Embed this!


The Big News: Found some interesting blogs in the embedded space. Not independent blogs as they are from EDN, but very interesting: Go here for the entire list.
Of personal interest are:

Brian’s Brain by Brian Dipert. He blogs about everyday implications of technology (and whatever else strikes his fancy). Just fascinating!

Embedded Processing by Robert Cravotta. It all about the processors baby!

Finally, my trifecta includes Embedded Webblog by Warren Webb. Embedded hardware, development tools and software. What more can a guy want?

Time is short, so here is a sampling for each of them:

Robert Cravotta addresses head on the often heard “Let’s start over from scratch, the current (deployed) design is putrid“. Bottom line (in most cases): Are you nuts? Why throw away man years of effort involved in a deployed system?

Brian Dipert has concern that AT&T is turning back into Ma Bell…and the implication it has for (the lack of) customer services. He regales us with a tale of ordering DSL service from them. While placing the order was reminiscent of the 80s, he is actually pleasantly surprised.

Mr. Webb points out that Eclipse is now a de facto standard embedded development environment. He also points out that PC/104 still has a bright future.

In other news, I’m so jealous of Mike Deliman…He actually works on Space Exploration projects! Let’s face it, Star Trek is the reason lots of us became engineers! He has an entry about the water found on Mars.

Remember BCD (Binary Coded Decimal)?  If you taught it was an interesting historical tidbit like I did, this article in EETimes shows that it’s making a resurgence.  Among its advantages, you can display numbers to an arbitrary position (unlike floating point, which has a finite precision).

The EETimes also has the fascinating saga of Kaleidescape Inc. vs. Hollywood. Kaleidescape’s system is definitely something to drool over. All your DVDs imported on a hard drive and available any time.
EDN reports that the US has experienced a 2nd year of High-Tech growth. My own contacts support this…If you want to move to Cedar Rapids, IA Rockwell Collins is looking to fill 400 positions…
IBM is getting into online gaming with a platform specifically designed for it.

Interesting article on a house entered in the Solar Decathlon. The goal is to create the most attractive and energy-efficient solar powered house. Living in a solar powered house appeals to me on many levels, but I don’t know about the day-to-day reality.

The future is here…E-paper is moving into high volume production.  The Star Trek universe is coming closer…

Maybe it’s because I’m an Amateur Radio Operator, but Software Defined Radio (SDR) has always fascinated me. Now comes the news that the SDR Forum has a Smart Radio Challenge open to students, and Clemson University (just around the corner) made it to the 2nd round.

Interesting comparison of ZigBee and WLAN over at RF Design Line. Each has their target application.

Jack Ganssle’s latest Embedded Muse 144 (back issues here, but it hasn’t yet been posted) talks about implementing a bit banging serial interface, something he wrote about 15 years ago. He would be proud to know I have done this just a few months ago :-)

I am glad to discover another blog dealing with embedded systems. Go see Ron Fredericks Embedded Components blog. He has an interesting entry on Community Development for Embedded Devices.  I wonder if the community is simply too fragmented with today’s plethora of embedded devices.
Loosing a bit of high-tech history in Silicon Valley…Brian Fuller writes about loosing the former Shockley Labs headquarters to a Grocery Store. Yes, the transistor Shockley…

EETimes has a bunch of good content this week…

A little blurb about the Toyota Prius Teardown that occured at Embedded Systems Conference. The full details will be in the May 14 issue of Under The Hood.

Multicore is all the rage these days…An article by Dylan McGrath about the use of multicore chips in embedded designs. Another article by Richard Goering about RTOS and tool support for multicore chips.
Did you know, there is an Ada 2005 optimized for real-time embedded apps?  Ada is used in an estimated  1.6% of embedded designs.

A fascinating article about “Whole Skin Locomotion” robots…think of a giant amoeba robot. Not you’re father’s R2D2…

Richard Goering writes about RTOS Security…how can you resist an opening like this: “Why would a manufacturer of kitchen ovens choose a RTOS first deployed in the flight-navigations system of a nuclear bomber?”

The Teutuls of Orange County Choppers fame have built a chopper for Intel, incorporating a mobile computer.  There is a great print ad in EE Times with Sr, Jr & Mikey but I can’t find it online.

If you have (or like) to deal with the low level details of a processor, Randall Hyde has written 2 books which could be of interest to you. Write Great Code Vol. 1 & Vol. 2.

Volume 1 is concerned with a computer’s organization. The table of content contains topics like: Representation of the various types: Numeric, Floating Point, Characters, Binary Arithmetic, CPU Architectures, Memory Organization, etc… Experienced (low level) embedded designers won’t learn anything earth-shattering, but there are still some useful stuff in there. Less experienced designers could find this quite valuable.

Volume 2 deals squarely with “high-level” language translation to assembler structures. Things like constants, variables, array types, control structures, functions are covered. This is probably more details than your typical designer cares for, but it does make for some interesting reading.

Warren Kurisu, Director of VxWorks Product Management at WindRiver has an interesting entry about the impact of Linux might have on VxWorks. The bottom line: each has their place. Pox on whoever thinks one solution fits all (that’s my take).

Interesting Article by Ron Wilson at EDN on various approach to solve the multi-core problem which everyone agrees is looming. If you think multi-threaded programming is a pain, wait ’till you have half a dozen cores…

Commentary by Ed Sperling on what is required for a product to be successful.  It’s all about the standards baby!

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