Reality bites

By Paul Dempsey |  No Comments  |  Posted: December 1, 2008
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This quarter’s issue leans slightly more toward coverage of incoming technologies than usual. Given the state of the economy around us, it can hardly hurt to look to a better future. At the same time, wise men in these new fields do seem quite keen on bringing us all down to earth.

Consider: Professor Andre Geim of the University of Manchester should be touting himself for a Nobel Prize, particularly given that so many of his colleagues are already doing so. Yet the discoverer of graphene wants to get the message out that, contrary to the hype, this ‘wonderstuff’ ain’t the successor to silicon in mass market processing. He wants more research, more people doing more research and a more realistic view to be taken on the material’s potential.

Consider: Philippe Morey-Chaisemartin of Xyalis takes us on a ‘warts ‘n’ all’ tour of the new Oasis file format, widely touted as the answer to the increasingly obvious capacity and accuracy limitations of GDSII. I don’t want to steal his thunder, but the bottom line of his piece is that there are still quite a few things to iron out, despite the standard’s great promise.

Finally consider: DDR3. Indeed, we all seem to have been considering DDR3 for quite some time, but as the experts from Denali point out, while we might deem this memory technology to be suffering from a ‘slow’ take-up, there are good reasons and good precedents why it’s business as usual.

Yet there is an upside to all this ‘realism’. In each case, don’t you dare suggest that we cannot overcome, that we do not have the ability to research, work and pull ourselves out of the doldrums. Given so much talk about economic conditions over which we all have—apparently—little control, you cannot help but find a note of optimism in that.

For sure, these are not the best of times, but perhaps those in technology have an ability to mitigate our conditions—if not reshape them—that is greater than has been seen in previous downturns. Just a thought.

Meanwhile, for those of you with an interest in PCB design, can I mention the board-level edition we have just published as a supplement to our sister magazine Portable Design. If you have not received a copy, it is available free to download from

To conclude, the usual housekeeping: thanks to our contributors for contributing and, better still, provoking. Thanks to you for reading. And the very best wishes to you all for the holiday season.

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