What's the fastest way to get a firmware project out the door? Ship junk. Try unprogrammed flash. One company I know grades developers on the size of the program; a cynic there could do very well by dumping Moby Dick (1,172,046 bytes, by my count) into memory. The system wouldn't work too well, or at all, but the project will beat all development records.
The second-fastest way is to ship insanely high-quality code. Deming, Juran, and the subsequent quality movement taught the manufacturing world that quality and speed go together. Quality stems from fabulous design that requires no rework; no rework means projects go out the door faster.
Alas, in the firmware world, that message never resonated. Most projects devote half the schedule to debugging (which implies the other half should be named "bugging"). Typical projects start with a minimum of design, followed by a furious onslaught of coding and then long days and nights wrestling with the debugger.
"There are two ways of constructing a software design: One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies, and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. The first method is far more difficult." [Wikipedia]
When using brown-out reset circuits, the bottom line is that on many MCUs you can’t use the A/D to monitor Vdd during flash writes unless there’s some way to simulate the expected load. As always, do a careful, worst-case engineering analysis.
Depending on your source, 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of TTL (transistor-transistor logic). Although some say 1961 is the birth year, TI released the 5400 family in 1964 and the 7400 series in plastic two years later. Since TTL is synonymous with 5400 and 7400, why not offer 50th birthday congratulations?
Is it true that a person reared on BASIC, lingua franca of the eight-bit computer world, is forever damned by the experience? Jack Ganssle,the embedded systems guru, shares his experience with BASIC on its 50th anniversary.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.