Archive for October, 2010

Didn’t we have a loverly time the day we went to Earl’s Court

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Embedded Live 2010 (formerly the embedded systems show),
Earl’s Court, London, England:

Earl's Court - Embedded Live 2010

I had visited the Embedded Systems Show (as it then was) at the NEC in Birmingham for many years. Attendances had been dwindling of late and, last year, it moved to FIVE in Farnborough (home of the famous Airshow).

This year, the show was under new ownership, rebranded as Embedded Live, and at a new venue – Earl’s Court in London.

We were most grateful to receive a special “opening offer” from UBM, the new organisers, to have a stand in the Connected M2M Devices pavilion at a very favourable introductory rate:

Antronics Ltd

This was our first time exhibiting at a show like this and, I must say, it was a fairly painless experience – thanks to the guys (and gals) at UBM.

We had a reasonable stream of visitors – it was good to meet some old friends, and to make some new contacts.

Special thanks to ARM for providing free drinks on the Wednesday night!

Some people doubt the value of exhibitions in this Web age, but I still think there’s a place for seeing stuff “in the flesh” and meeting real people face-to-face. So I hope next year’s show will be bigger and better…

Our stand

Didn’t we have a loverly time the day we went to Intech…

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Wired Wessex, a local advice, news, support and networking group, held a meeting at the INTECH Science Centre near Winchester on 30 September 2010.

After drinks, nibbles, and networking, Dr Andy Stanford-Clark, IBM Futurist, Distinguished Engineer and Master Inventor, gave an excellent talk entitled, “Innovation for a Smarter Planet”

Andy Stanford-Clark’s “day job” at IBM is with their “Smarter Planet” initiative: – hence the title of his talk! The Big Idea here is instrumenting everyday objects, connnecting them so that they can communicate, and applying intelligence to the resulting data to make things “Smarter” – and, hence, more efficient, greener, etc, etc,…

IBM’s work, of course, does this on a corporate scale; but Andy illustrated his talk with his own “home-made” gadgets controlling and monitoring things in his own house – like the fountain in his pond, and his mousetraps!

It was a very interesting, entertaining, informative and thought-provoking presentation.

This was the first time that Wired Wessex had sought sponsorship for one of their events. After Googling Andy Stanford-Clark, I thought that he seemed to be into just the kinds of things that Antronics Ltd is doing these days – so decided make this our first ever sponsorship deal. I was glad to be joined by my good friend Clive Andrews of Aleka Design as co-sponsor:

Andy Neil, Andy Stanford-Clark, Clive Andrews

The meeting was well attended with plenty of interest in our displays during the networking times:

Antronics Ltd display

I would certainly recommend this to anyone considering such an opportunity.

Modem Diagnostics in Windows-XP

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Windows-XP (among others) can maintain a log of all commands sent to a modem, and responses received from a modem. This can be very useful in diagnosing problems with dial-up networking, etc

Start by locating the modem in Device Manager:

Device Manager

Right-click the required modem in the list:

Modem right-click menu 

Choose Properties to open the modem properties:

Modem Properties - General

Note that the Troubleshooting button here is not what we want – instead, go to the Diagnostics tab:

Modem Properties - Diagnostics

Check Append to log to enable logging of all commands sent to the modem, and all responses received from the modem.
The View Log button, as the name suggests, can be used to view this log (note that it’s just a text file – once you know where it is, you can view it with any application you like)

The Query Modem button sends a number of commands to the modem, and captures the responses (if any).
While this is happening, the following message is displayed:

Modem Diagnostics - Communication in progress

When complete, the commands sent & responses received are shown:

Modem Properties - Diagnostics (with responses)

These will also have been recorded in the log – press the View Log button to see:

Modem Diagnostic Log

(for details of the commands and responses and their meanings, you will need to consult the particular modem’s documentation).

Now, as long as you leave the Append to log option checked, all commands sent to the modem, and responses
received from the modem, will continur to be recorded in the log. Therefore, if you get any error messages from Dialup Networking, etc, you can look at the log to see exactly what happenned…

Note that the log only records modem commands & responses in creating and clearing connections – it does not record the data passed through the modem once the connection is established.