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February 2006
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April 2006

IEEE 1647 Becomes a Standard!

Well, it's almost official - according to the IEEE 1647 web site from a post dated March 29, 2006:

RevCom recommends to approve the 1647 draft standard
In its meeting today, RevCom decided to support the approval of the draft standard. The IEEE Standards Activity Board is expected to ratify this recommendation tomorrow, at which point the draft will become an official IEEE standard.

So the e language finally becomes a standard... it's not likely that anyone except Cadence will be providing support for e anytime soon but perhaps it will provide incentives for folks to start developing applications that can work with Specman/e.  It would be interesting to see Cadence release an open-source version of Specman (or at least a stripped down version) that could be used to seed a potential community of EDA developers who could build a market around e related products and services. 

Roofers, Apple Pickers, Brick Masons, and... Computer Hardware Engineers?

What do roofers, agricultural workers, brick masons, construction laborers, computer hardware engineers, and upholsterers have in common?  According to the April 3 edition of Newsweek ("A Border War") all of these professions are made up of 18-29% illegal immigrants in the US.  Here's the full list:

29% of all roofers and agricultural workers
25% of brick masons and construction laborers
20% of computer hardware engineers
18% of upholsterers

Those of you outside the US may not be aware that immigration reform is the hot political issue of the day (as it is just about everywhere these days).  I don't know how I feel one way or the other about the problem, but I have to admit I was shocked to see that such a high number of computer engineers are in the country illegally.  It shouldn't be surprising though, given the difficulty these days of finding qualified candidates, let alone trying to get a visa allocated for someone who isn't a US citizen or permanent resident.  The sad thing is the engineers are going to get hired whether they're here or overseas.  All things being equal, why not just hire them here?

I spent some time over in France last year and the problem was even worse.  In addition to the difficulties a foreigner faces trying to work permanently in France, it's so hard to fire people that companies don't even like to hire French citizens full time! (For a more humorous take on the news from France, check out this clip from The Daily Show).

VMware Bugzilla and TWiki Appliances

I've been a big fan of VMware for the last year or so.  I've mentioned previously that I use it to run EDA tools on my Windows based laptop.  Today I was browsing through some of the free virtual machines that can be downloaded and run on the free VMware Player and noticed that a company called  ALM Works Ltd. has released a free virtual machine that runs Bugzilla!  What's the catch?  Well, the virtual machine is a stripped down version of Linux - so stripped down in fact that it doesn't have gcc or make installed.  That made it impossible for me to try to upgrade to the latest release candidate of Bugzilla (since the MIME::Parser package is missing from the Perl installation which requires make to build).  It seems the main reason for ALM Works to release the VM is to push their Deskzilla desktop interface to Bugzilla.  Not that there's anything wrong with that... :-).

A TWiki VM is also available.  I'd highly recommend checking out the entire list of VMs - it's much easier playing with them in the player than attempting to build up a new system each time you want to try something new.

In Search of the Right Web Host

Starting around this time last year I started seriously looking into what it would take to host my own web site.  The search ended temporarily when I found Typepad and purchased my first domain name ( from  I quickly realized that even with the flexibility of Typepad as a blogging platform I'm still lacking a degree of control.  For example, many bloggers use Feedburner to distribute their RSS/Atom feeds.  Feedburner lets the blogger track how many people have subscribed to a feed and adds tools to make the feed itself more useful.  The problem is, if you don't have control over Apache you end up having to give out the URL directly to Feedburner.  For example, I would end up having to publicize instead of the "coolverification" feed at  If I was running Movable Type on my own web host I could redirect accesses to my index.rdf file to Feedburner, but it's not possible through Typepad.

The other problem with my current hosting configuration is I can't run anything except blogging software, such as a regular website using a Content Management System such as Joomla, a Wiki, or bug tracking software such as Bugzilla.  Why would I care to run any of these packages?

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