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December 2005
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February 2006

Defining "Ship Then Test" For Chip Design

When a company like Intel builds a microprocessor they have the luxury of throwing massive engineering, marketing, and sales teams at the problem.  The architecture and marketing teams will work with major customers to ensure the product being built will be well received by end users.  Quality is a major concern and due to the amount of time it can take to do a respin and requal of custom silicon, it's important to get things right the first time (or close to it).  But what about a startup with far more limited resources?  How do you balance the need for a quality product with the importance of getting the product into a customer's hands as quickly as possible?  Software companies will often ship a product before it is ready and rely on users to help them with the testing and development process.  Is such a feedback loop even possible with a product that requires ASIC development?

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Still Waiting...

Have you ever had the feeling that you were standing at the edge of a cliff with someone right behind you - just waiting for the right time to push you over the edge?  Or perhaps like you've been left at the top of a steep mountain with a pair of skis but you never mastered the bunny slopes (funny story about that actually... let's just say it's related to my CV photo)? 

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Verification Questions?

I see a decent number of hits to my blog from people searching for things like "learning vera verification", "vera specman", "vera training", "SystemVerilog training", etc.  If any of you have specific verification questions I'd be happy to help.  Just send me an email at "JL at coolverification dot com".  Or, post your question as a comment to this post or any of the others and I'll have a look.  If I don't know the answer, it's likely that one of the other fine Verilab consultants will be able to give us a hand!  If your question requires more detailed analysis and response, Verilab has offices in the UK, Germany, and the US (right here in Austin, TX).  We can work with you to come up with a custom solution to your problem.

Tips for Building a Verilog Verification Environment

I just noticed that someone hit Cool Verification using the Google Search "tips for building verilog verification environment".  Here's my tip - don't do it!  Ok, you'll have to do it a little bit but if you're thinking of building an entire environment from scratch exclusively in Verilog you're insane.  Thinking of adding a little C/C++ through the PLI to spice things up?  For your own sanity and to prevent yourself from having a day like this one you might want to reconsider.

The Final Countdown

Those of you who have been reading Cool Verification for awhile may have noticed that over the last several weeks the frequency of my posting has decreased.  Part of that is related to the holiday season and a busy work schedule.  I've made some interesting progress that I plan to share eventually creating an XSLT stylesheet to extract CSR definitions from Framemaker documentation.  I've also been hoping to do a bit of paper writing based on a project I did with my last client.  Of course, life keeps getting in the way.  My wife and I are expecting our first child soon.  As a result, my weekends (when I usually have time to post to CV) have been consumed with a variety of exciting activities, such as:

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Shovels or Bulldozers?

Here's a quick thought for the day... Give 40 people each a shovel and you'll move quite a lot of dirt.  Give a few of them a bulldozer and you'll find those people get exponentially more work accomplished, but a project built that way will end up with certain parts moving much faster than others.  What if you gave all 40 people a bulldozer?  Lots more work could get done (potentially).  Or, you might argue, why do you need 40 people when fewer people can complete the job using the more powerful equipment?  Exactly.

Two Vacation Days Wasted!

I've been on vacation for the last week and a half or so.  Since I spend all day on the computer at work, I told myself that I should stay off of the computer as much as possible.  That wasn't much of a problem when my wife and I were visiting family in rural Indiana (I'd forgotten what it was like to browse the web over a dialup connection!).  When I came back the first thing I thought of was that we needed to post our vacation photos to Flickr.  In addition to recent photos we've also got a backlog of shots going back since we got our first digital camera three years ago.  Several hours later, we'd commented a bunch of pictures in Picasa and uploaded a few batches.  The plan was to get up the next morning and start getting the next batch ready to go.  Sad to say, things didn't go according to plan.

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