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DRAM and DRAM Controllers

Late last year, Ron Wilson, who is the Editor-in-Chief for our partner Altera, posted a great article  – DRAM Controllers for System Designers – that provides a deep dive into DRAM controllers, and how they work.  As with every other element of electronic system design, you need to get this one right.  As Ron says, […]
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TI’s New NFC Interface Transponder

Last month, TI announced a new near-field communications (NFC) interface transponder. The new Dynamic NFC Transponder Interface RF430CL330H is low cost, bringing a secure, simplified pairing process for Bluetooth® and Wi-Fi connections to products, such as printers, speakers, headsets, and remote controls, as well as wireless keyboards, mice, switches and sensors. It is the only dynamic NFC tag device […]
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Ten Software Tips for Hardware Developers

Earlier this year, I saw an excellent article by Jacob Beningo on EDN that provided a list of software tips for hardware engineers. It started by making the point – which those of us at Critical Link, and our customers, certainly understand – that those who design embedded systems need to understand not “just” the […]
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Open Source is good for you. So’s proprietary code.

A couple of months ago, at a tech conference, I got into a conversation on whether there are quality differences between open source and proprietary software. This has long been grounds for debate, with one side claiming that open source is better while the other side maintains that, with open source, you get what you […]
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The Glorious Fourth

As we gear up for the Fourth of July, I quite naturally got to thinking about fireworks. And how fireworks displays have become so computer-driven over the years.  No more lighting a match to set off the Spider or the Chrysanthemum on the town green while the band plays a Sousa march from the gazebo. […]
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The Internet of BIG, Industrial Things

While the idea of the “Internet of Things” (IoT) has been around for a while, as everything (except, perhaps, human beings) keep getting smarter, the buzz around IoT is on the rise. I recently blogged about the NEST Thermostat, and a while back I asked whether we’re smarter than the average basketball. (You don’t have […]
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State Machine Diagramming. (This is why we do it.)

As a computer science engineering student, one of the early things I learned was the use of state machine diagrams. Following the state machine methodology when doing design work – whether for hardware, a communications protocol, or the software implementation of a communications protocol   – has proven invaluable throughout my career. Because I’m a big […]
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News Flash: NAND is transitioning to 3-D

A couple of weeks ago I saw an article by Peter Clarke on EE Times reporting on the coming of 3-D NAND flash memory. He wrote: An industry-wide transition for the nonvolatile NAND flash memory technology from memory cells in a 2-D array to strings of NAND transistors integrated monolithically in the vertical direction is now anticipated. […]
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Ethernet’s 40th Anniversary

This is a big year for 40th anniversaries. We’ve “celebrated” (or at least acknowledged) the 40th anniversary of the mobile phone, and it’s also the 40th anniversary of Ethernet.  It’s hard to think of any recent developments that so fundamentally changed the way the world works – economically, socially, and politically – more so than […]
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What The Nest Learning Thermostat and Critical Link Have in Common

As an engineer, I’m always interested in tear-downs – dismantling a machine, a gadget, a device to see what’s in its innards. Most engineers, I suspect, start doing this when they’re kids. We want to know how things work – the clock, the motor, the radio – which is how we end up becoming engineers. […]
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