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Embedded systems are typically so complex, with so many
interrelated components, each of which must be perfect, that practically anyone
can do an very effective job of botching a development project.

 Still, it's instructive to examine some of the
habits of the most defective engineers, some of whom have honed dysfunctional
development to a high art.

 It's important to understand the dynamics of
embedded systems: promise the world, start writing code, and let the project
fall completely apart. There's no penalty for non-performance! As the
deadlines draw near, and then pass by, and then fade away as old forgotten
memories, your employer will have so much vested into you and the project
there's no chance you'll be disciplined, no matter what bizarre work habits
you display.

 In fact, a few carefully placed comments about
greener pastures may result in winning a bonus from your panicked employer!

 So, here are a few ways of maximizing your job
security through proper dysfunctional design and management of your next
embedded project.

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A handful of the many screens your responsive designs must handle. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired.com

Building responsive websites can be daunting. After all, instead of just one desktop layout you’re creating at least two, probably three or even four layouts to handle different breakpoints and screen sizes. That means considerably more work, which can feel overwhelming if you don’t have a good plan of attack.

One of the better plans I’ve seen recently comes from developer David Bushell, who recently outlines 5 Tips for Responsive Builds. Among his suggestions there are two standouts, the first being “utilize breakpoint zero.” For Bushell “breakpoint zero” just means “start by writing HTML in a semantic and hierarchical order. Start simple, with no CSS at all and then “apply the basic styles but don’t go beyond the default vertical flow.”

In other words, keep your layout slate blank as long as you can so that when you do start adding layout rules you can spot problems with different breakpoints early and fix them before changing things becomes a major headache.

The other highlight of Bushell’s post is the suggestion that you maintain a CSS pattern library — reusable snippets of CSS you can drop in for quick styling. There are a ton of ways you can do this, whether it’s something formal like SMACSS (pronounced “smacks”), OOCSS, or just taking the time to write a style guide with some sample code. The point isn’t how you do it or which method you use, but that you do it.

Be sure to check out Bushell’s post for more details on these two suggestions as well as the other three ways you can help make your responsive design process a bit smoother.

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The Breakpoint Ep 3: The Sourcemap Spectacular with Paul Irish and Addy Osmani

Ask and vote for questions at goo.gl Take Coffeescript to Javascript to Minified and all the way back with source maps. In addition to a new Coffeescript sourcemap workflow, we'll cover the latest sourcemap updates so you can understand how to dramatically improve your debugging experience. Finally, Paul and Addy will be joined by special guest—Yeoman core contributor Sindre Sorhus—to discuss what big new changes are coming to the project.
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Carat: Collaborative Energy Debugging

Google Tech Talk September 27, 2012 Presented by Adam Oliner. ABSTRACT We aim to detect and diagnose code misbehavior that wastes energy, which we call energy bugs. This talk describes a method for performing such diagnosis on mobile devices and an implementation, called Carat, for iOS and Android. Carat takes a collaborative, black-box approach. A non-invasive client app sends intermittent, coarse-grained measurements to a server, which identifies correlations between higher expected energy use and client properties like the running apps, device model, and operating system. Carat successfully detected all energy bugs in a controlled experiment and, during a deployment to a community of more than a quarter of a million users, detected (and sometimes diagnosed) thousands of instances of buggy apps running in the wild. About the speaker: Adam Oliner Adam is a postdoc in the EECS Department at UC Berkeley, working in the AMP Lab. Before coming to Berkeley, he earned PhD in computer science from Stanford University, where he was a DOE High Performance Computer Science Fellow and Honorary Stanford Graduate Fellow. Adam received a MEng in EECS from MIT, where he also earned undergraduate degrees in computer science and mathematics. His research focuses on understanding complex systems.
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The Remote Agent Experiment: Debugging Code from 60 Million Miles Away

Google Tech Talk February 14, 2012 Presented by Ron Garret. ABSTRACT The Remote Agent Experiment: Debugging Code from 60 Million Miles Away The Remote Agent Experiment (RAX) was an autonomous control system for an unmanned interplanetary spacecraft called New Millennium Deep Space 1 (DS1). In May, 1999, control of the DS1 spacecraft, a $150-million asset, was handed over to the Remote Agent software for three days. It was the first -- and, to date, the last -- time that an interplanetary spacecraft has been under fully autonomous control. RAX was a resounding technological success, but a political disaster. Instead of paving the way for future autonomous missions, RAX is the reason that NASA has not flown an autonomous mission since. This talk is about the lessons learned from an ambitious but ultimately failed attempt to introduce technological change into a large, bureaucratic organization, the limitations of static code analysis, and the unique challenges of debugging code when the round-trip ping time is 45 minutes. Slides available at www.flownet.com Dr. Ron Garret is a software engineer turned entrepreneur and angel investor. He has co-founded three startups and invested in a dozen others. In a previous life he was an AI and robotics researcher at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab where he led the development of one of the four major components of the Remote Agent. In 2000 he went to work for what was at the time an obscure little Silicon Valley startup called Google <b>...</b>
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antifoidulus writes "I'm about to get my masters in Computer Science and start out (again) in the 'real world.' I already have a job lined up, but there is one thing that is really nagging me. Since my academic work has focused almost solely on computer science and not software engineering per se, I'm really still a 'hacker,' meaning I take a problem, sketch together a rough solution using the appropriate CS algorithms, and then code something up (using a lot of prints to debug). I do some basic testing and then go with it. Obviously, something like that works quite well in the academic environment, but not in the 'real world.' Even at my previous job, which was sort of a jack-of-all-trades (sysadmin, security, support, and programming), the testing procedures were not particularly rigorous, and as a result I don't think I'm really mature as an 'engineer.' So my question to the community is: how do you make the transition from hacker (in the positive sense) to a real engineer. Obviously the 'Mythical Man Month' is on the reading list, but would you recommend anything else? How do you get out of the 'hacker' mindset?"



Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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