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Embedded Systems Conference, San Fran

Are any of you folks attending the ESC at the end of March?  Or have you attended it in the past?  How was it?

It'll be my first industry conference, and I'll be paying my own way (gotta stop reminding myself that I could have bought a laptop instead).  It'll be my second time back to San Fran.  Nice city.

I'm looking forward to hearing Jack Ganssle speak.  I'm amazed at how much effort he puts into replying to emails, even if it's just a few words.  Rather nice chap.

I'm quite annoyed about how interesting classes keep getting scheduled at the same time.  Some sadistic bastage must be at work there.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Unfortunately, I can't be there.  People from my company will be there for the PC/104 Consortium meeting, but I personally won't be there.

When you get back, please tell us about it.

Myron A. Semack
Monday, February 23, 2004


You learn something new every day;  I've never even heard of PC/104 until now.  I took a peek at , looks interesting. 

Is coolling a problem with such small form-factors?

Anyways, will let you know how things go.  I think it'll be fun.  Got an idea of what I want to get out of it.  The unexpected things I'll learn will probably be more valuable.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Cooling can be an issue with PC/104.  Ultimately, it depends on the CPU.

The fastest CPU we make is 300MHz.  It works from -40 to +85C passively cooled.  Uses about 6.9 watts.

Some of our cometitors try to cram Pentium 4's into PC/104.  They take 80 to 100 watts.  These things are usually Frankenstein boards that violate the PC/104 spec bigtime.  Remember, you're limited to a component height of about 1/2 of an inch.  Try fitting a Pentium 4 heatsink in that.  :-)

The big plusses of PC/104 are:

(1) Small Size - it's just about the smallest form factor out there.  You can fit an entire PC into 3.5" by 3.5".

(2) Rugged - No backplane.  No motherboard.  Small boards can take shock and vibration very well.

(3) x86 compatible - You can boot Windows on it.  You can develop you application in Visual Studio.  You can hook a floppy drive up to it and boot DOS.  An off-the-shelf install of Redhat Linux works with no magic.

(full discolsure: I'm employed by one of the founding members of the consortium.)

Myron A. Semack
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

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