200: Oops

Episode 200! Let’s have a party (and a survey)! Former guests joined us in a panel-style celebration of working in embedded systems: Alvaro Prieto, Andrei Chichak, Elizabeth Brenner, Chris Svec, and Chris Gammell.

Alvaro Prieto (@alvaroprieto) was a guest on 130: Criminal Training Camp.

Andrei Chichak writes Embedded Wednesdays and was on 99: You Can Say a Boat114: Wild While Loops and 139: Easy to Add Blood Splatter.

Elizabeth Brenner (@eabrenner) was a guest on 17: Facebook Status: Maybe Not Dead and 54: Oh, The Hugh Manatee,

Chris Svec (@christophersvec) writes Embedded Software Engineering 101 was on 78: Happy Cows and 139: Easy to Add Blood Splatter.

Chris Gammell (@Chris_Gammell) was a guest on 35: All These Different Reasons Why You Might Want to Do Something as well as a co-host on the holiday Embedded/Amp Hour crossover episode 181: Work on It for Ten Years.

Fiction mentioned:

Episodes cited as favorites:

Tools discussed:

Notes: T-shirt sales are probably already over unless you hurry. March micro madness and Digilent Digital Discovery contests also end very soon.



199: Petri Dishes of Doom

Chris and Elecia answer listener questions about contracting (and consulting).

Reminders: T-shirts! Hat contest! Digilent contest announced in #197! It all ends around May 18th so get your entries in now!

The original discussion was on episode 4: Are We Not Lawyers?

Elecia's salary to rate conversion can be found as a Google spreadsheet

198: Unmanned Flying Thingy

Walter Stockwell spoke with us about the legalization of drones, UAVs, UASs, and UFOs.

Walter works at DJI which makes the Phantom. They have some jobs open.

Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

Intel/Pepsi drone show at SuperBowl halftime

AOPA Facebook page

The amateur model aircraft organization discussed was the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). 

ASSURE UAS Ground Collision Severity Evaluation Final Report (also: press release)

Elecia mentioned the Madgwick Filter.

Embedded.fm t-shirts are available for a limited time! There are two distributors: one US based, one Europe based. Choose whichever is closest to you.

Elecia’s TV appearance on The Jennylyn Show is on YouTube.

Digilent Digital Discovery contest ends May 19.


197: Smell the Transistor

Chris and Elecia talk with each other about science fiction, advertising, ham radios, debugging tools, and programming languages.

You can buy Embedded.fm t-shirts (US, also in Europe!) until May 18, 2017. You can always buy Elecia’s book: Making Embedded Systems. And don’t forget we have a Patreon if you’d like to support the show directly.

Some science fiction we mentioned: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, Nightfall and Last Question by Isaac Asimov, and the All This Time video from Jonathan Coulton.

Digilent sent us goodies to review: one Analog Discovery 2 and two Digital Discovery units. So we did, though we didn't cover the high speed adapters and other nifty goodies. Check out Alvaro Prieto’s Troubleshooting tools HDDG talk for some additional information on the devices. For the giveaways, rules are in the show, hit the contact link to enter. Contest ends May 19th.

Chris has been doing low-power ham radio contacts (WSPR) using an Ultimate 3S kit from QRP Labs. We talked about WSPR some with Ron Sparks in episode 76: Entropy Is For Wimps

Make with Ada competition is back! It start May 15, 2017. We talked the 2016 competition with Fabien Chouteau in episode 158: Programming Is Too Difficult For Humans.

Elecia is still fighting with Ubuntu before she can build her robot typist with her NVidia Jetson TX2 board.

Philip Freidin sent in Stanford CS department’s reply to the lightning round question of “what language should you learn in the first college course?” Even better, he sent a link to a google spreadsheet showing how many schools answer the question.

Elecia was on the Jennylyn Show. (I’ll update with a link to the specific episode on YouTube when it is available.)

March Madness ended with PyBoard as the champion, more info on getting your winner’s hat soon.

196: Software Server Thingybob

Aditi Hilbert (@HilbertAditi) spoke with us about MyNewt, an Apache-licensed RTOS and bootloader.

