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David Ashton
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Re: Programming Closer to the Hardware
David Ashton   8/2/2014 8:17:28 PM
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@Sranje... "I thought than anything embedded has no keyboard (or its equivalent)"

In most cases this is true, anything with a keyboard is usually a computer in its own right.  But what about (for example) the old Blackberry?  it is pretty well certainly embedded, as it's a phone, but it has a keyboard, and not just a numeric one.

I think the functionality is more important than what is used for I/O??

sranje
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Re: Programming Closer to the Hardware
sranje   8/2/2014 6:43:23 PM
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I thought than anything embedded has no keyboard (or its equivalent)

elizabethsimon
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Re: Not a computer
elizabethsimon   6/11/2014 11:37:08 AM
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@betajet So the fact that the product contains a computer is an implementation detail, not a requirement.

I think that's the real distinguishing factor betwen an embedded system and other uses of computers. By that definition, a router could be an embedded system but a smart phone wouldn't.

 

 

 

Wnderer
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Re: Programming Closer to the Hardware
Wnderer   6/11/2014 9:27:33 AM
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@David I see your point. TI has embedded analog in some of its chips. Micro- controllers are microprocessers with embedded memory and as others have said here an embedded system is a system with some sort of computer embedded in it. I guess the debate revolves around at what point does the functionality of the computer go beyond just the operating requirements of the system and make it a system with a computer instead of an emebedded computer system.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Embedded what?
Max The Magnificent   6/11/2014 9:04:03 AM
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@mjayme: ...the best definition I found was "software is what you blame, hardware is what you kick"

I love it (and I will be using it myself before the day is out :-)

mjayme
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Embedded what?
mjayme   6/11/2014 8:12:08 AM
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I always thought of a Embedded System as "a computational system dedicated to a fixed set of functions", where "computational system" is used to separate it from machines (electronic or mechanical), but I am also findind it harder and harder to sustain, as lately am thinking more and more of state machines and programmable logic as controllers for simple functions, due to the evolution level of these. It seems everybody think that a fan or oven must have a 32-bit processor running Linux... Maybe you have to connect your oven to an App Store and run Candy Crush on it.

Seems like the discussion about the definition of hardware and software, where, up to now, the best definition I found was "software is what you blame, hardware is what you kick", but this is also blurring...

 

betajet
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Re: Not a computer
betajet   6/10/2014 9:34:19 PM
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That's an excellent point.  The embedded computer provides (most of) the functionality for the product, but the product manufacturer would be perfectly happy to use something cheaper to get that functionality.  So the fact that the product contains a computer is an implementation detail, not a requirement.

David Ashton
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Re: Programming Closer to the Hardware
David Ashton   6/10/2014 8:50:32 PM
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@Wnderer - coincidentally TI are advertising a webinar at the moment:

"If you're working on a design and aren't sure whether to choose standalone analog components or embedded analog built into a microcontroller, our free webinar can help you decide."

However the Registration page uses "Integrated Analog" rather than "Embedded Analog" which was in the email I got.

I'd still rather go with the definition of a computer embedded in another product.

 

 

betajet
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CEO
Re: Ancient View
betajet   6/10/2014 6:07:31 PM
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mhrackin AKA "s/n 1" suggested: "embedded systems run firmware, not software."

First, I'm very impressed with 709 and PDP-1.

Now regarding firmware: that's a reasonable distinction for some kinds of embedded systems, such as a mouse MCU which runs a program that will never be replaced.  However, "firmware" [*] now includes the contents of a PC's boot ROM [**], and we all agree PCs usually aren't embedded systems.  Plus, a complex embedded system such as a data communications box generally has both a boot ROM (firmware) and a download image (somewhere between firmware and software).  Since it generally takes quite a few releases before the download image of a complex embedded system gets stable enough to call it "firmware", maybe we should call it "Jelloware".

JMO/YMMV

Footnotes:

[*] In my experience, the word "firmware" never really caught on and as such Humpty Dumpty's scornful use of words applies.

[**] Yes, I realize that a PC's boot ROM is usually Flash nowadays.  Personally, I like the term "read-mostly memory" (RMM) for non-volatile storage that is writable, but it's so slow that you don't want to do it very often.  The term "RMM" never caught on either :-)

ggman02
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Not a computer
ggman02   6/10/2014 5:53:06 PM
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I always heard an embedded system described as an object that uses a microprocessor (or microcontroller) but you don't immediately identify it as a computer or even a computing device. Hence, a router is an embedded system just as the IP phone sitting on my desk. A smartphone doesn't qualify since many would identify them as computing devices. 

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