War brings new words into the language and changes the meaning of others. World War I gave us crummy and lousy . World War II, in turn, added jeep , java , snafu , and radar . The War in Iraq will lead to more changes. An early one seems to be the new use of the term embedded .
We have, it seems, embedded reporters. This new usage of the term has led Jack Ganssle to muse on the term and its usages in other contexts. He has begun nosing into the OED and Wikipedia to investigate the term.
Embedded as we know it is not ubiquitously understood — even by your friends and loved ones. Hence, the poll this week asks How do you describe your profession to non-techies?
Although they are both embedded devices, there is a fundmental difference between a calculator and a PDA. In “'Converged' appliances: A market in search of the mainstream,” Bernard Cole recounts a conversation with TI's Gene Frantz, who told him of a meeting during which someone picked up Frantz's PDA to do a calculation. “I [felt] as if he were somehow violating my personal space,” said Frantz. “I viewed my PDA as a personal device and he saw it as a calculator.”
In another linguistic issue, a reader takes his place on the soapbox to quibble over Bernard Cole's definition of “platform.” The reader points out that while open source has its place, that place is not in an environment of taking innovative ideas and commercializing them for sale to the open market.
Also new to Embedded.com is “Diagnostics for design validation,” in which Steve Babin introduces the subject of post-silicon validation and provides techniques for the software developer to successfully plan, develop, and execute software used to verify the design of a new silicon device.
And finally, Michael Barr offers a mini review of John Catsoulis' Designing Embedded Hardware. The book outlines the basic principles of electronics and computer architecture and then delves into construction options, routing and signal quality concerns, and hardware debugging. There are chapters dedicated to designs based on popular microcontroller families followed by a section dealing with peripherals and interfacing.
So close to Metreon
Don't forget that the Embedded Systems Conference is coming to the Moscone Center in San Francisco later this month. Tutorials take place on Tuesday, April 22, and classes run from Wednesday through Saturday. From Wednesday through Friday on the show floor, you'll be able to see everything from microcontrollers to Maseratis on display. ARM chairman Sir Robin Saxby will deliver the keynote address on Wednesday morning. He plans to talk about how embedded technology is affecting security and biometrics. In addition, the consumer electronics and system-on-chip panels are not to be missed.