Beginning FPGAs

An hour later, you can join me to explore the very basics of Field Programmable Gate Arrays in FPGAs - Light at the End of the Learning Curve.

The session is on Tuesday, April 1st, from 3:30 - 4:30, in SJCC 210C

FPGA talk EELive 2014

Best Practices in PCB design

If you do happen to end up at the EE Live show, be sure to catch my session: Best Practices in Circuit Board Design. I'll show the most common traps we see that can cause manufacturability issues.

The session is on Tuesday, April 1st, from 2:15 - 3:15, in SJCC 210D.

Best practices talk EELive 2014

Screaming Circuits at EE Live

If you're in San Jose, CA this week, stop by and see us at the EELive show. We'll be in booth 927 - just a short walk, and a left turn from the entrance.

Show hours are:

Tuesday, April 1,    10:30 - 5:00
Wednesday            10:30 - 5:00
Thursday                10:30 - 1:30

Map to booth 2014

EELive The Show is On it's Way

If you're going to be in San Jose during the first week in April,stop by the EELive show (formerly known as the Embedded Systems Conference). We'll be in booth 972. Stop by and see what we can do for you. Maybe earn a fabulous T-Shirt.

While you're there, check out my two sessions:

"FPGAs - Light at the End of the Learning Curve", at 3:30 on Tuesday. It's not exactly PCB Assembly, but FPGAs are quite cool and getting more useful by the minute. Get some basic knowledge and see how to avoid many beginner traps.

My second session: "Best Practices in Circuit Board Design", part of the "Hardware Startup Engineering Summit," is set for 2:15 on Tuesday. You can watch that one and then run with me to my FPGA session at 3:30. Place bets on whether I can make it in time.

Duane Benson
Ach, Captain. She Canna Go Any Faster

  

 

10th Anniversary Top 10 Traps

A few folks requested my presentation from out 10th anniversary open house.So, without much adieu, here it is.

Download Top 10 traps 7-2013 (PowerPoint format)

Download Top 10 traps 7-2013 (PDF format)

Duane Benson
10 time 10 isn't necessarily equal to 10 times 10.
Especially if you mix bases.

10 Years of Speedy Prototypes

10th anniversary badgeSN74LS90 years and we're having a party - a party for engineers. Good food & drink, factory tours, door prizes, presentations... You just need to RSVP to: rsvp@screamingcircuits.com or call us at 503-266-9100

July 18, 2013, 3:00pm to 7:00pm.
1140 NW 3rd Avenue, Canby, Oregon 97013

See all the details here.

10 Years of Screaming at Circuits

ladies and gentlemen and engineers of all ages...

Screaming Circuits, A Milwaukee Electronics company, is celebrating ten years of specializing in speedy prototype assembly.In honor of your great support, we're having a party! Come and see where it all happens. Take a tour. Enjoy a come-when-you-can buffet, beer, wine and SMT parts. We promise that the food and drink will all be lead-free.

See more details here:

blog.screamingcircuits.com/10-years-of-screaming-at-circuits.html

July 18, 2013, 3:00pm to 7:00pm. 1140 NW 3rd Avenue, Canby, Oregon 97013

Just RSVP to: rsvp@screamingcircuits.com or call us at 503-266-9100.
  • Food to eat. It will be delicious, but we can't promise it will be nutritious.
  • Wine and beer from Canby's own St Josef's Winery
  • Fabulous door prizes
  • A Google Nexus 7 32GB Wi-Fi tablet for one lucky winner**
  • A $2,500 assembly coupon for another lucky winner**
  • A nice little gift pack from Screaming Circuits for everybody
  • Tables with people to answer any questions about any part of what we do for you
  • Informative presentations***
  • A few examples of fun projects we build for people
  • The "Game room" where you can challenge a Screaming Circuits champion to pool or ping pong

Duane Benson
Come on in and see what's happening
Pay the price*, get your tickets* for the show

* The price is free. just send an email to "rsvp@screamingcircuits.com" and you don't really need tickets.
** We consider you all to be winners, but only one of you will with the tablet.
*** This is supposed to be fun and informative. Sales pitches have been banned from the event.

Intergalactic Geek Pride Day Quiz

There was a time when "Geek" was far from a badge of honor. Jr. High School (AKA middle school) was developed specifically for the purpose of making geeks miserable. We were told that lockers were  designed for holding books, lunches jackets, but in reality, the secret anti-geek coalition had lockers installed so geeks could be stuffed inside of them, or could have the doors slammed in their faces.

