178: Alexa Stop

We spoke with Chris Maury (@CMaury) about using speech recognition to interact with devices. 

Note: Please turn off your Echo and Dots as we invoke Alexa a lot

Chris is the founder of Conversant Labs. They created TinCan.ai which can help you wireframe or prototype a conversational user interface.  They can also help you build Alexa Skills, though if you are so inclined, you might try it for yourself: Alexa Skills Kit

Chris will be speaking at the O'Reilly Design Conference in San Francisco, CA in March 2017, giving a tutorial on building voice based user interfaces. You can read more from Chris on his Medium posts medium.com/@CMaury.

CMU PocketSphinx

Some of the embedded devices Elecia mentioned:

We haven't gotten embedded.fm (or any podcast) to work with Alexa but we aren't sure why. Have you?

 

 

30: Eventually Lightning Strikes (Repeat)

After a few announcements, we replayed the episode where James Grenning told us about Test Driven Development. 

Note: the contest mentioned in the show is over. However, the SparkFun TinkerKit contest ends December 9th so you still have time to win something!

Other announcements include:

 

176: Let's Go Light It Up

Toni Klopfenstein (@ToniCorinne) joined us to talk about what it is like working at SparkFun (@SparkFun) and why open source hardware is important.

Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA.org) has a certification program for open source hardware projects and products.

Some of the SparkFun products and posts we talked about:

Open Source Hardware Summit was in Portland, OR in October.

Hackaday Superconference was in Pasadena, CA in November. Their site has the 2015 videos available. (There was an Embedded.fm show about it too!)

 

175: How Hard Could It Be?

Jean Labrosse of Micrium (@Micrium) spoke with us about writing a real time operating system (uC/OS), building a business, and caring about code quality.

Take a look at the uC/OS operating systems (available for free to makers) and Jean's excellent and free RTOS books (it was the Kinetis one that talks about the medical process). Also, check out the uCProbe which integrates with your debugger to replace some logic analyzer and oscilloscope features. 

Jean's blog about detecting stack overflows: part 1 and part 2.

Brother to Brother by Gino Vanelli

 

174: It's Not Weird

We spoke to Evan Shapiro, CTO and cofounder of Knit Health (@KnitHealth), about baby monitors, IoT security, neural nets, and professional poker.

The Knit Health Kickstarter ends November 17, 2016.

Evan recommended Google Tensor Flow and Python's Theano for an introduction to machine learning. (If those sound familiar it is because Kat Scott mentioned them as well.) Evan also suggested that if you'd like to know more about the history of neural nets, check out this post by Audrey Korenkov

If you'd like a gentle introduction, check out a Narwhal's Guide to Bayes' Rule.

Evan mentioned some videos he did about poker, they are on Card Runners (NOTE: it is a paid site with free tastes).

Final quote was from Neil Gaiman's excellent Graveyard Book.

172: Tell Forth You Me Please

James Cameron of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) tells us about Forth, science fiction, and laptops.

We have some tickets for ARM's mbed Connect conference is Oct 24, 2016 in Santa Clara. Will you be in the area? Want to go? Contact us if you want one of our free tickets! (There are still some tickets remaining.) 

One Laptop Per Child is one.laptop.org

Some getting started information on Forth: Mitch Bradley's Forth and Open Firmware Lessons

James has been writing about putting C Forth on a Teensy (more on the Teensy from the creator's site). He also has a post on using Forth to snoop the Milo Champions Band's BLE

James is Quozl on most sites that require a unique ID (such as Github:  https://github.com/quozl). This is from a book called Quozl by Alan Dean Foster. The other older-sci-fi reference was to the Pern books by Anne McCaffery, specifically to the White Dragon

 

 

171: Perfectly Good Being Square and Green

Saar Drimer of Boldport (@boldport) spoke with us about the crossover of art to electronics and building a business around it. 

Monthly, the Boldport Club ships aesthetically-pleasing electronics kits. We discussed past projects include The Lady and Touchy on the show. The seahorse board is on the blog.

