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2010

As I mentioned before, we’ve got big changes coming to the Intel Embedded Community in November.  However, you don’t make changes this big overnight; so, we’ve been busy creating a test environment to make sure everything will work the way you’d expect it will.  However, there’s a bonus to having a test environment – we can use it to give you a “Sneak Peak” at what the new environment will be like, so you can slide right into being productive.

 

So, without further ado, here’s a draft of what you can be looking forward to:

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There will be 5 Major Areas or Methods of Navigation:

  1. Discussion (or “Forums”) – where folks go to post a question or try to get help
    • The Current Equivalent is called “Discussion Forums
  2. Blog Posts – where authorized Bloggers will be posting education or informative pieces
    • If you are not currently a Blogger in our community, but would like to be, please post a comment at the end of this blog
  3. Tags – the easy, modern way to find the content you want, quickly
    • There will also be “Tag Clouds” so you can see what is currently popular
  4. People – a nice way to get to know the other people in the community
    • One of the major improvements we should be gaining from this new environment is an improved method for forming friendships & connecting with each other
  5. Search – as always, a nice way to quickly find some very specific content
    • Please be sure to use the search bar under the marquee because the one in the header if for an “Intel.com-wide” search

 

In terms of the actually blogging environment, it is a fairly standard fare.  Here’s a short test Blog I wrote to demos some of the standard features:

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As you can see, you can do most of the standard formatting of text, including different colors & font types.  Plus, as expected, Bloggers can insert videos as well as pictures, tables, and, of course, hyperlinks.  All-in-all, it is a very capable platform & should serve us well to provide the content you all need to get your work done as quickly & efficiently as possible.

 

So, how does it sound so far? Pretty good or are there other things you’d like to see?

 

Let us know in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!

There’s a group of embedded software developers who are half programmer and half mathematician. You know who you are. You’re using fast Fourier transforms (FFT), coding IIR filters and operating on large matrices. When working with large amounts of data, you’ve found that SIMD (single instruction, multiple data) instructions can really speed things up.

 

If you work with large floating point numbers, I have some good news. Get twice the throughput of floating point operations with the latest Intel® architecture processors that double the size of SIMD registers – going from 128 bits to 256 bits. These changes to the instruction set are called Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions or Intel® AVX. Even if you don’t call SSE instructions explicitly, it’s possible to see a performance increase when calling one of over a hundred Intel® IPPs (Intel® Integrated Performance Primitives) that already take advantage of the extensions.

 

Floating point instructions are used all over embedded:

 

  • Medical – noise removal in medical imaging
  • Industrial – adaptive PID (proportional–integral–derivative) algorithms in control applications
  • Military - compensation for non-straight-line motion when processing SAR (synthetic aperture radar) images
  • Communications – echo cancellation and precise pulse code modulation (PCM)

 

learn more at http://software.intel.com/en-us/avx.

As promised, this is Blog entry will step through some more specifics about our upcoming changes to the Intel Embedded Community – specifically: Our vision for Embedded Blogs…

 

For the better part of a year or so, we’ve had our blogs broken up into 4 primary “groups” – roughly Hardware / Software / Applications / Transitions.  This was all fine & such, but it was really more of a “Web 1.0” structure, somewhat of a “classical” design & didn’t account well for a lot of Blog entries about things like Trade Shows or Contests, let alone broader posts on Social Media & the like.  Plus, there is the problem of trying to “pigeon hole” a Blog entry.  For example, if someone posts about using Intel® Atom™ processors in a mega-cool Robot developed & programmed by a student from MIT, does it belong in a) the hardware blogs because it talks about processors & boards or b) the software blogs because it had to be programmed or c) the applications blog because it is a robot or d) the “New to IA” blogs because the student was, wait_4_it, “New to IA?”  The answer was, as it turns out, “c” – an Applications Blog entry because it was a robot, but in truth it really could have fit in any of the above, or at least 3 out of the 4.

 

So, based on the above example, here’s how we plan to re-organize the Blogs of the Embedded Community…

-       There will be 2 main kinds of blogs

  • “Author Focused”
  • “Company Focused”

-       Instead of using set “topic buckets” like before, we will emphasize:

  • Tags & “Tag Clouds”
  • Search Bars

 

For the first part, we have identified that, by-in-large, there are 2 kinds of bloggers – those that write on a wide variety of topics, such as ReThinker, and those that right as part of a company they support, such as kontron_ktaylor.  As such, the more unique bloggers will all be given their own account so that if you like that particular blogger, you can bookmark/subscribe/whatever that person specifically to stay abreast of new entries.  However, if you are particularly fond of a specific company, because you work for it or with it or whatever your reason, you can find the page devoted to blogs from people that work for that company. 

