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Welcome to my little corner of the world

Welcome

If you’re reading this for the first time, that makes two of us.  I’m writing here for the first time!  Welcome to my inaugural blog post on blogs.mentor.com. I hope you’ll find the coming content interesting, timely and varied.  Thought it will be my primary focus, I won’t always write about Linux and open source related subjects.  I will occasionally add some fun topics of interest to me, and hopefully to a subset of you as well. I’d especially like to hear from you if you find an article particularly useful or even boring or irrelevant.  Your feedback will help me to keep the content relevant and interesting.

A little about me

Who am I and why should you be reading this blog?  For starters, I’m a technical marketing engineer for Mentor Embedded, the embedded systems division of Mentor Graphics.  Mentor has a long history in embedded software, though most folks in the electronics industry know Mentor Graphics from their long history of success in the EDA (electronic design and automation) space.  I’ll be writing more about Mentor’s history in the embedded space, so if you’re interested, check back for that.

If you’re involved in development of products using embedded Linux, you may have discovered my book, Embedded Linux Primer.  I was surprised and pleased by its initial success.  The 2nd edition, released last year, has also been well received.  Yes, I know a thing or two about embedded Linux, and I’ll be blogging frequently about some of my favorite topics in this space.

Beyond Linux, I have a wide variety of hobbies and interests outside of work.  I’m an avid boater, and live in one of the boating capitals of the world, in sunny southwest Florida. I love gadgets, and it seems there is a never-ending list of boating related gadgets.  Embedded software defines the feature sets in many of these cool gadgets.  If only my wallet were as big as my wish list… ;)

Another hobby I enjoy is building and flying large radio controlled model airplanes.  These are basically UAVs for the hobbyist!  I’m the secretary and board member for our local R/C flying club, and we maintain a flying field courtesy of our little city on the water.  I am constantly amazed at the technology that has made its way into this exciting hobby.  Modern R/C systems are loaded with software-driven features!  A vibrant UAV industry over the last decade has brought some amazing technology and affordable products to the hobby. You can find more information about this great hobby here: http://www.modelaircraft.org.

I’m a life-long guitar player and wannabe singer, and I enjoy making and listening to live music of almost any genre.  I have used Linux audio programs for a wide variety of tasks, from MIDI sequencing to drive my keyboard to audacity for ring tones (yes, I own an Android phone, the Droid Razr Maxx and I love it) and Ardour for multi-track recording.  I am a novice at digital music making, but I enjoy it and I’m looking forward to finding more time in my life to learn more about it.  Online resources related to Linux and audio are almost limitless, but here’s a good place to start if you’re interested: http://linuxaudio.org.

In 1990, I got the urge to learn to fly and by 1992 had earned my private pilots license and later the instrument rating.  Although I’ve owned two different airplanes in the past, I currently rent when I get the urge to fly.  Most of my flying lately has been of the light sport category, for those that know what that is. I am a veteran of Oshkosh, having flown that crazy approach half a dozen times. Is anyone going to Sun ‘n Fun this year in Lakeland?  It starts March 27th: http://www.sun-n-fun.org.

General Aviation is another area where flight safety has been hugely advanced by software-defined features.  Affordable products provide the weekend pilot with tools for route planning and enroute weather avoidance.  Many airline pilots are now carrying iPads with aviation charts installed, instead of that huge briefcase full of charts mandated by the FAA. Live, onboard weather radar has become affordable even for casual recreational pilots. These are all software-defined products built around fairly generic hardware platforms.  How many Linux gurus know that there’s actually a GNU/Linux Aviation HOWTO?  How cool is that?  If you find you’re interested in learning to fly, start here: http://www.aopa.org/learntofly.

CQ de K1AY

For those of you who recognize this “code”, it’s older than Motorola.  I’ve been a ham radio operator since the age of 13, and it’s been a life long hobby.  I’m an accomplished morse code radio operator, and I love practicing with turn-of-the-century “bug” and other nostalgic morse code keys.  I operate mostly CW on the HF bands, and especially love late-night DX on 80 and 40.  If you’re a fellow “ham”, you’ll know what all that means! Hams have been recognized innovators in many technical endeavors from satellite communications to the Linux kernel.  Hams have had their hands in Linux since the very beginning.  (I’m sure you’re all familiar with the CONFIG_HAMRADIO kernel configuration option!)  You can find much more about this fascinating hobby at http://www.arrl.org.

Now that you know a little about me, check back often for more interesting technically oriented articles focused on Linux and open source.  Thanks for reading, and for any feedback you care to share.

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About Chris Hallinan

Chris Hallinan

Chris is a technical marketing engineer for the embedded systems division of Mentor Graphics. He has more than 20 years in high tech companies in assignments ranging from engineering and engineering management, marketing, sales and business development. He spent four years as an independent development consultant porting U-Boot and the Linux kenel to custom boards. He is the author of Embedded Linux Primer, now in its 2nd edition. His writing has appeared in magazines including Linux Journal, Telecommunications Magazine, Fiber Optics Magazine and Aviation Digest.

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