Posts Tagged ‘USB’

30 May, 2016

My latest video blog is now available. I am taking a further look at USB, specifically focusing on USB 3.0 and 3.1 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 March, 2016

My latest video blog is now available. This is one of a series looking at USB for embedded software developers. This video looks at the communications mechanisms in USB. You can see the video here or here:

The next video will look at the software layers and the implementation of USB in embedded systems.

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15 February, 2016

The biggest event on the embedded systems industry calendar is Embedded World, which takes place next week – Tuesday-Thursday, 23-25 February – in Nuremberg, Germany.


As usual, Mentor Embedded will have a presence there – Hall 4, Booth: 4-422. If you would like to learn about our embedded software development tools and operating system products, a team of experts will be on hand.

I am presenting a paper in the conference – USB3: All You Need to Know – at 13:30 on Thursday. If you would like a copy of my slides, please contact me via email or social media.

I will be at the show all day on Wednesday, mainly based at the Mentor booth. If you are attending, do stop by and say hello. If you would like to arrange a specific meeting, please email or contact me via social media.

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4 June, 2015

All through my career I have traveled quite lot for my work and find it hard to imagine any other kind of life. It can be hard to explain to people, who have not experienced business travel, that it is not one long vacation, particularly because, at times, it can be fun. It is also tiring. I cannot fully explain why just moving around the planet leaves me so weary. Certainly the hassles at airports etc. take their toll, but I think that just adapting to change is more taxing than one might expect.

Our high tech world helps us cope with change in some ways – keeping in touch with home has never been easier – but it also introduces new challenges … Read the rest of this entry »


27 April, 2015

The first Embedded Systems Conference [ESC] took place in San Jose back in the early 1990s [if I recall correctly]. The annual conference quickly became the key event for learning about embedded systems and spawned other, similar events at various other US locations and abroad. In recent years, there have been changes of ownership and lots of rebranding – every year the conference seemed to have a new name!

But, in 2015, it is time to return to terminology we all recognize and there are a number of ESC events scheduled. The first is next week in Boston, MA … Read the rest of this entry »

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30 March, 2015

Nowadays, all computer users just take USB for granted. Plug a device in and it just works. Those of us who remember the Bad Old Days – i.e. before USB – probably appreciate it rather more, as we can remember the challenges involved in adding the simplest of peripherals to a PC. Another angle on USB is the embedded software perspective, where the underlying complexity is laid bare. To me, that is more interesting.

USB does not stand still and its evolution is continuing apace … Read the rest of this entry »

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11 August, 2014

I have always liked writing. From an early age, I had an ambition to write a book. My first attempt, in my mid-teens, was a science fiction novel. It was not a success. I wrote about 100 pages and I may even still have the typescript. I remember being embarrassed last time I looked at it. One of the best days of my life was back in 1986, when a jiffy bag arrived in the mail containing a book with my name on the cover.

Since then, I have never really stopped writing … Read the rest of this entry »

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18 November, 2013

My busy two week conference period is now behind me and, having had a bit of R&R in the meantime, I have had a chance to reflect on some of my experiences and impressions of the three events: ARM TechCon, ECS and IP-SoC.

If you attended any of these events, please email or comment to share your thoughts. If you would like copies of any of my materials, please emailRead the rest of this entry »

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25 October, 2013

As I outlined recently, I am attending a number of conferences in the next couple of weeks. The first one, next week, is ARM TechCon in Santa Clara, CA. This event spans 3 days – 29-31 October. The conference itself covers all 3 days; the exhibition is just days 2 and 3.

Each year this event seems to expand in size and scope and I have more things to do there … Read the rest of this entry »

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10 June, 2013

One of the great things about software, compared with hardware, is the ease with which it may be changed and updated. The big downside of software is also the ease with which it can be changed. This ease can make software developers lazy, as they know that they can always fix things later. This is a sharp contrast to chip developers who are fearful of errors, as an ASIC respin is both time consuming and very expensive.

On a desktop computer, updates to system and application software seem to come thick and fast, giving vendors the opportunity to provide us with new features, fix old bugs and introduce new and interesting ones. For embedded systems, the matter is a little more complex … Read the rest of this entry »

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26 November, 2012

USB 3.0

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In the world of computers, I have always felt that USB is one of the good things of life. It [mostly] just works and simplifies our lives. As USB has been around quite a few years, it is hard to remember what life was like before. It is interesting technology, because, as it is so easy to use, it is easy to forget how complex it is “under the hood”. This is a topic that I have talked about at quite a few conferences – email me if you want any materials.

The latest USB specification, 3.0, was finalized a couple of years back and PCs and devices using USB 3.0 are now becoming quite common. Naturally, embedded developers are interested in implementing USB 3.0 and are asking about what has changed … Read the rest of this entry »

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6 March, 2012

As I mentioned last week, I went to Embedded World in Nuremberg. The show itself seemed very busy – it was difficult to make my way through some of the crowds among the booths at times and there were a good many visitors to the Mentor Graphics booth. The event seems to be extending its reach beyond purely embedded systems. Although there were 2 or 3 halls full of technology that an embedded developer would recognize, elsewhere there were many booths showing other electronic paraphernalia – from chips to connectors to housings to professional services.

The conference seemed to be well attended too. There was a lot of activity on the floor where the conference rooms were located. With numerous streams of sessions, running all day, every day, I imagine that it might be hard for a visitor to plan their personal schedule. Talking with one of the organizers, I learned that submissions of papers were up significantly this year, which meant that many potential presenters were disappointed. My two presentations [details in last week’s post] went well, although an early start seemed to reduce attendance to the second one, even though it was about USB 3.0, which is normally a crowd puller.

