An embedded systems hardware test – a collaborative effort

Regular readers will probably be aware that back in 2000 I wrote an article for Embedded Systems Programming magazine entitled A ‘C’ Test: The 0×10 Best Questions for Would-be Embedded Programmers. In the intervening years I have often thought that it would be entertaining / useful to come up with a similar test—except this time I […]

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Consulting as a leading economic indicator – update #2

I have written before about consulting being a leading economic indicator. My hypothesis is that when companies need engineering help, but are unsure whether to take on employees, then they turn to consultants. Conversely when companies need to cut costs, the first to go are consultants and contractors. In short, consultants are the first to go in […]

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The (not so) Exciting World of Documentation

In a survey I conducted of several firmware engineers, lack of good documentation of hardware was the number one complaint. It is because firmware engineers so heavily rely on the hardware documentation to correctly do their job. Some of the engineers said that wrong documentation is worse than no documentation because of the wasted time […]

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How Utility Outages SHOULD Be Handled

Earlier (How to Reduce Electric Utility Outages), I promised to provide a short engineering specification of how a utility might better inform the public of repair progress during an outage.  What I describe following will not only inform the public but could also help solidify good management practices within the utility.  Improvement in management practices […]

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Rapid Prototyping with QP and Arduino

Arduino (see arduino.cc) is an open-source electronics prototyping platform, designed to make digital electronics more accessible to non-specialists in multidisciplinary projects. Arduino has gained popularity, because it provides both hardware and compatible software focused on developing working prototypes. By making it easier to build the first prototype, Arduino lowers the barrier of entry to the field of modern […]

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What is Arduino?

Believe it or not, artists, hobbyists, and other “makers” have discovered embedded computing. Increasingly, they’re turning to an open source hardware platform called Arduino to put firmware inside their creations. Over 100,000 of these inexpensive embedded systems have apparently been sold for use in prototyping and in a range of low-volume “products.” What is Arduino? Arduino is […]

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How to Reduce Electric Utility Outages

A couple of weeks ago we had a heavy, wet snow that took down many trees and in the process interrupted power for a significant number of people.  By some estimates nearly 300,000 households, businesses, and schools in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area lost power for the better part of a day.  At the time, […]

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Saving REAL Money on Healthcare

In a previous post (Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker) I had a link to my blog at MyPath.  That link was broken when they moved to a new format.  With their permission I have reposted it below so I can fix the broken link. Origionally posted on MyPath.  Follow @MyPath_MP on Twitter for more career managment advice and […]

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Embedded Software Community Survey Findings

In addition to blogging here and tweeting, I also write a monthly e-mail newsletter about embedded software that is called Firmware Update. More than 15,000 embedded software developers are currently subscribed to this newsletter. Here’s what I learned in a recent survey of those newsletter readers, in which 452 individuals participated. Geography Embedded software engineers are […]

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Formatted output when using C99 data types

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a proponent of using the C99 data types. They will also know that I’m no fan of formatted output. Notwithstanding this, I do use formatted output (particularly vsprintf) on larger systems. Well if you use the C99 data types and you use formatted output, you will quickly run […]

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