Think inside the box - Embedded.com

Think inside the box

Appropriately enough, Lindsey Vereen announced my appointment as editor in chief in the April 1 issue. I'm sure many of you were hoping it was a malicious April Fool's joke. After all, Embedded Systems Programming has been ably masterminded by Michael Barr for as long as some readers can remember and by Lindsey himself for many years before that. I can only hope to succeed, not replace, those gentlemen.

With any regime change, there are inevitable questions about change of direction. What will happen to our beloved Embedded Systems Programming ? Here, I can speak with some confidence. We're not about to tamper with a working formula. The magazine that you (and I) have read for many years will go right on maintaining its focus on embedded systems development, software issues, and new tools and processes. We'll continue to cover programming languages, real-time systems, algorithms, and developers' tricks and techniques. You and I both want Embedded Systems Programming to remain the independent “no spin” resource for embedded systems developers around the world. Let the others repackage press releases and parrot corporate propaganda about “seamless industry-leading platform methodology solutions.” We'll stick to real products, real code, and real progress, thank you very much.

What we will change is the volume. We're bulking up. You've told us that recent issues of Embedded Systems Programming have been a bit, ah, streamlined of late. That's going to change later this year as we add more embedded systems content. You'll see more (and longer) articles on the software and development topics you like as well as some new features and columns that explore Embedded Systems Programming , engineering, and management.

You don't need anyone to tell you that embedded systems development is getting tougher. Jobs aren't neatly compartmentalized any more (if they ever were), everyone's juggling different responsibilities, management's confused, and the line between hardware and software gets ever fuzzier. In fact, most of the readers I met with at the Embedded Systems Conference in April described themselves as both software and hardware engineers. “System architecture” is probably the closest description to what most of us do now.

Our plan, frankly, is to become indispensable. We're going to do some of your homework for you, sorting through competing products and conflicting trends, highlighting the real ones and gently pushing the others out of your way. New tools, new languages, new chips, and even new methods come along all the time, but it's hard to stay on top of these in the midst of your own development projects. Fortunately, we're doing research while you're doing development, so the information pipeline is always filled.

As I've said before, nearly all electronics are embedded. The total quantity of computers, PCs, workstations, and laptops amount to a rounding error; everything else is an embedded system. Yet the average person on the street would never know it. PC makers get all the press coverage, the glory, and the sex appeal. It's about time for that to change.

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