Multi-Core in Embedded Systems

Hey Michael, We met about a year ago at a class that you presented. I was wondering if you have noticed any movement in the embedded software community to consider multi-core chips and, if so, what OS? I ask because I noticed ARM has a multi-core chip, Cortex A9, which is rumored to be in […]

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The End of a (Print) Era

With Dr. Dobb’s Journal going printless, the writing is on the (paperless) wall for other trade journals. This prompts me to reflect on the state of technical magazines and their web-based counterparts. The thickest-ever print edition of Embedded Systems Design magazine (then Embedded Systems Programming) was published in September 2000. That issue had about 120 pages. I was […]

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Common programming errors and presidential inaugurations

I don’t normally link politics and embedded systems, but something happened today at the inauguration of Barack Obama that struck me as an obvious error, but which my family and I suspect 99.999% of the rest of the viewers accepted without question. I’m referring to the third paragraph of Rick Warren’s invocation where he stated: […]

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Three Most Painful GUI Challenges

I have been thinking recently about which parts of GUI design are truly the most difficult. The programming side of it has gotten easier over the years. Faster processors mean that the programmer does not have to spend endless hours making his bitmap-rendering algorithm a little faster on the draw. Graphics libraries are widely ported, […]

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Using Espresso to simplify embedded systems

In this case, Espresso does not refer to the highly caffeinated drink, but rather to the public domain logic minimization tool. What does this have to do with embedded systems? Well, several months back I was faced with an interesting problem. A product I was working on had nine different alarm outputs (some of which are […]

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Resume Inflation

Like many companies, Netrino is perpetually interviewing candidates for software engineering positions. However, since our work is primarily in the area of embedded systems design we tend to meet many software candidates who come originally from electrical engineering backgrounds. Among this group of candidates there is a prevalent bias toward a kind of resume inflation, in the […]

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Programming as Profession

Doing my daily reading around the embedded systems press, I happened across this gem in an article by Jim Turley: Programming is often treated as a creative endeavor, undertaken by spirited and talented artistes who cannot or should not be shackled to convention, regulations, or reasonable hygiene. Get over it. Programming is a job like any other, and […]

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Using volatile to achieve persistence!

Once in a while the real world and the arcane world of language standards collide, resulting in surprising results. To see what I mean, read on … Many of the products I design incorporate a Bootstrap Loader, so that the application firmware may be updated in the field. In most cases, the bootstrap loader is […]

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RTOS Alternatives

As hundreds of commercial and other RTOS offerings can attest, the greatest demand for third-party software in the embedded systems community is for the RTOS. But this is perhaps because most embedded developers believe that traditional preemptive RTOS on one end of the complexity spectrum and the customary superloop (main+ISRs) on the other are the […]

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Horner’s rule and related thoughts

Recently I was examining some statistical data on the performance of a sensor against temperature. The data were from a number of sensors and I was interested in determining a mathematical model that most closely described the sensors’ performance. Using the regression tools built into Excel, I was looking at the various models, from a […]

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