|Jack Ganssle's Blog
This is Jack's outlet for thoughts about designing and programming embedded systems. It's a complement to my bi-weekly newsletter The Embedded Muse. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm an old-timer engineer who still finds the field endlessly fascinating (bio).
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August 14, 2019
Does data have any value? From the way people treat it, it seems all too often the answer is "no." Read the rest of this post.
July 29, 2019
Did you know the astronauts used a sextant for navigation? Read the rest of this post.
July 18, 2019
Yet more (fun) definitions of embedded terms. Read the rest of this post.
July 11, 2019
What does "int" mean? And how much fun can we have with some of these definitions? Read the rest of this post.
July 2, 2019
Politics has become a cesspool. I feel we need to read widely, on both sides of the issues, and treat our opponents with kindness and respect. Read the rest of this post.
June 19, 2019
According to various reports, many millennial dads don't have tools. How can they be masters of their universes when every repair means calling a contractor? Read the rest of this post.
June 11, 2019
Too many of the trade publications do a poor job of addressing their customers' needs. Cost cutting has been too extreme. Read the rest of this post.
June 5, 2019
Consider texting while driving: is this an indication that our technology is exceeding our ability to manage it? Read the rest of this post.
May 30, 2019
I recently underwent cataract surgery, which sounds creepy. It's not. Read the rest of this post.
May 1, 2019
We tediously write code. Could training an AI engine replace coding? Read the rest of this post.
April 23, 2019
How to tick off your customer in one easy lesson. Read the rest of this post.
April 16, 2019
... and other scams. Firmware is much more than coding. Read the rest of this post.
April 7, 2019
The new book We Shoot For The Moon is a worthwhile addition to the Apollo genre. Read the rest of this post.
March 26, 2019
What is it like doing expert work? Sometimes the conditions are far from ideal. Read the rest of this post.
March 21, 2019
Working in an engineering team is a lot like marriage - or even polygamy, with the attendant ups and downs. Read the rest of this post.
March 12, 2019
There's a tremendous amount of work going on in quantum computers. A new article suggests we may never get them to function in a useful way. Read the rest of this post.
March 4, 2019
The new movie Apollo 11 is awesome. Read the rest of this post.
February 25, 2019
Edsger Dijkstra has recanted his "Goto Considered Harmful" paper. Read the rest of this post.
February 14, 2019
In April, GPS will experience its own Y2K problem. Incredible. Read the rest of this post.
February 11, 2019
Pretty much all autonomous cars sport LIDAR. Is that really necessary? Read the rest of this post.
January 28, 2019
What sparked your interest in engineering? I liked to build things. To create things. Read the rest of this post.
January 21, 2018
Software Process Improvement (SPI) is the task of figuring out what a team does right, what needs to be improved, and then making specific suggestions to help the group generate better code, hopefully on a shorter schedule. My interest is exclusively embedded systems, so my SPI work has been on firmware... Read the rest of this post.
January 10, 2019
2019 marks my 50th year with a ham radio license. It has been a fun ride. Read the rest of this post.
January 4, 2018
Medical device lawsuits are increasing, in part due to firmware issues. Read the rest of this post.
January 1, 2018
A get a lot of email from people who want to start a business. Here are The Ganssle Group's marketing figures for 2018, in the hopes they may give prospective entrepreneurs some aid. Read the rest of this post.
December 27, 2018
That college circuit theory class was filled with difficult problems that almost turned some of us off to electronics. Nearly half a century on, it is fun to revisit the ideas. Read the rest of this post.
December 12, 2018
It is possible to schedule firmware development projects with reasonable accuracy. But you can't schedule research.
November 28, 2018
Are you an engineer or a scientist? The average person conflates the two. Read the rest of this post.
November 20, 2018
Yeah, we use computers to do spreadsheets, surf the web, provide embedded intelligence in all sorts of products. What's the next logical use for them? Read the rest of this post.
November 13, 2018
This is my review of Voice of the Crystal, and Instruments of Amplification - two books about building your own components. Including vacuum tubes and transistors. Read the rest of this post.
November 7, 2018
I came across a paper about lessons NASA learned in the Apollo program about building large software projects. Except they didn't. Read the rest of this post.
October 31, 2018
A Halloween tale of terror - the real cost of code. Read the rest of this post.
October 15, 2018
First Man, the book, was wonderful. First Man, the movie, was a complete bust. Read the rest of this post.
October 8, 2018
The Overstory is a novel about nine individuals whose lives come together. It's probably the best book I've read in years. A full review is here.
September 25, 2018
After years working as an embedded consultant, I learned a lot of lessons. Not all are pretty. Read the rest of this post.
September 17, 2018
A recent article in Embedded Systems Letters made some good points about low-power design, but missed the mark on what's needed, and what tools are already available. Read the rest of this post.
September 12, 2018
After 21 years of teaching firmware seminars, I've learned a few lessons. Read the rest of this post.
September 4, 2018
It sure seems that the Internet and cheap phone calls have flooded us with scams from what are frankly evil people. Read the rest of this post.
August 29, 2018
How much compute power do you really need in a lousy toothbrush? Read the rest of this post.
August 22, 2018
Don Eyles' new book gives an in-depth look into the creation of the Lunar Module's software. A gem for Apollo geeks and software people; non-techies won't like it! Read the rest of this post.
August 16, 2018
Transmission lines are interesting, sometimes baffling, and fun to play with. Here's a way to make a step turn into a pulse with not a single transistor. Read the rest of this post.
August 8, 2018
The conventional wisdom is that a very effective way to get higher-reliability software is to have independent teams develop two or more copies of the project from a common set of requirements. Some data suggests this isn't always true. Read the rest of this post.
July 31, 2018
Over the years I've used a lot of different pieces of test equipment. These broadly fall into two categories: bench instruments (stand-alone with controls and displays) and USB devices. The latter generally have no knobs, buttons or displays, those functions relegated to an application running on a PC.
Which do you prefer? Read the rest of this post.
July 20, 2018
In September it will be two years since I stopped writing a weekly column for embedded.com. Between that and my earlier monthly articles in Embedded Systems Design magazine I wrote over 1000 pieces about embedded systems. As of this writing 355 issues of my Embedded Muse newsletter have gone out. Then there are the six books I wrote or edited (plus one on sailing). You'd think I would have had enough of writing! Read the rest of this post.