Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Shoe makers children have no shoes.

The Software guy’s rocket has no software. I’ve made my living doing embedded control software for about 25 years. I am the software architect for my company Netburner. NetBurner does not do much end use software, we put together devlopment environments that others use to build products. Somewhere in the world there are around a  million embedded devices running my/our NetBurner RTOS and TCP code. Things like:

  • Slot machines

  • Traffic Lights

  • Cow Milking Machines

  • Machine tools

  • Test Instruments

  • Smart Home Theater controllers.

  • Self Checkout systems.

  • 3D Laser Log scanners.

  • Atomic Time Standards.

  • UAV’s

  • UWV’s

  • Buses

  • Custom Cars

  • Custom Boats

  • I’m not 100% sure but from the problem description a customers is running a “peep show controller.”

  • etc… etc…

The Hardware is 100% complete on the rocket. I’ve unit tested all the comm links and subsystems. I was hoping to be ready for a final fullup static test with ALL of the flight ready software in place this weekend. Alas I have a bug, the worst possible kind a “hangs up and goes silent bug”. I’ve worked on it all day, and its kicked my butt. On Sunday I’ll modify the watchdog hardware to trigger a non maskable interrupt rather than a reset. Then the NMI routine can give me a little info about where its hung up when the watchdog goes off. Arghhhh!







Timothy J. Massey said...

A "peep show controller"? What type of problem description leads you to assume "peep show controller"?

On second thought, I don't want to know! :)

Paul Breed said...

Problem description: :
I have a bunch of vending devices in a building. When money is deposited it turns the machine on for some period of time. Each machine must keep track of money deposited and report to central server if something gets unplugged it must not give free access or short change the customer even if power cycled. Must run unattended because manager sits in a safe separate area and does not want to come out and mess with individual machines. (It could also be in a quarter car wash, but the specific answers to environmental questions kind of ruled that one out...) We have discussed this one at length and the only theory that holds up is peep show.

heroineworshipper said...

The stuff that makes money is a different world than the stuff individuals value. Some people learn to do one better than the other.

Steve said...

My buddy Bruce always says that the software guys always expect the hardware guys to be the driver for the project schedule, but the hardware guys always end up waiting for the software to work towards the end of the project. Unfortunately for Paul, both the hardware and the software team are the same guy, so he never gets a break.

ChrisPhoenix said...

I did high-end embedded software - serial protocols and RTOS - for six years at EFI. It was fun and interesting. You have my sympathy. Good luck! I hope it's not a memory-stomping bug...