Member #134773

Member Since: May 19, 2010

Country: United States

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I started playing with electronics in the mid-1960s, and with computers shortly after Neil Armstrong took “one small step”. I got a degree in CS in 1980, and started working then as an engineer.

  • (Sorry, I can’t resist…)

    It all seems a bit fishy to me…

    I haven’t had an aquarium in about 40 years, but you youngsters seem to be enjoying combining hobbies! :-)

  • To follow up, I did look at the similar (same?) products on the Adafruit site, and it was clear that those, at least, followed the pinouts in the picture (and mentioned by a_cavis in another post here), not the ones in the Application Note. (It will be at least several days before I have time to actually try them, but I’ll try to remember to post my results.)

  • There’s a problem with the datasheet: the picture at the top does not agree with the pinout in the “Application Note” section:

    <table> <tr> <td>Pin</td> <td>Pic</td> <td>AppNote</td> </tr> <tr> <td>1</td> <td>Din</td> <td>Vdd</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2</td> <td>Vdd</td> <td>Din</td> </tr> <tr> <td>3</td> <td>GND</td> <td>Do</td> </tr> <tr> <td>4</td> <td>Do</td> <td>GND</td> </tr> </table>

    Methinks SF needs to go chew on the supplier to get the datasheet corrected.

    Not to mention the fact that the “formatting help” suggests (in the syntax guide) that the above should have created a table… but what seems to come out is the raw HTML code…

  • Uh, just a nit-pick, but (as a compiler writer for the past 35 years) the code you’ve shown is a lexical analyzer, not a parser. But I’ll agree that you do have a good, easy-to-understand, example of a state machine. (There are better ways to do lexical analyzers, BTW, but that’s outside the range of this discussion.) (Also, the code has problems dealing with [ab]user errors…)

  • It seems to me that the real losers in all this are humanity in general, and the Makers and would-be Makers who use, or would use, the Arduino. I’ve long said that the IDE has some sad lacks (notably “single step” and “variable watch”) which make it FAR easier for newbies to understand what’s happening in their programs. It seems that this enrichment-of-lawyers is likely to retard, rather than encourage, major improvements in either the IDE or the hardware.

    There are projects which I’ve done with various Arduinos or spinoffs (including the Pro Micro and Adafruit’s Trinket) that I might have done with PICs (“bare” microcomputers), though I realize that most Makers don’t have that level of skill. For many things, the Raspberry Pi or Beagle Bone Black offer more “bang for the buck”, but again, require a higher skill level than Arduinos.

    The real winners in this? The lawyers.

  • One quick, related question for Nate: When you first heard of the Radio Shack bankruptcy did you even think of putting in a bid? I think it could have been a big improvement for RS to be a Spark Fun subsidiary, though it would have involved a huge “cultural change” at RS. :-)

  • Frankly, comparing Spark Fun to Radio Shack is kinda like comparing a top-end Mercedes Benz to a Yugo. I’ve often said that Radio Shack is to electronics what Circle-K or 7-11 are to food – great if you have to have something right now on a Sunday afternoon, but you sure wouldn’t want to do your weekly shopping there.

    Maybe to Muggles like Mr. Walker there are similarities, but I think that it’s not reasonable to compare Spark Fun to the likes of Circuit City or Best Buy. His failure to mention Digi-Key (which has a vaguely similar history) or Fry’s Electronics is just plain failure to sufficiently and professionally research his topic. (Wasn’t there a recent incident involving Rolling Stone failing to research an article about a fraternity?) I’ll admit that he did mention Adafruit and Maker Shed, and can be forgiven for missing the likes of Solarbotics and Servo City, but he should have noticed Mouser and Element 14.

    Maybe for people who can’t tell the difference between what Nate Seidle does and what Harry Potter does the comparison of Spark Fun to Radio Shack is reasonable (“any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” – sorry, I don’t recall the attribution), but for those in the know, in many ways it’s at least a bit insulting.

  • Wow! A real blast from the past – almost enough to give me a CARDIAC attack! :-) I remember getting a CARDIAC in my first “computer math” class in high school.

    Methinks that the kids of today have it a lot better with things like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Beagle Bone Black to play with programming.

    Hmmm… wonder if maybe I have the CARDIAC squirreled away somewhere…

  • Critically damped low pass car suspension? Reminds me of my first job after getting my engineering degree (in 1980). There was a railroad track near the office, that was elevated maybe 10 feet above the rest of the terrain, so you had to climb up the small hill, cross the track, then proceed down the other side. I discovered that if I hit it at just the right speed in my pickup, I would actually go through zero G at the top, missing the bumps caused by the railroad. (The wrenches under the seat would drift up a bit at the zero G point, and then clatter as I went back to having apparent weight. At least one co-worker refused to ride with me to get lunch, because he couldn’t get used to zero G in a pickup truck. I always thought it was a lot smoother ride than getting tossed around by the tracks.

    BTW, I still think, Pete, you should do an episode on how the acoustics problems for the “new product Friday” episodes were solved!

  • Yeah, it seemed like just as you FINALLY got the acoustics right in the new digs, you stopped doing the videos. (I still think Pete should explain what you did to get the acoustics problems corrected…)

No public wish lists :(