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Did you know it IS possible to create accurate schedules? Or that most projects consume 50% of the development time in debug and test, and that it’s not hard to slash that number drastically? Or that we know how to manage the quantitative relationship between complexity and bugs? Learn this and far more at my Better Firmware Faster class, presented at your facility. See https://www.ganssle.com/onsite.htm.
Analog Devices has a free analog university, which looks quite worthwhile. There's more info here.
|Quotes and Thoughts
"Sometimes it pays to stay in bed on Monday, rather than
spending the rest of the week debugging Monday's code." -
|Tools and Tips
Please submit neat ideas or thoughts about tools, techniques and resources you love or hate.
None this week.
|What I'm Reading
Is Programming Knowledge Related to Age? - A paper to be presented at the Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories later in May. I'll have a more detailed analysis of it on embedded.com later this week. Turns out older engineers are better developers.
Inexact Design - Beyond Fault Tolerance. (Communications of the ACM, April 2013). Huge power savings can be had by tolerating some errors. Consider video - a single pixel error may not be a big deal. Or the statement "if (a>b)" - computers very precisely compare those two values, but in many cases the same result can be had by comparing just a few bits.
|EDN, T&M World and Design East News
UBM, the publishing giant behind embedded.com, EDN, EETimes and other sites and magazines, sent out a broadcast email recently announcing big changes. Actually, the email was mostly marketing doublespeak, but a friend in the company translated it for me. The bottom line: EDN as a print publication will be gone after the June issue. Like Embedded Systems Design magazine it will now exist only in an on-line version. Test & Measurement World online (T&MWorld.com) will cease to exist; it will redirect to EDN's on-line site. edn.com, embedded.com and eetimes.com will migrate to a new format currently used by some of UBM's other properties; one that I find very visually busy and one that is far more into social interaction than providing good engineering information.
And Design East, the show formerly known as the Embedded Systems Conference Boston, will not be held this year.
The Internet has totally reshaped publishing, so it's no surprise more and more print magazines are disappearing. I'll sure miss EDN. It had slimmed down to a shadow of its former self, but continued to print great content.
Actually, I can't stand the word "content," which conflates information, knowledge, great articles, marketing BS, inane ads, and unmoderated, sometimes unintelligible, and at times angry rants into a ball of webized pages designed solely to attract Google clicks.
Back in the 1960s as a teenager I did some truth management on a form and managed to get a free subscription to EDN. A lot of the articles were over my head, but for most of five decades EDN has been my place to go to see what new cool stuff is going on in this amazing field. Old-timers fondly remember other publications of the day like Electronics and Computer Design. But they are all long gone.
Wikipedia claims EDN started in 1956; it sure would be interesting to see some of those early issues, which no doubt excitedly discussed the new technology of the transistor. Vacuum tubes were probably still featured in circuits.
I'm not privy to the reasons for canceling Design East, but am sure they are grounded in good business sense. It will surely be missed. The loss of all of those speaking slots means more competition for time at the West Coast show, which will presumably lead to even higher quality presentations there.
Scott Whitney wrote a letter to a friend who was wondering about courses and training to provide more software focus to his experience as a hardware developer:
What do you think?
Bob Scaccia has written about this subject here.
|New Cortex M3 Book
Sergio Caprile was kind enough to review a new book about ARM Cortex M3 MCUs. The book is in Spanish, as is his review:
|More on Aging Software
Don Herres responded to my comments on aging software:
One reader who wishes to remain anonymous wrote:
Let me know if you’re hiring embedded engineers. No recruiters please, and I reserve the right to edit ads to fit the format and intents of this newsletter. Please keep it to 100 words.
|Joke For The Week
Note: These jokes are archived at www.ganssle.com/jokes.htm.
It's really not too difficult to fix your own hard drive if the problem is a head crash, or the infamous "stiction" problem. You will require #4/0 steel wool, Varsol, WD-40, a few hand tools, and about 45 minutes.
First, you need a clean room, so make sure the garage door is closed before you begin. Move those old lawnmower parts off the bench.
Disassemble the sealed unit and carefully wash all parts with Varsol. Bend the read/write heads out of the way and then disassemble the platter stack.
VERY CAREFULLY buff the platter surfaces with the #4/0 steel wool. This will remove any existing data, level out any surface defects, and help to redistribute the magnetic media and fill in those pesky "bad sectors" that most drives have.
Reassemble the platter stack, and using a .015" feeler gauge, bend the read/write head back to the platter surface, using the feeler gauge to set the gap. This is a slightly higher gap than the factory uses, but it reduces the chance of head collisions with any flotsam you neglected to remove.
Give the head and platters a good shot of WD-40 and reassemble the unit. If your drive has a filter, replace it with a clean section of gauze pad.
All that's left is to low level and DOS format the drive, and you're back in business.
I haven't tried this yet myself, but my friend's wife's sister-in-law's husband knows a technician who does it all the time.
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|About The Embedded Muse
The Embedded Muse is Jack Ganssle's newsletter. Send complaints, comments, and contributions to me at email@example.com.
The Embedded Muse is supported by The Ganssle Group, whose mission is to help embedded folks get better products to market faster.