Tag Archives: embedded

Episode 77 — Remote Host Toast

toastWe chat with software engineer Elecia White about embedded programming, self-driving cars, and why internet appliances must connect to the web more quickly and easily if they are to find commercial success.

  • Carmen is looking forward to burning images of Darth Vader or Fry from Futurama into his morning slice of toast.
  • Rather than looking at pre-programmed images when he butters up his toast each day, Jeff envisions reading the day’s weather forecast, or reviewing the best route to work.
  • Despite a multitude of promises that the Internet of Things will improve our lives, there seem to be a lot of technical and social details that have yet to be sorted out.
  • We continue to look for listeners willing to share their engineering stories with us. Please use the Contact page to let us know of your interest!
  • Our guest for this episode is software engineer Elecia White, co-founder of Logical Elegance, an embedded systems consulting company based in San Jose, California.
  • We determine Brian was the only co-host to play Command and Conquer, as he seems to be the only person knowledgeable about the proper use of engineers in that video game.
  • Although not taught as frequently in engineering universities as it once was, the Fortran programming language is still widely used for numerical analysis.
  • There are a variety of definitions for an embedded system. Our guest notes that an embedded system needs software (thus requiring it to include a programmable computer), but is not itself a general-purpose computing device.
  • Brian asks about the relative importance of being familiar with more general concepts and protocols, such as I2C and SPI, versus understanding vendor specific commands and methods.
  • Sam Feller’s analog clock is mentioned by Carmen as an example of a hardware product requiring a great deal of engineering effort.
  • Embedded system programmers usually come from either a computer science or electrical engineering background.
  • Elecia’s first interview question for embedded system engineers is “Were you in the robotics club?”
  • While many employers want to hire “full-stack” developers that can handle all types of programming needs, our guest points out that it is virtually impossible to be equally proficient in all areas of programming.
  • Elecia recently served as a judge for the 2014 Hack-a-Day Prize.
  • A least one internet toaster actually exists, as it reportedly attempts to find a new home if you don’t use it frequently enough.
  • It is also possible to remotely determine how many eggs are in your refrigerator.
  • Our guest identifies the rapidly dropping cost of processing power, sensors, and radio transceivers as driving the current fascination over the “Internet of Things.”
  • As explained in an xkcd comic, many of our existing problems can be cured be developing yet another standard.
  • An Electric Imp developer was interviewed last summer in Episode 202 of The Amp Hour podcast.
  • Brian asks Elecia about the challenges of writing software code under the guidelines of DO-178B, “Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification.”
  • In a previous job, our guest worked for ShotSpotter, a company that produces a gunfire detection system.
  • Elecia discussed various aspects of interviewing in Episode 51 of her podcast, Embedded.fm.
  • Listeners can learn more about embedded systems from Elecia’s book, “Making Embedded Systems: Design Patterns for Great Software.”
  • The EggBot from Evil Mad Scientist is mentioned as potentially providing inspiration for a new type of toaster.
  • Brian raves about the Embedded.fm episode with guest Jack Ganssle, titled “Being a Grownup Engineer.”
  • Elecia recommends the episode about test-driven development with guest James Grenning, titled “Eventually Lightning Strikes.”
  • Our guest can be found on Twitter as @logicalelegance, and can be reached via the contact page on her Embedded.fm website.

Thanks to Windell Oskay for use of the image titled “hello, world.” Podcast theme music by Paul Stevenson.