If you missed Embedded Systems Conference Silicon Valley this year, you missed some signal events. Steve Wozniak, the Silicon Valley engineer's engineer, keynoted the event with a fireside chat–not on the wonders of technology, but on the pitiful state of fundamental education in our schools, and how the growing culture of short-term financial focus is bleaching the creativity out of engineering in the US. More than a public discussion, it was an opportunity to share some time and some candid thoughts with one of the great advocates of engineering as a craft, not a job.
In addition, there were some pretty remarkable technical sessions. Jack Ganssle directly linked discipline during the design process to the, uh, impact of the resulting product in “Mars ate my spacecraft.” Mark Kraeling, himself no stranger to mission-critical design, undertook a different kind of mission, giving a detailed senior software engineer's walk-through of the ARM Cortex M4: the differences, the new features, and how to get the most our of the new core, coming soon to a microcontroller near you. And you could have heard Rob Oshana outline the use of agile development in an embedded project, with positive results both in schedule and adherence to the design requirements.
But all the quality design in the world doesn't help if someone hacks your product in the field. As we design more and more interconnected embedded systems – even if the connection is just a USB port – every designer has to be aware of system security. Dave Kleidermacher took this challenge head-on with a session on network security for embedded designers. And finally, Bill Gatliff undertook a personal challenge for us: to make you an Android-savvy designer in one hour. The engineers who heard his speed-training session at ESC say he delivered.
Of course there's a punch-line here. If you missed all this stuff and regret it, then you need to look into the first-ever ESC Virtual Conference, which airs live – and for free – this Thursday, 16 June. You can sign up at http://e.ubmelectronics.com/escsv/index.html .