output frequency of n * clock / 256.

 

This will also work from 16, 24, and 32 bit PWMs.  A 16bit PWM with a 24MHz clock has an output frequency of 366Hz.  Change it to a self dithering PWM with  n = 137 and you have an output frequency of 50.2kHz, but keeps a dithering resolution of 16 bits.

 

I never would have figured this out if datapaths didn't make it easy to build and try out.

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Tue, 19 Feb 2013 10:44:29 -0600
Reality Shows http://www.cypress.com/?rID=75385  I will admit I watch a few.  A peeve I have is when they ask a contestant why they deserve to win, in most cases their answer is because they really really want it.  Maybe they will say that winning will validate their struggle to overcome some personnel demonm tragedy, or disadvantage. 

Maybe I have been a disciple of the Temple of Precision Questions and Answers (PQ&A) but I would expect someone to say that they deserve to win because they did the better job than all the others and show examples to verify their claim.

 When I am with a customer and they ask me why they should use PSoC, I don t explain how this sale would bump me over my quota, get a bonus, and take my wife to Hawaii.  They don t care!  They want their problem solved, period.  It s about them, not about me.  I need to explain why PSoC is the best option for them and answer every objection they have with a well thought out argument.

After thought:  Luckily PSoC makes this easy to do!

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Sun, 17 Feb 2013 20:58:11 -0600
Datapaths! Faster than the Speed of Me! http://www.cypress.com/?rID=75169  I have been developing Datapath Components this week and I find that if I am disciplined about the documentation of the signal connections, that many times I am able to develop the component with no errors.  This was startling at first cause normally if something has a keyboard or a carburetor; it s going to give me big time trouble.  But I am getting used to it.  DATAPATHS ARE GREAT!  I haven t had this much fun in a long time.  If you aren t using datapaths, you should be.  If you are having a problem getting your head around them then contact me I and I ll see you get pointed in the right direction.

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Mon, 11 Feb 2013 11:32:58 -0600
Datapatha http://www.cypress.com/?rID=75021 I am excited that next week I will be filming some webisodes about datapaths.  If you have had problems getting your mind around these then this is the series for you.  Sometimes good ideas b looking back.  Not always, but sometimes.  I have done about 20 datapath projects in the last week and I find them a lot faster to develop logic than with standard programmable logic.  Bert, you are a genius! 

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Wed, 06 Feb 2013 09:35:24 -0600
What is it with 20 year old men? http://www.cypress.com/?rID=73907  At mangement's request I have voluntarily removed thus entry. 

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Tue, 05 Feb 2013 22:19:35 -0600
Signal Processing in the Density Domain http://www.cypress.com/?rID=54972 The last part of my five part column on Density Signal Processing came out this week.  http://electronicdesign.com/article/analog-and-mixed-signal/Signal-Processing-In-The-Density-Domain-Part-V-.aspx.  
 
The more I study modulation the more convinced I am that it is the future on mixed signal design.  I had a customer that wanted to rectify a signal, integrate its value for a fixed time, and digitize it.  I figured out how to do it with a single Delta Sigma Modulator and some digital logic. (two flip flops, a dual input logic gate and a counter.)
 
It makes sense to start at part 1 and read the whole series. I have had several people tell me that they had not looked at it this way before and it intrigued them.  It is a different way of looking at things but I think it is a good tool to have in your tool box.
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Thu, 31 Jan 2013 23:14:31 -0600
There Goes The Neighborhood http://www.cypress.com/?rID=46854 According to Electronic Design I have become an analog expert. http://electronicdesign.com/article/analog-and-mixed-signal/contributing_technical_experts.aspx
 
Go figure! Bob Higbee has forgotten more about analog than I ever knew. I never started out to be an analog designer. I just wanted to build stuff and solve problems. While in college I made sure to take digital, analog, power, motors, and a lot of applied math. I took classes with the EEs, CEs, and PwoerGuys.  I am grateful that I learned Boolean algebra from the Philosophy department and linear programming from the industrial engineering school taught me how to think like an engineer.
 
My first job as a COOP student at NASA was to design a fume hood for a 4-megawatt hydrogen arc jet. Hydrogen is perfectly save, even at 27,000 degree Fahrenheit as long as it isn’t exposed to air.  My job was to design a hood that would collect any escaping hydrogen. You cannot imagine how beautiful plasma looks as it passes at Mach 6 over a leading edge of a heat shield. It is bright red on one side of the shear line and bright orange on the other. In 1978 I took on an assignment to program a micro-controller (Mostek 3870) because I wanted to learn about micro-controllers.
 
Being open to “not knowing want I am doing” has allowed me to learn a lot of interesting skills. Low noise analog skills transfer well to EMI suppression. The math for digital signal processing isn’t that much different Leplace transforms. Control theory sees a compensated op amp as a saturated integrator while the op amps designers think on them compensated very high proportional gains. State machine design is really just feedback theory. Delta Sigma Modulators are really just filters. Delta modulators are close to ADPCM. Both are really close to slew rate-limited filters. Tank circuits for power supplies are a lot like the laser tanks you get with two correctly spaced mirrors. Right now I see a lot of similarities between Net Promoter Scores and Statistical Quality Control from the 70s.
 
Each group has their own bag of tricks and I have borrowed from many a bag. 
 
A really big bag of tricks and a fundamental understanding of engineering principles will allow you to solve most any problem you are assigned. In fact you might even do better than the specialists because you don’t know what can’t possibly work and stumble on a new solution.
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Thu, 31 Jan 2013 23:11:15 -0600
My Pseudo Random Number Generator http://www.cypress.com/?rID=74657  The way I have previously built pseudo random number generators is to take a register of some width and toggle some bits if the MSBit is 1.  Then circular rotate left  (MSBit becomes LSBit).  The bits needed to be toggled, differ with the length of the register.

That is:

forever{

   if( MSBit == 1) toggle some bits;

   circular rotate left

}

 

 

This implementation has the problem that if the register value is zero, it remains zero.  This means for an 8 bit register, you get pseudo random values between 1 and 255.

 Instead I changed the process so that the bits are toggled  if the MSBit is 0.

forever{

   if( MSBit != 1) toggle some bits;

   circular rotate left

}

It can be implements with two of the datapath registers

 A0 = (A0 ^ D) <<1 (so conneted  to si)

  A0 = A0 <<1 (so connected to si)

Add two more states of A0=0 and you have a fix is case the register somehow gets a ff value.

 

Gawd I love datapaths!

 

 

Now the dead value is all ones and the PSoC logic starts up logic low. So for an 8 bit register, you get random values between 0 and 254.  This is nicer for density signal generation.  You do not have to initialize this hardware as it will start up with its initial values.

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Wed, 23 Jan 2013 11:16:10 -0600
Hasbro Rocks http://www.cypress.com/?rID=74219 Hasbro is about to retire a Monopoly marker and replace it with another.  The new markers candidates are; a robot, helicopter, guitar, cat, or diamond rings.  You can vote at their facebook page.  Somehow they overlooked a PSoC token.  I have taken the liberty of designing one and I ask you to contact Hasbro and give PSoC a write in vote. If the write in vote is not successful then maybe I

can get Cypress to have a limited edition built.  Your help is appreciated.

 

 

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Thu, 10 Jan 2013 22:16:40 -0600
PSoC Today, Your Input http://www.cypress.com/?rID=73906 Last year we did over 70 webisodes and we will do even more this year.  What do you want to see.

 

Do you have something you would like to show?

Do you have something you would like to show and will be in San Jose

Do you have a couple of friend that thin k they can beat our Engineers in a Challenge?

Is there some topic you would like to see?

 

Lets us know and we will try to accommodate you.

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Mon, 31 Dec 2012 20:45:37 -0600
PSoC Today Will Be Starting Back. http://www.cypress.com/?rID=73905  Well we went on hiatus for the winter holiday and we are back and it is better than ever.  We start off the New Year with the PSoC Challenge.  Three teams battling it out to see who the best Engineers are.  I really think you will like it.  We plan to do future challenges and if you and some friends think you got the stuff, show us why and maybe you an compete.

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Mon, 31 Dec 2012 20:40:08 -0600
No one wins the lotto and no one gets struck by lightning http://www.cypress.com/?rID=73564 But sometimes you do win the lotto, and heavens forbid, sometimes you do get struck by lightning. 

Our hearts go out to those in Connecticut who are dealing with such a senseless tragedy and for any parents trying to raise children in a random vulnerable world full of risks.

 A person that loses their parents is an orphan.  Someone that loses a spouse is a widow or a widower.  I know of no name for someone that loses a child.  I think that is because it is an event to horrid to contemplate finding a name.  I know I don't want to do it.

This just brings to light that our serious problems really are the ones we are not paid to solve.

No matter how slight the risks, some will get struck by lightening. It is a fear all parents share.  Just don t let the fear rule your life and keep you from raising healthy, inquisitive, risk taking children.  (If they are anything like me. you will have to worry about the pyrotechnic teen years.)  Remember some will also win the lotto and maybe your child will change the world.

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Wed, 19 Dec 2012 11:34:29 -0600
When the going gets tough, the tough go for coffee http://www.cypress.com/?rID=73563 Here is a PSoC World update.  Jason Whiteman contacted us on PSoC World Day to say that the firewall at his work wouldn t let him get through.  His solution was to go the Starbucks and watch there, all day.  Great thinking Jason!  As a reward for thinking outside the box, we are sending you a gift card to Starbucks.  However, you should know that if you would have thought WAY outside of the box and gone to a Tavern with Wi-Fi, we would be sending you a gift card for a beer!  It is always good to hear from the zealots.

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Wed, 19 Dec 2012 10:49:50 -0600
What is the coolest thing you coulda shoulda woulda done? http://www.cypress.com/?rID=72619  For me it would have to be that while at Cal I had a chance to go see a lecture by Heisenberg.  I had something more important and for the life of me I cannot remember what is was.  The number of people who can say they ever saw Heisenberg speak is small, getting smaller and I can never be part if this group.  A really stupid move.

Well on December 12th Cypress will be having the first ever, virtual design conference.  IT would be worth your time.  You may have something more urgent to do but I bet that in a couple of years, you won t remember why.

Of the 400,000 people that went to Woodstock, I have personally met 2 million of them.  I guess they wanted to go to Woodstock but more urgent just came up.  Regret is a pretty powerful thing thay woul cause so many proplr to lie.

Well think of PSoC World as your cultural defining event and don t regret not going.  Maybe we should call it PSToCK, a worldwide day of peace, love, and configurability.

Peace Dude!  Peace SoC.

 

http://www.psocworld.com/

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Tue, 27 Nov 2012 18:42:17 -0600
Ain’t Modern Medicine Wonderful! http://www.cypress.com/?rID=72498 A particularly bad lung dusting while woodworking 30 years has made me susceptible to pneumonia every winter.  If was not careful, bronchitis would lead to pneumonia and you can die from that.

 Well the doctors have developed a vaccine for pneumonia and sure enough people don t die of it anymore.  It turns out they now die of really really bad bronchitis.

 Now that progress.  But at least the deaths from pneumonia are down.

 ps  Wear a dust mask!

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Fri, 23 Nov 2012 12:35:57 -0600
PSoC World Is Coming http://www.cypress.com/?rID=72077 And it is time to register!  My hobby is woodworking and after 35 years of it I have gotten pretty good.  I still like to watch the DIY programs and I must say I usually find myself coming up with better implementations than the show s host.  I still watch because with every show I still gleam something new and really clever.

