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Auld Lang Syne

December 23, 2008 12:06 pm | by Alix Paultre, Editor-in-Chief | Comments

As we head into the New Year, looking towards the future, our minds are always drawn to the past. “Auld Lang Syne” means roughly ‘long times past”. Our ruminations on the past vary from individual to individual; one may look back nostalgic, another regretful, and the third satisfied. The most important thing to remember is that the past is past, and we must embrace the future or face the consequences.

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Sensor Zone: January 2009

December 23, 2008 11:59 am | by Valerie Rothermel-Nelson, Honeywell Sensing & Control | Comments

When considering a relative humidity sensor for one’s application, the selection process involves a series of choices to meet application requirements and key parameters while, at the same time, insuring that the product selected delivers the lowest total cost solution. Despite the diversity in humidity sensor applications and specifications, the desire

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Embedded Systems: Ethernet Modules Act Like SBCs

December 23, 2008 8:45 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

Manufacturers offer a variety of small modules that let engineers easily add an Ethernet port to a design. They may need only a UART or I2C port in a main system to communicate with and control one of these modules. But if engineers stop there they will miss many other capabilities offered by these modules--actually single-board computers (SBCs).

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Industry Focus: Planning for End-of-Life in Mil-Aero Markets

December 23, 2008 6:06 am | by George Karalias, Rochester Electronics, LLC | Comments

Although the ramifications of end of life (EOL) announcements have long been an issue for OEMs in the mil/aero marketplace, many still fail to put a workable plan in place to face this reality. As a result of the increase in end-product programs for these industries, long-term support requirements can sometimes extend for decades, leaving customers in a difficult position as they source components for ongoing production, maintenance and repair.

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FPGAs Offer More Flexible, Affordable Embedded System Solutions

December 23, 2008 5:51 am | by Stephen Cunha, MEN Micro, Inc. | Comments

Potential solutions for providing application-specific functionality in embedded systems typically come with trade-offs in terms of cost and time to market. With few projects having the lead-time, budget or high-volume payback potential to tool-up for custom chip or hardware production runs, the best answers often revolve around "modular" solutions.

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Semiconductor Highlight: ZigBee Radios and ICs Gain Momentum in Industrial Control Applications

December 23, 2008 4:52 am | by Rich Howell, California Eastern Laboratories | Comments

Riding an elevator is typically a mundane exercise - you push a button, you wait, you get off at your floor. Few give any thought to the workings outside the metal box you’re riding. But behind the scenes a lot of technical communication takes place between the elevator car, the controller at the top of the elevator shaft, and the call button you’re patiently pushing in the lobby. Today that communication is typically conducted over high-grade RS-485 twisted pair serial cable.

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Design Talk: Batteries

December 22, 2008 11:34 am | Comments

Portable electronics are evolving so quickly that one can barely keep up with the new devices available to end-users. Regardless of the system, consumers expect more functionality in a smaller device that operates for a longer period of time between charges.

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Brainstorm: Advanced Technology Vehicles

December 22, 2008 9:08 am | Comments

How can Advanced Technology Vehicles penetrate the mainstream automotive market?

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Cover Story: The PXI Bus Hits its Stride

December 18, 2008 7:23 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

As you might guess from its name, the PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation bus, or PXI bus, takes advantage of the Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) technology developed for personal computers. Just as the original PCI bus lets users add cards to a PC motherboard, the PXI bus lets instrument-system developers connect measurement and control modules through a standard backplane.

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Semiconductor Highlight: Power Management for Low-Power IP Phones and VoIP Devices

December 8, 2008 9:19 am | by Rich Nowakowski and T.Y. Chan, Texas Instruments | Comments

Now that power via media-dependent interface (MDI) was added to the IEEE 802.3af Standard, data terminal equipment (DTE) can receive power over existing data transmission cables. The IEEE 802.3af Standard defines the requirements associated with providing and receiving power over the existing cabling. The power sourcing equipment (PSE) provides the power on the cable, and the powered device (PD) receives the power.

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When Electronics Go Green, Everybody Wins

December 8, 2008 6:25 am | by Jeff Ittel, senior vice president of semiconductors, Avnet Electronics Marketing | Comments

For members of the electronics supply chain, going “green” is not just a short-term marketing scheme rife with buzzwords but short on substance. Granted, the tech sector has jumped on its share of bandwagons, but this movement is different. It’s not just about pioneering technologies, building a positive public image, padding the bottom line or even “doing the right thing.” It’s all of the above. When state-of-the-art electronic products are energy efficient, environmentally sustainable, and cost effective, everyone wins.

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Embedded Systems: A Legacy and a Bright Future for the VMEbus

December 5, 2008 11:05 am | by Ray Alderman, Executive Director, VITA | Comments

In October of 1981, three semiconductor companies announced the open-architecture VMEbus, spawned by the introduction of the Motorola 68000 microprocessor. After 27 years, the VMEbus still holds the largest market share of all buses and boards. Today's bus technologies have lives measured in months, so why has the VMEbus survived and prospered while other buses have rapidly gone by the wayside? (Engineers use the terms VMEbus and VME interchangeably.)

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Celebrating the year’s best products

December 5, 2008 8:32 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Comments

All around, 2008 has been a very trying year. Each day seemed to bring a new round of bad news, whether it was the real estate bubble bursting, stock markets plummeting, or the “big three” automakers petitioning congress for a bailout similar to the one given to some of the nation’s largest banks. In the electronics industry, lackluster consumer confidence, fueled by the global economic crisis...

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Industry Focus: When Electronics Go Green, Everybody Wins

December 4, 2008 11:45 am | by Jeff Ittel, senior vice president of semiconductors, Avnet Electronics Marketing | Comments

For members of the electronics supply chain, going “green” is not just a short-term marketing scheme rife with buzzwords but short on substance. Granted, the tech sector has jumped on its share of bandwagons, but this movement is different. It’s not just about pioneering technologies, building a positive public image, padding the bottom line or even “doing the right thing.” It’s all of the above. When state-of-the-art electronic products are energy efficient, environmentally sustainable, and cost effective, everyone wins.

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Brainstorm: New Year Tech

November 24, 2008 9:34 am | by Edited by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

What technology will have the biggest impact in 2009?

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