"The Revolution Will not Be Scooterized" - Embedded.com

“The Revolution Will not Be Scooterized”

“IT” has finally arrived. This revolution in personal transportation turns out to be an expensive, battery-powered, gyroscopically enhanced scooter. I don't know about you, but was kind of hoping for more than a scooter. Indications are that that other people are similarly dismayed.

Speaking of big disappointments, will embedded Linux turn out to be a bust as well? That's the question that Jack Ganssle is asking this week. You can tell him what's really happening by responding to this week's poll.

And if new embedded operating systems weren't enough, Bernie Cole wonders if the emergence of net-centric computing could mean that you'll have to learn new languages that do a better job at concurrency?

The December issue of Embedded Systems Programming is up. Here are some highlights.

In “Modular Programming in C” John R. Hayes says that separating the interface from the implementation offers a number of practical benefits. Then he demonstrates a simple way to do just that in ANSI-standard C code.

Expensive, fragile, and unique systems are hard to test. You know the first releases of the software embedded in them will fail, but how? Martin Gomez says that hardware-in-the-loop simulation can lower the cost of finding out.

It's amazing what you can do with a single general-purpose I/O pin. Michael Gauland offers a comprehensive look at the bit-twiddling possibilities.

Berylium and Chromium are two satellites under development and planned for launch in 2002. Together they are referred to as Emerald. Their purpose is to measure the effects of atmospheric lightning. In “Inside Look: Emerald” Bill Gatliff describes how these satellites are being designed and built on a shoestring budget of $120,000.

What has the world come to? Copiers, coffee machines, and microwave ovens are as likely as not to be equipped with a graphical user interface. Even so, they are embedded systems with all the traditional memory limitations associated with such systems. Two-dimensional transformations can be the key to reducing the memory cost often associated with GUIs. All you need to start is a simple set of drawing primitives, says Tom Batcha in “Compact Graphics Code”.

GUIs in embedded systems notwithstanding, it's still tough to gain visibility into the functioning of code on your target. An in-circuit emulator can give you that visibility and do a lot more — if you can get it connected. For practical information on using this powerful debugging tool, take a look at this month's Beginner's Corner.

Embedded systems development isn't easy and schools may not offer as much help as we'd like. Despite claims of preparing people for the workforce, traditional computer science and engineering programs fall woefully short on providing students with practical hands-on experience, says Michael Barr in his editorial, Hands On.Dan Saks tries to ease embedded development woes by offering pointers for developing code that is ultimately destined for ROM. This month in “Enumeration Constants vs. Constant Objects” he says that choosing between symbolic constants as either enumeration constants or constant objects is a close call and offers some insights to break the tie. For those of you who have mastered embedded software development and are looking for new thrills, the peripatetic Jack Ganssle offers his $0.02 on eXtreme programming. He'll tell you what it is and how it applies to embedded software development.

Here's what's current on the rest of Embedded.com .

If you take a glance at the Embedded Bookshelf, you'll discover it has been reorganized — finally. It should be easier to locate books now. Books have been slotted into several categories:

  • Embedded/Real-time Programming
  • Software Design (including OOAD, UML)
  • User Interface Design
  • Hardware (Design and Reference)
  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Real-time Operating Systems
  • Communications and Networking (Wired and Wireless)
  • And last, that indispensable category, Other.

The Embedded Bookshelf links to Amazon.com where you can investigate and purchase books of interest. The bookshelf also features a list of the top selling books based on Amazon sales rankings.

Two new books have been added to the bookshelf recently.Embedded Systems Design: An Introduction to Processes, Tools & Techniques , by Arnold S. Berger and Fundamentals of Embedded Software: Where C and Assembly Meet , by Daniel W. Lewis .

Last, but not least, at Embedded Download Central, you'll now find Berkeley DB, a toolkit for developing “fast, reliable, scalable, and mission-critical” databases. The free download includes source code, documentation, and support for building the library on a large number of operating systems and hardware platforms.

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