What is an embedded system?

I just wrote a post for an Infosec site, discussing some definitions of embedded systems. I survey some existing definitions, describe why I don’t feel they represent the current state of embedded systems, and offer another: “It’s an embedded system if the end-user doesn’t control the code that it runs”. …

Why use an FPGA?

“Please help me do this on an FPGA” The question you shouldn’t ask! A common refrain on many of the internet’s finest help forums and newsgroups is “I’m trying to do x using an FPGA, help!” And very often “x” is a task which would be more optimally (by many …

Flash memory through the ages

I was reading bunnie’s recent post on the manufacturing techniques used in USB flash-drives… bare die manipulated by hand with a stick! …


A while ago I compared Altera and Xilinx’s ARM-based FPGA combos. More information is now available publicly, so let’s see what we …

Now running WordPress

This site is now running WordPress, rather then Drupal. Ultimately, I got fed up with the very tedious processes involved with managing …

Server upgraded

Parallelpoints.com is now running [Squeeze](http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/) (or [Debian](http://www.debian.org/) 6.0 as it’s more formally known).

I’m not a full-time admin, so I greatly appreciated the [Debian upgrade guide](http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/amd64/release-notes/ch-upgrading.en.html) – it reminds you of all the stuff you have known in the past, but have “swapped-out”, and what tasks to do in what order. In particular, the kernel changes from Debian 5 to 6 were significant enough that a potentially unbootable system may have resulted.

Stopping Laserjet 5 jams

Thanks to a kit of [new rollers](http://www.daytonaplc.co.uk/products/HP%20Paper%20Feed%20Repair%20Kits.asp) from [Daytona plc](http://www.daytonaplc.co.uk/) and detailed service manual from HP for my Laserjet 5M, it’s now printing without jams again!

Should last another 100k pages now I hope

(Note to self for next time – replace the upper feed roller before the lower one as the sprockets will be easier to engage with the drive belt that way around.)

Aerial (or antenna!) wiring

We’ve been having a bunch of building work done, and today we finally moved the TV back downstairs to the new room! Built the new TV bench, hauled all the kit downstairs, plugged in…

“No signal” said the TV.

Interview on EEWeb

Well, [I’m “featured engineer”](http://www.eeweb.com/spotlight/interview-with-martin-thompson) on [EEWeb](http://www.eeweb.com/) today. I never expected to ever have my name featured on the same page as such luminaries as [Bob Pease](http://www.eeweb.com/spotlight/interview-with-bob-pease), [Jeri Ellsworth](http://www.eeweb.com/spotlight/interview-with-jeri-ellsworth), [Howard Johnson](http://www.eeweb.com/spotlight/interview-with-dr.-howard-johnson) or [Limor Fried](http://www.eeweb.com/spotlight/interview-with-limor-fried), to name but 4 of the “engineering household names” on that list!

FPGAs and ARMs – a summary

[Today, I compared the new combined ARM and FPGA devices](/node/77) from [Xilinx](http://www.xilinx.com) and [Altera](http://www.altera.com). This post summarises that rather long post!


Well, there’s two wacky new series of devices.