Micah Scott (@scanlime) has entrancing videos of putting together the first club project (Pease) and second one (Superhero).

Saar uses PCBMode to create his circuits. He also wrote the tool. It is open source.

Cratejoy is used for the sales and shipping logistics. 

170: Electron Gnomes

Elecia tries to get Chris to do her homework in preparation for her "Embedded Software: The Tricky Parts" presentation at IEEE-Computer Society meeting in San Jose, CA on Oct 11, 2016. If you register, you can attend, in person or online! And for free! 

We have some tickets for ARM's mbed Connect conference is Oct 24, 2016 in Santa Clara. Will you be in the area? Want to go? Contact us if you want one of our free tickets! (There are still some tickets remaining.) Also: their unit test framework is GreenTea (not whatever Elecia said).

53: Being a Grownup Engineer (Repeat)

After a few new announcements, we replayed the episode where Jack Ganssle shared his wisdom on being a good embedded software engineer (hint: it takes discipline). 

The new announcements include:

Jack's website is filled with great essays and new videos. He's also written the Art of Designing Embedded Systems and The Embedded Systems Dictionary (with Michael Barr).

We covered a lot of ground, here are some of the highlights:

169: Sit on Top of a Volcano

John Leeman (@geo_leeman) spoke with us about geophysics and associated technology.

John is one of the hosts of the Don't Panic GeoCast (@dontpanicgeo, iTunes). Some episodes you may like:

John is teaching a course at Penn State called Techniques of Geoscientific Experimentation. The information and textbook is online! It uses the SparkFun Inventor's Kit.

John has a website with a blog. He has some Cheerson CX-10 tiny drone posts (my favorite, also Alvaro's repo and my posts). John also has a consulting company: Leeman GeoPhysical.

Python! Lots of Python was discussed. 

Contest! Contest ends October 1st and now there are more books! In addition to the ones Bob Apthorpe is sponsoring, John's consulting company will sponsor: Earthquake Storms: An Unauthorized Biography of the San Andreas Fault by John Dvorak and The Soul of A New Machine by Tracy Kidder

168: Put Your Gear on the Ping Pong Table

Briana Morey from MC10 (@mc10inc) spoke with us about stretchable electronics, Tesla coils and lasers. She works at MC10, creators of the L'Oreal My UV Patch as well as the BioStampRC

MC10 is hiring! They are in Lexington, MA, US. The embedded software position is filled already but the EE position is still open.

Briana mentioned an excellent science fiction book she'd read recently: Too Like Lightning by Ada Palmer.

167: All Aliens Are Shiny

Chris and Elecia chat about Bayes Rule, aliens, bit-banging, VGA, and unit testing.

Elecia is working on A Narwhal's Guide to Bayes' Rule

ACM has a code of software engineering ethics

Toads have trackers (NPR story)

An introduction to bit-banging SPI (Arduino, WS2812)

We talked to James Grenning extensively about testing on 30: Eventually Lightning Strikes (and about his excellent book Test Driven Development for Embedded C). We spoke with James again on 109: Resurrection of Extreme Programming. We also talked about unit testing with Mark Vandervoord on 103: Tentacles of the Kraken.

A neat TED Talk involving octo-copters, still four short of dodecahedracopter.

Neat Z80 based very minimal computer kit

166: Sardine Tornado

Bob Apthorpe (@arclight) spoke with us about software, nuclear engineering, and improv.

Bob is giving away three books! Send in your guess by October 1, 2016. One entry per person. (More info below.)

Hackaday SuperCon is Nov 5-6, in Pasadena, CA.

Bob's long languishing blog is overscope.cynistar.net.

Peep (The Network Aualizer): Monitoring Your Network with Sound

Safety-I and Safety-II: The Past and Future of Safety Management

Now! The books you may win!

