Monday, December 31, 2012

Year at a glance

Let's prepare to say "Goodbye!" to year 2012. We lived through dynamic times, so let's summarize what happened this year (random stuff, in random order):

- Microsemi acquired Actel.
- Speaking of Actel, in 2012 QVL released a security analysis of Actel FPGAs which described a non-documented factory test interface to the chips (of course, Actel/Microsemi first denied this, just the usual theater). Cool, now we can sleep happy when using "the most secured & tamper-resistant FPGAs in the world". Doh...
- Imagination Technologies acquired MIPS. Rest in peace, Stanford MIPS! Now Microchip is the only vendor of cheap "MIPS for the masses" (I don't count Broadcom, as they don't deserve it). We'll have to unfortunately line-up the MIPS architecture in the museum next to DEC's Alpha, HP-PA, Sun's SPARC/UltraSPARC (UltraSPARC is dead, just ask Oracle).
- Samsung released first mass produced Cortex-A15 chips (dual-core Exynos 5), TI made OMAP5 demos. In general, things are now looking promising, as there's at least one non-x86 architecture that's accessible (mass produced & low cost) and has acceptable performance for everyday computing (e.g. more than it takes to blink a LED).
- Elecraft finally released the KX3 radio!

And also there are some hobby things to relate with this ending year:
- Got my first Spartan-6 devkit (Atlys from Digilent).
- Got my Elecraft K2 radio, made my first trans-ocean HF contact with US (still can't believe this happened with 10W and cheap homebrew 20m dipole).
- Got my hands on a long-standing dream, USRP B100 software-defined radio (thanks Ettus Research for treating me like a criminal because my credit card was European).
- Wrote userspace driver in Python for ENC624J600 and also a Python-based network stack for one of my projects.
- Wrote userspace driver and Layer3 P2P tiny stack in Python for MRF24J40, for a wireless project (I can't express my happiness for avoiding the work with proprietary Zigbee specs).

And one stupid joke - year 2012 should be remembered as the year, where millions of people almost died from disappointment that the world didn't end up :D

Happy new year 2013!

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