The same is with PSoC World.  It will have something for the beginners and yet there will be something for even the most experienced PSoC Zealot.

 

PSoC World is scheduled for December 12th in the Americas and December 13th in the Not Americas.  It will be 24 hours of continuous PSoC.  There will be region specific sessions.

 

So come to the Show of Shows without ever leaving your desk.  No fuss with travel.  No having to go through the Back scatter X-ray machine that the TSA tells us is safe, but who really knows.  Take off your shoes only if you want to.

 

I have been doing PSoC for 12 years now and I am looking forward to seeing many different solutions.  I am sure I will learn something new.  I hope to see you there.

 

I have already registered (http://psocworld.com ) (Thanks JF!)  and I found it extremely easy to register.  They asked very few questions and they didn t ask any information about design cycles or the predicted yearly consumption of parts in the next 30 to 90 days. (I hate that!) So give it a try.

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Tue, 13 Nov 2012 12:20:14 -0600
Excerpt from my new book. It’s bound to be a best seller and you saw it here first! http://www.cypress.com/?rID=70977 Fifty Codes of Gray

 0, 1, 3, 2, 6, 7, 5, 4, 12, 13, 15, 14, 10, 11, 9, 8, 24,25, 27, 26, 30, 31, 29, 28, 20, 21, 23, 22, 18, 19, 17, 16, 48, 49, 51, 50, 54, 55, 53, 52, 60, 61, 63, 62, 58, 59, 57, 56, 40, 32

 

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Sun, 21 Oct 2012 02:17:35 -0600
Engineering Stories http://www.cypress.com/?rID=70825  There are three types of stories that you can tell what they are by how they start:

  • Children s stories
  • Navy stories
  • Engineering stories

Children s stories start with Once upon a time and end up happily ever after.

Navy stories start with Now this ain t no sh*t and end up with a big laugh.

Engineering stories start with All you have to do is and they never end up well.

 

Never!

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Wed, 17 Oct 2012 17:37:11 -0600
A Really Clever Product http://www.cypress.com/?rID=70366  I have been talking with the folks at Esterline Interface Technologies.  They have an interesting PSoC based keyboard for medical applications. It s called the Medigenic infection control keyboard.  It has a flat wipe able (no crevice) keyboard.  It is set up to count key presses and elapsed time to notify the user to clean the keyboard.  After cleanng, the PSoC does conductive test to see it has really been cleaned.  The Dirty light does not prevent the user from entering data, but the flashing is a dead give away that the user is violating protocol.  Here is a video

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYQ5ZZIbn_Q&feature=related

 I used to design medical equipment and it was pretty gross the kind of stuff you would find in crevices around the keys.  I guess I will be paying attention to the staff at my doctor s the next time I come in for a checkup!  (For my proctologist I want that keyboard cleaned every five key strokes)

 Seriously I could see this idea being used at any public data entry kiosk. (cash machines, airport check in, etc)

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Tue, 09 Oct 2012 16:40:21 -0600
Jon Moeller ROCKS! http://www.cypress.com/?rID=69966  I found a Kickstarter proposal from a young man studying for his Masters at Texas A&M.  He has built an Arduino equivalent PSoC.  He calls it freesoc and it looks pretty cool.

 http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/18182218/freesoc-and-freesoc-mini

 I was impressed with his video and, in a nut shell; it explained why I am still hoofing around the world, after 12 years, pushing PSoC. I just sponsored him for $100 so I will get a couple of his freesoc.  I figure it is a fairly inexpensive investment.  I will try to get him on PSoC Today. 

Kickstart is a funding scheme that allows people to invest in someone else s idea.  Sort of collective micro funding.

So go look at his proposal and support him if you wish!

 

PSoC Rocks, Texas A&M Rocks, and so does Jon Moeller

 

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Mon, 01 Oct 2012 15:42:19 -0600
PSoC1, Show Me Something Clever. I dare you! http://www.cypress.com/?rID=69716 I just finished an article for Electronic Design Magazine where I talk about how I learned a lot of clever tricks from other Engineers.  Well I am interested in the tricks you know about PoSC1.  You can either send them directly to me and I can later take credit for them, or you can post them on the PSoC1 forum and become famous.  If you post something really clever, I will either send you a kit or a certificate, on really nice paper, publicly stating that you are smarter them me.  It is signed by me and suitable for framing.

 

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Wed, 26 Sep 2012 11:36:13 -0600
Fun with Dyslexia http://www.cypress.com/?rID=68625 When someone noticed the problems I have with spelling, she asked if I suffered for dyslexia.  I told her no, that I mostly enjoyed it.  Living with a non linear brain has allowed me to easily grasp concepts like non-Euclidian geometry, random behavior, distribution theory, chaos, and reading a memo on your boss s desk while it is upside down and backwards.  Since I can t write and listen at the same time, I have learned to process new ideas very quickly.

 I received an e-mail from Amazon with the subject saying Recessed Lightning Cool, I thought and quickly opened it.  It turned out it was for Recessed Lighting and it was only a bunch of stupid lights, but it made me think about what recessed lightning could be.  So I went to Google and after convincing it I really did mean lightning, I figured it must be weather that keeps a school from letting their students outside for break during a thunder storm.  Or maybe it was those plasma balls used as recessed lighting.  That would make a really cool effect for kitchens.  Think not? Well HGTV has many convinced that a kitchen made entirely of concrete is hip and modern.  Trust me this would catch on.

 I looked up plasma balls with led to lighting in a jar which led to making outdoor lighting with mason jars.  So, last night, I got to spend a couple of enlightening (pun intended) mind expanding hours all because I saw a word differently than most.

 Oh. by the way. left and right are not strong concepts for me.  Someone told me a trick to stick out my thumbs and index fingers.  The one that forms the L is your left.  A really stupid idea.  You get a different answer with palms up than with palms down.  Or get the same answer on both if one is up and the other is down.  It also requires that you remember which way an L is supposed to go.  I like my solution. When I was 8, I got a really bad scar on my left elbow.  Until it became automatic, when I needed to know left, I would just grab my elbows.  The one on with the scar was left.  Whe tired, I still occasionally catch myself doing it.  Now in no way do I advocate the intentional scaring of young dyslexics.  Maybe tattoo a finger.  If you are sure they will be engineers then tattoo which fingers on the right hand are for current, voltage, flux, and power.

 Ps  Here is a Dyslexia joke I made up

 Old Mac Donald had dyslexia        O I E E I

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Fri, 31 Aug 2012 12:49:36 -0600
Political Discussions http://www.cypress.com/?rID=68599  

I have found that as election time comes around there are friends and coworkers that just have to talk about politics and will not stop.  At least with friends you can delay seeing them till after the election, but with co-workers, you are stuck.

 Well I have a way to just kill the discussion.  When someone is arguing about their candidates soundness or the opponents stupidity just chime in with Did you use those shoes he/she was wearing.   Describe in great detail the shoes and how a simple pump would have been more appropriate.

 Example

 

Did you see the debate last night?

 Yes I did and did you see HIS shoes?  How does one wear Italian leather this late in the year.  I mean, George Clooney tried it two years ago at the Oscars and it didn t work then. What make him think he could carry it off.  

 Trust me, they will be gone before you get very far.  You don t even have know what you are talking about. For instance, if you say.

 If you are going to wear a Harrison half heal you should at least choose the correct leather type.  I mean Glaviston, lamb leather, are you kidding me? (I have no clue what I just wrote but is sure does sound good.)

So give it a try and if it works for you then buy me a beer.

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Thu, 30 Aug 2012 20:15:52 -0600
Getting Old http://www.cypress.com/?rID=68500 At times your age gets thrust into your face.  (like when you get your first AARP mailing).  Well I had one of those moments.  My favorite pencil is a Pentel P205, 5mm mechanical pencil. (The black one).  Well I had to chage to the P207 (The blue one) because my hands are not steady enough for the finer lead.  Oh well.  I have an older engineer friend that is so vain, he took the hardware out of the P209 (yellow one) and put it into the black one so it looks like he is still using a young persons pencil. 

 

I am finding that now, most of the people I work with do not know how to use a slide rule.  10 years ago it was only some.  How could you ever undertand interpolation if you never used a sine table.

 

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Wed, 29 Aug 2012 12:49:06 -0600
Pencils http://www.cypress.com/?rID=68361 If you look at your standard #2 yellow pencil you will notice that it comes with a eraser.  This means that it is assumed you are going to make the occasional mistake. It is not large enough for a lot of mistakes but a few it can handle.   If you don t use the eraser then maybe you re one of those people that doesn t make mistakes.  Or maybe you're one of those people that doesn' t try anything new.

Note that the pencil is about 3% eraser, 77% useable pencil, and 20% overhead.  Remember this the next time you are told you should work smarter, not harder. (I have always hated that term.)  Chances are your company's overhead far exceeds your inefficiencies.

Of course, a pencil is only an eraser on a stick, until you sharpen it.

 

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Tue, 28 Aug 2012 23:12:32 -0600
Colombia Record Club http://www.cypress.com/?rID=67993  In one of my webisodes of PSoC Today, I was explaining old vinyl records and how bulky they were.  I also said that whenever you moved you could join the Colombia Record Club again.  It was pointed out to me that many of you don t know what I was talking about.  Colombia record company would have ads that you could get 10 albums for a dollar if you agreed to buy four more within the year.  Of course we would sign up with some fictitious name and of course after not buying the required albums that address was banned from further memberships.  So get a new address and get 10 more albums.  So remember that when some old person gives you grief about pirating music.

 

As a Cypress Semiconductor employee I do not advocate or recommend the illegal downloading of digital music.  It as always worked for me but I can t recommend it.

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Mon, 20 Aug 2012 15:49:56 -0600
Hans Camenzind http://www.cypress.com/?rID=67796 If you have ever used a 555 timer you have Hans Camerenzind to thank.  I have just heard of his death.  The 555 timer had so much impact on the industry that one of the first things I did with a PSoC was to use it to simulate a 555 timer.  (I figured that since a 555 timer could be used to build anything, if  PSoC could successfully simulate a 555 timer then a PSoC could be used to build anything.)  Hans loved is work, his family, and his hobbies and by any measure had lead a full happy life.

 

Good bye Hans, you will be missed!

 

A private family service will be held on August 17th. A remembrance of Hans life will be held at 2 pm on September 9th, in the Shoup Park Garden House in Los Altos. Friends and colleagues are welcome. In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer donations in Hans memory to the Computer History Museum. To RSVP and for information on donations, please see camenzind.org/hans/.

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Thu, 16 Aug 2012 11:05:24 -0600
More on XOR http://www.cypress.com/?rID=67655  I didn t realize it until I typed the title but it rhymed. (I m poet and I don t even know it!)  I have researched and thought more about XOR.  And decided that the definition of XOR. is was it is.  Here is how I explained it in a new book I am writing.

 

Sometimes people get things wrong but the name sticks because no one wants to make the effort to change back.  XOR stands for exclusive OR and its output should be 1 only when a single input is 1.  Its algebraic operator is ^ .  It was originally defined as a two input gate and functioned very well in that form.  The problem is for more than two inputs it is no longer associative ((A ^ B ^ C) (A ^ B) ^ C.  So the definition was changed to define the output as 1 when an odd number of its inputs are 1.  It really should be called an ODD gate but then again a Koala shouldn t be called a bear or a tomato a vegetable. A peanut is neither a pea nor a nut and we won t even go into sweetbreads.  Just get over it.