 

On the second part, we believe that “Tags” are a much better way to organize & structure the blogs then the previous rigid bucket types.  We believe this will give you all the capabilities your previously had (like “Software” topics, there’s a Tag for that), while also giving you the ability not to miss a blog entry just because it was “60\%” Hardware & only “40\%” Software.  Now, if the entry really does relate well to multiple of the previously rigid topics, you can use all the tags that apply, plus further, more granular tags such as “Atom” or “Robots,” as applicable.  Plus, in keeping with the common desire of many modern web-surfers, we will also work towards emphasizing the usefulness of the “search box” to quickly find the things interesting to you.

 

So, that’s it – that’s the gist of our plans for the Embedded Blogs.  Please give us feedback on if this sounds good to you or if there’s something else you would like to see.  Thanks!

 [UPDATE]: Part I: "Changes to the Structure of our Blogs"

 [UPDATE]: Part II: "Sneak Peek at the New Community Look

 [UPDATE]: Part III: "How to Get Help while the Community is in Read-Only Mode

 

 

 

To all of our valuable Intel Embedded Community Members – or as I like to call you – “our dear friends,” I wanted to let you know that you will be seeing a number of big changes in November so I wanted to a) let you know about them up front and b) explain why we are doing these changes.

 

First & foremost, we are working very hard to make the transition as seamless as possible for you.  There will be a new look, some things will change around a bit, but the core functionality of having great blogs to (hopefully) inspire you & discussion forums where you find solutions to problems or help others with their problems, will remain.  In terms of timing, the Intel Embedded Community will get “frozen” or go into “read-only mode” on or around November 5, 2010 in the evening (PST).  You will still be able to visit & read what was put in, but interactivity will be turned off as we prepare to move all of our content to the new environment.  We plan to turn the “new” site on with full interactivity on or around November 14, 2010.

 

The biggest change, besides some minor tweaks to appearance, will be moving to Jive Software as our hosting environment primarily because that is what the majority of other Intel Communities are on & that is the over-arching top priority of this transition: To continually evolve to an ever-increasingly seamless sense of community for the Intel Communities.  We want this because we know, there are very few purely “Embedded” engineers.  Rather, we know there are a LOT of “Embedded” engineers that work on Software. Or, “Embedded” engineers that are working on project using Intel® Xeon® Processors. Or, “Embedded” engineers that <insert_new_topic_here>.  The point being, there are very few purely “Anything” Engineers anymore and increasingly, most engineers need to be well versed in a number of different areas. And that is the primary intent of our transition – to make it easier for you, as a developer, to get to the answers / inspirations / interactions you need to do your job better, regardless of where they lie within the Cyberscape of Intel Communities.

 

While the first big change will happen in November, I want you to know, it is only the first of many steps.  Ideally, but the middle of 2011, we will have been able to consolidate a number of currently separate sign-in systems across Intel so that, hopefully, you will be able to just have 1 persona regardless of which specific Intel community you want to be in.  And, this is more than just reducing the number of usernames/passwords you have – it is also about getting to know you better as a person – like Amazon does.  This way, even if you spend most of your time in the Embedded community, but we see you do spend some time over in Software, then we know you might be a good fit for some Webinar on Embedded Operating Systems.  The goal is for a more customized browsing experience so that you see the things that are mostly likely to enable you to work faster & get home earlier to your family & friends.  Because, in the end, that’s what’s most important in your life – the people you care about.

 

And, we hope by working towards this goal, it will help you to realize we care about you.  All sappy sentiment aside, we do, we really, really do because we might make the best processors in the world (we’d like to think they are pretty good), but without the best developers in the world, we’ve just made mounds & mounds over really expensive but highly ineffective, paper weights.  It is the systems & software that is developed with our silicon that are actually the killer solutions that people crave for and we want you to know we are honored by your efforts.  So, as we enter the transition phase, I want to leave the door for dialogue wide open for learning what it is that you folks want from this community.  This will be the first of several blog posts about the transitions, but feel free to chime in early to let us know what you want or need out of this “Intel Embedded” community.

 

Thanks for reading & for being one of “our dear friends.”

So, I’ve give a short summary of what I saw at the Intel Developer Forum 2010 in San Francisco, so now I’d like to do the same for the show I went to the following week, which, of course, was Embedded Systems Conference 2010 Boston.  To be honest, this was my first time going to ESC in Boston, but I have been to ESC in San Jose many times, so I have that perspective.  I’ll share the highlights of what I saw, but also my Key Takeaway: The #1 Problem Facing Embedded!

