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"People do not decide to become extraordinary.  They decide to accomplish extraordinary things." --Sir Edmund Hilary

In this issue:

  • Blockchain Technology and the Internet of Things
  • FAQs about C's signed and unsigned Integers
  • How to Customize the Embedded C Coding Standard
  • Hands-on Skills Training for Embedded Developers
  • Industry News That's Not Boring

Firmware Update is a free, monthly-ish newsletter by embedded systems expert Michael Barr. Firmware Update is a trademark and this issue is Copyright ©2017. You may forward whole issues to colleagues that design embedded systems.  No other uses are permitted.


Blockchain Technology and the Internet of Things

In a nutshell, the much-discussed "blockchain" underlying Bitcoin is a distributed database that is impervious by design to attacks aiming to change the history of the transactions it records.  In this month's TechTalk video, Barr Group CEO Andrew Girson and I talk about blockchain and how it fits in with embedded systems: https://barrgroup.com/tech-talk/blockchain

Blockchain and Embedded Systems

Are blockchain and IoT a combination like chocolate and peanut butter or more like oil and water?

FAQs about C's signed and unsigned Integers

What's more efficient in C code: a signed or an unsigned int?  What other factors should I choose when deciding between them?  And how can I convert from one type to the other?  If you have questions like these about C's integer types, chances are you will find the answers in this handy FAQ by Nigel Jones:

https://embeddedgurus.com/stack-overflow/2009/08/a-tutorial-on-signed-and-unsigned-integers/

How to Customize the Embedded C Coding Standard

Book CoverThe bug-killing Embedded C Coding Standard is followed by thousands of embedded software developers who want to reduce the number of bugs that creep into their firmware during the coding phase.  Though this popular standard is most often followed as is, some teams inevitably prefer to add/change/delete some rules to fit their project-specific needs.  One company that did this was Pole/Zero.

To avoid the expense and risk of developing a proprietary standard from scratch, the engineers at Pole/Zero licensed the editable $99 Word .DOC version of the standard, which is available for purchase and download at https://barrgroup.com/coding-standard.

Hands-on Skills Training for Embedded Developers

Barr Group has scheduled a series of hands-on training events in April and May 2018.  Each course is laser-focused on practical skills development that attendees can immediately put to use writing less-bug-prone firmware faster.

Registration is now open at https://barrgroup.com/training-calendar with payments accepted via credit card or company check.  Discounts are available for alumni of prior courses and groups of 3 and larger.

Alternatively, if you have a team of five or more, consider bringing the Barr Group instructor to your office for an on-site training of these or any other workshop from the full course catalog.

Industry News That's Not Boring

Amazon Web Services and FreeRTOS are officially working together going forward!  And v10 of the kernel is now out.  https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/opensource/announcing-freertos-kernel-v10/

A Boeing 757 airplane was remotely hacked by a (luckily, white hat) team of hackers.  In just two days!  http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/boeing-757-was-remotely-hacked-by-us-homeland-security-experts-just-2-days-1647025

This handy graphic explains how "stack canaries" work to detect stack overflows by any cause, including attacks: https://twitter.com/embeddedbarr/status/934408967295561728 

What single half-century-old filtering algorithm is key to virtual reality, GPS, space travel, and more? https://blogs.mathworks.com/headlines/2016/09/08/this-56-year-old-algorithm-is-key-to-space-travel-gps-vr-and-more/

Top 15 great gift ideas for the engineers in your life: https://www.designnews.com/electronics-test/holiday-gift-guide-engineers

ARM 32-bit Assembly Cheat Sheet: https://azeria-labs.com/assembly-basics-cheatsheet/

The "Reaper" botnet is a more virulent version of "Mirai" that has already infected over a million networks containing IoT devices.  Are your products vulnerable?  https://www.wired.com/story/reaper-iot-botnet-infected-million-networks/

And, finally, a flowchart showing how to decide if blockchain technology is a good choice for your next project... https://twitter.com/MalwareTechBlog/status/932649133256597505


Quick Links to Useful Stuff

How to Contact the Author

I'm always interested in hearing from embedded systems designers and happy to take a few minutes to help you find the resources to get a design done right. Send me an email anytime; simply hit reply! And be sure to also connect with me on Twitter (@embeddedbarr) and LinkedIn (https://linkedin.com/in/embeddedbarr).

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