MyNewt’s Apache page is mynewt.apache.org and the github repository is github.com/apache/incubator-mynewt-core. In the README.md, check out the section marked browsing which points to the file system, ble stack, and assorted other source code goodies you may want to read. The secure bootloader code is also in there but as it is also a cross-RTOS effort (with Linux’s Zephyr), you can find the MCUBoot repository at github.com/runtimeco/mcuboot

Aditi works for Runtime.io (@runtime_io), a primary contributor to MyNewt. They work with companies who want to use MyNewt on their products.

We talked about OIC (openconnectivity.org) and using UDP endpoints over BLE. Constrained http is actually called constrained application protocol: CoAP (coap.technology). We also mentioned MQTT, an older standard attempting to solve some of the same problems.

The Apache license is one of the most permissive of open source licenses: choosealicense.com/licenses

Assorted other links discussed in the show:

195: A Bunch of Sputniks

We discussed CubeSats with their co-inventor, Professor Jordi Puig-Suari, Professor of Aerospace Engineering at CalPoly SLO and co-founder of Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems.

The 2017 CubeSat conference is in San Luis Obispo, CA on April 26-28. More details at CubeSat.org.

Information about CubeSats at CalPoly SLO can be found at PolySat.org.

Tyvak is hiring for a number of different positions: tyvak.com/careers.

For more satellite goodness, we spoke with Patrick Yeon of Planet about their CubeSat-based platform and deployment mechanism in Embedded episode 153: Space Nerf Gun.

Stuart McAndrew's OzQube-1 is the listener whose PocketQube (not CubeSat!) we talked about: http://OzQu.be

Thank you to Embedded Patreon supporters for Jordi’s microphone! 

194: Something For Something

Shulie Tornel (@helixpea) joined us to talk about the 2017 Hackaday Prize (@hackaday and @hackadayio).

Hackaday World Create Day is April 22nd, let them know if you want do a meetup so they can add you to the calendar.

Elecia gave away all of her potential ideas, trying to figure out which one would work best for entry. It was probably Maxwell except for its lack of novelty (Embedded shows #17 and #54 and there is a SparkFun Tutorial).

Are you entering? The first phase (until May) is community driven (popularity contest). Post your entry here or tweet to us (@embeddedfm) and we'll like it. Also, it was Shantam Raj's Self-sustained Ultralow-power Node that we discussed in the show.

Neon Demons (trailer)

Embedded blog contributor Chris Svec was on the CodeNewbie podcast talking about robots and chip design. The following week Saron invited Elecia to record an episode about getting into hardware and embedded software.

193: Axiomatically Did Not Happen

Owen Anderson (@OwenResistor) joined us to talk about how compilers are written. We discussed LLVM, intermediate representation, clang, and GPUs.

As mentioned at the end of the show, Owen’s current employer is hiring. If you are interested and would like to get the brownie points that come with being a friend of a friend, contact us and we’ll connect you to Owen and he’ll submit your resume.

Recent books Owen mentioned: Manager Path, Feminist Fight Club, The Laundry Files series by Charles Stross.

LLVM Language Reference

Teardown of what goes into rasterization

What Every C Programmer Should Know About Undefined Behavior


191: What, Yogurt!?!

Chris (@stoneymonster) and Elecia (@logicalelegance) answer listener emails.

Get your entries in for March Micro Madness, the matches start very soon.

The short story Elecia finds most memorable is All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury.

We mentioned Procopio who teaches microcontrollers at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education ITESM (site, wiki)

Hector sent up the IEEE Code of Ethics, a good high-level set of rules.

190: Trust Me, I’m Right

Matt Godbolt (@mattgodbolt) spoke with us about settling arguments with Compiler Explorer.

March Micro Madness is here!

Compiler Explorer comes in different flavors:

You can see the beta version by putting a beta on the end:  https://gcc.godbolt.org/beta/

This a fully open source project. You can read the code and/or run your own version:

Matt works at DRW working on low latency software. Note that DRW is hiring for software engineers. You can read about the evolution of Compiler Explorer on their blog.

Matt’s personal blog is xania.org. You might like parts about 6502 Timings. He also has several conference talks on YouTube including x86 Internals for Fun & Profit and Emulating a 6502 in Javascript. Matt was previously at Argonaut Games.

