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Engineering

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”. …

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!

Tool switches

[@boldport](http://twitter.com/boldport/) asked:

[What are your #FPGA design space exploration techniques?](http://is.gd/BQ66JU)

which he expands upon:


“Design space exploration” is the process of trying out different settings and design methods for achieving better performance. Sometimes the goals are met without any of it — the default settings of the tools are sufficient. When they’re not, what are your techniques to meet your performance goals?

Yet again, the 140 character constraint leaves me with things unspoken….

FPGA Q&A area on stack exchange

For those who don’t know [Stack Overflow](http://stackoverflow.com/), I recommend having a look round. Web Forums (Fora?) done right. A sensible and easy way of rating questions and answers and questioners and answerers. For the right subjects, a goodly group of knowledgeable people answering them… But mainly on a software theme. Sadly (for me :) FPGAs and HDLs only come up occasionally (but I try and answer when I can). Enter Stack Exchange:

How many languages does an engineer need?

Much of an electronic engineer’s life is spent in front of a screen. And much of that time is creating and debugging designs using some textual format or other. Arguably, even humble [Excel](http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/excel/default.aspx) falls into that category of “tools”. At some point many electronic designers will end up performing schematic capture and maybe PCB layout – but much of the **design** is already done by then.

So, what languages are used?

Scales for engineers

If you’re a professional (or even proficient amateur) musician, you practise your scales, and other exercises daily. This keeps your muscle-memory alive for the basics of how they will move when playing pieces of real music.

What’s the equivalent for engineers?