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Archive for December, 2007

You’ve Got [Mail|Bugs]?

Saturday, December 15th, 2007 by Kevin Johnston

I was having lunch with JL awhile ago, and we were talking about some recent Verilab email threads.

Participation in email threads is fairly high at Verilab: If you ask a question, you’re pretty likely to get an answer. Or three.

But even though participation is the norm, there is no guarantee that you’ll get an answer. There’s no guarantee that the person with the most useful knowledge will chime in. Well, these aren’t novel concerns, and there are tools to address them: Bug trackers. I’m rather a fan of bug trackers, and I think they could be used far more widely than is typical. And foolishly, I promised JL I’d write a blog on the subject.

So I started to organize my thoughts: My central themes would be the interface and the data model. I would argue that the bug tracker data model is far superior, but the interface is often far too cumbersome.

A bug tracker keeps state (and state history) and responsibility metadata. A bug tracker manages a to-do list, and if it weren’t a useful data model, then to-do lists would have gone extinct; and that ain’t happening.

Any communication that desires a response is actually an addition to someone’s to-do list: “Please respond”. And the vast majority of communications do desire responses: “Please book me on a flight to Aruba”; “What’s the Emacs keystroke for …?”; “I’m going to see the new movie on Friday at 8, wanna come?”.

Why not use a bug tracker for all of them?


DFT Digest: Secure Design-For-Test

Saturday, December 1st, 2007 by JL Gray

Folks interested in DFT would do well to head over to DFT Digest. In his latest post, John Ford ponders about the potential for hackers to learn information about the inner workings of a device via a side channel attack using scan chains. The topic reminds me of a presentation I attended at this year’s DATE conference in Nice. The presenter was discussing security issues and described how she wrapped her passport in aluminum foil to prevent would-be hackers from scanning info out of the embedded RFID chip.

Separately, John is compiling a list of DFT related links. If you’ve got some good ones to share head on over to his DFT Bookcase and or his DFT Forum and let him know!

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