So long 2013, you were a great year for PCI Express (and for me personally) but your 365 days of fame are winding down as I write this. You gave us lots of new PCI Express features – especially around low-power. First you brought the L1 Substates ECN providing “traditional” PCIe PHYs with impressive power savings modes, and later on the M-PCIe ECN opening up the PCI Express infrastructure to MIPI M-PHYs in what Scott aptly described as A Match Made in Heaven. Later you even had the much anticipated M.2 Specification to define a wide variety of PCIe mobile-oriented plug-in cards which enable some exciting new PC/Tablet form-factors.
I guess Heraclitus’ real quote is more like “Nothing endures but change” but I’m going to claim poetic license here and stick with “The only constant is change” – because I like the apparent contradiction better. Two events this week drove home the aptness of this quote to me. First we had the announcement that my previous employer LSI was being purchased by Avago. I’m not much of a business person, so I’m not sure quite how to interpret “drive LSI’s operating margins toward Avago’s current levels” but I do know how to interpret a stock price jump from around $8/share to around $11/share! (I believe the technical expression there is “Woo hoo!”) Second, we have a raft of internet news sources reporting that Calxeda is restructuring (or shutting down, depending on whose account you read). I don’t read “restructuring” (as Calxeda is quoted) quite the same as “shutting down”, but hey, we already established that I’m not a business guy. I guess I can’t complain too much about that use of poetic license though since I just exercised it at the top of this posting.
Yes, I said “burgers” and not “burghers” but more on that in a bit… I have to apologize for the lateness of this posting, I didn’t realize until I was writing the last one that I had NOT actually typed this up. So here I’ve been wondering why no burger/burgher cracks have been showing up in my inbox and it turns out that the main reason is this blog post has only been in my head until now. Sigh.
Today is Thanksgiving – a unique holiday in the United States where we celebrate American Rules Football, eating to massive excess, and the wonders of a retail holiday which sounds like a medieval disease – with similar out of control growth. (After the third or fourth retailer e-mail touting “Black Friday Deals All Month!” I confess to becoming just slightly jaded.)
Way back in the day, Arsenio Hall did a number of comedy routines called “Things that make you go hmmm…” in which he pointed out any number of humorous examples of seemingly obvious examples of bad ideas, poorly named products, etc. In engineering circles we sometimes classify these as ideas which fail the obviousness test – as in “It should be obvious to the most casual observer that this is a bad idea”…
I’m in Japan this week and Taiwan next week for the PCI-SIG conference and we are showing demos for PCIe Gen3 PHYs and our M-PCIe controller with Gear3 MIPI M-PHYs. As part of our demo, we also showed Teledyne LeCroy‘s TeleScan PE Utility, which has just been updated to support M-PCIe and this is the first public appearance of the changes. The TeleScan PE utility allows a user to quickly look at the configuration status of a PCIe or M-PCIe interface, which is very useful to developers looking to see what’s going on inside of their chip. Using Synopsys’ “Industry’s First GEAR3 M-PCIe and M-PHY Demo”, we have taken a screen shot using the TeleScan PE Utility and it is shown below:
This has been one crazy summer for folks here in Colorado! First we had the massive wildfires – including one that came entirely too near to me, the Black Forest Fire:
No, no, I didn’t say “Off to the IDF” – I mean the Intel Developer Forum:
Oh darn, I almost forgot! If you’ve enjoyed my live shows, I mean presentations, mark your calendars for Tuesday August 27th at 9am Pacific and head on over to http://seminar2.techonline.com/registration/wcIndex.cgi?sessionID=synopsys_aug2713 along with two or three hundred of your closest friends and sign up for my first ever attempt at a webinar.
We talk here a lot about “PCI Express Everywhere” and yesterday’s release of SATA Express by the SATA-IO group formalizes PCI Express as the successor to SATA, so now PCI Express really is in your disks. Okay, Okay, mostly in your square (solid state) disks – though I’ve heard talk from a few rotating media people that they might build some PCIe-based magnetic disk drives too. This news won’t be a surprise to many folks however, especially those who’ve heard me talk at PCI-SIG Devcons over the last year or so.