Identities           0 ^0 = 0

                        1 ^ 1 = 0

                        1 ^ 0 = 1

                        A^ 1 = ~ A

                        A ^ 0 = A

                        A ^ A= 0

                        A ^ ~A= 1

                        (A ^ B ^ C) = (A ^ B) ^| C (associative)

                        A ^B= B ^ A (commutative)

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Mon, 13 Aug 2012 11:34:07 -0600
Sometimes a Great Idea is a Great Idea! http://www.cypress.com/?rID=67477  And sometimes a great idea is something that almost works.  Well this one worked.

 I needed about 1/8 of a tube of air duct mastic and I ll be dammed if I will pay $5 for a tube of it.  I am installing the dust collection system for my new wood shop and since I am in Arizona I decided to use metal 6 pipe.  With the humidity so darn low, dust explosions are possible so plastic pipe is out.  I first decided to invent empty caulking tubes but after checking on the web I find they already have them, but they cost more than a cheap tube of latex caulk.  So I took a very cheap tube of water cleanable caulk and emptied it.  I next used my compressor to blow back the plunger.  With 100 psi, it popped like a champagne cork.  I washed it out, filled it with left over mastic, and finished the job.  Easy Peasy!  I even cleaned out the tube so I have it for the next time.

My shop is almost finished so when I have my Open Shop party, I will take food grade caulk tubes and empty out so that they can be filled with topping for canapés.  I ll have the servers. (This will be a catered event!) dispensing different toppings from caulk guns There will be guacamole, salsa cream cheese, red mango pickle cream cheese,  American cheese spread, spicy bean dip, and maybe straight bacon fat for the hard core.  You just pick up a chip or cracker and a server will come over and cheerfully dispense the amount of your favorite toping you want.  No need to double dip. After three drinks it is acceptable to have the server shoot the topping straight into your mouth.

It will be a great party.  Hope you can come.  I have registered at Home Depot and Woodcraft.

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Wed, 08 Aug 2012 19:11:05 -0600
U S Because We Like You! http://www.cypress.com/?rID=67472  I was reading an apnote about USB boot loaders and it referred to the parts of the system as the Host & Target.  I m not sure I like those terms.  They sound like how peace core civil engineers and weapon making mechanical engineers describe the same small, third world village.  I know that I do not want to be a target but I make an excellent host.

Master& Slave have been around a long time and of course these terms are insensitive enough as to be banned from use in some parts of the US.  I like Host & Device. I particularity like Corporate Oppressor & Employee as it is quite descriptive.

 I have seen Parent & Child used but these days, to be consistent, you should also have Step Parent, Step Child, Step Sibling that gets better response from Parent than you, Friend that lives with Parent that you have to acknowledge as Parent but really isn t and won t be around much longer anyway, Ex Step Parent that you can acknowledge if you wish but you don t have to, etc.  The more I think about it the more I am liking this description.

 The other thing is direction.  For USB every thing is Host centric.  So if you are a device, then a read is actually a write to the host.  It s like the airport.  When I go to the airport to go on a trip I instinctively want to drive the Arrivals section because I have just arrived.  Why can t they call it To Host and From Host or To Device and From Device.  (TH FH TD FD for short.)

 So if have some descriptive terms for both side of a USB system, please send them in.  I will give 050 kit for the best entry.  Please keep it good taste or at least not in bad taste.

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Wed, 08 Aug 2012 11:00:43 -0600
Dave Van Ess, Maker of Fine Buggy Whips http://www.cypress.com/?rID=67418  While looking at Karnuagh maps, I figured a very clever way to reduce logic when the map has a sparse distribution of diagonal entries.  I worked on it for a couple of hours till I realized that people don t reduce logic anymore.  They let the computer do it!  Oh well.  I came up with a cool method of making state machines with T flip flops and then I realized that Verilog is set up to easily work with D flip flops. T flops are really cool and I don;t understand why they are not appreciated.

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Tue, 07 Aug 2012 19:27:37 -0600
You know it's time to quit..... http://www.cypress.com/?rID=67140 I know it's time to quit for the night when I realized that the reason Creator is not working is because I  have actually  looking at a screenshot and not the actual tool.  At least I didn't send it a complaint to the tools team that Creator had locked up on me.   A bright side is that dumb mistakes like this help to keep me humble or else I would get too damn smug with myself. 

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Wed, 01 Aug 2012 11:41:28 -0600
Verilog http://www.cypress.com/?rID=65642 I have been studying up on Verilog and it tastes like chicken!  (By that is it pretty much looks like C)  I was wondering if there are any Universities or Colleges that teach it as their first high level language of EE?  It seems like it would get them started with a focus on the hardware.  Of course the CS department can still use Java or whatever language they have moved on to.

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Fri, 06 Jul 2012 16:37:16 -0600
In what chemical state does catsup exsist http://www.cypress.com/?rID=64876  I was at dinner with my family and two of my adult children got into a discussion of whether catsups is a solid or a liquid.  I answered that it depended on the temperature, at 40 below it was a solid and at 50K degrees it was plasma.  They both rolled their eyes and refined the question. And asked, At ROOM TEMPURATURE is catsup a solid or liquid ?  I said that I thought is a glass, a non solid, non liquid amorphous material.  That answer made no one at the table happy.  So I have two questions for you.

  1. What chemical state is catsup at room temperature?
  2. Does your family have nerdy discussions like this when you all get together?
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Sun, 01 Jul 2012 14:30:18 -0600
I got recognized http://www.cypress.com/?rID=64675 When in Alaska with my wife on vacation, I got recognized.  Now when this happens either they tell me how much they enjoyed meeting me or they tell have to tell me that they are smarter than me. (Way smarter)  In this case it was the later.  It was a Engineer with a competitor and he also had to let me know that most of the Engineers they had were smarter than me.  I suggested that he move over to Cypress and raise the IQ of both companies.  That stopped the discussion.

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Wed, 27 Jun 2012 17:55:40 -0600
Twn signs of may be a Zealot http://www.cypress.com/?rID=64645 Here are ten signs you may a PSoC Zealot.

1.   You will use a competitors data sheet to blow your nose.

2.   You say things like "It only took seven of the four digital blocks.

3.   You lay out a board before you finish your design.

4.   When others suggest a fixed peripheral MCU you say "Been there, done that, moved on!"

5.   You are bothered  by hardware that isn t all used, 100% of the time.

6.   Your make whole new products without changing the circuit board.

7.   You design your own digital communication scheme just because you can.

8.   You think that current DACs are the best thing since currant scones.

9.   You don't think of Delta Sigma Modulators as only the front half of an ADC.

10. You start you design without know the exact type of perpherials you will need and your not bother be it. 

 

Please add more if you got them.  The weaker ones in the above list will be replaced.

 

Dave

 

ps  Still looking for Zealots! 

 

Please

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Wed, 27 Jun 2012 10:46:17 -0600
Zealot’s Wanted, Orphans Preferred http://www.cypress.com/?rID=64588  I will admit that I am a PSoC Zealot.  When I first interviewed at Cypress MicroSystems, back in the spring of 2000, I was introduced to this unique product concept.  I immediately got it and when I got home I told my wife that this was the part I had waited for my whole career,  it is the job I have been training for my whole career, and I hoped to God they would hire me.

 

Well Cypress is looking to identify our customer zealots.  Just answer these questions 

  • Do you think PSoC totally rocks?
  • Do you look for reasons to use a PSoC? (Even if one isn t really needed)
  • Are you the one at your company looks for opportunities at your company for them to use a PSoC?
  • Have you found three or more different PSOC solution for the same project?
  • Have you found a clever application that eveb the local FAE is impressed by.
  • Do you want to meet others as obsessed about PSoC as you? 

If you answer yes to some or most of these we would like to talk with you.  We are interested in Zealots to be on customer advisory boards, to be invited to special Cypress events, and of course to be on PSoC today .  I ll see that you get free stuff and meet the movers and shakers of PSoCdom. 

 

Just e-mail me your information about yourself.  (name, phone, etc) Also include a paragraph of why you should be considered a Zealot.  I see that you get something for your troubles.  This is your opportunity to become member of a group that passionately gets PSoC as much as you.  Besides I would like to buy you a beer.

 

Ps  After taking the analog training for the filed staff, I flunked the test.  When they asked if PSoC could do particular function I would say yes and fail.  I then went back and showed them how to do it.  Really pissed them off!

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Tue, 26 Jun 2012 22:31:52 -0600
Question on Logic http://www.cypress.com/?rID=64390 I was looking at the datasheet for the PSoC3/5 XOR gate and from its truth table it implements the following

        F = (A × !B × !C) + (!A × B × !C) + (!A ×!B × C) + (A × B × C)

 This is not a XOR function.  It is a Odd function and is quite popular for determining polarity.

 A true XOR is true only when one and one of the inputs is high (that's the exclusive part) and it implements as such.

       F = (A × !B × !C) + (!A × B × !C) + (!A ×!B × C)

 Now there are only two cases where they are equivalent.

1  A two input Odd gate is equivalent to a two input XOR gate.

2  A single input Odd gate, a single input XOR gate, and a digital buffer are all equivalent.

 

Now I am prepared to hear arguments on the error of my thinking if any of you have one.

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Wed, 20 Jun 2012 13:32:35 -0600
The Faraday Files http://www.cypress.com/?rID=63696 In lecture 5 of Michael Faraday s 1827 six part Christmas Lecture, he presents the chemistry of Phosphorous, Suffer, Oxygen, and Carbon.  A combination that is full of potential power.  You think maybe he was predicting PSoC?  Maybe I can get Hedy to answer that next time she contacts me.  After all he is really smart and dead.  She should know him.

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Fri, 01 Jun 2012 16:16:41 -0600
Thought for the Day http://www.cypress.com/?rID=63691 If you re old enough to know better,

You re old enough to die!

 

Stupid should hurt!

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Fri, 01 Jun 2012 11:11:27 -0600
Thoughts on Digital Modulators http://www.cypress.com/?rID=63640 The purpose of a digital modulator is to generate a digital stream that has a particular percentage high value.  For pulse width modulators (PWM) this is called Duty Cycle , but the more generic term is Density (D).  A digital stream can have a density ranging from 0% (all low) to 100% (all high).  There are three basic types you should know about.

  • Pulse Width Modulation (PWM)
  • Delta Sigma Modulation (DSM)
  • Pseudo Random Modulation (PRM)

 

Pulse Width Modulation

PWM generate the smallest possible frequency transition.  They go high once and low once and have a constant output frequency of   fs/(Counter size).  If the cost of switching is high (Lets stay a switching power supply) then this is the modulation to use.  Because the frequency is constant, they generate a lot of harmonics.

 

Delta Sigma Modulation

If PWMs generate the lowest possible frequency, then DSMs generate the highest possible frequency.  For a density if 50% (128/256) there are 128 raising and falling edges for an output frequency of ½fs.  For a density of 25% (64/256) or 75% (192/256) there are 64 rising and falling edges for an output frequency ¼fs.  The output frequency is a function of the clock and density and is fs*min(D, D-1).  This type of modulation makes the signal easy to filter.  That makes it the preferred modulator for single bit DACs.

 

Pseudo Random Modulation

Here the output has a probability, for each cycle, of being high that is equal to the density value.  An example is to take a die and repeatedly toss it.  Make the output high when ever the die is two or less.  On the average it will be high one third of the type.  For this type of modulation the output frequency works out to fs* ½min(D,D-1).  IT key advance is that there are no harmonics.  If I was building a battery charger I would most likely use a PWM.  But if the charger was to be placed next to a radio receiver, I would use a PRM.

