Posts Tagged ‘Nucleus RTOS’

20 April, 2015

This past week, medical systems have been on my mind. It is not because I am sick – at the time of writing I am nursing a heavy cold, but that does not need medical intervention. It was my annual visit to my ophthalmologist that started me thinking about medical instrumentation. Most people have sight checks every 2 years, but as my father is Type 1 diabetic and suffered glaucoma many years ago, a more frequent check on my eyes seems prudent. This is why I got to experience all the medical electronics.

I was given a thumbs up – nothing to worry about with my eyes – which is always a relief, but, as I said, it left me pondering all the technology that was brought to bear … Read the rest of this entry »

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13 April, 2015

In a number of different fields – notably medical, military, avionics, industrial and automotive – there is an increasing focus on safety and security, which results in a higher demand for certification of systems. Such certifications include FDA 510K [medical], DO-178C [avionics], IEC 61508 [industrial] and ISO 26262 [automotive].

Certification of software is a big subject, requiring specialist expertise and often a large budget. But all embedded developers would be wise to have a grasp of the basics … Read the rest of this entry »

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23 March, 2015

Most of the software that most of us use most of the time is obtained as a binary executable. The program may be run and does what it does, but the user has no knowledge of its inner workings and no opportunity to modify its functionality. And all of this is fine. For example, I am writing this posting on my PC using a Windows program. Later, I will probably review it on my iPad using the corresponding app. The two programs are probably written in different languages by different teams. Do I care? Nope. The important thing to me is the data [my text] and what the software does with it.

In the world of embedded software, things are a bit different … Read the rest of this entry »

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16 March, 2015

Software is an interesting kind of product. The most complex artifacts that humankind has ever made are items of software. Mechanical machines do not even come close. The most complex machine ever made, with about a million moving parts, was the Space Shuttle orbiter. The “moving parts” of software are bits of data; a program that includes a billion bits is not uncommon.

This complexity means that software development is eye-wateringly expensive. On the other hand, compared with other manufactured goods, the manufacturing, warehousing and distribution of software [and other electronic IP] is very cheap – maybe even free. This leads to some interesting results in the marketplace … Read the rest of this entry »

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9 March, 2015

I have finally caught up and this is the last aggregation of recent articles. From now on, all being well, I’ll post to alert readers of new material being available. This time the articles cover measuring RTOS performance, the use of open source tools, memory use optimization and approaches to debugging … Read the rest of this entry »

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2 March, 2015

Each Fall, just before the weather becomes too horrible, I get to attend ECS [Embedded Conference Scandinavia] in Stockholm, Sweden. It has become a good event for embedded developers in that area and I am pleased that my paper submissions seem to result in a couple of acceptances each year.

This year, I assume ECS will be in 6 months or so, but the organizers are inaugurating a new event … Read the rest of this entry »

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16 February, 2015

The largest event in the world of embedded systems takes place in Nuremberg, Germany on Tuesday-Thursday next week. Embedded World is an annual trade show with a highly-regarded technical conference. This is an annual pilgrimage for me, as I generally have papers in the conference. This year is no exception … Read the rest of this entry »

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10 February, 2015

Although I doubt that many engineers habitually view things this way, marketing folks like to divide the world into sectors. So, embedded systems might be in telecoms, medical, automotive, consumer, mil-aero, or industrial. There are probably others that I have not thought of. Each sector has its own characteristics and may or may not sound interesting to be involved in. Automotive is quite high profile just now, as the amount of electronics being packed into cars is increasing daily. Medical is important to us all and is also growing fast. Mobile telephony is a kind of merger between telecoms and consumer and has a certain appeal for many engineers.

But I have something of an affection for industrial systems … Read the rest of this entry »

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26 January, 2015

I have almost completed the job of cataloging my articles that have been published at embedded.com Here are another four, which address some key development topics: the sharing of code between multiple threads of execution; accessing low level device registers in C; selecting an operating system; making use of non-volatile memory … Read the rest of this entry »

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1 December, 2014

I am continuing my catch-up process of cataloging embedded software articles that I have had published on embedded.com This time they cover the influence of software on power management, using a memory management unit, all about the C/C++ keyword static and the basics of multicore … Read the rest of this entry »

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28 October, 2014

When I made the very first posting ┬áto this blog, more than five years ago, I made the observation that the world of embedded software is very fashion conscious. I certainly do not mean that embedded software developers are renowned for their dress sense! I am talking about the way that a particular technology is really “hot” at any one time … Read the rest of this entry »

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13 October, 2014

I have been thinking about embedded operating systems and how a developer chooses from the options available. My thoughts partly come from the presentation that I made at the ARM conference in Munich last week. But I am also interested in ARM’s announcements in this area at ARM TechCon the week before.

It seems to me that although it used to be very black and white, the rules are changing and shades of gray become apparent … Read the rest of this entry »

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29 September, 2014

This week is the first, for me, of the major conferences in the embedded software space this Fall – the ARM TechCon. As usual, it takes place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. And, as usual, I will be attending.

The exhibition runs over two days: Wednesday and Thursday. I will be at the Mentor Graphics booth [#201] for most of the day on Thursday. So, if you want to stop by and say hello, you will be most welcome.

