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Welcome to a New Year.
Firstly we would like to wish you and yours a prosperous 2014 and hope that both your professional and personal lives are happy and fulfilling.
We are going to look at a number of things which are loosely tied by the same underlying message "Doing things right is cheaper in the long term"
PhaedruS SystemS
The death of Windows XP?
Win XPIf you are feeling sceptical when I say that Microsoft got a version of Windows right, I fully understand. Apart from Windows NT, which was built as an engineering project, different versions of Windows have varied from dreadful to just about acceptable.
By some weird conjunction of the planets, perhaps, with XP they got something better than usual. 13 years on despite three releases (VISTA (UGH) 7 not bad and 8 where they managed to confuse two different sets of functionality- tablet and PC) nearly 30% of Windows users are still running XP.
On April 8 2014 Microsoft will officially stop supporting XP, so if something nasty appears in the wild there will be no Tuesday patch to defend against it. If you are running anything at all close to critical in terms of safety or business continuity you really should move on but to where...?.  Click here for Microsoft win XP migration guide
MISRA-C:2012  Deviation Prze
MISRA-CThere will be an annual prize on the anniversary of the launch of MISRA-C:2012 for the best example of a deviation to MISRA C:2012 Directive 7.3.1 This Directive is "required" and so it may be deviated.
I want to see what deviations your company implements for this directive. The entries must be received by end of February (2014) It must also be in use on a live project.
The winning entry will be published, so will anonymous ones, they just won't win a prize. email me at 
2020 Hindsight
2020 Hindsight How would you feel if, after a fatal accident you were called upon to defend, in court, code you had written years ago. About the only defence you might have is that it was designed and implemented according to the best practice of the time.
corperate manslauter
Without that defence, in Britain your company might be liable to swingeing fine under The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. So far, thank goodness there has not been a British equivalent of Toyota, but it is likely to come.  email us for a copy but you should seek professional legal advice!
In a case where a girl was killed after falling from an inflatable banana boat, the judge said "I propose to fine the company every penny that it has. I have no greater power to do anything other than impose a fine and I cannot impose a greater fine than all of its assets." This approach will be used in future cases.
Mars Rover
opertunity22014 sees a major anniversary. Last week the Mars Rover Opportunity passed the ten year mark on its 3 month mission on the Mars surface.
The work on the systems started over five years earlier so we are looking at some historic electronics and software. But the systems were designed with the utmost care, implemented skilfully and tested rigorously. In this case the cost of getting it wrong would be measured in millions of dollars.

Getting it right has yielded a huge amount of information on how Mars has developed.   The proof is here on their web site (complete with live camera feeds! ) click here
picture:-Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech
C++ formal verification
Escher techDo you have an interest in developing critical embedded software in C++, to safety standards such as IEC61508 SIL 3-4 or DO-178C DAL A-B?

Escher Technologies is extending the Escher C Verifier to support a carefully-chosen subset of C++, so that the augmented product (eCv++) will be able to provide formal verification of C++ software developed to these standards. If you are involved in this type of work and would like to be a test user for eCv++, please contact Judith Carlton
Getting it right
Embedded WorldDemonstrating that you are conforming to best practice requires that you know what that best practice is. One way to catch up on what is happening and to step back from day to day issues is to visit a trade show or a conference.

The daddy of shows for our industry is embedded world, in Nuremberg. This year it runs from 35th to 27th February and is, according to the web site, even bigger than ever. See EW web site
Let me know if you are planning on going and we could meet for a drink and chat perhaps?
No product information in this newsletter. Contemplation over Christmas coupled with the success of the Mars Rover and indeed the Rosetta probe which successfully came out of a 3 year hibernation 10 years after launch which highlights the benefits of engineering discipline. Not least in the long term financial payback.
Whilst not every company will have to go to space to fix something look at the coats Toyota now has from their court case. No, not the fines but the lost sales for the next year or so…. Happy Easter.  
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