Jason Turner of C++ Weekly and his C++17 Commodore 64

Could a Neuroscientist Understand a Microprocessor? paper (with a nod to Don’t Panic GeoCast’s Fun Paper Friday)


189: The Squishiness Factor

Kari Love (@ikyotochan) spoke with us about creating soft robotics. You can see her edible soft robots talk from 33c3. Kari works at Super-Releaser. Her personal site (and blog) is Kari Makes.

Kari mentioned that the Super-Release intern Aidan had some picks for soft robotics on Instructables.

Super-Releaser created the Glaucus soft robot and Adafruit has an in-depth tutorial for how to make it.

Some videos of soft actuators and soft robots:

Soft Exoskeletons

Rat heart cell robot from Popular Mechanics

First Autonomous Entirely Soft Robot (Harvard Octobot)

VoxCad Tutorial for simulating soft robotics

Also, if you haven’t seen Big Hero 6, you should. Consider it computer science homework. If you just want to see Baymax, here is a short video.

Octopus: The Ocean's Intelligent Invertebrate (Elecia’s latest octopus related reading, the previous one was called Kraken)

188: Twitter Is a Cocktail Party

Scott Hanselman (@shanselman) of the Hanselminutes Podcast talks about technology podcasting and philosophy.

You can find Scott's blog on Hanselman.com/blog and his other podcasts on Hanselman.com/podcasts.

We talked about Hansleminutes' WebVR episode with Ada Rose Edwards and Alcohol and Tech with Victor Yocco. We also mentioned Scott's blog post from 2014 about what technologies he would learn if he had to start over.

187: Self-Driving Arm

Crossing machine intelligence, robotics, and medicine, Patrick Pilarski (@patrickpilarski) is working on smart prosthetic limbs.

Build your own learning robot references: Weka Data Mining Software in Java for getting to know your data, OpenIA Gym for understanding reinforcement learning algorithms, Robotis Servos for the robot (AX is the lower priced line), and five lines of code:

pred = numpy.dot(xt,w)                  
delta = r + gamma*numpy.dot(xtp1,w) - pred  
e = gamma*lamda*e + xt                  
w = w + alpha*delta*e                   
xt = xtp1                                   

Patrick even made us a file (with comments and everything!).

Once done, you can enter the Cybathlon. (Or check out a look at Cybathlon 2016 coverage.)

Machine Man by Max Barry

Snow Country by Bokushi Suzuki

Aimee Mullins and her many amazing legs (TED Talk)

Patrick is a professor at University of Alberta, though a lot more than that: he is the Canada Research Chair in Machine Intelligence for Rehabilitation at the University of Alberta, and Assistant Professor in the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and a principal investigator with both the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute  (Amii) and the Reinforcement Learning and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (RLAI). See his TED talk: Intelligent Artificial Limbs.

186: Sleeping on the Factory Floor

Indrek Rebane (@RebaneIndrek) spoke with us about the Garage48 Hardware and Arts hackathon, hardware incubators in Estonia, linguistics, hydrology, and startup investments.

Garage48 Hardware & Arts hackathon is February 17-19, 2017 at the Institute of Physics, University of Tartu (Tartu, Estonia). The event is organized by Garage48, University of Tartu and the Estonian Academy of Arts.

Indrek is CTO of Build It Hardware Accelerator and electronics engineer for Hedgehog Engineering.

Recommended book: The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you

Other resources Indrek mentioned after recording:

99: You Can Say a Boat (Repeat)

While we planned to ask Andrei Chichak to podcast when he was in town for the Embedded.fm party, we spent too much time goofing off. So we are replaying Andrei's first appearance on the show where he spoke with us about MISRA-C and ethics.  (Note that this is the same Andrei who writes the STM32 Embedded Wednesday posts for the Embedded.fm blog.)

Linker post: It's dangerous to go alone! Take MISRA-C

Andrei's has personal website (we failed to talk about his kite aerial photography, it is really neat though) and his company is CBF Systems.

