Embedded Technology Journal turns a terrific two years old today. What does this mean? For us, two years of your loyal patronage means that we’re doing something right. It means that we were right about you, our readers – that engineers are intelligent, worldly, interesting people who want more than a datasheet, a press release, or a marketing pitch to satisfy their curiosity about the industry in which they work. Surviving and thriving for two years in the competitive world of publishing shows that our approach to technology journalism – chronicling the technological trends in a format that’s objective, informative, and fun, works.
We’ve had a spectacular second year during an interesting time in the evolution of embedded systems. We’ve been proud to feature work from an outstanding cast of contributing editors including Dick Selwood, Jim Turley, and Amy Malagamba. Dick Selwood joined our team last year and has brought us a steady stream of interesting news and observations from his European beat. He’s brought us the best of British beer and embedded systems, meatballs and major technology developments from Sweden, and some insightful interviews with industry luminaries.
In addition to covering technology trends such as multi-core processors in embedded systems, relational database techniques in embedded design, virtual platforms for software development and debug, and COTS boards for a variety of ready-to-roll product categories, we have also worked to bring you coverage of the personal side of an electronics engineering career. We did an article about that know-it-all guy who works down the corridor from you (the last cube on the left, we think) and explained how he’s really just covering for some significant holes in his fundamental expertise. We analyzed the group dynamics of a software team, and we gave tips for managing your middle manager.
We also monitored the front lines in the battle of the embedded operating systems – watching the face-off between commercial offerings such as Microsoft’s Windows CE and open-source embedded Linux offered by companies like Wind River. The impact of open source software on the embedded community has grown exponentially over the past two years, completely changing the dynamics of the industry and the companies that serve it. Watching the transition of operating system and software tool vendors as they adapt to trends like the increasing use of embedded Linux and the widespread adoption of Eclipse has been a wild ride for the past twenty-four months and is showing no signs of losing our interest any time soon.
We’ve also explored myriad applications of embedded technology – from Jim Turley’s informative ride in his almost electronics-free race car and the rolling embedded networks embodied by today’s production automobiles to a host of coulomb-sipping low-power portable applications that push power conservation to the absolute limit. We’ve noted the downstream effects of Moore’s Law in action as smaller semiconductor geometries brought more integration, more performance, and lower cost – with the downside of more leakage current, higher mask costs, and extended design cycles. These trends have, in turn, triggered the increased adoption of more flexible technologies such as pre-fabricated COTS boards and programmable-logic-based systems-on-chip with FPGAs.
Embedded software development brings challenges that go far beyond those faced by desktop and enterprise developers, including limited memory footprints, reduced processing power, and, most notably, the absence of standardized hardware platforms on which to develop and debug software. In response to this, we’ve covered a number of innovative approaches to simplifying embedded development and debug, including virtual hardware platforms, remote debug and execution schemes, and virtualization layers insulating the operating system and associated software from the processor itself.
We’ve also covered a number of new announcements of processing technology to power all that embedded software. Leading processor and IP companies like ARM, MIPS, Freescale, AMD, and Intel have all been busy whipping up new ways to deliver more processing performance at a lower cost and with less power consumption, and the effect on embedded devices is startling.
At the same time that we’ve been documenting the trends in the industry, we’ve been pushing ahead with our own upgrades. During the past year, we’ve launched our webcast site (Journal Webcasts), a re-vamped job board (Journal Jobs), and a discussion forum (Journal Forums). Our sister publication – FPGA and Structured ASIC Journal, is celebrating its fourth anniversary this week, and we are proud that it is now the industry’s premiere programmable logic publication. All of these related sites bring extra value to you and help us expand our range of services. Next year, we’ll be expanding even further with the introduction of our newest publication – IC Design and Verification Journal – aimed at high-end ASIC/System-on-Chip development. With the introduction of this new publication, Techfocus Media will offer publications focused on just about the entire gamut of electronic design tasks – from board-based systems to programmable logic to full-custom chip design.
Speaking of publications, with the continuing move to new media and online delivery for most technology-related publications, it has been a tough year for many of the traditional publishing companies. At the same time, a number of new competitors have emerged to keep us on our toes and doing what we do best. Our plan is to stick to our values of high-quality original content, flexible and efficient delivery, objective and insightful analysis, and a little fun to keep you coming back to our Journal publications.
We’d also like to thank our sponsors for providing the support that makes our publications possible. Without the advertising dollars they provide, we wouldn’t be able to bring you the feature articles, news, webcasts, and other goodies that you have come to expect from us. We are committed to keeping our Journals free for you, the reader, and also to maintaining an objective editorial position independent of sponsorship and advertising revenues. The consistent level of support we enjoy from the companies whose advertisements you see on our pages makes all of that work.
Our own Techfocus Media team also continues to grow and evolve. We’d like to thank Laura Domela, Shirley Rice, Kayla Kurucz, Amelia Dalton, Jim Turley, Dick Selwood, Karla Rodriguez, Truett Petty, and Rosemary McGuire for their contributions during the last year. Without their tireless and inspired efforts, we would not be the publication you know and enjoy.