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Live Q&A - The Microprocessor at 50

Jack Ganssle - Watch Now - EOC 2021 - Duration: 52:32

Live Q&A with Jack Ganssle for the keynote session titled The Microprocessor at 50
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Score: 0 | 3 years ago | 1 reply

That reminds me, I haven't received any Gansssle embedded newsletter for a long time now... is it just me?

Score: 0 | 2 years ago | no reply

FWIW: I get them regularly and recently.

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | no reply

Wow the Q/A is even better than the keynote that was great! Great advice! 1: Save your money to avoid being a "slave to the man" and work at small companies. 2: Mitigate against the age of constant disruption by having a weekly time of new tech learning. 3: Be both Broad and Deep (avoid narrow only obsolescence - Lunar Tire Expert dilemma). And I agree with you on Jean's documentation. I still recommend Jean's books to new Engineers to see how to do it and keep them on my own shelf.

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | no reply

Great questions!

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | no reply

As a long-time follower of your work, I greatly enjoyed your presentation. I feel like we are so often caught up in the daily struggles to produce/create/manage, that it is easy to lose sight of the big picture. You do a wonderful job of bringing the wonders of that big picture into focus. An appreciation of how we got here is crucial to appreciating where we are.

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | 1 reply

I find it interesting how history repeats itself. We have tera and petabytes of information and/or storage. Yet, today, I feel I see more and more where we try to reduce the code due to security and speed. Your thoughts?

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | 1 reply

Data is growing exponentially; code isn't as we have limited bandwidth from our brains to the IDE. Security means, in part, having code that is tractable yet packages like Windows are enormous... with lots of vulnerabilities. "They" want more functionality but are unwilling to pay for security. This has to change.

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | no reply

TRUTH. Then, they scream when they are breached and have 100 phone apps of which they use 1%. Same with computers. How many unnecessary apps are on them that we don't use and they come with?

Score: 1 | 3 years ago | 1 reply

Hi Jack, thanks for the talk. I asked this on the Q&A but Jacob didn't get to it. What do you think about the sheer electronic waste that the consumer electronics industry generates? How do you think we can make technology a force for good in the world? -- from an idealistic young engineer

Score: 1 | 3 years ago | no reply

I'm not optimistic. The 2nd law of thermodynamics works against us - it's just too costly to recover much of this material. When we toss our phones every couple of years we do a disservice to the environment. And manufacturing this stuff is dirty - TSMC uses gobs of water yet Taiwan is having a water crisis.

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | no reply

Can you provide a list of the websites you study and books to buy? Thank you.

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | no reply

A very interesting and well considered walk down history lane. (some of which I experienced first hand as well). Thank you for a great presentation.
Bob in Cleveland, OH

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | no reply

Jack is a true gem for the industry. I totally enjoyed his talk (I always enjoy all his talks). Incredibly interesting and it's impressive how computing evolved in the 100 or so past years. Thanks for doing this.

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | no reply

This was truly an amazing journey, your storytelling, research and humor throughout the presentation made it a very pleasant experience. Thank you!!

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | no reply


I always enjoy listening to you (or reading) on any topic you cover. Your wealth of knowledge and expertise shines through every time. This one was no different; Great presentation!

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | 1 reply

I still have a pair of 8" floppy drives I bought there in the late 70s... sitting in the closet in this room.

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | 1 reply

8" floppies! I bet you could store hours of HD video on them... or something!

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | 2 replies

IIRC, the capacity (in CP/M) was <256kbytes.

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | 1 reply

As I recall NEC came out with the 765, one of the first floppy controllers. It was a bear to use and the datasheet was wildly inaccurate.

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | no reply

My Tarbell S-100 FDC board uses the WD 1771; also a very early LSI implementation.

Score: 1 | 3 years ago | no reply

I think the single density ones were 80 KB, at least when they first came out.

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | 1 reply

Would that surplus store have been Eli Hefron's ? From another antique nerd...

Score: 0 | 3 years ago | no reply

Could be - it was so long ago I don't remember!

