Control Matters
SPLat Controls' aperiodic newsletter

5 Nov 2009
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Have a laugh on me!

Just for something completely different, and because we all need a laugh sometimes, we have just produced an animated cartoon designed to get a laugh out of all you technical types. Please have look, and be sure to pass it along to your friends and colleagues. Click here for a good laugh.

David Stonier-Gibson

In control - Stuff about or related to control systems

What is multitasking?

Multitasking is a word that started in the computer industry, and has since passed into common usage. It means, simply, doing several things seemingly at once.
 
Whether you are a processor or a real person, the key word above is seemingly. In practice you (or a CPU) can only do one thing at a time, but if you switch between activities frequently enough, you may give the impression of doing several things simultaneously.
 
Multitasking is important in controller applications because all but the very simplest controllers need to be able to take care of many things at once. An example would be controlling the temperature of a tank while filling it up (and watching the level) and at the same time watching out for user input from say a push button.
 
In controllers, as in general computing, there are many ways to arrange for the program to switch between different tasks rapidly. Generally this task management is delegated to an Operating System (O/S). There are may kinds of O/S. You can read about them in a easy to digest paper here.
 
So, when you select a controller to be a vital component in your product, be sure it comes with a multitasking system that is powerful enough for your needs and easy to use and understand.


Out of control - Nothing much to do with controls, (but interesting)

Swine flu: Eight myths that could endanger your life

Newspaper reports here in Australia suggest Swine Flu is starting to cause some concern in the US. We had some unease here in Australia a few months ago, when we had a brief outbreak. Now we are heading for summer and warmer weather, people are relaxing about it.

The New Scientist recently ran an interesting article titled "Eight myths that could endanger your life". Have a read, click here.

You can now program SPLat hardware in C, with our free RTOS. Click here for details.

Q: What's the difference between an engineer and a computer scientist?

A: An engineer thinks there's 1000 bytes in a kilobyte. A computer scientist thinks there's 1024 meters in a kilometer.

I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.    
Bill Cosby
 

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Copyright 2009 SPLat Controls Pty Ltd. This communication does not constitute professional advice