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If you are near Manchester or Uphall in Scotland the Device Developers' Conference should be in your diaries, for June 2nd and 4th. We have already been to the Reading and Cambridge events, which were busy and interesting, with lots of news and gossip and the next two look like a good investment of a day.
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Coders can win a Kindle
Just to remind you that that we have a Kindle Paperwhite for the best solution to our "Coding Challenge", a man vs. machine review of 30 lines of code with multiple faults. The machine measurement is undertaken using QA·C, the static code analyser from PRQA. PRQA has also given us the code for the challenge
Evolution vs. Big Bang (download the book)
We will also have signed copies of our new edition of Felix Redmill's Software Projects: Evolutionary vs. Big Bang Delivery. If you can't get to the Device Developer Conference venues, you can download a pdf from here .
Is it supposed to do that?
Finally I will be giving away wisdom in a presentation: Is it supposed to do that? - Testing and Debugging Embedded Systems. Eventually the presentation, as usual, with all the notes and links to references will be on the web site with the previous conference presentations
May's law
While it is still May we thought we would acquaint you with May's Law, which says "Software efficiency halves every 18 months to compensate for Moore's law."
To quote David Manners "Software efficiency halves every 18 months, is the opinion of a distinguished computer scientist [Professor David May FRS]. The exponential but sloppy growth in over-complex, over-featured, cut-and-paste concocted software grieves him. "I think we've been dead careless with software," he says, "Moore's Law keeps doubling the memory available which means people say 'let's not risk making this software more efficient, let's produce more of the stuff, and add more to it' until it all spirals out of control."
The exponential but sloppy growth in over-complex, over-featured, cut-and-paste concocted software grieves him. He points to circumstances in which more efficient software could deliver, by itself, performance gains equivalent to 50 years of Moore's Law scaling. "There's a huge opportunity to gain performance simply by working on software", he asserts "I would like to see serious intellectual horsepower put to making software light and efficient." Moral: It's the software, Stupid
Sad state of embedded software process
Michael Barr has a wonderful rant in his newsletter. Unfortunately we can't link to it for some reason but three bullet points
1) The average score of firmware engineers on the ten-question multiple choice Embedded C Quiz is a pathetic 60.4%.
2) As many as four out of five firmware developers don't use any static analysis tool.
3) About 42% of firmware developers reported using "no [software development process] methodology" or "don't know". Weep. I will have more on this and Barr's top ten bug killing rules in our next newsletter.
We have been saying for some time that "coding" (the latest political obsession) is to software engineering is as bricklaying is to architecture. The wonderful site XKCD sums it well at
We think that if you are involved in embedded systems, spending a day at one of the UK Device Developers' Conferences will be a great investment, even if you don't win a prize, or even if you don't attend my presentation. There will be much to see and people to talk to
Normal Service: If we don't see you at Device Developer's Conference, our next normal newsletter will be with you towards the end of June. We have a backlog of interesting stories, and even one or two product announcements to make..
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