Editor's Letter Insights

Embedded Design and How We’re All Connected

Written by Thomas Murphy

Welcome to the July Issue of Circuit Cellar magazine, an esteemed publication for which I am humbly presiding over for the first time as editor-in-chief. In this issue, we have an abundance of content intended to help embedded system designers improve their skills and evolve their careers.

But first, I was reminded recently why we are all here. Have you ever had one of those moments where seemingly unrelated events creep into your consciousness through a side door? I had a couple when I was coming on board that reminded me of how we are all interconnected.

The first was the passing of Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel Corp. back on March 25. He was 94 but very few people have ever had as much impact on an industry as he had. Moore’s Law, which helped propel the industry to such prominence, helped crystallize a vision for progress that has as much relevance today as it did in the late 1960s when he first issued the statements on which the “law” was founded.

I remember learning about Moore’s Law and meeting the man himself back in 1999 when I was a wide-eyed reporter for the now-defunct Electronic News. I wish to offer my condolences to his family for their loss, but I have been reminded many times that if the industry fails to double the number of transistors in a device every 18 months, it stops growing, and progress stalls.

In recent years, much has been written about the slowing of Moore’s Law.
Then, the second reminder of interconnectedness came when I attended a major league baseball game on May 27 when none other than Jensen Huang, CEO of GPU giant Nvidia, threw out the first pitch in Oakland, Calif.

No one has ever taken the tenets of Moore’s Law further and with as much zeal as Mr. Huang. Ironically, Nvidia is now bigger than Intel in terms of annual revenue and the GPU revolution seems to be taking hold as artificial intelligence and machine learning revitalize the embedded computing industry’s prospects for growth.

Then, interconnectedness struck again this month as David Smart reminds us in our first feature how 1000BASE-T both transmits and receives data over a single twisted pair Ethernet cable. This is particularly important for the automotive industry as it seeks to reduce the weight and cost of vehicles and enhance fuel economy. Check out part two of David’s series “Experimenting with 1000BASE-T1 Ethernet” beginning on Page 4 of this issue.

Wireless networking takes this feeling of interconnectedness even further as Robert Lacoste offers the second of his multipart series “No Blues with Bluetooth” beginning on page 12. In this issue, he expounds on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).

Connecting to other devices and allowing network communications between them is also what drives the ubiquity of embedded systems, according to Pedro Bertoleti. Part one of his two-part series helps us “Learn the fundamentals of TCP Sockets on ESP32.”

Moore’s Law gets mentioned once again as Recom presents a whitepaper on the effort to advance isolated DC/DC power supplies to meet the needs of advanced system design. Check out “The Evolution of Robust and Cost-Effective Isolated DC/DC Power Converters.”

Our columnists also touch on data connectivity as Jeff Bachiochi details his project for connecting an ESP32 through WiFi and Bluetooth to send music to a speaker using A2DPStream. Brian Millier connects the past with the present as he updates a PCR testing device that he originally made 30 years ago for a university Biology department on a budget. Colin O’Flynn reminds us of the difficulties of dumping parallel NAND flash devices and why a new tool will help overcome these challenges.

In our Tech Overview column, Michael Lynes reminds us Linux operating systems are invisible to the end user except when they are a disaster. Choosing the right one for your project is critical to maintaining invisibility, he writes with his usual flair.

Issue Table of Contents can be found here,
as articles are made available online they will be linked.


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Editor-in-Chief at Circuit Cellar

Tom Murphy has been plying his trade as a technology journalist for more than 25 years, first as an editor/writer/reporter and then as a communications professional. He has earned industry recognition for both journalistic endeavors and technology campaigns. Before joining Circuit Cellar magazine as editor-in-chief, Tom wrote tech briefs, newsletters, blogs, press releases, white papers, and technical articles for numerous clients, primarily in the semiconductor industry. His introduction into the industry came as an editor for “Electronic News” covering microprocessor companies, the fabless semiconductor phenomena, communication chips, and many others. When he’s not tapping away at the keyboard, Tom learns Dungeons and Dragons terminology from his 10-year-old daughter and walks his bulldog (slowly) around the block.

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Embedded Design and How We’re All Connected

by Thomas Murphy time to read: 3 min