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July 2012

Midway Through the Fitbit Experiment

I'm sitting here angrily munching on gingersnaps because the Fitbit dashboard makes me enter every single cookie separately. Or I could enter them by weight. How about I just round up to 10? Will that make you happy, Fitbit? Now I'm going to eat 10 gingersnap cookies to spite something. Probably myself.

The other day I felt dejected. OK, I was only mildly dejected, but still, there was a small nagging voice in the back of my head saying, "You only climbed 47 floors yesterday. You missed your 50 goal by just three floors. I'm ashamed of your pitiful effort."

To get revenge, I made myself jog up and down the stairs until my Fitbit flashed 50. Then, panting and sweaty, I walked over to my computer, opened Outlook, and refreshed until my 50 floor badge popped up.


Week 2 taught me that the Fitbit and I don't have a healthy relationship. Unhealthy relationships are what friends are for, so I befriended some people in my age group. Now, when I log in to the dashboard, I see our rankings on the side.

Analog Manufacturing Enters the 300mm Era

Phoenix, Arizona July 25, 2012 - The analog IC market is a $42 billion business, representing 14% of the total semiconductor market. The market is fragmented, with over 90 companies participating, either as IDMs, foundry, or fabless. Revenues from analog are heavily weighted to communications products, but several market growth drivers are identified in our new report, including automotive, energy, mobility, and medical/healthcare. This report covers analog capacity by region, by wafer size, and by company type.

Fitbit Week One Summary

My previous article on the Fitbit introduced the product and the setup.  Day 2 was pretty active for me. I worked on demolishing my garage, went on a hike that was probably a few miles long, and tackled some insane blackberry weeds. So what did Fitbit have to say about all this activity?

Absolutely nothing, because I forgot to put on my Fitbit until after dinner. I also forgot to wear it at night for the sleep monitoring aspect.

Great. It's only Day 2 and I'm already a failure. Day 2's accomplishments included: climbing "the world's tallest sand castle" and scheduling a reminder in my phone to wear the Fitbit.

Day 3 
Today I managed to remember to keep the Fitbit on, and because I can't be trusted, I've decided to just leave it on the wristband 24/7. I have no fashion sense anyway, so it's a good tradeoff. Today, I got this in my email:

I feel special already. Later in the day I ended up getting another email, congratulating me on climbing 10 floors in one day. I might have been happier with this accomplishment if it hadn't been included with a taunt to climb 25 floors tomorrow.

What am I, a machine?

Day 4 
Yes. I am a machine.

After getting this message I did a victory lap up and down my staircase, not so much because I was proud, but because I needed to up my numbers. The dashboard is starting to control my life, and it's only been a few days.

Manufacturing and MEMS...a sweet solution

There’s been a lot of attention focused on MEMS in the past couple of years and rightfully so. In 2011 when total semiconductor revenues grew by only 1.3%, MEMS revenues grew by over 34%. MEMS have been activating air bags in our cars and projecting images on DLP screens for years, but it wasn’t until the accelerometer in smartphones when mainstream semiconductor manufacturers decided they wanted a piece of the action.

No doubt, MEMS is still in its infancy. But will this market experience an inflection point that will trigger a meteoric rise in sales causing shortages and a market imbalance? And if so, when will that happen?

There are MEMS products available today which offer more efficient timing devices, displays, and microphones. MEMS are also opening the door to new applications with innovative developments in energy harvesting. Yet, many of these products are still playing second string to the traditional solutions currently available. What will it take for all these products to enter the market in volume? There are several variables that come into play, but the most important are cost and availability.

SIP Market Mysteries Explored and Myths Exploded

Phoenix, Arizona July 18, 2012 - 2011 was a very good year for the 3rd Party SIP market which had revenues increase 18.9% over 2010. Yet only looking at SIP annual revenues obscures several very interesting trends in both the SIP and the broader System-on-a-Chip (SoC) markets.

For this reason, Semico Research Corp. has launched a new report: 3rd Party SIP Market Analysis and Forecast by Quarter(SC104-12), which looks at the SIP market by quarter from 1Q06-4Q16 while breaking the SIP market into ten separate IP Categories:

Starting a Fitbit Experiment

As part of my trip to the Freescale Technology Forum, I was introduced to the Fitbit Ultra, a wireless activity and sleep tracker. One of the themes of FTF this year was "connected intelligence." We are a community that is becoming obsessed with tracking data, especially personal data.

So, I'll bite. Let's do this thing. Over the next month, I'll go through the process and document it here for your entertainment (or mockery -- I'm pretty sure I walk maybe ten steps within a day).

The first thing I noticed upon opening the box, other than the wonderful smell of hotel soap, was directions to go to to set up the device. It doesn't seem to work unless you set up a profile. Fair enough. Everything these days wants us to log in to something or another.

IP Subsystems: The Race is On

Phoenix, Arizona June 5, 2012 - In the first half of 2012, two leading EDA/IP companies, Cadence and Synopsys, announced the availability of Subsystem IP. What is it? Why now? Is there a demand for this kind of 3rd Party IP?

Freescale Technology Forum: More Useful & Relevant Than CES

These days the semiconductor industry seems to have a conference every week, but two that stand out in the consumer arena are the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas and the Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) in San Antonio.

I go to CES almost every year, and it was very frustrating this last time around. This year I decided to partake in the panels that went on throughout the week, and was sorely disappointed in how lacking in foresight many of the speakers were. I've written about my disappointment with CES here on EBN. (See: Battle of the Digital Ecosystems and The Agony of Digital Rights Management.)