Archive for Colin Walls

23 November, 2017

This is a subject that I return to from time to time, as it is a matter about which I have strong feelings. Hence, I offer no apology if I am repeating myself. My simple message is that most healthy adults are able to give blood, with absolutely no ill effects to themselves. If you are a healthy adult and do not donate, I would like to know why not … Read the rest of this entry »


16 November, 2017

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a technology that was exciting me: what3words. Since then, I have been giving this matter a lot of thought. As I have gone about my usual business – traveling for work, leisure activities, photography-related engagements – I have constantly stumbled across situations where what3words could have made my life a bit easier. I would like to share some of these ideas … Read the rest of this entry »

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13 November, 2017

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9 November, 2017

I have long been of the opinion that anyone with the last name Adams is a genius. It started with the late [great] Douglas Adams, but, nowadays, I am likely to be talking about Scott Adams [author of Dilbert cartoons]. He seems to have a constant stream of interesting ideas. Some are rather off the wall; others just make sense. An example of the latter is his assertion: “Fairness is a concept that was invented so kids and idiots could participate in debates.” … Read the rest of this entry »


6 November, 2017

This week, I am making my annual pilgrimage to Stockholm, Sweden for the Embedded Conference Scandinavia [ECS], which takes place in the high-tech district, Kista. This is a well-run technical conference with an associated trade-show. Most years, I have had 2-3 papers accepted. This year, I am going to be busy, as I have 5 presentations to make … Read the rest of this entry »

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26 October, 2017

Away from my work, I have many interests, but one that consumes a lot of my time is photography – a topic that I have written about here from time to time. I have been doing photography all of my life, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. In years gone by, I worked in a darkroom, which was interesting. More recently, of course, processing of images takes place on the computer. Even though I have 20+ years Photoshop experience and really like Lightroom, it is actually getting the pictures that interests me most.

I think that capturing images is a process that is undergoing rapid change and I have given a lot of thought to how I go about it … Read the rest of this entry »


23 October, 2017

My latest article on embedded.com has been published. This piece is the thriteenth installment of the RTOS Revealed series, which will continue to appear through the rest of 2017 and beyond. The series will cover every aspect of real time operating systems.

Task data structures and unsupported API calls

In this article, I am finishing up my look at tasks with a perusal of data structures and some details of unsupported API calls … Read the rest of this entry »

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19 October, 2017

I have always enjoyed music and have quite a wide taste. In this latest episode of my occasional series, where I present six of my favorites in some category or other, I want to talk about some of my early influences. One hears musicians talk about who influenced them, but I think listening to music gets guided in a similar way … Read the rest of this entry »


12 October, 2017

I have always liked the concept of disruptive technologies – technological advances that change the way things work in a drastic way. The effect of disruptive technologies is to break the “rules” by which business operates. A company may be producing a product, marketing and selling it successfully. They can continue to develop that product enthusiastically and competently. Then, one day, someone develops a new technology that complete revolutionizes the market in which they operated and they eat their lunch.

An example is computer mass storage devices. At the high level, these progressed from cards and paper tape, to drums and magnetic tape, to magnetic disks, and now we have solid state drives [SSDs]. Within this progress, the dominant manufacturers of hard drives changed several times, as different technologies were developed. Consumers are often blissfully unaware of huge changes resulting from disruptive technologies, but, in other cases, they are affected very tangibly … Read the rest of this entry »

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9 October, 2017

My latest video blog is now available. This time I am continuing my occasional series of videos about RTOS features and looking at one of the simplest inter-task communication and synchronization facilities: event flags. You can see the video here or here:

Future video blogs will continue to look at topics of interest to embedded software developers. Suggestions for topics are always welcome via comment, email or social networking.