 

Summary

For the lowest possible output frequency, use a PWM

For the highest possible output frequency, use a DSM

For something in the middle, with no harmonics, use a PRM

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Thu, 31 May 2012 15:10:17 -0600
Reinventing the Wheel http://www.cypress.com/?rID=63539 When the first person invented the wheel, what do you think he was reinventing?  Maybe the log?.  You suppose that thousands of years ago people were saying,"We don't want to be reinventing the log"  And when they reinvented the log they certainly didn't use metric because that is a base 10 system and those guys most like couldn't count beyond 2.

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Tue, 29 May 2012 14:08:41 -0600
Beta Male Behavior Genetically Confirmed http://www.cypress.com/?rID=63530  From Discover magazine:

Researchers have confirmed that the mating call of certain Hawaiian male crickets attracts a fly that deposits parasitic larvae.  When the larvae mature they burst out of the cricket, killing it instantly.  Some male crickets have a mutation that prevent them from making the call, helping them elude the deadly flies.  The sneaky-quite ones hang around the vulnerable singing ones so they can still meet the girls. At last Beta male behavior has been genetically confirmed, but little do the researchers realize these little Beta bugs are just faking it.  They have learned to predict adverse situations and avoid them.  And when the hunky Alpha bugs blow up, someone is left to console the Alpha-less bug females.  These Betas realize that females are attracted to bad boy musicians, with "their live hard and burst young" lifestyle. They can get the rebound females, kicked to the curb.

 

I am sure that if the researchers look closely they will notice there are Alpha Geek Crickets that are inventing little ring tones for their little cell phones that play the best of the mating calls.  And with 53 billion Crickets in the world, half male and up to 90% Betas this makes 23 billion potential customers.  Any percentage of 23 billion is a lot! 

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Tue, 29 May 2012 11:13:17 -0600
Theater Voice http://www.cypress.com/?rID=63276 When a child enters Kindergarten in the United States they are tested to see if they know colors, numbers, etc.  I would like to add another thing to the list.  The ability to distinguish between:

  • Their outside voice.
  • Their inside voice
  • Their theater voice.

That s right, if the kid can t tell the difference he/she gets to go to school on the short bus.  It used to be back when church going was more of a norm that kids had to learn to be still and keep quite, at least once a week, for an hour to 90 minutes.  I remember nasty stares and shushes from Mom when ever I got loud.  (Dad was more direct)  I don t understand parents letting children talk in their load voices during a film.  Today I wanted to ask the Mother behind me if her kids were, undisciplined, untrained, insensitive, and just slow.  I didn t because my wife was there and I promised her I wouldn t do that any more.  I am also not allowed to turn around and give them my quiet angry stare.

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Sat, 19 May 2012 19:11:13 -0600
News Flash http://www.cypress.com/?rID=63108 CypressTrueTouch® To Add Revolutionary New Customization Tool Suite.

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: CY) today announced a revolutionary design tool for the fast development and customization of customer  specific touch screen designs.

 

We are pleased to announce the introduction of our new design suite named General Register Orientated Parameterization Environment or GROPE®.  Adding on to the success of our single-chip Gen4 TrueTouch® controller s, GROPE® will allow even faster, more forceful implementation of touch to a customer s design.

 

About Cypress

Cypress delivers high-performance, mixed-signal, programmable solutions that provide customers with rapid time-to-market and exceptional system value. Cypress offerings include the flagship PSoC® programmable system-on-chip families and derivatives such as PowerPSoC® solutions for high-voltage and LED lighting applications, CapSense® touch sensing and TrueTouch® solutions for touchscreens. Cypress is the world leader in USB controllers, including the high-performance West Bridge® solution that enhances connectivity and performance in multimedia handsets. Cypress is also a leader in high-performance memories and programmable timing devices. Cypress serves numerous markets including consumer, mobile handsets, computation, data communications, automotive, industrial and military. Cypress trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol CY. Visit Cypress online at www.cypress.com.

 

Cypress, the Cypress logo, PSoC, PowerPSoC, CapSense, TrueTouch, GROPE, West Bridge , and PSoC Today are registered trademarks of Cypress Semiconductor Corp.  All other trademarks are property of their owners.

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Mon, 14 May 2012 11:58:01 -0600
Proposal for Name Change http://www.cypress.com/?rID=62671 I propose that Cypress change the name on its Cafe to "The H Bar anf Grill"  After all we are a semiconductor company.

 

Comments?

 

ps It was brought to my attention that I spelled "Preposal" incorrectly.  I fixed it and I must say it takes a person of limited imagination to no be able to come up with at least two different ways to spell a word.

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Thu, 03 May 2012 17:07:46 -0600
The solution http://www.cypress.com/?rID=62602  You guys got were pretty quick.  This algorithm produces the rounded integer square root value..

 

Given a value y = n the sum would be the sum of the term doubled would be

 sum (0, 2, 4, 6 .......2(n-1))  = n^2 -n = (n - 1/2)^2 -1/4

 So

x >  (n-1/2)^2

The fact that y = n+1 is too large means

 (n-1/2)^2  < x < (n+1/2)^2

So y must be the rounded integer value of the square root of x.

 

Although slow, it is an easy algorithm to implement. Shifting x left two bits will result in y having an extra bit of resolution.  Sqrt(2 *256)/16 =  1.4375

 

I will be sending -050s to hli and Arther when they send me their contact information.

I can be reached at dwv*spamblock*@cypress.com

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Tue, 01 May 2012 10:37:37 -0600
Another puzzle, another prize! http://www.cypress.com/?rID=62541 It has been some time since I have given something away.  So I think it is time for another contest.  This time you are competing for a PSoC 5 DEV KIT  (-050). First to answer correctly wins!

 The function y = f(x) where both x and y are integers and x is a non negative value.

 The function is implemented with the following code;

 Given a non negative integer x:

 

    for(y = 0; x > 2*y; x -= 2*y++);

 

1) What is this function?

2) Prove it works for all non negative values of x.

3) What is the answer for a negative value of x?

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Fri, 27 Apr 2012 12:16:44 -0600
How Robust Is Your Career? http://www.cypress.com/?rID=62171 I wrote about this in my latest column (http://electronicdesign.com/article/analog-and-mixed-signal/robust-career-73753) and I was wondering how many of you have been asked to compromise yourself (either professionally or ethically) while employed for someone.   How did you handle it.  I would like to know.  So would other readers.  I would also appreciate any feedback on this column.

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Wed, 18 Apr 2012 18:28:58 -0600
How Robust Is Your Career? http://www.cypress.com/?rID=62170 I wrote about this in my latest column (http://electronicdesign.com/article/analog-and-mixed-signal/robust-career-73753) and I was wondering how many of you have been asked to compromise yourself (either professionally or ethically) while employed for someone.   How did you handle it.  I would like to know.  So would other readers.  I would also appreciate any feedback on this column.

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Wed, 18 Apr 2012 18:28:56 -0600
MIT http://www.cypress.com/?rID=61423 I am in Cambridge (not Bass-ton) to visit MIT.  In 1888 Charles and Henry Greene studied at the MIT School of Architecture and went out west to become pivotal leaders in the West Coast style of Arts and Crafts Architecture.  Although not considered part of the California bungalow school, their work was a big influence on the California designers.  I am staying in Cambridge and when I went to dinner I took a walk in an older neighborhood.  As a walked around I could see houses that showed some of the influences the MIT school had on the Greens.  (Heavy use of wood shingle siding, simpler lines, a move away from Victorian gingerbread and overt bay windows.)  It became apparent to me how much influence the MIT School of Architecture had on a whole design style 3000 lies away.  It was like seeing an architecture missing link.  At a time that most Architects went to Europe to study, the Greens learned a different American style.

 

I like to think that we, at Cypress, are developing a while new style of design and our work will have significant impact on the direction of future system design.  30 years from now it will be interesting to have people look back at our work and say, Those Cypress guys really knew their stuff!

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Tue, 03 Apr 2012 18:37:52 -0600
The Banner is Up! http://www.cypress.com/?rID=60754  The banner is now complete so go to www.cypress.com and watch PSoC Today.  I admit I have a face made for radio but I am charming in small doses and the show is informative and fun to watch.  The Swedish Institute of Extreme Cleverness (SIEC) has declared it to be The best video ever!   So go watch already.

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Thu, 22 Mar 2012 12:04:52 -0600
Well THAT was underwhelming! http://www.cypress.com/?rID=60718  Yesterday I went to www.cypress.com to look for the banner for PSoC Day AND IT WASN T THERE!  The 1st episode  can by found in the video section of the web site (http://www.cypress.com/?rID=60713) and of course on YouTube.  I found out that the web design group in India is too busy with more important things.  I don t understand.  What can be more important than PSoC Today?

I heard that some of the Aps Engineers in Bangalore would like to be on my show.  Sure, it easy!  Just go over to the web design team, smack em around a little.  You know, help them get their priorities straight.  When you go to leave, pause at the door, turn around, and say You don t want me to come back!   You won t get in much trouble if you don t leave bruises.  Maybe an anger management class, sensitivity training, or a heart felt apology.  This is the kind of thing that will keep the company from promoting you into management and you get to stay technical your whole career.  Well tomorrow the next episode comes out so let s hope the banner is there.

 

ps  Send me your company shirt and I will wear it on a future episode!

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Wed, 21 Mar 2012 17:26:39 -0600
Tomorrow, PSoC Today http://www.cypress.com/?rID=60634 Tomorrow will be the debut of the new video series called PSoC Today and as its host I am personally inviting you to watch.  I will be funny, informative, irreverent, and a very enjoyable way to spend 5 minutes every Tuesday and Thursday.

To encourage you to watch we will be giving out free stuff (shirts, kits, etc)

 

If you send me your company shirt (XXL) and I wear it on air you will get a free PSoC dev kit and, if you wish, a letter to your boss publicly announcing that you are under appreciated and under paid.

 

I request your feedback to know what you want to see, so email me at.

 

psoctoday@cypress.com

 

If we read your letter we ll send you something.

 

Ps  Send shirt to:

 

WEAR MY SHIRT

Cypress Semiconductor   6.3

198 Champion Court

San Jose CA 95134       no COD

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Mon, 19 Mar 2012 17:03:51 -0600
A little help from my friends http://www.cypress.com/?rID=60592 A while back I visited a company in Phoenix AZ that did Minivan conversions for the handicapped.  Unfortunately I lost their contact information and do no remember their name.  I remember they had had a cool ap for PSoC that made a proximity sensor to detect if someone was standing in the way of the wheelchair ramp as it moved into place.  Anyone know who I am talking about?

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Sun, 18 Mar 2012 18:05:14 -0600
Inspiring Thought for the Day http://www.cypress.com/?rID=60503 Sometimes to truly understand something, you have to read between the lions.

 

I am here at a Chinese restaurant in Germany with Thomas Baeuerlein, a PSoC Specialist for Arrow.  Sounds like the start of a joke, An American and a German wok into a Chinese buffet and ..  (The one of you that comes up with the best punch line gets a free PSoC5 dev kit.)

 

I spent a week going around Germany visiting German industrial customers.  Some very interesting productions.  I believe Germans have a natural inclination for the design of Industrial products and will continue to be a power house in this area in the future.

