January 3, 2014
News - Designing for Graceful Fa…
about 3 months ago
Unfortunately, with the complexity of today’s systems one can’t always plan for failing gracefully. Even when a designer or coder plans for what they think is all possibilities, some gremlin always manages to pop up. Even a graceful failure in one part of a system may result in some ungraceful crash-and-burn in another part, particularly when the parts are being designed by different teams for later integration. Even with design standards, wrinkles occur. (Standards are great things! There are so many to choose from!)
One thing I was taught (repeatedly!) in programming classes years ago (think FORTRAN and COBOL if you want to know how long ago) was to always make meaningful error messages (no “ERROR IJT225I in line 1234”). Even if the meaning wasn’t 100% clear to the user, at least it was more descriptive and made troubleshooting easier. Your coffeemaker is a good example. The error could have included “Try cycling the power” as part of its text. But engineers and programmers are usually looking for ways to make their jobs easier, and it’s an easy trap to fall into.
And by the way… “YOU’RE” is a contraction for “you are” and “YOUR” is a possessive. Spell-check’s great but it misses things like “…preserving you’re ability to live…”.
News - In Which We Are Not Havin…
How do I send a case of beer or other beverage to you folks? Can I do it over PayPal? Or should I just buy more stuff?
News - Happy Arduino Day!
Probably these folks decided they can’t wait for backorders and wanted to order while the boards were still in stock. I doubt it really matters all that much unless they have a mission-critical project hinging on the boards. But some people just have to be first (like the people who post “FIRST!!!1!” on forums just to be first, even with nothing to say). I can wait (no critical projects, just a chance to get the good-quality “real” boards at a lower price than the eBay Asian knockoffs), so my backorder has been placed.
I’ll add my voice to those who say “Thanks, Sparkfun!!”
News - Fluke, we love you but yo…
Destroy the shipment at $150/hour? I doubt it. Some government flunky’s going to wind up with these in the trunk of his car after SF gets billed for (many, many I’m sure) hours of “destruction time”, and he’ll have a nice little flea-market income for a while.
In all fairness, either intentionally or not the meters do look substantially like Flukes. It’s sad that there’s no apparent way around this (say by simply having a few hundred replacement cases made in a different color, then switching them and letting the Feddys destroy the evil yellow parts). It does raise the question of who, where and why someone decided to pull this now, though, after so many of the meters have already been imported and sold. But it’s done, so weigh the costs and take whichever path results in the smallest hit to the pocketbook.
Seriously, this does speak to how screwy our patent/trademark laws are. As someone mentioned in an earlier post, Apple’s pulled this with the “look and feel” idea of phone shape and icon design. How many other ways are there to make a box and display icons on a screen? But that’s basically what they sued Samsung over. And in the early days of Windows™, a suit by Apple resulted in the “recycle bin” idea, because the trash can was Apple’s. (I wonder if they’d have been successful calling it a “wastebasket”.)
(Completely random side thought: I saw an ad in a sales flyer in our local paper quite some time ago for a Billy Joel CD. There was a little “TM” symbol after the name “Billy Joel”. If that means he’s actually trademarked his name, does that mean he can successfully sue anyone who tries to use that name at all? Or just if they try to be a recording artist? That’s why actors have to change their names or use some other form of it, so there’s no chance of hiring the “wrong” or “knockoff” version of some A-list name.)
I think I’m going to take out trademark coverage on an inverted V shape with a bar across it, then sue anyone who uses the letter “A”. Makes just as much sense.
Well then, is it possible to revise the software on the original model with a later release? Maybe we could still find a use for the PCDuino if we can get it running headless. (If I can find it now. It’s gotten buried.)
about a year ago
And apparently it still needs a keyboard connected to enable HDMI. That’s the main reason we wound up not using the earlier pcDuino version in the project we’d hoped it was perfect for.
about a year ago
Cool! I’ve been wanting to add touch inputs to replace the paddle on my ham radio Morse keyer (built around an Arduino) but I’ve been too lazy. Now I will. Time to spend money! And even cooler, if I read the datasheet correctly the chip can work by proximity as well as direct touch. So I can just wave my finger over it, maybe?
News - Your SparkFun January Cap…
about a year ago
Frustrated over the large number of surface-mounted parts, he took it out on the chair.
No public wish lists :(
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