Atomic Accidents by James Mahaffrey, someone who knows the technology and history and does a fantastic job explaining complex failures in an engaging way without resorting to fear-mongering and hyperbole. (Guess Elecia's number for this one.)

Safeware by Nancy Leveson, may be 20 years old, it's still full of amazing insights for delivering safe, reliable systems and ways of looking at the organizational contexts in which these systems are built and used. Even if you aren't developing safety-critical systems, it's a fantastic resource and really thought-provoking. (Guess Christopher's number for this one.)

Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau is a novel about rock & roll, time travel, love, loss, and finding things you didn't know you were looking for. Full disclosure: The author is Bob's ex-wife. (Guess Bob's number for this one.)

165: When People See a Button

Shimona Carvalho (@shimonkey) joins us to talk about user interface design in embedded systems. Then we talk about internationalization and localization. Then photography.

Shimona's website is shimonacarvalho.com and her Flicker account is shimonkey.

For an introduction to user interface design, Shimona recommended The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman.

Internationalization and localization were delved in far deeper in episode 26: The Tofu Problem. Some of the material from that will be on the embedded.fm/blog this week.

We mentioned an auxiliary, secret RSS feed that goes all the way back to episode one. (Some notes haven't been filled in yet).

We're also on Youtube now.

164: Heatsink in a Shoebox

Christopher White resurrects an Apple ][+ with his brother Matthew White. This is a show about the software Christopher and Matthew wrote when they were kids and the hardware they wrote it on.

Matthew's favorite fictional robot (we should have asked): Venus Probe from Six Million Dollar Man. We did ask about his favorite fictional computer and there is a video for that too.

Apple ][+ Wiki

Timex Sinclair Z81 Wiki

 Eric Schlaepfer's Monster 6502

Grant's 6502 Computer

Kerbal Space Program for the Apple ][

Elecia got to $42 in Lemonade Stand by the end of the show

Matthew's Nebula Wars and Eye of Eternal Death BASIC games circa 1982 and 1981 respectively.

If you feel like it, you can try out an Apple ][ in your web browser, with tons of disks available at the Internet Archive or in a Javascript Emulator.

Elecia's book is Making Embedded Systems.

163: Syringes That Give You Cake

Nadya Peek (@nadyapeek) joined us to talk about making machines that build things. 

Nadya's website is infosyncratic.nl, which includes her blog. Nadya's dissertation defense on Making Machines that Make: Object-Oriented Hardware Meets Object-Oriented Software was standing room only.

MIT Center For Bits and Atoms, which studies "how to turn data into things, and things into data."

Mods.cba.mit.edu

Machines that Make: MTM.cba.mit.edu

162: I Am a Boomerang Enthusiast

Valve's Alan Yates (@vk2zay) spoke with us about the science and technology of virtual reality. 

Elecia looked at the iFixIt Teardown of the HTC Vive system as she was unwilling to take apart Christopher's system. 

Alan shared some of his other favorite reverse engineering efforts: Doc OK’s Lighthouse videos, documentation on github by nairol, and a blog by Trammell Hudson.

Alan's sensor circuit diagrams were on twitter: SparkleTree sensor circuit (think simplified) and the closer-to-production Lighthouse sensor.

Make Magazine talked about Valve's R&D Lab. This is important in case you want to work at Valve (they are currently hiring for EE but if that doesn't describe you and you want to work there, apply anyway).

Alan also has a website (vk2zay.net) though it doesn't see much updating right now.

 

161: Magenta Doesn’t Exist

Kat Scott (@kscottz) gave us an introduction to computer vision. She co-authored the O'Reilly Python book Practical Computer Vision with SimpleCV: The Simple Way to Make Technology See. The book's website is SimpleCV.org. Kat also suggested looking at the samples in the OpenCV Github repo

To integrate computer vision into a robot or manufacturing system, Kat mentioned ROS (Robot Operating System, ROS.org).

Buzzfeed had an article about SnapChat Filters.

Kat works at Planet. And they are still hiring