Update 12 March 2008: The DAC eZine article "Where Did You Hear That" containing the transcript of the roundtable discussion was published last week. Check it out!
This afternoon I had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion for an upcoming issue of the DACeZine. The topic? Changing communications channels within the electronics industry. The discussion (moderated by Ed Sperling) was made up of a distinguished list of participants (shown in picture from left to right):
- David Maliniak of Electronic Design
- Limor Fix of Intel Research Labs and DAC general chair
- Gabe Moretti of GabeOnEDA, EDA DesignLine and DACeZine
I was involved in the discussion (that's me on the far right minus my signature beard, ski hat and sunglasses) as the token blogger, who also happened to be an engineer. Any discussion of old vs. new media has to include a token blogger these days! Gabe and Dave were representing the media, and Limor was representing a typical engineer and consumer of media information (who just so happens to help run a research laboratory for a large multinational semiconductor company :-).
Now, I hadn't fully realized it when I agreed to participate in the discussion but it turns out some journalists really are down on the whole blogging thing. (The term "questionable sources" came up a few times.) That seems to have included Ed and Dave. It probably didn't help things when I told them that I very rarely get any value from articles put out by the EDA trade press, and that, quite frankly, most EDA journalists don't have the time or knowledge to put up the type of technical content I could use on a day to day basis.
As a contrast to the current state of the EDA trade press think of a site like O'Reilly.net. Between Safari Books Online (which I have a paid subscription to), and the variety of sub-sites focused on a variety of technical areas there is a significant amount of useful information present. As far as I know, there is absolutely nothing of this quality in existence for the EDA industry in general, or hardware verification in particular. Why? Is it because bloggers are lowering the level of discourse with articles written by folks with questionable motives? Is it because EDA vendors aren't willing to advertise? Or is it because there are so many fewer people writing SystemVerilog testbenches than there are writing applications in Perl, Python, Ruby, etc. that the economies of scale just aren't there to make such a venture worthwhile financially?
(If only I'd been this coherent and witty during the panel... Makes me feel like George in the Seinfeld episode The Comeback...)
Now, don't get me wrong - I have a lot of respect for the journalists that cover EDA, especially after trying my hand as a member of the press at the last several industry conferences. I just think that something is missing from the professional coverage of our industry, and I'm not entirely convinced it's because young whipper snappers don't like to read anymore, or because companies see less value in handing over hard earned money to an industry operating on an outdated business model.
If you'd like to hear what this group of distinguished EDA professionals and I actually had to say about the topic (as opposed to what I wish I'd said), make sure to subscribe to the DACeZine, or stay tuned here for the link once the article is published.