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Thu, 15 Mar 2012 10:36:42 -0600
PSoC Today! http://www.cypress.com/?rID=60406 Next Tuesday, March 20th will be the debut of PSoC Today .  It is a web based program about 5 to 10 minute long where we will explore all that is cool about PSoC.  We will have interesting guests, cool tips, and of course FREE PRIZES.  We will also give prizes (kits, shirts, etc) to people who e-mail us with insightful questions, interesting suggestions, answers to tough questions, or if you can suck up really really well.  It will be fun, insightful, informative, and irrelevant.  I am honored to be your host.  The first episode is titled "PimP Your PSoC"  I plan to wear a different shirt for every episode, but that requires shirts.  So it you would like to see me in wearing your company s shirt then send one (size XXL) to:

 Donna Rowell

Cypress Semiconductor

198 Champion Court 6.3

San Jose CA 95134

 

If I wear it on air, we will send you your choice of a PSOC 3 -030 dev kit, PSoC5 -050 dev kit, or a rubber ball.  The first two have a $100 value and I got the ball free at a trade show but It lights up when you bounce it.  The company initially required that the shirts be in good taste but I talked then down to not being in bad taste.  (That is a big gray area in which I live.)  If you are doing something cool with PSoC, will be in the San Jose Area, and would like to be on the show then e-mail me at:

psoctoday@cypress.com

 

E-mail if you have requests for show content.  If your request is hot girls on trampolines, don t bother.  That idea has all ready been rejected.

 

PSoC Rocks and So to You

May All Your Problems Be The Ones You Are Paid To Solve

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Tue, 13 Mar 2012 22:19:50 -0600
PAYMEs http://www.cypress.com/?rID=60399 I was talking with an Engineer I know and he was bummed out that he was being stiffed for about $6000 worth of consulting fees.  Apparently his customer didn t realize how expensive it was and they did not have a written contact.  I know some of you are saying stupid stupid stupid but It is not uncommon for some very charming people to not pay their last installment when they don t think they will ever need you again.  I told him I never put in more than $500 worth of my time unless we have a contact in place.  Even with that if all the people that owed me $500 paid me, I could buy a new car.

 I told him that whenever I present a proposal it will include at least two show stoppers ( problems unsolved and undocumented.)  I figure if I get the job I will solve them but if they take my proposal to a cheaper consultant he won t know how to make it work.  (I have been asked back after 6 months to finish a project)  I also like to put PAYMEs in the code.  A PAYME is a bit of software that will cause the product to stop working after a couple of weeks.  Maybe instead of a for(;;)  I put a for(i=0;i< bazillion; i++)  This version of the code is adequate for product development but not for official release.  No one ever gets source code until they are all paid up.  I had one non payer call me and ask what it would take for me to fix his code.  I said he could pay me.  He then asked if there was anything else he could do instead.  I explained that would be physically impossible.

 What tricks do you guys use to insure you get paid?

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Tue, 13 Mar 2012 17:09:20 -0600
This is Absurd! http://www.cypress.com/?rID=59049 I will be going to the Embedded World later this month (If you are there stop by and introduce yourself and I give you a free PSoC kit  mention this blog!)  Anyway I went to book travel I got a round trip ticket for $875.

   $225 for Delta

   $650 for various governments.

 So multiple airlines gets me a low price while a single government service does not.

So whatever the airlines do to get people back spending money, you have the government holding them back.  What is sad, while all the Delta people I meet, in hopes of retaining my business, will smile and try to make my trip as pleasant as possible.  From the government people I will be lucky to get a please , thank you , kiss my butt .  I think from now on I am going to remind the TSA to be polite.  Maybe ask them for complementary bottle of water.  Maybe there should be parallel entrances and they get paid per person.  Or maybe funding should be dependant of Net Promoter Scores.

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Thu, 09 Feb 2012 11:55:04 -0600
EDN Inovation Award http://www.cypress.com/?rID=40407 Scientists and authors have the Nobel Prize, mathematicians have the Field Medal, journalists have the Pulitzer Prize, Athletics have the Olympic medal, and until recently snow boarders had the Golden Bong or something like that.

 For electrical engineering it is the EDN innovative awards. This year we have been nominated for the PSoC 3/5 architecture and the Creator software tool.
 
Instituted in 1990, the Innovation Awards honor the people, products, and technologies that have shaped the semiconductor industry over the past year. Through March 19, EDN’s worldwide audience of electronic engineers and engineering managers will use an online ballot to select the ultimate winners from among the finalists. EDN’s editorial staff also takes part in determining the final winners.  Winners will be announced at a reception and awards ceremony on April 26, in San Jose. More information on the nominees and voting for the winners is available at  www.edn.com/innovation20.
 
I have previous been nominated for an article I wrote and although I didn’t win I would like to say it is an honor just to be nominated. I would like to say that but I can’t because it’s total bullsh*t. It is an honor to win, period! The first Cypress core value is:
 
We are about winning
 
It doesn’t say:
 
                “We are honored just to be nominated.”
 
Now since I have a column for Electronic Design, the chance of me winning is pretty small.  So I must live my glory under the Cypress umbrella.
 
For us to win you have to vote. Find a way to vote multiple times. Get your mother to vote. Give computer lessons at the Senior Center and get all those old people to volt. Be creative. As they say in Chicago:
 
Vote early and often
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Thu, 09 Feb 2012 01:14:37 -0600
A Great Idea http://www.cypress.com/?rID=58958 My idea is that airports should offer conference rooms in their  secure area.  That way I can fly into the airport and go right to the meeting.  I could stay until they made the final boarding call.  This would save me a couple of hours and maybe even a night stay.  Airports could charge premiums over what hotels charge for conference rooms.  No car rental, etc. 

 

Comments?

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Tue, 07 Feb 2012 13:11:22 -0600
Parochial Engineering http://www.cypress.com/?rID=58657 I have been engineering for a long time now and I am still surprised how parochial software engineers can be.  I define it has a focus on immediate concerns at the exclusion of wider contexts.  I find software engineers are the first to propose and insist on a spec but also first to ignore it when they don t agree with the one someone else developed.  In short, it is an attitude that everything would be great if everyone did it my way.  

 When I first got to Cypress the tools team insisted that that all variables in Cypress developed code should use the Hungarian format.  Variables are written CamelCase with a small character in front to designate the type of variable it is.  (iCat is an integer and wCat is an unsigned integer.)  Some people got nuts and had multiple descriptors. So  papsCat was a pointer to an array of pointers to structures.  I thought it was kinda dumb, I mean the words of a modern language have different meanings from their position.  You don t have to have sentences like this.

 

sTom vSlugged oTed.

  (sTom is the subject, vSlugged is the verb , and oTed is the object.)

 

But I am a team player and if they say we use Hungarian style, I use Hungarian style.  Now that we have a different group of tool developers that decided we need a new spec and now Hungarian style is forbidden.  What was mandatory is now forbidden.

 

I suggested that why we didn t just let the programmer use whatever style they liked.  They said then the code would not be consistent which meant we would have inconsistent code which meant code not look consistent.  My response was quote from Emerson.

 

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

 

In 16th century England when they had a Catholic Queen, they filled the prisons with Protestants.  When they had a Protestant Queen they fill the prisons with Catholics.  All in the name of a consistent religious policy.

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Fri, 27 Jan 2012 13:26:56 -0600
PAtents http://www.cypress.com/?rID=58316 I just received notice that I have been granted a patent.  I was notified by the Patent Awards company of Warsaw Indiana.  The patent was issued on January 10th and I received the letter on the 15th.  I have gotten patents while employed at three different companies and old P.A. has always been the first to notify me.  Three cheers for the profit motive.  They only make money when people get patents and want a plaque.  They sent me a very nice letter and suggested I may want to commemorate this experience with a plaque.  I remember how excited I was getting the first and now I couldn t say how many I have without checking the Patent office.  Some people display their patents on their office walls.  I never cared to do that as I am intimidating enough in person.  I gave one plaque to my son, one to my daughter and I am saving a couple for the grandkids whenever they come along.  A couple of the plaques were mounted on very nice pieces of black American walnut.  Not anymore!  They are now commemorative brassy plates.  Instead of giving me another plaque I wish the company would give me about eight board feet of French Oak.  I ll make my own plaque!

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Mon, 16 Jan 2012 15:55:06 -0600
My Kindle http://www.cypress.com/?rID=58245 I got a kindle for Christmas and I must say the future doesn t look good for the store front bookstore.  I used to buy most books either at Amazon or at Half Prices Books.  I used bookstores only when I needed a book immediately.  This would mostly be at airports.  Well now instead getting up and walking across the isle to the airport shop, I can purchase a book via wireless while keeping my seat or while waiting in line to get on the plane.   Borders closed recently and frankly I don t think it looks good for those that are left.  I think they will have to go into the instant printing business and significantly reduce their inventory.  Of course there will be niche markets for unique groups.

 I was walking around the humble side of a nameless city and I saw a sign that said Radical Vegan Women s Alliance Bookstore and Café .  I decided with a name like that I just had to go in.  As I go in the audio level drops to almost nothing.  I go to a table and wait for service a loooong time.  Realizing that I am staying until served; finally a most unfriendly waitress comes over and plops down a menu and says WHAT DO YA WANT!  I look over the menu and order a veggie burger served on portabella mushrooms.  I then ask if I could get that with cheese.  She glares at me and says.  THIS IS A VEGAN RESTAURANT AND YOU CANT GET CHEESE!  I apologized and asked if instead I could get bacon.  At that point she invoked her right to refuse me service and demanded I leave.  I didn t even get to ask if they had this month s Popular Mechanics.

You have to admit you will never get this kind of fun with Amazon.

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Fri, 13 Jan 2012 10:39:47 -0600
RTFM http://www.cypress.com/?rID=57868 Of course it stands for read Read The Fricken Manual .  Here at Cypress. when you hire on you get a set of initials.  Originally two letters, they quickly became three letters and recently they went to four letters.  Originally your initials were assigned to you on a like it or lump it basis.     (I am so happy that I am no Alam Samuel Smith).  Now with four letters you are allowed to request a particular combination.  (So you only have to be DORK if you want to.)  If I could choose my initials it would be RTFM

What is it about people s unwillingness to attempt to figure out things for themselves?  And it isn t any better with non technical people.  I have a web site with tools to design scroll sawn bowls and baskets (www.scrollmania.com ).  I had a user e-mail with such basic questions it was apparent he had not read the tutorials.  I suggested he read the first one but to no avail.  So he asked every question that the tutorial answered, pretty much in the order the tutorial answered them.  And I m not getting paid for this! (Go ahead and read the first Polydraw tutorial and give me your feedback.)  But pleas read it first!

 On the up side, I had a manager call me to ask why was his engineer couldn t get his application going and wanted to know wat was wrong with the part.  I told him I thought the application was well discussed in the app note but the Engineer would not completely read it.  I sent this manager the app note and asked him to read it.  He called me back to say that after reading it, it became clear how to fix the project and they had it going by the end of the day.  He also said he made the Engineer copy the complete apps note by hand.  He said he wanted to make sure he read every word.

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Wed, 04 Jan 2012 08:48:20 -0600
Another Earth Quake Victim http://www.cypress.com/?rID=57677 Although my plight in no way compares with those of the Japanese people, I too am a victim of the earth quake.  You see I was flying to Korea that day and I was suppose to make a connection at the Tokyo airport.  At the last minute I was able to book on a different airline but the miles weren t part of my mileage plan so I didn t make diamond status this year.  You say big deal?  So no upgrades next year! Hey, I m  6 4 (used to be 6 5 before life started bearing down on me) and sitting in steerage for 6, 12, or more hours is torture.  (I know the government doesn t define this as torture but they also don t define water boarding as torture either.)  Maybe integrations should now include flying the guy around the world in coach and keep doing so until he breaks.  Make him watch free chick flicks.

