Thought Leadership

The Works

By Colin Walls

All my life I liked words – reading and writing – and there are always books around me. I had an ambition from an early age to have my work published. It was in my late 20s that I first had an article in a “real” magazine with my name on the by-line. The piece was concerning the use of Z80 microprocessors and appeared in Wireless World magazine in1984. Interestingly, the word “wireless” did not really have the same connotations then. I still have a copy of that magazine. Encouraged by this, it was two years later that I completed my first book, which was published in 1986. It was, of course, about embedded software – though the term “embedded” had not yet been coined and it was called “Programming Dedicated Microprocessors” [catchy eh?].

It was so exciting to receive the first copy of a real book with my name on the cover, that I was sure that I would do more. However, a busy life, including the arrival of children, meant that the opportunity did not arise for many years. In 2004, a sudden change in my personal circumstances meant that I would be unable to travel for work for some time, as I was needed at home. My management were very sympathetic and receptive to my idea for a project that would be compatible with my circumstances. I wanted to put together a new book.

Over the years I had written numerous technical articles, many of which had only appeared in our own newsletter. I had often felt that they deserved a larger audience. My idea was to assemble many of these, augmented by some similar material written by various colleagues, into a book that would cover a wide range of embedded software topics. It took a lot of organizing, editing and rewriting, but in late 2005 Embedded Software: The Works was published. It has been selling quite well ever since.Embedded Software: The Works

This is not intended to be a hard sales pitch, but there is a factor that might encourage you to buy a copy. When I was working on the book, my management were not only very understanding, but also generous. They readily agreed that all royalties from sales of the book might be donated to a charity with whom I had become associated. To date, they have received several thousand dollars, which I know has been spent very wisely.

I hope that I will not need to wait another 20 years until I do another book …

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at