Plum Hall C Compiler Validation

PC Lint

JPL Coding Standards for C (and the mentioned video discussing Mars Code)

ISO 26262 Automobile software standard

Cortex-R for high reliability systems (ARM's description)

National Society of Professional Engineers code of ethics and Canadian Engineering Guidelines on the Code of Ethics

Offline, Andrei recommended two books and another podcast about MISRA:

185: Nice Mahogany Table

Debby Meredith (@DebbyMe) stops by to tell us what it is like being a venture partner and interim VP of engineering. Debby is a venture partner at Icon Ventures. Her website is DebbyMeredith.com. She was on a new podcast: Women Who Code Radio.

Computer History Museum's new exhibit is Make Software: Change the World. It opens on January 28, 2017. 

After recording, Debby mentioned a book she likes: Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist.

January 28th Hats and Hacks Party RSVP


184: Not Likely, Possible, or Safe

Ben Krasnow (@BenKrasnow) spoke with us about prototyping, Patreon, and staying current. And a whole bunch of stuff.

January 28th Hats and Hacks Party RSVP

Ben’s YouTube channel is Applied Science. His recent videos have been shot with the high speed Chronos camera (whose creator David Kronstein was on The Amp Hour #325).

Ben has a Patreon page which funds randomness. (Embedded also has a Patreon page, for randomness and mics.)

Ben was previously on the show: 119: Do Your Neighbors Have Any Idea?

For BLE prototyping, Ben mentioned the OSH Chip by Philip Freidin (146: The Loyal Opposition) and using Processing for Android to make quick-n-dirty test applications.

We mentioned the Wazer desktop waterjet.

Chris brought up this video describing impedance with a mechanical model.

One of Ben’s favorite videos that he did was the first one with an electron microscope, way back in 2011: DIY Scanning Electron Microscope - Overview.

Ben gets a lot of his news from Hacker News: https://news.ycombinator.com/

Ben’s Twitter criteria was that they didn’t post updates often too often for his one-a-day check and that they focus on tech:

  • @bunniestudios
  • @vk2zay
  • @elonmusk  (for updates on my car's firmware)
  • @LongHairNasaGuy
  • @szczys
  • @samykamkar
  • @PaulStoffregen
  • @mikelectricstuf
  • @johndmcmaster
  • @michaelossmann
  • @macegr
  • @Chris_Gammell
  • @EMSL
  • @mightyohm

And some of his favorite YouTube channels (Ben said it was very difficult to distill as there are many great choices):

  • mikeselectricstuff
  • tesla500
  • Matthias Wandel
  • NightHawkInLight
  • The Signal Path
  • Techmoan
  • Cody's Lab
  • This Old Tony
  • Clickspring
  • Nick Moore
  • Gross Science
  • Haas Automation
  • Hackaday
  • Reactions
  • I Build It
  • Alex Dainis
  • bigclivedotcom

We also mentioned architect Frank Howarth of the urbanTrash channel.

183: Robots Having Nervous Breakdowns

Philip Koopman (@BetterEmbSW) spoke with us about making better embedded software. His Better Embedded Systems Software blog has lots of great information including links to his growing video library. Two posts noted in the show:

His company, Edge Case Research, performs design and code reviews and teaches how to do them. You can find out more about his course and background on his Carnegie Mellon University staff page. That also leads to the pretty amazing Vintage Aero paper airplanes.

Phil’s book is Better Embedded Software, available via koopman.us and (more expensively) Amazon.

Fagan Inspection

Videos of robots being stressed


Also: Embedded.fm Jan 28th Party RSVPs on Eventbrite

182: Sorry Little Diodes

Chris (@stoneymonster) and Elecia (@logicalelegance) talk with each other about about a party, listener emails, and assorted questions.

RSVP for the Embedded.fm party!

The Embedded Blog is at embedded.fm/blog. Chris Svec wrote a post about picking a processor platform.

Don’t Panic Geocast episode with Elecia

Elecia’a book: Making Embedded Systems

Compiler explorer is GodBolt.org

Imposter Syndrome: episode #24 is all about. And you might find #78 with Chris Svec relevant. Also: Adam Savage talking about overcoming self-doubt.

The RSS feed for all of our shows (not only the most recent 100) is http://makingembeddedsystems.libsyn.com/rss

We have a Patreon fund that buys mics for guests (plus the occasional goodie for us and our blogging team).

Crunchy Frog

RTL-SDR: Software defined radio

BaoFeng’s unusable Ham radio

ESA investigation on the Schiaparelli landing