 

I a happy to see that Japan is recovering and I guess I will make Diamond next year, Unless Europe comes down with the plague.  I realize that there hasn t been one in over 600 years but I do hear the designing with PSoC gives you natural immunity.

 

Japan use lots of PSoCs and they haven t had the plague! Couldn t hurt.

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Thu, 29 Dec 2011 11:33:58 -0600
ou Were Warned!!! http://www.cypress.com/?rID=57517 Well Friday came and passed and you guy didn t hit the million PSoC mark and I must say I am disappointed with the lot of you.  So true to my word here is another carol.  This is a variation of the dreidel song.  (No reason only the Christians should take all the brunt of this punishment.  I am an interdenominational disciplinarian!)  Still a week to New Years you still can redeem yourselves.

 

OI OI OI ,Happy Fricken Hanukah and buy some PSoCs.

(OI is HO spelled sideways)

 

I have a little schedule

I made it up one day.

Though circumstance is bound to change,

With schedule I will stay.

 

Chorus:

Oh schedule, schedule, schedule

I made you up one day,

Schedule, schedule, schedule,

Forever you will stay!

 

You are a lovely schedule,

From start until we ship.

But daily status meetings,

If schedule you should slip.

 

(chorus)

 

I had a little schedule

New features did they add

But schedule, schedule, schedule

No relief there can be had.

 

(chorus)

 

You are a lovely schedule,

From start until we ship.

Twice daily status meetings,

If schedule you should slip.

 

Oh schedule, schedule, schedule

You make us dance your dance

But if we don t hop to it

You ll kick us in the pants.

 

(chorus)

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Sat, 24 Dec 2011 15:49:48 -0600
A song for the Holiday http://www.cypress.com/?rID=57342  I wrote this carol for one simple reason.  If you guys don't go out and collectively buy an extra 1 million PSoC by the end of the week, I am going to write a carol that is even worse,.  It is possible, trust me.! I have a talent for it  I mean I had the nerve to put "paradigm into the lyrics of a song.

 

So  ho ho ho, Merry fricken Christmas and buy some PSoCs

 

Dave

 

Oh PSoC 3

Oh PSoC 3 oh PSoC 3, your components ever changing.

Oh PSoC 3 oh PSoC 3 your components ever changing.

Not only adding features here. But fixing bugs so bad and drear

Oh PSoC 3 oh PSoC 3 your components ever changing.

 

Oh PSoC 3 oh PSoC 3, such pleasure do you bring me.

Oh PSoC 3 oh PSoC 3, such pleasure do you bring me.

Every month with features new, brings joy to me and joy to you.

Oh PSoC 3 oh PSoC 3, such pleasure do you bring me.

 

Oh PSoC 3 oh PSoC 3, you ever are evolving.

A paradigm of good design you ever are evolving

With every block and every gate you keep my project from being late

Oh PSoC 3 oh PSoC 3, you ever are evolving.

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Wed, 21 Dec 2011 15:04:31 -0600
Last Minute Christmas Shopping http://www.cypress.com/?rID=57158 If you have a teenagers interested in computers or electronics you should consider getting them a PSoC dev kit,

Creator is free,  The complier is free.  You can get a first touch kit for about $50 or a -030 dev kit for about $100.  I great way to learn about real time programming.  I took a first touch kit, added a IR diode, programed it to ramdonly turn off a TV, and gave it to a nephew.  I am offically the greatest Uncle Ever!!!

 

You still should be able to get one by Christmas if you order quickly!

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Sat, 17 Dec 2011 17:17:38 -0600
Necessity is the Mother of Invention http://www.cypress.com/?rID=57157  But Mother does not want you picking your nose!

I am finishing up making Christmas gifts and I found that I needed to fill some gaps between some inlayed walnut in maple.  I spend the day mixing pigments looking for a perfect match and was not really happy with any of the results.  I happened to blow my nose and I thought That is a really really close match .  So I got some clear epoxy and mixed it up with some of the walnut saw dust (lots of that around).  It worked perfectly.  It s not a bad solution.

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Sat, 17 Dec 2011 17:07:11 -0600
A little braggin here! http://www.cypress.com/?rID=56575 I try to convey to the young Engineers starting out that you must have balance in your live.  You life is a combination of your work, your family (people in your life) and yourself and it is important to keep them in balance.  I figure that many times one part of these three suck and you have the other two to fall back on.  Occasionally two of them may suck and then the third becomes even more important.  I have never had all three suck and I don t really want to think how I would respond to that.  I pity the people that only have one of the three.  When one sucks, it all sucks.  That could be Engineers with no social life or hobbies or a women that only lives only for her children.

 

Anyway my hobby is woodworking, particularly making baskets and bowls (vessels) with the scroll saw.  I have been developing software for 15 years to design these vessels.

I first started with Mat Lab to draw these patterns

I latter changed to Microsoft Scripting language (really java script)

I them went web based with HTML, Java Script, and Python and put together a Website. Here is a video of Steve Goodman reviewing my web site.  

 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfF7u1-k_X4

 

I owe a big thanks to Nathan Kohagen, Cypress Staff Design Engineer, with helping me come up to speed on web related stuff.  (Give Nathan more money.) Also the Lynnwood apps guys for giving me guidance in human interfaces.  What I learned was I am too old to be designing interfaces that young people would want to use.  That s okay the old guys, when I was a young guy, were also clueless on computer interfaces.

 What I learned is that I really don t like web programming so I am glad I have analog to fall back on.

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Tue, 29 Nov 2011 15:47:49 -0600
Software Tools http://www.cypress.com/?rID=56305 I would bet that software tools, operating systems, and such would run a lot faster if their designers and implementers were required to only use $500 laptops, purchased at Costco, to develop said tools.

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Tue, 22 Nov 2011 15:53:51 -0600
Happy Veterans Day http://www.cypress.com/?rID=55888 For all that have served our Country in the military, a heart felt thank you! 

For the first American Veteran that sends me their name, rank, serial number, and branch they served, I will send in you a -030 PSoC dev kit.

 

dwv@cypress.com

 

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Fri, 11 Nov 2011 13:37:27 -0600
Meassage from Barrie Gilbert http://www.cypress.com/?rID=55772 Fellow travelers:

 

At precisely 11hrs, 11mins and 11secs tomorrow - 11/11/11

-the NW Labs of Analog Devices, Beaverton, OREGON will be

observing 3.14159 secs of silence, give or take a second,

to mark the end of the dominion of the vast Binary Empire

and the Renaissance of Pure Analog. This new direction in

electronics – really, just the old alchemy updated – will

last until 11/11/111, or precisely One Hundred Years – at

which time digital methods will be given a second chance.

 

Since most of us will not be around then, we urge you to

make the most of this moment, and the renaissance of the

only true art. It might also be a fitting moment to give

our respects to Super-Smart Jim and Good Ol' Bob, who as

we know passed in the 11th year of this scary century.

 

There'll be a pie on the table, rounded out to 15 places.

 

BG

 

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Wed, 09 Nov 2011 18:33:44 -0600
Horsepower http://www.cypress.com/?rID=55697 I have been looking a Shop VACs and air compressors this last couple of weeks and I am getting pretty tired at the speced horsepower ratings.  At least industrial compressors are a bit more honest.
 
One horsepower (HP) is 746 watts.  For 120VAC and with a typical efficiency of 67% to 75% you would expect a current draw of somewhere around 8 to 9 amps per HP, maybe 10.  So how do they get to call a motor with a 10 amp draw 4 peak horsepower?  Well it turns out that UL does not measure a motor’s power by HP. They use current draw.
 
A word of warning! If you go to Wal-Mart and put yellow post-its on their Shop VACs and leaf blowers with the real HP rating, they will not find it a bit helpful and you will be asked to leave. Really an overeaction, its not like I used a big marker to write directly on the boxes. (I have been thrown out of far better places than that!)  No good deed goes unpunished.
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Sun, 06 Nov 2011 14:57:23 -0600
And we have a Winner! http://www.cypress.com/?rID=55607 Congratulations to hli for the following answer
 
(I admit that I still try to understand how it really works - but KAlgebra and my old school math book helped a lot. I think it work via the identity between nth-roots and logarithms
 
 
1)       The function approximates log(x) (the logarithm to base 10)
2)      2,414,435 is ln(10)*2^20 (rounded)
3)      726,817 is ln(2)*2^20 (rounded), meaning that you approximate log2(x) (the logarithm to base 2)
(I admit that I still try to understand how it really works - but KAlgebra and my old school math book helped a lot. I think it work via the identity between nth-roots and logarithms
 
Please e-mail me, give me your address, and I will send the kit out to you!
 
 
dwv@cypress.com
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Tue, 01 Nov 2011 23:53:28 -0600
Clue #2 http://www.cypress.com/?rID=55569 Here is clue # 2.  I figure ypu guys are finding this one hard or just don;t care so I am upping the ante.  First to answer gets the choice of a -030 kit OR an -050 kit.

Here is clue #2

limx->∞(1+1/x)x = e
 
1.0000011,000,000 ≈ e

 

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Mon, 31 Oct 2011 11:29:19 -0600
Wanna PSoC Dev Kit? The puzzle Continues http://www.cypress.com/?rID=55556 I got a message from Frturan and although it is wrong, so far he is the closest to the the correct answer.  (I love 1 point data analysis)  The guy didn't even suck up well on the tie breaker question.

First, this question has nothing to do directly with ADCs ecept that with 20 bits you may want to compress the data. (Clue #1)

Clue #2  Somewhere in a drawer in your desk you will find the CALCULATOR you used in college.  Take it out, change the batteries and play around with the function.  If not I'm sure there is an app that makes your phone into a engineering calculator. 

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Mon, 31 Oct 2011 11:04:21 -0600
Wanna PSoC Dev Kit? http://www.cypress.com/?rID=55540 Okay, I have one of my favorite PSoC kits (CY8CKIT-030) sitting here on my desk and it can be yours if you are the first to answer these three questions.
 
I have this equation below:
 
f(x) = [x(1/2,414,435)-1]*220     
 
1)      What function is this attempting to approximate?
 
 
2)      What is the significance of “2,414,435”?
 
 
3)      What would be the significance of “726,817”?
 
 

 

First to answer all three will win.  In case of a tie, here is the tie breaking question.

I think Dave is ...............

Fins

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Fri, 28 Oct 2011 12:20:28 -0600
PSoC in China http://www.cypress.com/?rID=55232 When I write an article and it get published in a Chinese magazine I can never read it.  The only words I can make out is my name, maybe ADC or DAC, and of course PSoC.  I get them translated back to English and I swear it was not the article I wrote.  I'll be glad when more Chinese PSoC experts write articles for Chinese magazines read by Chinese Engineers.

 

 We need a hanzi character for PSoC.  How does one get a character approved?  Can you just make one?  How do you make one?  (By the way, no one dare consider trying to make a character for me because it will most likely be a combination of “heavy” and obnoxious”)

 

I enjoy every country I travel in for some reason or another but I really enjoy going to China.  China is in the undergoing a transformation from being the cheapest manufacture of others designs, to designing products for their own consumption.  China is actively trying to develop its infrastructure and develop a strong middle class.  (The strikes at Honda would never have been successful without the governments support.)  Consequently it is a very optimistic place to be.  Everyone seems to believe that if they work hard they will be better off than their parents and their children better off than them. (Even the guy hauling around 200 pounds of cardboard on his bicycle is optimistic.)  This optimism is infectious.  I say children because China has changed their one child policy to one where families if both parents are only children, can have two children.  They understand how frustrating it is having a whole generation of not only, “only children”, but “only grand children”.