The conference continues on to Friday, when I have a paper at 2:30 entitled How to Measure RTOS Performance. If you are attending the event, do come along. If you want a copy of my slides or have any queries, please email.

A complete guide to the Mentor Graphics participation in ARM TechCon may be found here.

ARM are running an interesting activity at the show, in which sponsoring companies [like Mentor Graphics] have been invited to participate. A representative of each company will be provided with a FitBit movement tracker and real time logs of these people’s number of steps will be on display at the RAM booth. There are prizes for the most energetic. It seems that I was nominated to represent Mentor Graphics. Wish me luck!

ImageI will be reporting and commenting during ARM TechCon on the major social media channels [links on my blog homepage]. If you have any questions or comments, do get in touch.

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16 September, 2014

I have written before about multicore systems – here for example – and looked at AMP vs SMP and various other aspects of the technology. As the use of multicore designs has become increasingly mainstream, the options and possible configurations available has increased drastically.

A particular facet is the incorporation of a hypervisor in an AMP system … Read the rest of this entry »

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1 September, 2014

As I mentioned on a previous occasion, I always welcome questions whenever I make a presentation, do a web seminar, write an article or blog post or whatever. Even very simple queries give me ideas for topics to discuss. I always take the view that, if one engineer poses a question, there are probably a bunch of guys who would also like the answer.

Once again, I am turning my attention to C++ … Read the rest of this entry »

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18 August, 2014

Although I enjoy writing articles and blogs and giving presentations – I am always hoping that I can impart some useful information and help engineers with their projects – the Q&A session after a presentation is often the moist interesting part. If I am doing a Web seminar, for example, I normally have a one hour slot; I try to talk for no more than 20-25 minutes, leaving plenty of time for Q&A. I find that so often it is the questions that trigger ideas for articles, blogs and further presentations. So, please keep them coming – comment here or email are always options.

I attended a recent Web seminar at which there were lots of interesting questions … Read the rest of this entry »

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21 July, 2014

Multicore continues to be a hot topic, as an ever-increasing number of embedded systems are designed with multiple CPUs – most commonly multiple cores on a chip. One of the challenges with understanding multicore is that the term actually covers a number of architectures and approaches to design. This is a topic that I have discussed somewhat before, but the increasing popularity of multicore and additional technology options make it a topic worth revisiting.

Figuring out the terminology is the first challenge … Read the rest of this entry »

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3 March, 2014

Last week, as I previously previewed, was Embedded World in Nuremberg, Germany. Now that I am back home, footsore and tired [and still harboring the symptoms of a head cold that makes traveling even less fun than normal], I can reflect on my experiences.

When I return from such events, it is always expected that I will have gained a firm impression of what the event was all about and what trends were apparent … Read the rest of this entry »

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17 February, 2014

Embedded systems are evolving – that is blindingly obvious. But that does not just mean that we are finding more and more uses for smart devices. It also means that embedded applications, that have been around for some years, are becoming more sophisticated. A few examples: central heating controllers, intruder alarms, kitchen appliances, scientific and medical instruments … The list goes on.

The increased sophistication commonly occurs in two areas. The first is connectivity [networking]. The second, and often more challenging, one is the user interface [UI] … Read the rest of this entry »

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12 February, 2014

The Internet of Things is a big issue right now, which I wrote about a few months back. Tomorrow I am moderating a Google hangout titled “Internet of Things (IoT) Connectivity for Embedded Devices” where some experts will discussing this important matter. You can register here and will have the chance to pose questions online. If you cannot attend, a recording of the session will be available afterwards.

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10 February, 2014

Apart from writing about embedded software matters, I also read widely and enjoy the perspectives offered by many of the key figures in the field. One writer, who always gets my attention, is Jim Turley. Jim is never afraid of raising contentious issues and tends to take something of a chip-centric view of embedded systems.

He seemed surprised, in a recent article, to find that engineers’ priorities might be different … Read the rest of this entry »

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4 March, 2013

I recall a few years ago, I was at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, CA. We had a presentation theater on the booth and my job was to manage it. That meant that I got to do some of the presentations and persuaded colleagues to do others. One session, that was not mine, was particularly successful. I am not sure whether this was because of the unique style of the presenter or the words she used. One particular word in fact: “free”.

I am going to try it. Hey guys! How about some free software … Read the rest of this entry »

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14 June, 2010

I often get emails from students asking me how to get started in a career in embedded software. I have to assume that they think that this is a path to a well paid job and a corresponding glamorous lifestyle. I would hate to disillusion someone who is just setting out on life. I guess that I had great expectations too.

I am never able to give detailed advice on what to do and just comment that embedded software engineers actually come in several flavors. At one extreme, they are engineers with a deep knowledge of hardware and only do a bit of software when necessary; such skills are ideal for developing drivers and other low level code. At the other extreme, there are programmers who have no idea about embedded systems, but are focused on the application domain; there skill set is not very different from a software engineer working on applications for Windows or Linux. And, in the middle, are guys who understand real time behavior and real time operating systems.

The nearest to advice that I can give, apart from obviously recommending my book, is to explain how I got into embedded … Read the rest of this entry »

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Meet Colin Walls

I have over twenty-five years experience in the electronics industry, largely dedicated to embedded software. When not working, I enjoy photography, books and music. Learn more about me, including my go-to karaoke song and the best parts of being British.

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