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The Care and Feeding of Watchdogs

Ref: Original article from April 1992

This has nothing to do with political or social commentary — it is a technical professional article.  Feel free to skip it if you aren’t a software nerd.

This is an early technical article I wrote dealing with how to manage the servicing of Watchdog Timers from within a multi-threaded application.  It was originally published in the April 1992 issue of Embedded Systems Programming.

The following are links to the article in .pdf format.

The first was generated by scanning the article in the physical magazine and running an OCR over it to extract text.  Most of the text was properly detected, but there were a few places (as there are when scanning a magazine) where things got a bit blurry and the OCR didn’t work.  The advantage of this version is that it has the fancy graphics and the imprimatur of the publisher.  It also had the benefit/cost of editing.

The Care and Feeding of Watchdogs (scanned article)

The second is the draft originally submitted for publication (or, rather, a resurrection of that draft from the old format Word document file).  That being 1992, all the “figures” have been crafted from text, rather than drawn in a proper drawing tool.  And all the words — for better or worse — were mine, without any editorial adjustments and embellishments.

The Care and Feeding of Watchdogs (submitted)


I am making this available because I realized that it may very well be the first article ever published on this topic: certainly, I wrote it originally because I had been unable to find any information on the topic at the time (though, to be fair, in that largely pre-web and fully pre-Google era, such information was harder to track down) and had to invent something to solve my immediate problem; and all other articles and papers (and textbooks) I have found in the years since ultimately trace back to a reference to this one.  I may be wrong about that but, if I am right, I admit I want the credit (among the 3 or 4 people who would care) for having been the progenitor of this particular obscure field of technical thought.

I am publishing it here, in this wholly inappropriate forum, because it’s the only online presence I maintain other than a largely unused Facebook account.

I am publishing at all because it was originally published on paper, the original publisher is long gone, and, as near as I can tell (i.e. it doesn’t come up in a fairly detailed Google search), it was never digitized and made available online.  Hence, for all intents and purposes in this digital age, it never actually existed.

I wrote this.  It is my work.  But, because it was published originally in Embedded Systems Programming, whoever inherited that magazine’s catalog of copyrights probably has some claim on it and could dispute my right to post it here.  To those who hold the copyright, I say, “I will happily take this down — if you make it available online somewhere else.  But my posting it here in no way takes anything away from you if you choose to keep it a secret from the world…”

This is also the first such thing I ever wrote, when I was a fairly green engineer without much experience in reading academic (or non-academic) research papers and without much experience writing technical materials, other than specifications and interface control documents and the like, for others to read.  I like to think my writing style has improved over time.  Others might disagree…

© Copyright 2020, Augustus P. Lowell

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