Embedded software engineer, primarily for IoT and communications-related systems.

Review: Hands-On RTOS with Microcontrollers

Steve Branam September 20, 2020

Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book for evaluation.

Hands-On RTOS with Microcontrollers: Building real-time embedded systems using FreeRTOS, STM32 MCUs, and SEGGER debug tools by Brian Amos is an outstanding book. It lives up to its name, extremely hands-on and practical, taking you from knowing nothing about RTOS's (Real-Time Operating Systems) up to building real multithreaded embedded system applications running on real hardware.

It uses the ST Micro


Review: Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager

Steve Branam July 26, 2020

Software development projects are notorious for having problems. Late, over budget, not working properly, making people's lives miserable all around. Embedded systems add the further complication of hardware to that.

How many of us have lived through problematic projects? Hopefully some of them have at least been ultimately successful to make all the suffering worth it in the end, but there are plenty that haven't.

I don't consider myself a project manager, or a manager...


Absolute Beginner's Guide To Getting Started With Raspberry Pi

Steve Branam July 12, 2020

The Raspberry Pi is a great little computer for learning programming in general, as well as embedded systems. It runs a version of the Linux OS (Operating System) called Raspberry Pi OS (formerly called Raspbian, so you'll see that name a lot, including here), supporting multiple programming languages. It can be used as a full desktop computer.

But if you're an absolute beginner, the information can get overwhelming quickly. There are different versions of it, different software to run on...


The Self-Directed Virtual Internship

Steve Branam May 3, 2020

A number of my LinkedIn connections are college and university students at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels, from all over the world. The embedded systems community constantly amazes me.

One fallout they're experiencing from COVID19 is cancellation of summer internships. This is very unfortunate, because an internship represents maintaining educational momentum and preparing for launch of a career with a taste of the real working world, along with some financial...


Simple Automated Log Processing

Steve Branam April 25, 2020

Text log data offers a wealth of information from an embedded system. At least during prototyping and development phases, most systems have some kind of serial log output, or use semihosting methods to log to a serial output channel in a debugger. Then you can capture the logs to a file.

The problem is that they tend to accumulate large volumes of data. Logs can be many thousands of lines long, especially when you run long duration tests. Finding information and evaluating trends in the...


Some Advice For Working From Home

Steve Branam March 28, 20201 comment

The other day I posted a short video of my WFH setup (and here's a May 1st upgrade). Today I have some general advice for WFH for people who are new to it.

I've been doing it randomly for the past 5 years, usually just one or two days a week here and there. Now it's a full-time thing for the duration of the coronavirus. So some of this wanders afield a bit, settling in for the long haul.

Some of it is based on things I've built up over years. It's unreasonable to expect that...


Examining The Stack For Fun And Profit

Steve Branam February 19, 20201 comment

Well, maybe not so much for profit, but certainly for fun. This is a wandering journey of exploration and discovery, learning a variety of interesting and useful things.

One of the concerns with an embedded system is how much memory it needs, known as the memory footprint. This consists of the persistent storage needed for the program (i.e. the flash memory or filesystem space that stores the executable image), and the volatile storage needed to hold the data while executing over long...


So You Want To Be An Embedded Systems Developer

Steve Branam February 5, 2020
Then listen now to what I say. Just get an electric guitar and take some time and learn how to play. Oh, wait, that's a song by the Byrds. But the strategy is the same. Get some information and tools and learn how to use them. No need to sell your soul to the company. (This post contains Amazon affiliate links and links to vendor websites.) The items I've listed below are sufficient to get you started on a career as an embedded systems developer. There are of course many additional...

Re: So, You Want to be an Engineering Manager?

Reply posted 2 months ago (10/03/2020)
I'll give another vote for "Peopleware", and right along with it, Fred Brooks' "The Mythical Man-Month", 20th anniversary edition.I briefly mentioned these in my...

Re: Custom LCD

Reply posted 4 months ago (07/26/2020)
You might try contacting Adafruit. Not that they would be able to make one, but they might have the right contacts. They might know a guy who knows a guy (or gal!)...

Re: Software choices to make for a young company project

Reply posted 6 months ago (05/18/2020)
I would highly recommend you investigate Miro Samek's FSM (Finite State Machine) approach as an alternative to an RTOS. Your project sounds like a heavily event-driven...

Re: Covid-19 Stories

Reply posted 8 months ago (03/25/2020)
I'm in Massachusetts. I've done enough random days of working from home that this isn't much of a change for me other than now doing it every day. As a result, I...

Re: Funny or Not Funny?

Reply posted 9 months ago (02/13/2020)
You're instinct was good, because it made you stop and think, and then ask for a second opinion! So you're able to counteract your inheritance!

Re: Funny or Not Funny?

Reply posted 9 months ago (02/13/2020)
While I do appreciate the humor and the line of jokes that could address computer vs. biological viruses, this is unequivocally bad taste. People have died, tens...

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