12:42:58	 From  Leandro Pérez : More than a question... A remember... With your talk I remembered my first electronics project... My first calculator using many TTL IC to add and substract... I made it in 1996 in the school... In I remember that I create a robotic hand controlled by a 8085 microprocesor with a EEPROM memory 27C08... What memories! I put the photo of the my calculator from 1996
12:43:23	 From  Leandro Pérez : I put the photo in my profile
12:43:47	 From  afwaanquadri : Question:What is your favourite programming language?
12:43:57	 From  Paul : What is Jack's favorite microprocessor?
12:44:37	 From  mzaleski : Great presentation.  Ubiquitous embedded microprocessors have resulted in the emergent capability of ubiquitous communications.  Would you care to expound on some of the near-term implications of billions or trillions of embedded devices connected to the cloud?
12:46:03	 From  Jeremy Erdmann : I've been doing embedded for 21 years.  In my early days, at my first ESC, you were one of a few "rock star" must see speakers.  What advice do you have for those who are just getting started in our industry?
12:46:30	 From  Jay : Where will the future of microcontrollers take us? I have started noticing the merging of programmable logic/pseudo FPGA fabric into micros (such as the RP 2040 with PIO-programmable IO and others). Is this the future?
12:47:01	 From  Jeremy Schreiber : The Firmware Handbook was one of the first books I read at the start of my career and it really changed the way I wrote embedded code.  I just wanted the opportunity to say thanks!!!
12:47:34	 From  Will Hsiung : Do you normally buy the latest and greatest when it comes to personal electronics like computers and phones?
12:48:25	 From  Clayton Pannell : Jacob is now a confirmed member of the Rust Evangelism Strikeforce
12:48:41	 From  Alvaro Muro(Bilbao) : Could you please recommend any good sources to study on monday mornings? Thanks!
12:48:47	 From  Dave Nadler : He changed his hair-color to match.
12:49:01	 From  Al Anway : where's the "like" button on this thing?
12:49:02	 From  Marinna Martini : Thank you for the Embedded Muse, it continues to be a must read.
12:49:07	 From  Meenal Burrows : Haha Clayton
12:50:52	 From  Bob Dowling : +1 for the venerable MC68HC11
12:51:12	 From  Meenal Burrows : Ah brilliant, an FPGA  soft core question!
12:51:25	 From  Lee Thalblum : And another +1 for the 68HC11
12:51:40	 From  Clayton Pannell : <3 for the 68HC11, my first MCU
12:51:49	 From  Vim : I second that
12:52:35	 From  Jeremy Erdmann : I still have my HC11 datebook.  Fit in your shirt pocket
12:53:42	 From  Yuriy Kozhynov : What about quantum computing? Is it a way to go in near future?
12:54:06	 From  Bob Dowling : HC11 EVB's with BUFFALO in EPROM
12:54:24	 From  Steve Wheeler : What technology would you like to see that we don’t have yet?
12:54:40	 From  Piotr Zdunek : Hi Jack! I'm a bit late for the meeting, I'm not sure if this question has been already asked, if yes then sorry. What do you think abour RISC-V microprocessor?
12:56:40	 From  Jean Labrosse : Jim Sibigtroth (sp?) wrote that 68HC11 manual, I had the pleasure of meeting Jim years ago.  The nicest guy.  I especially LOVED the way he had diagrams for everything and a great description of the submodules.  I used the Input Captures/Output Compares.  Probably the most useful subsystem.
12:59:16	 From  David pastl : Sorry, I'm having audio problems
12:59:25	 From  DevBox : RISC-V any thoughts..
13:00:57	 From  Bob Dowling : Jean, we use TI C2000 DSPs in our power supplies, and the PWM peripherals in that family are really amazing when you look back at the timer(s) on the HC11.
13:01:16	 From  Will Hsiung : Thanks Jack for the answer. A lot from my work normally don’t keep up-to-date with new products.
13:01:54	 From  Meenal Burrows : Jack, what do you think about the sheer electronic waste that the consumer electronics industry generates? How do you think we can make technology a  in the world? -- from an idealistic young engineer
13:02:20	 From  busa2191 : Jack how do you keep up on the actual processors as you say you learn by doing.
13:02:50	 From  Michael Kirkhart : Yes - I have a weakness for books (as well as embedded development boards and software defined radios) :)