 

First, some of the best parts: For me, I really, really enjoyed the Microsoft Industry Address given by Kevin Dallas. I thought it was brilliant in really demonstrating the breath of what was going on in the embedded market space – from smarter gas pumps to some kind of gizmo you can wear on your head for (I think) Augmented Reality:

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I won’t steal the guy’s thunder, but if you want to few the whole slide deck for yourself, you can see it here == http://www.slideshare.net/msftweb/esc-boston-2010 ==

 

On top of that, Microsoft had a very respectable sized both & threw a great party Tuesday Night, so, clearly, Microsoft (follow them on Twitter: @MSFTWEB for “Microsoft Windows Embedded Business” – not Web=WWW) was large & in charge as you might say. Clearly, they are deeply invested in this space & given how many areas of “rub” they have going on (Windows vs Linux vs Mac OS X, Microsoft Office vs OpenOffice vs Google Docs, etc.) they clearly must see the Embedded Market Segment as an exciting place to be.  And, as anyone that follows me on Twitter will tell you I’m know Microsoft Fanboy (I love all OSes equally), I will say I was genuinely impressed by what I saw from the folks from Redmond.

 

Speaking of Impressed, in my humble opinion, my friends at Dell (follow them on Twitter: @DellOEM) were also impressive.  They also had a healthy sized booth, showing all kinds of cool things including well-designed Kiosks & the always popular always popular “Video Arcade” Demo:

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Plus Sarah M (Twitter: @SarahMatDell) was a marvelous hostess for the Dell party. 

 

Additionally, Ms. Mercer also was a fabulous co-panelist with me for the delightful Using Twitter in the Embedded Marketplace session, moderated by Patrick Hopper (@patrickhopper) with Andrian Valenzuela (@adrianvalenz) from TI & Chris Gammel (@Chris_Gammel) also on the panel. And, of course, thanks to Karen Field from EETimes (@KarenField) for coordinating the panel! In my opinion, I thought the panel went pretty well & I think, together, we identified the 2 leading reasons why Engineers aren’t embracing Twitter:

  • At 1st Glance (before you log in) Twitter is 99.999\% NOISE
  • After you sign-in for the 1st time, Twitter is 99.999\% SILENCE

In reality, neither extreme is good and, IMHO, the quickest way to fix this is to add “Channels” to the initial page of Twitter.  For example, let’s say there was an “Engineering” Channel (which you could see whether you log-in or not), it might look for the following words: Engineer, Engineering, Design, Board Layout, Compiling, etc. – several key words that are (usually) only spoken/Tweeted by Engineers or people that play Engineers on TV.  It could be further refined by EXCLUDING certain phrases like “Sanitation Engineer” or “Web Design” or “Surf Board” and such to further improve the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR).

 

In my opinion, Engineers on Twitter today is like “Women on the Web” in the early 1990s. There was a time when some 80\% of the people on the Internet were Men. Why? Because women can’t read? No. Because women could get a hold of computers? Nope. Primarily it was because, at some early point, MOST of the CONTENT on the Internet weren’t topics women tended to care about. However, at that point, someone could have concluded:

 

“Don’t bother with female-friendly content, there is are no women on the Internet”

 

Conversely, someone could have said:

 

“Oh My Gosh! There are no women on the Internet – quick, let’s corner this market”

 

As memory serves, iVillage took the second approach & in 1999 reached a $1.86 Billion Market Capitalization after its IPO.  Granted, that was during the boom era of the Internet, but even half a decade later in 2006, it was acquired NBC/Universal for $600M – not bad for a website that catered to an audience that “didn’t exist” (or at least didn’t when it started).

 

To me, the same will hold true for Engineers on Twitter – I shared with the crowd the most recent “Tweets per Day” chart directly from @Twitter itself. You can’t look at that picture & even BEGIN to tell me that “Twitter has peaked!” If anything it is as strong. I’d personally estimate that by the ringing of the new year, we’ll be around 100M Tweets / Day (TpD or, for the ÜberGeeks among you, ≈1.1kHz).  And, 18 Months later, I could see it hitting 200M TpD around July, 2012.  Now, I don’t want to start some kind of Mantion’s Law of Twitter that the Tweets / Day will double every 18 Months, but what if that held true? If in January, 2011 we hit 100M, then by January 2017, we’d be around 1.6 Billion TpD, or 18kHz.  Fortunately, given that every Tweet is only about 160 Bytes (we’ll round up to 200 to be safe), that would only translate to 3.7 MBps or about 30 Mbps – far less than DS-3 Line & probably about what most home broadband connections will be by then.  Unfortunately, that is ONLY for the “source” traffic & does not account for the hundreds of millions (maybe billions) of “drains” to that traffic.  Even if there were only 300M subscribers by then, that could be nearly 9 Petabits / second of traffic, if everyone followed everyone else.  Since I will never, EVER follow @LadyGaGa, we know this worst can’t happen, but it does help to illustrate why Twitter needs so many servers to keep up with their traffic.  Sometimes, nobody cares about what it takes to maintain something if they just take it for granted.  

