Contest: The Technology Person Who Has Had The Biggest Impact On Me

This is the first of a series of contest entires. Voting begins on Friday 08 September.

Since I spent the first 15 years of my career as an embedded engineer, it was critical that I learn to program efficiently. Embedded systems have several requirements that are challenging ... limited processor power, limited memory, and the need to always be running. Wouldn't you hate it if your microwave oven gave you the blue screen of death? There is often a financial incentive to minimize the hardware costs which only serves to exacerbate the problem.

You might say this still isn't rocket science, but for my candidate, it is. His name is Jack Crenshaw, and I've been reading his "Programmers' Toolbox" articles in Embedded Systems Programming magazine for almost twenty-five years. His early stories were peppered with commentary on how routines were developed for NASA. Some articles are purely theoretical, but many have pseudo-code algorithms that can be directly implemented. These articles are the primary reason for the success of the embedded systems that I've developed.

I've brought a lot of this experience into the commercial software that my company develops today. Sure, processor power and memory are cheap, but there are a shortage of people that can truly optimize their code.

Thanks Jack ... keep up the good work!

Note: Six years of his articles are available on-line ... for earlier articles, see your closest university library.