 

I enjoy working with Engineers that now have to design equipment instead of just manufacturing someone else’s designs.  It is a mind shift but I am seeing some very clever young engineers developing their skills.  They start out very afraid that they are going to make a mistake but I show them three different ways to do it with PSoC and tell them that the surely one of these will work.  I calms them down and they go their job.  I am glad to be a part of it.

 

I am seeing signs of increasing wealth.  I go for walks in the morning and I am seeing more pets than I did even two years ago.  Not just lap dogs but some Border collie size dogs and even German Shepherds.  I have also noticed more Chinese involved with hobbies.  A middle class’s first introduction to the concept of “hobby” is usually sports as it doesn’t take much money, just time.  I am now seeing more signs of money being spent on hobbies.  Photography, calligraphy, and stone polishing seem to be popular.  All are hobbies that don’t require much space.  Look out for magazines coming out in the future for these hobbies.

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Mon, 17 Oct 2011 12:14:03 -0600
Dead John Day http://www.cypress.com/?rID=55197 I decided to make up a new holiday. I call it Dead John Day.  On October 18 1216, King John of England died of dysentery while trying to retreat through a swamp.  Most likely England’s worst king you wonder how he went on so long. His father sent him to rule Ireland and he screwed that up in 6 months. When his father died he left John no land (hence his nickname John Lackland). I mean even his Dad didn’t think he had it. He snubbed the Pope, got excommunicated, and had to sign over the Country to get his soul back.
John was a tyrant. He was a wicked ruler who did not behave like a king. He was greedy and took as much money as he could from his people. Hell is too good for a horrible person like him.
Matthew Paris, C13th chronicler
I think this sums up old KJ.
 
So I figure October 18th is a good day to remind ourselves that those petty tyrannical self serving pains in our lives that have managed for some unknown reason to get a hold over our lives will eventually go away.
 
I checked Hallmark and they don’t make a DJ card!
 
 
 
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Fri, 14 Oct 2011 15:58:27 -0600
Capacitor 101 http://www.cypress.com/?rID=54859 I was asked to write an article about capacitors for Electronic Products magazine. I know, capacitors, sort of like writing about shoes for a golf magazine. You buy golf magazines for articles about high tech clubs and tips on swings but both are essential for optimal performance and selection of both is often treated as an art instead of a science. Article can be found at.
 
http://www2.electronicproducts.com/Capacitor_101-article-facm_cypress_oct2011-html.aspx
 
Your feedback would be appreciated.
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Mon, 03 Oct 2011 09:55:10 -0600
Engineer and Dad of the Week http://www.cypress.com/?rID=54631
 
The honor goes to Vin D’Agostino, owner of BNS Solutions. They are a design house and Cy Pro consultants. I honestly don’t think there is anything Vin has not already made. I saw him last week at our Field Application Engineer Conference and he showed me this video.  For his son’s birthday party he made a home version of the “Wipe Out” course.  What a Dad!!!  Besides electronics it also used pneumatics, motors, and some serious construction.  I imagine it cost a pretty piece of dough.  What can I say Vin’s a Dad, (Dad is a three letter acronym for Dude Acquiring Debt.  Go look at his website if you need a PSoC consultant.
 
Ps If I had designed it the motors would have been strong enough to knock the kids down and the boxing glove would have hurt. Maybe its better that Vin did it. Of course I never meet an Engineer would didn’t like to tweak.  Maybe when the kid is 17!.
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Mon, 26 Sep 2011 15:36:09 -0600
Robo Dave and the Company of the Month http://www.cypress.com/?rID=54168 The company of the month is Cadence Biomedical What makes them unique is that they are not using a PSoC, yet. Cadence is a startup company that is building a device to increase the efficiency of the human leg thus allowing a large number of people stuck with either canes or a wheel chair to walk again unassisted. Here is a video of a friend walking unassisted for the first time in 10 years. Heather has ALS (Lou Gehrig Disease) and she is one of the bravest souls I know. The smile she has when she walks unassisted to her husband explains, in a nut shell, why I became an engineer.

 



Efficient legged locomotion systems can be found in nature. Large terrestrial animals typically do not power their movements with a motor at each joint. Muscles often span multiple joints, which results in energy-saving power transfers when a movement simultaneously requires negative power at one joint and positive power at another joint. Furthermore, it is often possible to make effective use of passive elastic properties to generate part of the required force or power without metabolic cost, especially when muscle-tendon units span multiple joints. These mechanisms are highly developed in horses. The most complex exotendon system, with twelve pulleys per limb, was able to reduce the joint moments required for normal walking by 71% and joint power by 74%. A simpler system, with only three pulleys per limb, could reduce joint moments by 46% and joint power by 47%. I was impressed with this groups start up mentality. The device used on each leg to set the spring tension is a clothes line tensioner. The harnesses were built by a back pack maker. And even though all have very impressive titles they still had to assemble their own furniture. Here is a video of me trying it out and talking with the developers.

 



 

I noticed that when wearing it I had a bit of a horses gait when a walked. That is consistent with the theory. Although they see no need for a PSoC for their finished project we will be assisting them in setting up instrumentation and wireless data logging capabilities for their development. I haven't felt so good about being an Engineer in a long time. Great work guys! Team PSoC’s official charity is the ALS Association. As a fund raiser they will be involved with the “Walk to Defeat ALS”. Here is their website www.ALSDreamTeam.com if you care to donate it will be appreciated. If you don’t know any of the walkers then donate to Heather.  She will be there either on a three wheel bike and her exotendon system. I’m not sure which. In the name of recognition area enter “PSoC Rocks”. Or give to Eric Blom because he doesn not have any donations.


P.S. yes I am aware I need to lose weight.

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Mon, 19 Sep 2011 17:51:36 -0600
My new design http://www.cypress.com/?rID=53825 Here is a picture of me showing off a design I threw together while visiting a customer in China. I had a customer that thought they needed a couple dollars worth op amps and another couple bucks for accurate resistors.  I showed them that instead of spec-ing expensive accurate components, they could calibrate precise stable components.  That is the PSoC way. The customer is both intrigued and hesitant at the same time. I think I’ll write a column about it.
 
 
 
They call me Chairman Dave because I have a more than slight resemblance to Chairman Mao.  Whenever I am in China my hosts will insist on ordering Chairman Mao’s favorite dish.  It is called hong shao rou (red braised pork) cubes of braised pork belly glazed with caramelised sugar and Shaoxing rice wine.  Think of it as bacon to the 10th power on steroids.
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Fri, 09 Sep 2011 15:29:47 -0600
China, more than meets the eye! http://www.cypress.com/?rID=53886  That which exists before form is called the way. That which comes after form is called the vessel
                                                                                                -Book of Changes
 
Although written two thousand years ago, this idea defines the relationship between form, function and design. Below is a picture of the blunt end of a Chinese toothpick.
 
 
 
Note that it has a slight bit of detail. The purpose of this is to make the end easily break off and form a holder to keep the pick’s tip from touching the table. Beautiful and functional. 
 
 
American toothpicks are either round with two points or squarish one with a point at one end and a flat paddle on the other (preferred by cooks). One is functional and efficient (two points require half the number of picks) and other is versatile. I find it interesting that to different cultures could come up with different implementations for such a simple problem.
 
I look forward to seeing where the Chinese Engineers will take product design as they come into their own and design for their own consumption instead of manufacturing other’s designs for foreign markets
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Fri, 09 Sep 2011 15:25:46 -0600
Late Summer Bank Holiday http://www.cypress.com/?rID=53691 I just got a notice that theCypress UK office will be closed for the "Late Summer Bank Holiday".  I want to know is who is Summer Banks, what killed her, and why does she get her own holiday?  Or maybe it is Summer Bank Hokiday  (Sounds like a blues singer name). Maybe its an English thing like driving on the wrong side of the road and using metric.]]> Fri, 19 Aug 2011 16:44:09 -0600 Welcome to Cypress’s Silicon Holiday Camp http://www.cypress.com/?rID=53410 Kids, tired of Science Camp? Bored with math camp? Got deer fever from mosquito bites at Wilderness Survival Camp?  See no point to Space Camp now there is no shuttle?  Well then try the Cypress Silicon IC Design Camp! You will start with orientation as a NCG (New Camp Guest). Spend two weeks, totality inside, were you will design our own integrated circuit and fabricate it with silicon wafers made from sand YOU collect at our Santa Cruz facility.  Stay up as long as you like, and work as long as you want.  Work all night? Fine with us!  Live in a realistic Engineering environment were all meals are served from real honest to gawd vending machines.  No dress code!  That’s right; don’t change your clothes if you don’t want!  If this interests you, Cypress is accepting reservations for our 2012 camp season.  Call 1 800 SILICON.  You will be glad you did!  Register now.]]> Thu, 04 Aug 2011 19:33:25 -0600 Competition http://www.cypress.com/?rID=53349 I live in Arizona but I also own a house in Washington.  I recently paid it off so I had to contact the insurance company and the count assessor to get the bills sent to my new address.
 
I called the insurance company and got my agent. She quickly pulled up my file, made the changes, and then apologized for the extra minute and a half it took because she spelled my name wrong. (It’s V A N  SPACE  E  S S)
 
I called up the county and got a recording with different selections.  Mine was the “other” which allows me talk to a real person.  My call was forwarded to another machine asking me to state my name, problem, phone number and they would get back to me.  Didn’t say when, just that they will. It is 4 hours later and I haven’t got a call. I will update with future status.
 
I guess the difference is competition. I don’t see any ads where someone is proposing a better county government service. (Except maybe at election time)
 
Of course there will never be any competition but it would be possible to tie these employees’s compensation to their Net Promoter Scores
 
Lets see which happen first. They call me back or we reach 100 truckloads of PSoCs.
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Mon, 01 Aug 2011 15:19:44 -0600
Filtering with Delta Sigma ADCs (It’s built in!) http://www.cypress.com/?rID=53216 I just had a customer ask me to help them design 1.5kHz low pass filter to place in front of their 5ksps ADC. What they neglected is that a DelSig ADC has a built in low pass filter. It is its decimator. If it is an incremental (1st order sinc filter) then in looks like a low pass filter with a 3db point at 44% the output rate (2.2kHz for 5ksps) and 36% for a 2nd order decimator (1.8Hz for 5ksps).  If you wanted a filter at 1.5kHz then set the output rates to 3.4ksps (1.5kHz/.44) or 4.2ksps (1.5kHz/.36) respectively.
 
There may be disadvantages to using a averaging ADC but when you can exploit the benefits, you should do so!
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Wed, 27 Jul 2011 17:11:07 -0600
The Electric Breakfast Cooker http://www.cypress.com/?rID=53136 I must have first come by this little parable in the 80s and I usually refer to it at least twice a year.  Basically it explains the different between Engineers and Computer Scientists. Engineers try to reduce a problem to it most simple form while Computer Scientists will try to solve the a the universal case guaranteeing it solution for all the sub problems.  A great way to write a compiler, operating system, or tools, but a terrible way to design embedded systems.  Unfortunately I  believe that since many Software Engineers take the majority of their classes from the computer science department, that they are tend to think like Computer Scientists.

Anyway so here it is. It is used with permission by Do While Jones. Comments encouraged!
 
