Cheap at half the price -

Cheap at half the price

Embedded tools have been on Jack Ganssle's mind of late. A former tool vendor as well as an embedded developer, he has been investigating tool acquisition and usage. First, he questions the use of GUI-based integrated development environments. Are GUIs simply a “protective shell for the clueless?” he asks. Several readers have weighed in pro and con. Some readers can't live without them. One says, “There are several difficulties with vendor-supplied IDEs. First of all they contain a lot of tools which are integrated, but those tools are rarely the best.”

Next Jack addresses the big bugaboo of embedded development: tool cost. Some readers think that costs are too high for companies just starting out or those in developing nations. One reader comments, “The problem is not that software tools cost too much but they deliver too little value at any price.” Another points out that shortening time to market far outweighs the cost of the tools that make it happen.

Talk about costs, I was contacted recently by a chip vendor who wanted to tell me about a thousand-dollar embedded processor. That's got to be one mighty interesting piece of silicon, or else the company has been completely beguiled by Intel's marketing strategy. More to come on that one.

Just in case you've forgotten everything you ever knew about minimizing Boolean equations, here's a tutorial on Karnaugh maps offered up by Jack Crenshaw,'s resident minimization expert. And no, it isn't true he knew George Boole personally.

Before closing out, we need to mention a couple of personnel items. Michael Barr, Embedded Systems Programming editor in chief, is away helping his wife care for their brand new nine pound, three ounce baby boy. He'll be back in late January.

Second, Chuck Murray, whose name may be familiar to regular readers of this site or EE Times , has taken over responsibilities for the weekly e-mail newsletter. (If you haven't signed up for the newsletter you can do so here).

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