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July 23, 2008
Model-making, programming, electronics
about 3 weeks ago
For a “user-friendly” product line I really think you guys dug yourselves into a hole with this board.
First off, using audio jacks, on an audio board, for something other than audio is inherently confusing.
Second, the three jacks are clearly labeled: “Audio out”, “In”, and “Out”… and then right next to that you have the words “Audio Output”… Which is the board name, right? But it’s right next to the data input jack. It almost looks like it could refer to the jack.
While the target audience isn’t necessarily tech savvy, they’re probably smart enough to navigate all this… It just seems a bit self-defeating to create a “user-friendly” product which then requires dire warnings like “don’t connect your audio there or you’ll wreck the board”.
I think it’s an interesting product line otherwise, though. I think it could be really valuable to a lot of people.
News - Pi Day 2017
about 3 months ago
But rember, you can only eat half a pie on pi day
The graphic indicates that Pi Zero has two USB ports… That is nonsense. It’s like saying the model A+ has two USB ports. The second one isn’t USB, it’s just a power connector.
News - Big Changes to Battery Or…
about 6 months ago
Sure, here ya go:
News - What Operating System(s) …
about a year ago
It’s a harsh reality that those of us who prefer working on other OSes frequently have to deal with - a lot of software is available on Windows, but not necessarily on other platforms. One can wind up needing to run Windows in order to run a certain program. It stinks but that’s life.
Generally I prefer to run Linux. It’s just the system I feel most at home in.
I tried Mac OS X for a while, feeling like it would give me the means to run Unix software (since it’s got all that Unix stuff under the hood) but also a more polished user experience… It really wasn’t right for me. It wasn’t a great system for running the Unix software, as it turned out. Not in my opinion anyway. It was a lot like running Unix software through Cygwin on Windows - you can do it, and there are package repositories to help, but there’s not the same variety of packages you’d get with a real Linux distribution, and the nature of the integration is such that the Unix programs feel decidedly out-of-place, and second-class. (IMO Cygwin is actually better in that regard…)
Windows mostly just agitates me, and it seems to get worse in that regard all the time. I can install Cygwin on it and mostly pretend it’s a Unix box, but there’s all these little things, like Cygwin’s insistence on remapping the filesystem through mounts, or the constant parade of system notifications and software update notifications, that pull me back to the reality of the system I’m on.
Personally I believe that, despite the sort of “command-line machismo” that often comes with Unix fans, in fact all users need some “user-friendly” design when they encounter something new. But I think the prevailing notions of “user-friendly” are geared toward certain types of users (probably the majority), but not necessarily others. I think that’s part of what tends to bother me in Mac and Windows, the systems do more hand-holding than I’m comfortable with, and occasionally even obstruct me.
Choice of software is a problem, of course: there are many useful tools that are only on Windows, as others have pointed out. In my hobby work the software options on Linux are usually enough for me, but there’s bound to be something from time to time that can’t be done on Linux because the software is Windows-only. It’s an unfortunate situation, but generally speaking I’d rather deal with that than run Windows.
about a year ago
On the other hand, I’d love to have a Lipo circuit do silly things to a Lipo battery. (A solderable jumper could be used to enable said silly things so they aren’t done to a AA pack by mistake)
But that’s just not part of the plan for this particular device, I guess. Being primarily a beginner/tutorial board it’s not worth the added cost for a feature most beginners won’t be using.
There are advantages to using a separate chip for USB. In terms of the user experience, probably the main thing is that if the AVR itself is providing the USB implementation, you wind up losing the connection when the AVR resets. 32U4-based Arduino sketches that rely on the serial port for debugging often have to include code to wait until the device has been enumerated, because otherwise it’s very difficult to start up the board, let the PC enumerate the USB device, and connect a serial monitor to it in time to catch the debugging messages at the beginning of the program. The relative simplicity of an FTDI interface makes it a little bit better experience for people new to the platform.
32U4-based Arduino bootloaders also take up more program space than 328-based serial bootloaders (around 3.5KiB for the Leonardo bootloader compared to about 500 bytes for the Uno bootloader).
As for price, the 32u4 is actually a bit expensive. On Mouser it’s about $3.50 per chip if you buy a full reel, compared to about $1.80 for a ‘328 when you buy a full reel. The FTDI chip is around $1.50 per unit when you buy a reel, so '328 + FTDI comes out a little bit ahead.
about a year ago
Paired with the Redstick, though, it’d be awkward to get 8 I/O on a single port anyway. The only 8-bit I/O port that’s fully available is port D (as two pins of port B are used for the oscillator). But two pins of port D are used for the UART, and (on the Redstick, at least) are physically separated from the rest of port D.
…But yeah, can you even imagine setting those I/O lines one at a time like Arduino encourages you to? :)
Well the way you phrased the question sounded like you didn’t. If your comment about using a ninth pin was in there when I replied, I guess I missed it. Sorry, didn’t mean to explain something you already understood.
Don’t know specifically what went into their design decisions there. I suppose they were trying to strike some balance between capability and economy, given that this was originally a give-away item.
No public wish lists :(
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