The Breakfast Food Cooker
by Do-While Jones
Once upon a time, in a kingdom not far from here, a king summoned two of his advisors to test them. He showed them both a shiny metal box, with two slots in the top, a control knob, and a lever. He asked his advisors, "What do you think this is?"
One advisor, who happened to be an engineer, answered first. "It is a toaster," he said. The king asked, "How would you design an embedded computer for it?"
 
The engineer replied, I would use a 4-bit microcontroller to do the job. I would write a simple program that reads the darkness knob and quantizes its position to one of sixteen shades of darkness from snow white to coal black. The program would use that darkness level as the index to a sixteen-element table of initial timer values. Then it would turn on the heating elements and start the timer with the initial value selected from the table. At the end of the time delay, it would turn off the heat and pop the toast. Come back next week and I'll show you a working prototype.
 
The second advisor, a computer scientist, immediately recognized the danger of such short-sighted thinking. He said, Toasters don't just turn bread into toast, they are also used to warm frozen waffles and pop-tarts. What you see before you is really a Breakfast Food Cooker. As the subjects of your kingdom become more sophisticated, they will demand more capability. They will need a Breakfast Food Cooker that can also cook sausage, fry bacon, and make scrambled eggs. A toaster that only makes toast will soon be obsolete. If we don't look to the future, we will have to completely redesign it in just a few years.   With this in mind, we can formulate a more intelligent solution to the problem. First, create a class of Breakfast Foods. Specialize this class into subclasses called Grain Breakfast Foods, Pork Breakfast Foods, and Poultry Breakfast Foods. Each of these classes should inherit properties from the Breakfast Foods class. The specialization process should be repeated with Grain Breakfast Foods divided into Toast, Muffins, Pancakes, and Waffles; Pork Breakfast Foods divided into Sausage, Links, and Bacon; Poultry Breakfast Foods divided into Scrambled Eggs, Hard-Boiled Eggs, Poached Eggs, Fried Eggs, and various Omelet classes.  The Ham and Cheese Omelet class is worth special attention because it must inherit characteristics from Pork Breakfast Foods and Dairy Foods, as well as Poultry Breakfast Foods. Thus we see that the problem cannot be properly solved without multiple inheritance.  At run time the program must create objects of the proper type and send a message to the object that says, 'Cook yourself.' The semantics of this message depends, of course, on the kind of object, so it has a different meaning to a piece of toast than it does to scrambled eggs.  Reviewing the process so far, we see that the Analysis Phase has revealed that the primary requirement is to cook any kind of Breakfast Food. In the Design Phase, we have discovered some derived requirements. Specifically, we need an object-oriented language with multiple inheritance. Of course the user doesn't want the eggs to get cold while the bacon is frying, so concurrent processing is required, too.   We must not forget the user interface. The lever that lowers the food lacks versatility, and the darkness knob is confusing. Users won't buy the product unless it has a user-friendly, graphical interface. When the Breakfast Cooker is plugged in, the user should see a cowboy boot on the screen. The user clicks on it, and the message 'Booting UNIX Version 8.3' appears on the screen. (UNIX 8.3 should be out by the time the product gets to the market.) The user can pull down a menu and click on the foods he wants to cook.  Having made the wise decision of specifying the software first in the Design Phase, now all that remains is to pick an adequate hardware platform for the Implementation Phase. An Intel 80486 with 64 Megabytes of memory, a 120 Megabyte hard disk, and a VGA monitor should be sufficient. Select a multi-tasking, object-oriented language that supports multiple inheritance and has a built in GUI, and writing the program will be a snap. (Imagine the difficulty we would have had if we had foolishly allowed a hardware-first design strategy to lock us into a 4-bit microcontroller!)
 
The king had the computer scientist thrown in the moat.
 
This tongue-in-cheek story exaggerates a basic difference between engineering and computer science. Engineers are trained to make as many simplifying assumptions as possible. They are taught, "Never use a second-order equation when a first-order equation will do." Computer scientists are taught to solve specific problems by considering them to be special cases of a larger, more general problem. Solve the general problem, and all specific instances of the problem are automatically solved.
 
The computer science approach is reasonable for traditional computer science applications (such as the design of compilers, operating systems, and databases). One can't predict all the possible programs a compiler will be asked to compile, so a compiler has to be designed to handle any general source code. One can't predict how many tasks will need to run at once, or what those tasks will need to do, so operating systems have to be as general as possible. It makes perfect sense to design all peripheral handlers to conform to the same general format. This allows programs to open a peripheral, where "open" has slightly different meanings if the peripheral is a printer, tape drive, or disk drive. There is no way to predict how many keys the user will need to use to access a database, so general access procedures must be provided.
 
The techniques required for these traditional computer science applications don't work as well for embedded applications. The toaster is one example. A toaster is not a Breakfast Food Cooker. Any attempt to make it one just leads to a product that is over budget, behind schedule, too expensive to sell at a profit, and too confusing to use. When faced with a difficult problem, the proper approach is to try to make the problem simpler, not more complicated.
 
I'm not against planning for the future. Some thought should be given to future expansion of capability. But when the entire design process gets bogged down in an attempt to satisfy future requirements that may never materialize, then it is time to stop and see if there isn't a simpler way to solve the immediate problem.
 
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Mon, 25 Jul 2011 11:57:25 -0600
So why did the counter stop? http://www.cypress.com/?rID=53157 If you go  www.cypress.com you will see a large counter that was counting the number of PSoCs sold.  I say “was” because it has locked up at 1 billion.  Maybe HTML has problems with number bigger than a billion and it latched up, because we are still selling them. That’s right, Billion with a “B”. One of the young guys said,”Man, we must have sold a ton of those little guys (edited for a PG-13 market)”. Well actually here is a table of PSoC weights.
 

PSoC Package
Weight (grams)
Number ICs per Ton
8PDIP
0.5712
1,587,937
20PDIP
1.4600
621,254
28PDIP
2.0090
451,484
48PDIP
7.4610
121,570
20SSOP
0.1632
5,556,417
28SSOP
0.2259
4,015,360
20SOIC
0.5424
1,672,191
28SOIC
0.7960
1,139,556
56SSOP
0.7089
1,279,543
48SSOP
0.6162
1,471,877

At an average of 1.8 million per ton, we have sold about 556 tons of the little “guys”.
 
Another said, “Ton!?! Heck it’s more like a dump truck”.  Well if a dump truck holds 12 cubic yards and a cubic yard weighs about 0.84 tons, then the table below holds true.

PSoC Package
Weight (grams)
Number ICs in a dump truck
8PDIP
0.5712
16,052,136
20PDIP
1.4600
6,280,124
28PDIP
2.0090
4,563,953
48PDIP
7.4610
1,228,922
20SSOP
0.1632
56,168,707
28SSOP
0.2259
40,590,463
20SOIC
0.5424
16,903,838
28SOIC
0.7960
11,519,543
56SSOP
0.7089
12,934,642
48SSOP
0.6162
14,878,911
 
 
 

 
With an average of 18 million per dump truck that works out to about 56 dump trucks.  (This exercise was actually for a sub class of dump trucks that haul manure. Again, the PG-13 thing.)
 
So when do we get to 100 “dump trucks” of PSoCs?
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Mon, 25 Jul 2011 11:56:44 -0600
User Modules http://www.cypress.com/?rID=53050 I have been building custom User Modules (UM) for 10 years now.   When I first started it required placing the UM folder in the correct directory and ,bamm, you were going.  Then came the “Express” years where you also had to manually edit a channel files.  Now with Designer 5.1 it looks like I have to make a folder for the User Module, a folder for the data sheet, and I have to manually edit about 64 device description files. A list of devices that a UM worked for used to be stored in the UM XML.  Now each device has a list of UMs that will work with it.  Apparently we plan to be making more new devices and less new User Modules. Maybe there is an automated way of doing it that I haven’t been told about.
 
User Modules started out being written by the apps engineers.  As this function moved away from them, the construction process has continued to get more complex.  Used to be I could whip one up in a couple of days.  Not anymore.
 
Is anyone out there making their own UMs for 5.1?  I would be interested in you opinion.
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Wed, 20 Jul 2011 15:45:30 -0600
Bonnie Baker http://www.cypress.com/?rID=52769 It was pointed out to me be many at Cypress that I was mentioned in the EDN obituary for Bob Pease, It got me thinking of who would be the heir apparent and I would have to say Bonnie Baker from TI.  She has written books with Bob Pease and has a very nice book (Baker’s Dozen) of her own.  I keep a copy as a reference. She also has a column in EDN. She has a passion for analog and is able to explain it in terms the working engineer can understand.   I went down to Tucson today and had lunch with her.  It was a very delightful and informative hour and a half. Frankly I don’t believe TI is exploiting her talents. She is iconic and should be appreciated for that fact. So go read her book.

Now if I could meet Barry Gilbert My life would be complete!

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Wed, 06 Jul 2011 19:03:00 -0600
1st of July http://www.cypress.com/?rID=52743 I was flying home Friday evening from Seattle and I got a complementary first class upgrade.  This is great! Dinner tonight is three scotch and sodas.  As I am waiting I see an enlisted man going home. Damn, I thought, no more upgrade. Being first class, I got on first and when this solder came on I asked him what seat he had, He said 22 delta. and I told him this was an Alaska flight not Delta and he better sit in my seat till we got it figured out.  He graciously tried to reject the offer but I insisted.  I mean I'm going home to celebrate Independence Day, reading a newspaper, in English,  it seemed only proper to pay respect to those that make it possible.  When I got up the other 11 people applauded. I said I sure hope that was for him because I am not putting myself in any harms ways by going back to sit in steerage.  After landing I was waiting for my luggage and a couple who had been sitting in 1st class came over to say how touched they were with my gesture and they would now look for opportunities to help the enlisted when they traveled.  I said you don’t wait for opportunities, you make them.  I pointed to the soldier waiting for his duffle, holding on to a very pretty smiley young lady.  I told the couple from 1st class that one of them should go over to thank the young man, shake his hand, and palm him a twenty..  Tell him that in a couple of hours they will most likely would be really really hunger so go buy a pizza. They did just that and the soldier grinned, the young lady blushed and all went home a bit happier. Oh well the airline scotch sucks anyway.]]> Tue, 05 Jul 2011 10:51:03 -0600 Potato Guns http://www.cypress.com/?rID=52643 I like to shoot off potato guns on the 4th.  Here are plans to build an inexpensive one if you would like to do so. They are great fun and are marginally safe. You can have a whole day of fun for about 10 bucks worth of potatoes.  So if you live in an area that protects you from yourself and the dangers of fireworks, you now have an option.  (I use engine starter for fuel) 
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Thu, 30 Jun 2011 11:39:43 -0600
Happy Fourth of July http://www.cypress.com/?rID=52638 I was in Boston last week and I walked the freedom trail.  I got to see some important sights of the revolution.  I don’t think many understand how insulting the Declaration of Independence was to the English King and the risks involved with signing it.  Coming from a position of that his right to rule comes derictly from God, it would be insulting that common or vulgar people, most likely sent to the colonies because they couldn't fit in with decent society, be so bold as to dare say this power was self determined. Saying so is treason and signing a document saying so is treason that must be publicly punished. I know few people that would go to their CEO and say “You aren’t so smart and I think we could do better”.  Imagine saying that to an 18th century King that is also the head of the church. Look what happened when the people in Libya did just this.  So enjoy the 4th. If you see a person in uniform, buy them lunch, beer, or an ice cream cone.]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2011 10:53:48 -0600