Electronic Design

Flashback

Flashback > 10 Years Ago

OCTOBER 1, 1992
The diversity of programmable-logic architectures gives designers a wide range of choices to optimize a system's performance. But that same diversity can become a nightmare when designers must move from one family to another. Now, a proposed standard for a library of parameterized modules (LPMs)—generic functions that engineers can use—hopes to bring some consistency to the design flow without restricting designers.

The proposed LPM standard, version 2.0, tries to bridge the gap between the synthesis-tool developers and the suppliers of FPGAs and high-density PLDs.... Tool developers often can't get all of the information they need about a particular FPGA technology. That information must come in a timely manner so tool suppliers can offer useful tools that efficiently map a design onto the programmable array. The array suppliers... often choose tools that can be used only with their... architectures.

A preliminary version of the proposed standards... had some shortfalls concerning timing issues. The revised proposal is now ready for general release. (Technology Advances, p. 31)

Flashback > 25 Years Ago

SEPTEMBER 27, 1977
Full-duplex digital-communication rates over standard two-wire lines is quadrupling from 300 to 1200 bps. Now that the Bell System's 1200-bps modem, the 212A, is available for lease, manufacturers of modems and terminals are convinced 1200-bps communications will eventually replace 300 bps as the standard.

Before Bell, such firms as Universal Data Systems... and Vadic Corp.... had gone ahead and introduced 1200-bps, full-duplex, two-wire modems, but sales were relatively slow. For one thing, the units were incompatible, so users of one couldn't communicate with users of the other. Not only that, but users felt that whatever method Bell used for achieving 1200-bps data rates would most likely become the industry standard, and would most likely be incompatible with earlier units.

"When Bell announced the 212A, it gave credence to... 1200-bps technology," says George Grumbles, marketing vice president at UDS. "It was like the gods passing judgement."

But Bell's introduction is not without controversy. Vadic is battling to keep states from writing tariffs that would allow Bell to market the 212A. (News, p. 28)

Flashback > 40 Years Ago

SEPTEMBER 27, 1962
Designers, heartened by Telstar's success, are busily preparing for an era when satellite communications will be as commonplace as television or computers are today. Recent developments pointing up to the rapid progress include:

  • A "skinny-route" or single-channel voice-circuit ground station demonstrated by Bell Telephone Laboratories.
  • A twelve-voice-channel transportable ground station built by International Telephone & Telegraph Corp. for the Relay low-orbit satellite project
  • An echo suppressor, built by General Telephone & Electronics Corp., that could serve as a key portion of a synchronous-orbit satellite communications system. The time delay encountered in use of a 22,300-mile-high repeater was simulated in tests by bouncing signals between Telstar and the ground six times.

The laser may play an important role in future... satellite systems. ...Lasers could provide links of virtually limitless bandwidth between orbiting repeaters. (News, p. 8)

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