But, then something happened. While the world wasn't looking, a geek became the richest man in the world. Pro-nerd and pro-geek movies became popular. It became cool to claim to be a geek or a nerd. The problem is that there's a big difference between claiming the title "geek" and being given the title "geek."

Well, May 25th is Geek Pride Day. In honor of Intergalactic Geek Pride Day, I've put together a little quiz on the subject.

Questions:

  1. Is it better to be considered a nerd, a geek or both?
  2. What's the difference between a nerd and a geek?
  3. Does the outside world know the difference between "nerd" and "geek" and thus does it matter which one you're called?
  4. If you've never actually been called a geek, but claim to be a geek anyway, are you really a geek?
  5. If a geek talks in the woods, but there's no one there to hear, did the geek actually speak?
  6. If you can explain what you do for a living (or hobby) to a random stranger and have more than about one in fifty understand, can you still claim to be a geek?
  7. If you don't have enough cables laying around the houses to connect just about any two pieces of computer / electronic equipment together, can you really claim to be a geek?
  8. If you can't assemble a spare PC from parts you have around the house in about an hour, can you still claim to be a geek?
  9. If you can't count in more than one base, can you still claim to be a geek?
  10. If you don't love songs by Tom Lehrer, can you still call yourself a geek? (If you don't know who he is, quick: Youtube)

 Bonus question:

  1.  Tesla or Edison?

Answers:

If you're a true geek, you already know the answers so I don't need to list them.

Duane Benson
The best revenge is not violence or deviousness
The best revenge is to be happier
...and to build robots for world domination

 

The Value of Open Source

There were a number of interesting sessions and debates last week at the DesignWest show. One of the more passion filled, was on the value of Open Source hardware. Some people think it will save the world,if only everyone will do everything open source. Some people think it's a stupid waste of time without a real business model.

Personally, I see more value in it than either of those extremes. What I see is that open source hardware (and software) has lowered the barriers to entry for people who want to create, design, build and sell. Yes, big companies innovate, but a vast amount of innovation and employment comes from small companies that start out without anything more than ideas.

A decade ago, before open source hardware became well know, it was pretty difficult and expensive to start a hardware company. In fact, I recall quite a few predictions and discussions about the death of hardware as an industry in the country. Open source hardware has lowered the barriers to entry and raised the level of awareness of hardware to the point that now, in my opinion, the environment is as ripe for start-up companies and innovation as was the late 1970's and 1980's.

Open source hardware has given us that, and that will be far more positively economically impactfull than whether or not an specific business can find a way to make money with open source hardware. These new businesses may or may not sell open source hardware. Again, that's far less important than the fact that open source hardware has really enabled so many more people to create.

DesignWest; San Jose April 23 - 25

DesignWest map 2013Will you be there? We will.

If you're in San Jose April 23, 24 or 25, stop by the McEnery Convention center, in San Jose, California. We're in booth 838 and would love to see you and say hi.

We'll be demoing our on line, real-time turn-key prototype quote and order system.

The show is open:

Tuesday 11:00am to 7:00pm
Wednesday 11:30am to 5:30pm
Thursday 11:30 to 4:00.

If you'd like, you can also look up the sessions I'll be speaking at:

Designing a Tele-Presence Robot - What Was I Thinking?
Processors and Programmable Devices
Session Code:   ESC-212
Location:   Salon 4
Date:   Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Time:   9:15 AM - 10:15 AM

FPGAs: I know nothing ... yet.
Lessons and Lessons Learned
Session Code:   STS-304
Location:  210 GH
Date:   Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Time:   2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

I also play a very small part in:

Gadget Freaks
Session Code: ET-06
Location: Expo Theater
Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Time: 5:00 PM – 5:45 PM

and

10 Computer Languages in 45 Minutes
Tech Fundamentals
Session Code:   FUN-300
Location:  210 EF
Date:   Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Time:   8:30 AM - 9:15 AM

It will be a busy show and with all of the class sessions and exhibitor booths, there will be plenty to do. I think it's hot in San Jose now, so I'm going to leave my coat at home.

Duane Benson
Someone told me it's a long, long way, but I'm not walking so I don't care.