(LONG) Looking for a few book-checkers

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Hi all,

I'm looking for a few people to read and correct horrific mistakes,
side-splitting howlers, and any other errata in my upcoming book, so I
am posting here in hopes of locating a few candidates. If you are
interested, please email me some information on your background and
I'll work up a short list. I can't afford to provide cash
compensation, but I can guarantee you a free copy of the book, when
published (physical copies will probably be printed in Q4, 2004), as
well as a mention in the acknowledgements. I can supply your review
drafts either hardcopy or electronically in PDF format.

The book is kind of broad-ranging. It collects together most of the
embedded-type information I needed to bring together in my submarine
project in one handy location. There is a distinct leaning of
information towards this particular project (mainly, where I discuss
why I did certain things in a certain way), but this is not a book
about "how to build a submarine"; it's applicable to many other
projects. I've used the techniques here in industrial testing
applications as well. The major thrust of the book is the premise that
both of the following are difficult tasks:

1. Creating a single-CPU project based around a 32-bit micro running
embedded Linux. Embedded Linux is harder to use than "regular desktop"
Linux.  Realtime characteristics are not as good as a "to the metal"
application. It's also often difficult to port drivers for
off-the-shelf consumer peripherals, because these drivers are only
tested in "desktop" environments.

2. Creating a fantastically fine-tuned project around a small
microcontroller and some proprietary or entirely embedded OS. Realtime
characteristics are much better, but it's a REAL bear to add
complicated stuff like WLAN, cameras, IrDA, etc to tiny systems like
this. In some cases, it's also difficult to obtain small quantities of
modules suitable for direct interface with embedded systems.

The path between this Scylla and Charybdis, therefore, is to use an
x86-based SBC as a non-realtime master controller, running a stripped
Linux distribution (which gives us a huge driver library for the
non-realtime things such as LANs, mice, keyboards and cameras). This
master controller interfaces to several tiny subcontrollers which have
specific realtime functions. That way you don't have to wrestle with
odd realtime OS extensions, and you still have access to all the cheap
off-the-shelf peripherals your heart could desire. My book hopefully
fills in the blanks in peoples' knowledge of how to construct such
hybrid systems.

This is, if nothing else, an excellent way to build a breadboard
prototype. Once you have everything jiggling like it should, you can
make a realistic estimate of CPU horsepower, RAM, and so forth
required for the device - and you can then go ahead and make a design
optimized for speed, power consumption, cost, or whatever your
criteria might be.

Topics covered in the book include:

* Creating a small (essentially non-realtime) Linux distribution for
use on an x86-based master controller board. Examples on adding WLAN
support and TCP/IP connectivity in general, and so forth.
Specifically, the book talks about using an Advantech PCM-5820 (Geode)
biscuit SBC, but information is given about several direct substitutes
from other vendors, also. All of the code, with the exception of the
board-specific kernel configuration, can be run directly on a regular
Linux PC if desired.

* Creating bootable CompactFlash and CD-ROM media. Discussion of the
whys and wherefores of flash, CD, hard disk systems.

* Creating realtime peripherals using AVR microcontrollers. Sample
projects given in the book include "intelligent" stepper controller,
DC motor controller with thermal feedback, light intensity sensors,
temperature sensors, ultrasonic rangefinder, 3D accelerometer, and a
few other projects. All of these projects interface over an SPI-type
bus to the SBC's parallel port. Schematics, sourcecode and PCB layouts
are also included.

* Interfacing to the above using the SBC's parallel port (code for
Linux). The book includes a schematic and PCB layout for an interface
that connects up to eight of the projects above simultaneously.

* Developing industrial-type GUIs on Linux. Some sample applications
including simple introduction to machine vision concepts as well as
info on developing dumb text-mode interfaces, slightly more complex
graphical interfaces, and fullblown X interfaces.

The prerelease review version should be ready by the end of February.
I have a deadline of the end of May to submit it, so I would like to
get reviews in by the end of March to allow time for rewrites and
ironing out any arguments.


(By the way: For people who have been following the sub project, (a) I
know the web site is way out of date, I'm too busy writing the book to
work on the HTML right now, and (b) The sub project doesn't work
exactly as described in the book - the book is more general-purpose).

PS: I'm also looking around for someone who would be interested in
marketing the PCBs as kit projects, so I can tell readers where they
can buy ready-made boards.

Re: (LONG) Looking for a few book-checkers
*** posted and mailed ***
Quoted text here. Click to load it
... snip ...

Deal me in.  Both draft formats would probably be useful.

--
Chuck F ( snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com) ( snipped-for-privacy@worldnet.att.net)
   Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems.
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: (LONG) Looking for a few book-checkers
I'm pretty good at checking for mistakes. I know the x86 instruction set (and
have 386-Pentium manuals for when memory fails), I've never worked with Linux
(have worked under Unix) but have Linux books around. I'm familiar enough with
digital electronics to read a schematic. I've also caught and submitted new
errors in the books "Programming Windows with MFC,2nd Edition" as well as
"IXP1200 Programming". As a matter of fact, the people at Intel Books asked me
if I wanted to review the drafts for "IXP2000 Programming". I declined as I
have never actually used an IXP before (I only used the IXP1200 simulator that
came with the book).

I'd prefer hardcopy format as I like to read in bed and would also like
something to mark up with my comments.

 - gary -


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