John Morris

Member Since: February 18, 2008

Country: United States

  • Think everyone is missing the big question here. If you are just dumping Open Source over the wall, like Google with Android for example, then you can go closed. Once you take contributions from the outside, once you actually take the benefit of Open Source, whether it is under a BSD like license that technically allows it or not, you ARE going to make enemies. If you are using a copyleft style license of course you can’t go closed unless you get every contributer to relicense or dump their contributions.

    One other consideration. Closing your source does NOT take back the stuff already given away so what usually happens is a fork from the last open version begins in the community while your closed version must compete against it. Ask those who have tried that model how it worked out. Best to do it right as you merge in some major, labor intensive and hard to replicate new functionality.

    And second the recommendation to read CatB, all this stuff was carefully argued way back then and still applies today. ESR sold much of the corporate world on Open Source with that book.

  • Wouldn’t $65 spent on a low end Android phone yield a better camera, faster processor and richer choice of programming environments? You would get a USB2 connection fast enough to stream live video and a fast enough system to make it possible to do that AND do various recognition processes locally. Only downside is losing the serial / spi and i2c outputs and the IR capability and since this product doesn’t feature a controllable IR cut filter it is a dubious feature at best.

    At some point repurposing mass consumer products becomes more practical than making a more hacking friendly board out of the obsolete parts that small manufacturers can get parts and datasheets for.

  • Suggest you list a mating connector as a recommended product.

  • Hoping somebody else noticed that detail. NVRAM is so much easier to work with compared to eeprom. No write limits means you can just block read the thing on boot right into your variables and occasionally (meaning add a call to any of the routines that would change them) just dump the entire block back to the clock. No worries about wear leveling. I like easy.

  • I remember a very old project for the Tandy Color Computer to make a ‘camera’ where they had got their hands on a supply of ‘decapped’ dram chips. Focus an image onto the exposed die, write all the bits and time the decay, which would vary based on light intensity.

    Kinda lame since the array of bits had a few gaps, since it hadn’t been designed for that sort of use. But it was a ‘digital camera’ years before any consumer product.

  • Bottom line, stick to Free Software or you will eventually lose. The vendor will change focus, get acquired, etc. and the tool you need will either be dropped or suddenly mutate into something entirely different. Even if you are paying for it you have no real vote in the direction of it unless you are huge. No matter what happens to Free Software, the worst case scenario is you have to use the last version that works for you and you always have the option to maintain it yourself or organize a fork.

    Avoid the cloud, none of it is Free Software (if it is based on Free Software, install a local copy and avoid the trap) and again, the rules will suddenly change and you are hosed.

    These guidelines become more important the longer your project runs (initial design plus support) and the more time and energy you have to invest in learning the tool.

  • Yea, that comparison chart isn’t even wrong. It is so obviously fraudulent that they probably should update that part of it. Any AVR would be totally smoked by a 286 and demolished by a MC68000 series chip beyond a couple of carefully staged tests where the AVR has advantages like hardware multiply and DES/AES support. 640KB of ram might not be enough for anyone but it certainly beats the pants off of 8K, which is the most any AVR has in it. Even when you add in the flash, the most a normal AT MEGA can have is 512KB and you are doing PC style segmentation as soon as you go beyond 64K and it really gets annoying beyond 128K.

    Where the AVR wins is both performance per dollar and watt. Those are plenty good enough reasons to use it, no need to embellish the truth.

  • I’d suggest you buy a tablet. $60 gets a lot of tablet these days. Lots of ways to hook up any misc hardware via the USB port. In the end it will be a better screen, faster machine and more portable.

  • Really? It clearly has an rs232 interface internally and a USB converter bolted on to cope with the current lack of serial ports on modern PCs but in 2015 a new product with closed USB drivers? Really?

    In 2015 it should be mandatory for a new design to not only have a standard USB interface but to have a published format for the data on the wire.

    And since you are supposed to be selling to people who tinker, how about expose the TTL serial interface on a header to allow it to interface to a microcontroller or your existing USB to TTL Serial interfaces?

  • Good write up, just one nit. The Arduino’s choice of a second AVR in place of a FTDI chip has two additonal differences:

    1. The Arduino uses a second AVR and while it can be simply used as a serial converter it does have the programming connector exposed to reprogram it for more complicated uses. It could be made to appear as a USB Keyboard, USB Mouse, MIDI controller, Misc HID Device, Mass Storage, whatever you can imagine and get the binary stuffed into 16KBytes to do. There are even a couple of it’s GPIO pins exposed, opening the door to all manner of hare-brained schemes with multi-CPU designs.

    2. The Arduino doesn’t have the FTDI chip, something that didn’t matter when the RedBoard was designed but since their recent antics with DRM it might matter to some.

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