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Upcoming Events

April 7-10, 2008 - Public seminar in four cities in Denmark.

Seminars also now scheduled in Chicago, Denver and London,UK. Check here for dates



80% of all embedded systems are delivered late, often hopelessly bug-ridden. Is this the best we can do?

My name is Jack Ganssle (bio) and I'm on a mission to help embedded developers produce better products faster. My monthly column in Embedded Systems Programming Magazine, weekly rant on embedded.com, articles, books, seminars and web publications are all to help you find better ways to build embedded systems... while maximizing the fun of creating new products! 

This site is your source for hundreds of practical articles, tips, papers and resources about developing embedded systems. 


Free e-newsletter about embedded systems. Check out the back issues. Latest issue No.155, dated February 12, 2008 - A Salary Survey, more war stories and Tools and Tips   Click here for information about advertising in the newsletter.

Firmware Seminars

Want to double your team's productivity? Reduce bugs? Meet deadlines? Take Jack's one day Better Firmware Faster seminar. Over 5000 of your colleagues are now better developers as a result of this course. You’ll learn how to estimate a schedule accurately, thwart schedule-killing bugs, manage reuse, build predictable real-time code, better ways to deal with uniquely embedded problems like reentrancy, heaps, stacks and hardware drivers, and much, much more.

We currently have public seminars scheduled in Chicago and Denver and for the first time Jack will be presenting his seminar in London, England.  Check out Seminars for more details.

Does your outfit have a dozen or more engineers who can benefit from this training? Bring Jack into your facility to get personalized training that will optimize your development efforts. There’s more info here.

 "Jack, it's been 6 months since you came here. This last project shipped within a week of prediction, with far more features than expected. The customer is thrilled and so is my boss. Thanks!" F. Henry, CACI      "Thanks for a great seminar. We really enjoyed it! We are already putting the ideas you gave us to use." J. Sargent, CSC       "Thanks so much for a great class! Now my co-workers think I'm the guru!" Dana Woodring, Northrup Grumman       "I would highly recommend your seminar to other programmers." Ed Chehovin, US Navy

Embedded Books

Here are my reviews of many books on embedded systems.

I've written a few myself: here's a description of my four embedded books.

Embedded Video

My video "Develop Firmware in Half the Time" is a three hour summary of my thoughts on optimizing firmware development. There's more information here.


What can I say - I love this field.  Somehow over the years I've cranked out hundreds of articles about the unique and fascinating subject of embedded systems. Check 'em out here.


Various people have contributed their takes on tools that work well for them. Check them out here. Submit your own thoughts to info@ganssle.com.

Special Reports:

  • Salary Survey - Here's a 2006 salary survey of embedded developers.  How does your pay match these numbers?

  • Becoming a Consultant - Want to become an embedded systems consultant? It's a lot tougher than one might think since we engineers must become (gasp!) salespeople. Here are Jack's thoughts.

  • Write-Only Memory - Not really a Special Report, but here's Signetic's 1972 Write Only Memory datasheet. "The 25120 is easily cooled by employment of a six-foot fan, 1/2" from the package. If the device fails, you have exceeded the ratings. In such cases, more air is recommended.". The datasheet is a hoot!

  • A Boss's Guide to Process Improvement - Does your boss understand what's needed to produce great code? Many have no formal software engineering background and just need some hard data. This Boss's Guide to Software Process Improvement is a short paper that will give your boss the facts.

  • Debouncing - There's a lot of smoke and mirrors in typical debounce code. Magic numbers, tuned software that breaks whenever anything changes. This is the definitive guide to debouncing switches and contacts. It includes plenty of empirical data taken from a wide variety of switches.

  • Firmware Standards Manual - By it's very nature computer code is cryptic. Wise developers employ standards to enhance readability. Note that all safety critical code must conform to a standard... so why don't all of us who wish to create great software do the same? Here's a standard designed for firmware.

  • Watchdog Timers - I've examined hundreds of watchdog timers over the years. Few - very few - are completely robust. A watchdog is the last line of defense before the systems dies. It has to be awesomely designed. Check out Great Watchdogs for some ideas.

  • Commenting - Ah, comments. We all write them (usually). We all read them (and never believe a word we read). Comments are as important as the code itself, yet usually they're a poorly-written afterthought. In my opinion they should be a fore-thought, written before we start typing in curly braces. Here's a Guide to Commenting with suggestions.

  • Testing RAM - Did you know that a RAM test on DRAM whose refresh circuitry has fried will pass? Or that impedance issues mean good RAM tests cleverly drive the address & data busses in a way to create the worst-case electromagnetic effects? Nearly all the RAM tests I run into are lousy. Here's what you need to know about Testing RAM in Embedded Systems.

  • Becoming an Embedded Developer - I get a lot of email asking how one can become a firmware fiend. I learned the same way I learned about the birds and the bees - talked with my friends, ran a few experiments, and iterated. But that's not efficient. Check out How to Become an Embedded Geek.

  • Code Inspections - There is a silver bullet that greatly reduces defects while saving development time. Though we've known about it since 1976 few developers routinely employ it. A Guide to Code Inspections gives the facts and the techniques.

  • Floating Point Approximations - Need to do a trig function but don't have a trig library? Is the trig library too big? See how simple polynomials produce all of the trig functions in Floating Point Approximations.

  • Better Resumes - Most technical resumes are awful. They're peppered with acronyms the reader probably doesn't know, sentence structure is non-existent, and the document doesn't fulfill its primary mission: sell the candidate. Check out Better Resumes.

  • Cheap Scopes and Logic Analyzers - A review of some very cool yet low-cost USB-connected oscilloscopes and logic analyzers.


The Ganssle Group 
PO Box 38346, Baltimore, MD 21231 
Tel: 410-504-6660, Fax: 647-439-1454
Email info@ganssle.com 
© 2008 The Ganssle Group


Last update: February 19, 2008