13:02:59	 From  Davy Baker : How do your two approaches differ ?
13:05:22	 From  busa2191 : Jack do you have your list of sources of information on your web site can't see it.
13:05:37	 From  Rob Meades : When do you think we'll be able to dispense with humans writing and debugging the code?  I don't think we're so good at it :-).
13:06:41	 From  Jakub Telatnik : Good question, Tim!
13:06:54	 From  mzaleski : Regarding quantum computers breaking our encryption: It will break many current existing encryption systems.  Crypto-geeks are developing new algorithms for current processors that will be quantum-hard.
13:07:20	 From  Davy Baker : What would you tell yourself 2 years ago ?
13:09:24	 From  Leandro Pérez : What do you think about the microprocessor in 2071? 50 years after
13:10:12	 From  Lee Thalblum : Jack, the correct answer to Jacob's question is: "My lawyer told me not to answer that".
13:10:24	 From  Jeremy Schreiber : You mentioned in your talk that EEs were the ones doing the programming "back in the day".  Given how complex software development has become and how the field has matured, do you think that EEs can still be effective as both EEs and software developers?
13:12:31	 From  Jean Labrosse : Jack, how do you feel about documentation and specifically how many programmers stop at (barely) documenting the APIs?
13:17:51	 From  Leandro Pérez : Thanks
13:19:31	 From  Rob Meades : Thanks, that's the right answer.
13:19:38	 From  afwaanquadri : That is comforting :D
13:24:45	 From  Meenal Burrows : Jack, what do you think about the sheer electronic waste that the consumer electronics industry generates? How do you think we can make technology a  in the world? -- from an idealistic young engineer
13:25:04	 From  Michael Kirkhart : LOL on the write-only registers!
13:25:08	 From  Piotr Zdunek : I worked at several big tech companies in Automotive indistry and I see that no one cares about the software quality, Do you have any tips on how to convince managers that the software quality matters?
13:25:13	 From  afwaanquadri : EEs can learn software but not the other way around :D
13:25:23	 From  Raul Pando : Good question @Meenal
13:26:05	 From  Charles Miller : @Michael, google "Signetics write-only memory datasheet"  A classic!
13:26:08	 From  Christian : Speaking of small teams... Any advice for those of us working as the sole embedded engineer at the company?
13:26:09	 From  DevBox : SW is eating the world
13:26:16	 From  James Kincell : When you ask Meenal's question, also, what about the amount of planned obsolescence that is sadly present, and also, the high reliance on the cloud, meaning if that cloud ceases to exist, your tech is a brick!
13:26:33	 From  Meenal Burrows : Thanks @Raul, don't think it's going to be answered though!
13:26:47	 From  mzaleski : Re write-only registers: I always joke that purchasing teams have outgoing-only phones
13:27:16	 From  Michael Kirkhart : Link for Signetics write-only memory: https://www.baldengineer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/25120-bw.pdf
13:29:54	 From  Jeremy Schreiber : Dijkstra said that the #1 skill for programmers was the ability to write effectively.
13:30:33	 From  Michael Kirkhart : We need the PowerPoint compiler!
13:30:35	 From  gmccormack : Tried retirement, didn't fit, not enough cool, working at GREAT company, lots of cool
13:30:36	 From  Steve Wheeler : There’s an old joke that if you make it possible for programmers to program in English, you will find that programmers can’t write in English.
13:32:06	 From  afwaanquadri : Thanks Jack for your contribution!
13:32:11	 From  Sam : thank you.
13:32:12	 From  Gerhard : Thanks!
13:32:17	 From  Vim : Thanks Jack!
13:32:24	 From  Juan : thanks!
13:32:25	 From  Will Hsiung : Thanks Jack!
13:32:26	 From  Thomas LeMense : Thank you, Jack, for everything you do!
13:32:27	 From  David Pastl : Thanks Jack!
13:32:35	 From  Steve Wheeler : Thanks, Jack, and thanks to all the organizers and presenters.
13:33:10	 From  Tom : Thank you Jack!
13:33:16	 From  Rocco Brandi : thanks !
13:33:24	 From  DevBox : Thanks!
13:33:45	 From  Charles Miller : Thank you!