There was a time when you got your new computer home it was likely to be an HP and it ran Microsoft Windows on an Intel processor. You knew what to expect. Well, not anymore. At Microsoft’s BUILD conference for developers in Southern California, they unveiled their next operating system on a machine that didn’t have an Intel processor inside. At the same time, a few hundred miles north in San Francisco, Intel was unveiling a software partnership for an operating system – and it wasn’t with Microsoft! A few weeks ago, HP said it was spinning off or getting rid of its PC business, or not. What’s going on! Can’t we trust the status quo anymore? What happened to the Old Order?
We are moving from the “Mobile Revolution” – the revolutionary advance that is allowing everyone on the planet to connect to everyone else, all the time – to the “Internet of Things.” This latest revolution will be profound because not only will we be connected to each other, but our stuff will be connected too. Our cars, refrigerators, light switches, cameras, and every other device we interact with will become intelligent and will connect seamlessly to other intelligent devices to make life easier without our even having to pay attention.
Texas is experiencing one of the worst known droughts in its history this year. Drought brings fire, and the fires have certainly arrived. Wildfires have destroyed nearly 1,400 homes so far this year in Texas, and the fires continue to burn. “Some residents needed no urging to leave because they saw the flames lapping at the trees. Others heard from friends and neighbors, while still others found a sheriff’s deputy at their door or heard firemen rolling down the street with bullhorns. In most cases no one had to be told twice” according to CBSnews.com
Touch screens and the associated gesture control as introduced in smart phones and tablets have changed the way we interact with our devices. Tap-and-swipe touch-screens are fun and addictive to use, but touching tends to make the screen smudgy, and there are rising concerns on health and hygiene aspects. After all we want to be able to and do use our devices everywhere and anytime, right?
For the automobile industry, the year 1908 was a landmark, with the introduction of the Model T. Henry Ford made automobiles affordable for the middle class in the US, soon to be followed by the rest of the world. The Model T was in production from 1908 – 1927, with more than 15 million cars sold.
If you are British or are an aficionado of British TV, you will be familiar with the TV series ‘Doctor Who’. If you’re both, and like me, of a certain age, you may recall a childhood of watching this show from behind the sofa. It’s the longest running science-fiction TV show in the world and it’s scary. One of the key props in the story is the Tardis, a time-machine disguised as an old-fashioned Police Telephone Box. (It’s a long story why it’s a rather incongruous Police Box.) The Tardis allows the good Doctor to travel back & forwards in time. As I look at the Embedded Software industry today, I was thinking, what if I accompanied the Doctor back to ten years ago. How did the industry look compared to now? How would it look ten years into the future?
Apple with the iPhone and iPad, and Google with Android, revolutionized the way we interact with our portable devices. They commoditized touch screen display technology, making it possible for us to control our ‘PCs-in-our-pocket’ more conveniently than we can control our Desktop or Laptop PCs with a mouse. Besides the plain ease of use, there is something irresistible about swiping with your finger across a screen and enjoying the astonishing effects that this triggers. And, being able to control your mobile device while walking, really adds to the whole mobile experience and sense of freedom when you are on the go.
VLIW (Very Long Instruction Word) machines first appeared in the early 1980’s. They were used primarily as scientific super computers. At the time with semiconductors still in their infancy and process geometries measured in microns it made sense to bolt two (or more) execution units together and tolerate the software and real-time inefficiencies that this creates. There were few better options at the time if you wanted to increase performance. Pushing the problem off to the compiler made sense because there were fundamental limitations on the number of transistors that you could put on a chip and by extension the level of functionality that could be implemented.
The Android operating system generates a lot of buzz in the marketplace today, will it kill the use of RTOSes.
Traveling around the world offers an interesting view of the immense diversity of people, cultures, art, music, and so much more. In days gone by you would prepare for the journey by selecting the right clothes, money, passports and other items that would come in useful for your visit. In today’s world, the internet is a great resource to help you decide what to stuff into your backpack. A good place to look is the lonely planet web site.