In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday being celebrated in the United States this week, what device, tool, or technology are you thankful for making your life as an embedded developer better? This can be anything, not just the newest developments. The idea is to identify those things that made a material impact during your embedded career.

As an example, my own introspection on the topic yielded a somewhat surprising answer for me – I am thankful for the humble USB port. I remember when my mentor came to me one day with a spec sheet and asked me what I thought about this thing called the Universal Serial Bus specification. We talked about that specification on and off over the course of a year or so, but never did I imagine the larger extent of the impact of so small a change.

Not only did USB simplify and make connecting and powering devices simpler and more reliable such that everyday technophobes could successfully use those devices, but it simplified development boards and workbenches all around because more and more of the new development boards that included a USB port no longer required a separate source for system power. As a consumer, I have recognized that I have not crawled under my desk to plug in a transformer in years – and for that, I am thankful.

There are many things I am thankful for, and these opportunities for introspection are valuable because they increase the odds of recognizing the mundane and nearly invisible changes that have permeated our environment – just like the invisible embedded devices that populate our everyday lives. What embedded device, tool, and/or technology are you thankful for?

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