 

And that brings me to my #1 Problem Facing Embedded:

 

Nobody Knows (or Cares) What Embedded Is!

 

Specifically, at some horrible junction, the word “consumer electronics” somehow got disassociated with the word “Embedded.” Pragmatically, almost ALL of THE Coolest things on the market (Robots, cell phones, Smart TVs, Music Players, Game Consoles, Robots – yes they deserve to be listed twice) are EMBEDDED Products. By that, I mean that when you hit the big green “ON” button, you expect it to just work.  And, by in large, you don’t expect to EVER do maintenance on it.  In an ever evolving role, we do now expect its functionality to increase over time by downloading “apps” to it (unlike your old Boom Box that you never expected to get any better down the road). But, still, you hit the “jump” button & you expect it to look back at you and say “how high?” Unfortunately, it seems that “Embedded” has somehow evolved to a dirty word, or at least a boring one, getting associated with gas pumps, ATM machines (yes, I know that’s redundant) and many other vital, but “boring” machines that just don’t generate excitement.

 

I won’t pretend that I know what the solution is.  Do we change this market segment from “Embedded” to “Science Fiction?” Do we change the “Embedded Systems Conference” to the “Gadgets & Gizmos Expo?” I don’t know but we need to look at doing something because somehow, when you tell someone you went to an “Embedded Show” there is a pity in their eyes that demonstrates a glaring lack of awareness of all the miraculous things we are working on so, in the comments below, write in your suggestions on how to fix this! Also, feel free to add what you saw at ESC 2010 Boston that you thought was memorable!

IDF 2010 Highlights

Posted by Geek8ive Oct 1, 2010

 

Wow!  That has got to be my first word with commenting on #IDF10: Wow!

 

Why Wow? Well, let’s see, some highlights that I saw:

 

 

o    The 1st Intel Processor with plain-old PCIe as a System Bus

o    Opens the doors to loads of very unique possible designs

o    Anything from Intel Chipsets, to 3rd Party Chipsets to FPGAs can work with it

o    Select SKUs can do the “Industrial Temp Range” of -40°C to 85°C

o    The cheapest SKU (E620) starts at $19 (Direct/Tray/1ku Volumes, etc.)

 

 

 

o    It will be Tunnel Creek processor & FPGA all in one package

o    It will be Intel’s 1st “configurable” processor

 

 

 

o    There is a high-level “getting to know me” Fact Sheet

o    At least 5 deep-dive classes (select the “ARC” Track from that Tab)

o    A STELLAR Demo of playing StarCraft II on built-in Sandy Bridge Graphics

o    Disclosures that “Sandy Bridge” will span from Notebooks to Desktops & Servers

 

 

 

o    10 Cores & 20 Threads per Processor

o    Up to 2TB (TeraBytes) of memory possible in a single system

o    But it will still work with the current Intel® 7500 Chipset

 

 

 

o    LeVar Burton (@levarbuton on Twitter) was hired to promote SmartTV

o    Ian Thomas (@ITonMission on Twitter) got to interview LeVar about #SmartTV

o    There was both Google TV & Microsoft TV being displayed

o    But most importantly, I got to meet LeVar, albeit briefly – nice guy!

 

 

 

o    Acquired by Intel in 2007, it has doubled its number of products

o    Showed a Demo of how much more realistic cloth can look in games

o    Also show how much more realistic blowin’ stuff up can look (see the full keynote)

 

 

 

o    To me, MeeGo has made huge strides in since IDF 2010 Beijing

o    One great MeeGo product launch was the WeTab by Neofonie & 4tiitoo

o    So a demo of a Media Phone made by Gemtek (here’s a picture)

 

 

 

o    First, the AppUp Community on the show floor was on fire (always busy!)

o    Second, the “AppUp Experience” was raging in the Metreon

o    Third, AppUp gave away a CAR to a great developer!

 

 

 

o    Run Applications, Control Plane, Packet Processing, & Signal Processing on 1 architecture

o    For example, we had a Demo of >10 MILLION Pkts/sec per core

o    As shown during the keynote, this performance can scale linearly

o    The savings from consolidated hardware would be HUGE

o    The savings from consolidating developer teams might be HUGER

o    In the end, everyone wins!

 

Some other nice things is, I thought the show was very well attended about 6,500 attendees – plus, >40\% of the attendees were “focusing on Embedded” – so a really good show for us.  In my opinion, I thought the news that came out was overwhelmingly positive.

 

To me, the only downside (besides there just being TOO MUCH to do in 3 days) was I’m in a toss-up on what I need to buy for the Holidays this year:

 

 

Which would you suggest?

 

So, if you went to IDF – what did you like the most?

 

If you didn’t get to go to IDF, here are some helpful links:

 

 

What else to you want to know?

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