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5 October, 2017

From time to time, I like to review my favorite things in some specific category. I have looked at quite a few favorites in the past, including foods, beers, fiction books and OS X features. Today, I am going to talk about my favorite tools. In my experience, most men like to have the right tools [and this is, I observe, a largely male trait, but I am sure that there are many women who like tools or who have similar tendencies]. It is hard to resist browsing in tool shops or looking at market stalls. I have heard certain catalogs and websites referred to as “tool porn”… Read the rest of this entry »


2 October, 2017

My latest article on embedded.com has been published. This piece is the twelfth installment of the RTOS Revealed series, which will continue to appear through the rest of 2017 and beyond. The series will cover every aspect of real time operating systems.

Task utility services

In this article, I am looking at further API calls associated with tasks… Read the rest of this entry »

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21 September, 2017

I am very familiar with “the look”. It is the expression on Libby’s face – the response to me talking about something about which I have become rather enthused. This might be a book I am reading, a scientific discovery, some new software, an exciting technology or just an idea that I have had. Such enthusiasms do not last that long, but I suppose I can become slightly obsessed for a period of time. One way to take the heat off of Libby is to write about my interest for a wider audience, which is what I am doing today.

Sometimes someone comes up with an idea that is so simple and so easy to explain that it is hard to see why it was not there before. I find such a discovery very exciting. Today it is about answering the question “Where are you?” … Read the rest of this entry »

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18 September, 2017

My latest video blog is now available. This time I am looking at how parameters are passed to functions in C. Embedded developers like to know how things work under the hood. You can see the video here or here:

Future video blogs will continue to look at topics of interest to embedded software developers. Suggestions for topics are always welcome via comment, email or social networking.

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14 September, 2017

Mac apps

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Although it has been a while, from time to time, I have written about the apps that I use on my iPad [and iPhone]. There are so many to choose from that I am always pleased to get recommendations and advice. This is a topic that I will revisit before long, but today I am thinking about my Mac. It is now a little over two years since I made the switch away from Windows. I have never looked back.

My way of using the computers has gradually evolved. There is no right way to get the best from a Mac, but I happy with my approach. I thought that I might review what I have found to be useful … Read the rest of this entry »

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7 September, 2017

I enjoy reading and I always have a book on the go [at least one]. Currently I am reading a book about mathematics and its applicability in everyday life [details here, if you are interested]. The key concept is that mathematics [or most of it anyway] is really just common sense, but it is codified to make it reusable and reliable. So, frequently one can see a solution to a problem, without doing [or maybe with being able to do] the mathematical analysis to derive it. The book addresses various aspects of the topic, which are illustrated with stories.

One story particularly stuck in my mind, so I thought that I would share it … Read the rest of this entry »


31 August, 2017

Party on

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The idea started to hatch a couple of years ago. Libby and I realized that 2017 was going to be a special year for us. This year we both turned 60, we both had children and we have a daughter-in-law all of whom turned [or will turn] 30, we had been together for 10 years and married for 5 years. So much to celebrate! This called for a serious party.

We started the real planning about a year ago and gradually the event took shape and seemed to have a life of its own … Read the rest of this entry »


28 August, 2017

My latest article on embedded.com has been published. This piece is the eleventh installment of the RTOS Revealed series, which will continue to appear through 2017 and beyond. The series will cover every aspect of real time operating systems.

Tasks – configuration and API introduction

In this article, I start to look at tasks, considering how they are configured and outline some API calls … Read the rest of this entry »

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24 August, 2017

It was all over the news earlier in the week. Even though I was nowhere near the path of totality, I was very aware that a total eclipse of the sun was due on Monday. Many people that I know were excited. Some taking the day off and/or traveling to an optimum viewing location. I had no good excuse to be in the US, so I was not amongst them.

This got me thinking about eclipses and their significance … Read the rest of this entry »


21 August, 2017

My latest video blog is now available. This is the first in an occasional series wheer I look at RTOS features and functionality. This time I am looking at inter-task communication. You can see the video here or here:

Future video blogs will continue to look at topics of interest to embedded software developers. Suggestions for topics are always welcome via comment, email or social networking.

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