To USB or Not to USB


USB is easy because USB is hard – Part 7 – And some Dance Jokes

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

—Vivian Greene


Our customers, our sales people seem to think at times that because USB is so easy to use, it’s easy to implement.

It is not easy.

For USB Simulation Verification – The solution space (the number of possible USB scenarios that needs to be simulated for the USB 3.0 Device ) is actually larger than the number of atoms of the universe.  For the Host it’s worse because a Host actually has the manage the bus.   As a result you need compute power and a way to reduce the solution set.

Verification is sophisticated, even if you have our excellent USB Verification IP and Test Suites.   You need an expert in USB and the IP and the Verification environment.

Chip companies do this by getting to FPGA prototype quickly and doing a bunch of hardware testing. It’s cheaper (and you can lower skilled labor, fewer verification licenses) to test lots of hosts.  Basically just get a few PC mother boards and that’s enough.  If you are a Host, usually you are getting a chipset from someone else who has already done a bunch of testing.  Or you are a game console and you are going to carefully test a limited number of peripherals to insure interoperability.


For Hardware and practical interoperability, I wanted to create our own interoperability lab for USB that goes an extra step beyond USB-IF testing. In this lab, it would have our 100s of devices, plus a customer could bring in their devices for a fee, and test them, or pay us to test them for interoperability.


I’d create a giant database, searchable, online.   And include teardown information with chip information and maybe even driver information.


People could query the database. Enter new information into the database, and expand the interoperability matrix.  It’d be great for our customers, it’d be great for the industry.  Over time, it would become the grand depository for all things USB.  With warnings on what items don’t work well (or chips)



Alas it would not be so for multiple reasons:

  1. No clear path to revenue (even though it would inherently improve the quality of our IP and our customers’ products
  2. Liability – Customers would not want negative data on their products displayed (if it was their issue or not, they just wouldn’t want it).
  3. Cost (related to revenue) – It would be an incremental cost for engineering and marketing to maintain the program. We probably could collect enough fees to make it work but still we’d need margin.

Maybe if we added a USB certification lab to the business it would make sense.

So my lab was never to be. for USB Power Delivery Compatibility

Fortunately, for USB Power Delivery, there is the website. This isn’t what I imagined, it’s better.
The site tests standard Type-C Power Delivery items with other items. To see if they support them.  As you might expect, the Apple charger seems to be pretty robust. I suspect it’s due to both Apple’s testing and the chip supplier doing a great job with testing.  You can see it working with multiple PCs and with a GoPro.
It’s a great site.  Check it out.


Something on Refugees if you have any interest. Big topic in the U.S.


Also, I saw La La Land this weekend. Go see it.  Here’s the song that will win Best Original Song at the Oscars


After you have seen the movie, then this article explains how they did the opening sequence.


Dancing Jokes

What do ghosts dance to? Soul music

Why don’t dogs make good dancers? Because they have two left feet!

What do cars do at the disco? Brake dance

Why didn’t the skeleton dance at the disco? He had no body to dance with!

What is the fastest pie in the world? Merengue.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.

How do you make a tissue dance? Put a little boogie in it

Where can you dance in California? San Fran-disco

What dance do hippies hate? A square dance

What do you get if you cross an insect and a dance? A cricket ball!

What does a snail wear to go dancing? Escargogo boots.

Why do ants dance on jam jars? Because the jar says ‘twist to open’!
Which dance will a chicken not do? The foxtrot!


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