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27 February, 2012

This week sees the 10th anniversary of the Embedded World conference in Nuremberg, Germany. This show and conference has been growing steadily over the years and I guess it is now the biggest event devoted to embedded systems in the world.

I am fortunate enough to attend Embedded World most years, as I reported here and here, and this year is no exception. I have two papers in the conference: “USB 3.0 – An Introduction for Embedded Software Developers” – a topic I have addressed at a number of events in the last couple of years; “How to Measure RTOS Performance” – a new topic, inspired by a white paper written by some colleagues. If you would like copies of my slides for either or both of these sessions, please comment or email me.

The show runs Tuesday through Thursday. I will primarily be around on Wednesday, when any “spare” time that I have will be spent at the Mentor Graphics booth. If you are visiting Embedded World, do drop by and hi.

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5 December, 2011

I recently mentioned that this time of year is very busy for me, with numerous conferences and similar events to attend – normally to deliver presentations. The most hectic period is past and, as the Christmas and New Year holiday approaches, things are settling down. Except for this week, when I am attending two conferences:

On Tuesday, I am going to ESE Kongress in Stuttgart, Germany. I have two presentations there: “USB 3.0 – An Introduction for Embedded Software Developers” and “OS Selection for Embedded Systems”. I attended this event last year, giving a tutorial on C++ for embedded, and the conference seemed very well attended, so I have high expectations this year.

Later in the week, I am going to IP SoC in Grenoble, France, where I have a keynote style session titled “Over 20 Years of Embedded Software Development – A Third Way Emerges” which will look at how open source is affecting embedded software development tools. This event, which I have also attended in previous years, is a “cross over” between the world of embedded software and hardware design – very much a context where Mentor Graphics is at home.

If you would like a copy of any of these presentations, please email me.

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3 October, 2011

It is October, which is always the start of a busy time of year for me. Most people I know are preoccupied with returning to school or the change in weather heralding the approach of Winter, but I am contemplating all the conferences that I need to attend. It is the same every year. The world of embedded software goes quiet during the Summer, then everyone realizes that they have sales targets to make before the end of the year and go mad with every kind of marketing activity.

In the current two week period, I will be attending three conferences, making a total of six presentations … Read the rest of this entry »

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12 September, 2011

As I have mentioned before, I am always interested in user surveys, as they do offer some kind of glimpse into what is going on the world of embedded software development. The recently published VDC Embedded Engineering Survey [summary available here] shows up some interesting results and trends.

However, it does, like with many surveys, raise nearly as many questions as it provides answers … Read the rest of this entry »

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29 August, 2011

I am not a networking specialist. If you are an expert in this area, this posting will be teaching a grandmother to suck eggs [strange expression – I wonder what it actually means]. Obviously, over years of working with embedded systems, I have learned quite a lot about protocols, so learning about a new one is not starting from scratch. For many, networking begins and ends with TCP/IP. However, there are lots of other Internet protocols – FTP, UDP and HTTP, for example. There are also other kinds of connectivity that may or may not be thought of as networking – WiFi, Bluetooth and USB, for example.

It was while studying the operation of the last of these, USB, that I came across a technique that was familiar in form, but unfamiliar in application: bit stuffing … Read the rest of this entry »

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27 June, 2011

USB, as I have written about before, continues to be a popular topic and this seems to be on the increase with the emergence of USB 3.0. The new USB spec yields a number of benefits, but the clearest advantage that it has [over USB 2.0] is potential for higher data transfer speed.

There are a number of applications where the extra throughput can be used to advantage. An obvious example would be multimedia, where HD video needs a lot of bandwidth for faithful renderings. Another application is external disk storage… Read the rest of this entry »

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23 May, 2011

USB seems to be a subject of great interest among embedded developers. I recently delivered a couple of Web seminars on the topic and had a very good sized audience and lots of questions. If you attended, thanks for coming along. If you were not there, but are interested, you can find a recording here. Please email me if you would like a copy of the slides. There was a very wide range of questions, but a few common themes became apparent. USB 3 seems to be sparking a lot of interest and there is certainly a demand for a more detailed, specific session and we will do one in the coming months.

Another topic that seemed to stir interest and queries is power delivery over USB … Read the rest of this entry »


17 May, 2011

Just a quick “heads up”. If you are interested in USB in embedded systems you might like to attend a Web seminar that I am presenting later this week. The sessions will be less than one hour, including live Q&A, and I will be giving a briefing on USB aimed at embedded software engineers, including an introduction to the new USB 3.0. The live sessions will be on Thursday and an archive recording will be available after the event. Full details can be found here.

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25 April, 2011

USB 3.0

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Only two weeks ago, I commented that USB is a popular topic. In the last few years, any event or publication that we run/publish on USB seems to draw a crowd. I think that part of the attraction is that it is a well-established, widely-utilized standard, but also it does not stand still. Engineers naturally want to keep up with the new developments.

Although USB 2.0 has served us well for numerous applications for many years, the need for greater capacity, speed etc. drove the development of USB 3.0. In recent weeks, both AMD and Intel have announced USB 3.0 support in their chip-sets, so it follows that it will become commonplace in PC in the not too distant future. That implies that USB 3.0 peripherals will be in demand and, of course, they tend to be embedded systems … Read the rest of this entry »


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