Hardware vs Software!

Computers & Mobile
Hardware vs Software!

Philip Greenspun has a really funny story on EE vs CS… Ok, hardware vs. software makers! Duke it out in the comments!

“Once upon a time, in a kingdom not far from here, a king summoned two of his advisors for a test. He showed them both a shiny metal box with two slots in the top, a control knob, and a lever. “What do you think this is?”

One advisor, an engineer, answered first. “It is a toaster,” he said. The king asked, “How would you design an embedded computer for it?” The engineer replied, “Using a four-bit microcontroller, I would write a simple program that reads the darkness knob and quantizes its position to one of 16 shades of darkness, from snow white to coal black. The program would use that darkness level as the index to a 16-element table of initial timer values. Then it would turn on the heating elements and start the timer with the initial value selected from the table. At the end of the time delay, it would turn off the heat and pop up the toast. Come back next week, and I’ll show you a working prototype….”Link.

6 thoughts on “Hardware vs Software!

  1. RussNelson says:

    Hey, I know that! That’s wire-wrap. That’s how we used to design integrated circuits back in the good old days, when men were men, and we walked upwind both ways between campusses. There’s no hardware anymore. We just simulate it in microcode.

  2. Streyeder says:

    The EE just needs to add a wireless remote to begin toasting while you’re in the bathroom and then notify you when your toast is ready.

    AU Wireless Electrical Engineering

  3. IslandInTheNet says:

    Great story. I miss the old days of wire wrap!

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