Embedded.com Tech Focus Newsletter (12-19-11): 2011's best columns, articles and products - Embedded.com

Embedded.com Tech Focus Newsletter (12-19-11): 2011’s best columns, articles and products


Embedded Newsletter for 12-19-2011

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December 19, 2011

Tech Focus: 2011's best columns, articles and products


Adopting C programming conventions

Of slaves and scopes

What belongs in a header file

Can you give me an estimate?

Calling constructors with placement new

Editor's Note

Bernard Cole Bernard Cole
Site Editor

Here's a round-up of 2011's best design articles published exclusively on Embedded.com or in ESD Magazine, as well as the most highly commented on columns by our regular contributors. Also included are selections of some of the year's most significant embedded product and news stories.

A review of the past year's Design Article selections reveals several things about the preferences and interests of our readers. First, articles about low-end 8- and 16-bit MCU and machine contro l design always attract a lot of readers and comments. There is also ongoing interest in multicore design, but only if it can be deployed easily and without problems. At the same time, embedded developers want to know about application of their designs to new market segments like smart grid metering , and doing so with minimal power consumption.

What has remained unchanged from year to year is the quest of embedded designers for reliable software design through a variety of techniques: better RTOS scheduling ; better C programming;
more efficient code debugging ; secure and safe software design ; using better, more Agile techniques for code development; and finding better ways to do static code analysis and dynamic software testing. Articles on these topics are always popular.

I learned a lot in my survey of the several hundreds of articles and columns published in ESD and on Embedded.com this year, and your responses to them. No doubt I will continue to learn from a new crop of contributions from you in 2012. Keep 'em coming!

Design How-Tos

Adopting C programming conventions

This ESC paper discusses some common problems found in a lot of code and suggests strategies for avoiding them.

Seventeen steps to safer C code

Here are 17 tips for writing safety-critical C code using methods adapted from C++ and Ada.

Agile embedded software development

Developers flee engineering for marketing and management. Why? Big processes are not delivering, and neither is coding chaos. This author says Agile helps address the problems of late projects, high defect levels, and stressed teams.

Lower the overhead in RTOS scheduling

Research shows that preemption-threshold scheduling helps to mitigate the deadline-vs.-overhead tradeoff.

Smart management is the key to smart grid meter security

Addressing the security of meters in emerging smart grid applications requires a secret key management strategy that does not store keys on any node, authenticates each node, verifies communications, and uses temporary communication keys that are rotated often.

Static analysis vs. dynamic testing – No competition!

In software development, static analysis and dynamic testing are two different ways of detecting defects. Unfortunately they are too often thought of as competition for one another, and developers are sometimes encouraged to favor one to the exclusion of the other

Think static analysis cures all ills? Think again.

Here's how to choose the right code-analysis tools for your project.

Li Mei's list of debugging secrets

Here's a list of debugging tips and secrets from Li Mei, a character in Lisa Simone's nonfiction book on programming recounting the fictional adventures of a team of software developers working on various embedded design projects and the lessons they learned.

Making embedded system debug easier: useful hardware & software tips

Here are some useful tips and techniques to employ during the initial design & construction of your embedded system design to make it easier to debug both the hardware & software at later stages.

Building a power meter application with an 8-bit MCU

In this product how-to article Radomir Kozub describes how to use Freescale's 8-bit MC9S08LH64 to build an intelligent and accurate single-phase power metering design, while keeping a low cost bill of materials.

Using drowsy cores to lower power in multicore SoCs

Freescale engineers describe a cascading power management technique that steers tasks to a smaller number of cores during non-peak activity periods so that the idle cores can enter a minimal-power or “drowsy” state.

A simple algorithm for microstepping a bipolar stepper motor

This article details a simple algorithm utilizing conventional microcontroller blocks to control commercially available H-bridges to properly commutate a bipolar stepper motor through a microstepping profile.

Embedded Systems Bookshelf


Embedded Books Reading Room
Bernard Cole's favorite links to book excerpts.


Engineer's Bookshelf
Airport fiction blows. A look at books other engineers are reading and why you should read them, too. Recommend and write a review yourself. E-mail Brian Fuller.

Jack Ganssle's Bookshelf
A list of book reviews by Jack Ganssle, contributing technical editor of Embedded Systems Design and Embedded.com.

Max's Cool Beans
Clive “Max” Maxfield, the editor on Programmable Logic DesignLine, often writes about interesting books.


Xilinx Ships First Zynq-7000 Devices, the World's First Extensible Processing Platform

Xilinx, Inc. has launched its first Zynq-7000 Extensible Processing Platform (EPP).

Surface-mount micro thermo-generators challenge batteries

Micropelt has launched a compact thermo-generator package (TGP), which makes thermal energy harvesting ready for mass production.

Maxim offers energy-harvest oriented PMIC

Maxim Integrated Products has introduced the MAX17710, which it claims is the industry's first IC to integrate all of the power-management functions for ambient energy harvesting, as well as for charging and protecting micro-energy cells (MECs), a form of solid-state battery.

Embedded Wi-Fi SoC for the Internet of Things market

The AX220xx family, from ASIX Electronics, is a single-chip MCU with TCP/IP and 802.11 WLAN MAC/baseband.

World's first DECT ultra low power wireless devices

Leveraging its unique experience with DECT, Dialog Semiconductor jumps into the ultra low power wireless field

Microchip integrates wireless transmitter with MCU

The single-chip design targets remote control, security, and keyless entry systems.

TI claims smallest, lowest power, dual, 500-MSPS DACs

The new DACs aim to reduce the cost of wideband transmit systems.

Firm releases first handheld software defined radio

Epiq Solutions has announced Matchstiq, which it claims is the world's smallest commercially available software defined radio (SDR) capable of tuning between 300 MHz and 3.8 GHz

Mentor Graphics' next-gen Nucleus RTOS addresses power management and connectivity for embedded systems

Mentor Graphics Corporation's has released the third generation of its Nucleus real time operating system (RTOS) with new power management, connectivity, and wireless communication features.

Open source protocol targets 'Internet of things'

NXP Semiconductors has announced it will make the IEEE 802.15.4 based wireless connectivity network layer software it inherited from the acquisition of Jennic, JenNET-IP, open source, in a bid to generate greater interest in the 'Internet of Things' concept.

ST’s smallest

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