Steve Branam (@sdbranam)
Review: Embedded Software Design: A Practical Approach to Architecture, Processes, and Coding Techniques
Full disclosure: I was given a copy of this book to review.
Embedded Software Design: A Practical Approach to Architecture, Processes, and Coding Techniques, by Jacob Beningo, is an excellent introduction to strategies for embedded systems design and bringing those designs to fruition. Renowned embedded systems expert Jack Ganssle was the technical reviewer.
This is a practical how-to book on the modern professional practice of embedded systems...
Soft Skills For Embedded Systems Software Developers
- The Skills
Skills For Embedded Systems Software Developers
- The Skills
Learning A New Microcontroller
- The Peripherals
- System Complexity
- Support Software
- Do It Like Phil
- The Programs
- WET And DRY Code
Review: Modern Software Engineering
This is actually a review of 3 books by Dave Farley, because they really form a set:
- Modern Software Engineering: Doing What Works to Build Better Software Faster (just released for 2022, 224 pages)
- Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation (co-authored with Jez Humble, 2011, 463 pages)
- Continuous Delivery Pipelines: How To Build Better Software Faster (2021,...
VolksEEG: Rust Development On Adafruit nRF52840 Feather Express
Working With ESP-C3-32S-Kit Dev Board
- Getting Started
- ESP-IDF Installation
Learning Rust For Embedded Systems
Based on recommendations from Kevin Nause, the VolksEEG project is considering using Rust as the embedded system programming language. So I've been off on a tear skimming books and e-books and watching videos at 2x to evaluate it.
My conclusion? Do it!
Most of the rest of us participants are primarily C/C++ embedded developers. I had previously been sensitized to Rust for embedded systems by
Six Software Design Tools
Here are six tools to help you with software design. The first two are very simple, almost deceptively trivial, while the last four are more involved. They apply universally, to all types of software, all types of systems, and all languages. This is part of good engineering discipline.
At face value, this is just a bunch of acronyms,...
VolksEEG Project: Initial Hardware Architecture
The initial hardware architecture for the prototype VolksEEG uses an Adafruit Feather nRF52840 Sense, which connects to a PC via USB for UI (User Interface). Through several additional chips, this provides power to and acquires data from the ADS1299 ADC.
An important topic I mentioned in my introduction to the project is isolation, ensuring there is no conductive path for current through the patient. The architecture is therefore split into...
Introducing The VolksEEG Project
The VolksEEG project is an open-source project with the goal of creating an electroenchephalogram (EEG) machine, fully cleared by the FDA for standard clinical use. All designs will be freely available for others to manufacture.
The project was founded by Alan Cohen, a medical device systems engineer with an electrical engineering/software (EE/SW) background in Boston, USA, and Dr. Bryan Glezerson
Video-Based STEM Embedded Systems Curriculum, Part 2
- Lesson Plan 1: Introducing Arduino
- Lesson Plan 2: Circuit Drawings With Fritzing
- Lesson Plan 3: Basic Electronics
- Coming Soon
This post continues from part 1. It contains the first three lesson plans.Lesson Plan 1: Introducing Arduino
This lesson is first because Arduino is the simplest programming environment, yet allows lots of interaction with hardware. In...
Video-Based STEM Embedded Systems Curriculum, Part 1
- Adapting To Your Circumstances
- Suggested Policies
- The Video Educators
- Equipment, Books, and Supplies
- Lesson Summary
- Suggested Teaching Method
Review: Prototype to Product
Prototype to Product: A Practical Guide for Getting to Market, by Alan Cohen, is a must-read for anyone involved in product development, whether in a technical, management, or executive role.
I was reminded of it by Cohen's recent episode on Embedded.fm, 388: Brains Generate EMF, which is worth listening to a couple times through, especially if you're interested in medical device development. And in fact his first episode there,
Learning From Engineering Failures
- Human Error
- Risks Digest
I'm an informal student of engineering failures. They guide a lot of my attitude and approach towards engineering.
This is rooted in two of my favorite quotes:
- George Santayana: Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Acceptance Tests vs. TDD
- The Question
- My Answer
- Tying This To Back To Sources
My Guiding Principles As An Engineer
These are my guiding principles as an embedded systems software engineer, forged over 40 years of experience. They shape the way I work and approach problems, and maintain my attitude in the face of adversity.
You may find them useful as well, whether working as a developer, a manager, or an executive, alone or on a team, when things are going well, and when they aren't.
They're a combination of favorite quotes and my own bits of derivative wisdom I've sprinkled...
Dumb Embedded System Mistakes: Running The Wrong Code
- The Mistake
- The Strategy
- Marking Embedded Linux
Advice For High School Students
- My Education Experience
- My Career Experience
- My Advice
Your Career Archive
Clive Maxfield and Adam Taylor recently published a series of blog posts about how to get and keep an engineering job, discussing preparation in high school through early career stages. I've just started a new job, and wanted to add some information on a particular aspect of changing jobs, the employment background check.
Over the past 10 years, I've changed jobs several times. Three of those jobs, including the most recent two, have required background checks as part of...
Review: Hands-On RTOS with Microcontrollers
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
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
- The Raspberry Pi
- Parts: What You Need
- Suppliers: Where To Order
- Shopping Lists: What To Order
The Self-Directed Virtual Internship
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
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
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
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
- What's An Embedded System?
- Hobbyist vs. Professional Hardware
- The Primary Resources
- Some Advanced Resources
- Some Hardware
- Other Links
- Final Thought
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