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September 21, 2009
News - Engineer Thursday - Artis…
about 7 years ago
Were using Eagle ... now using a more expensive one, I can visualize PCB in 3D, integrate it to the box/case, and can route boards like 10x faster.
You always get what you paid for it seems ;)
News - BatchPCB and SparkFun are…
about 7 years ago
Hm ... even Eurocircuits is cheaper (not by far, ok, but cheaper) for 100x160mm boards 4 layers, and delivery time is a lot faster (7 working days at EC).
Will keep seeedstudio for cheap boards and EC for critical boards.
News - According to Pete - SPI a…
about 7 years ago
On a lot of devices you can hard-wire part of the address (often 1 or 2 bits, using 2 pins, connect to ground for 0 and to VCC for 1). That allows the use of 4x the same device on one bus for example. Thomas.
Definitely buy a Saleae Logic ... saved me days and days of debug, I use it all the time. The "basic" version is more than enough in 99.999% of the cases (that's the one I have), the Logic16 seems interesting but a lot more expensive.
SPI is the simplest of the protocols (well, after UART, of course), can run fast, simple to debug, very easy to get handled by a DMA ... I²C is crap, its speed is limited, it is a nightmare to debug, and you have to handle TONS of different interrupts to get it working. If you have the choice, definitely prefer SPI over I²C. Thomas.[EDIT] Another thing ... any slave can lock the whole I²C bus by pulling clock or data lines to 0, and then you'r screwed. With SPI, if things go out of control, release CS to stop transmission, pull it low again and you'r in a known state. DEFINITELY prefer SPI over I²C :D
News - New Product Friday: Sense…
about 7 years ago
Hello, I don't think it's all about professionnalism or getting things ultra polished, etc. We all are geeks are, and Jordan's speech was too much marketing and not enough technical, if he is the guy that has developed this stuff, then just talk about it, how it works, etc, not why we should buy it. I like Sparkfun because there is no marketing involved, just products that you need/want or don't. Thomas.
It took you some weeks or months to "come across the right way on video", not a lot of people can improvise it. Jordan is probably a cool dude, but cuts every 2 seconds, moving all the time, bad mic, technical speech not prepared enough ... there is no shame in saying "ok we tried but the result is not on par with what was expected, we'll just do it the normal way, sorry". Thomas.
I'm afraid there are 2 big mistakes in this video. RS232 being one ... and the other being about interrupts. Hell no you don't have to use another MCU for each RPM you want to measure ! Never heard of input compare ? Don't know if it exists on Arduino but it is available on any average MCU in the market nowadays.
I'm sorry but these 2 mistakes make me doubt on the legitimity of the guest. Probably would have been better with Rob only.
But that doesn't mean guests are not welcome - in my opinion - just try to get more technical guys and less marketing guys.
News - IP Obesity
about 7 years ago
I opened a poll on helifreak to get users feedback ... hope they will play the game honnestly.
Just for example, if it was possible (it's not because I can't take this decision alone and not really working with "open source friendly" people on this project), I would release the PC software in open source ...
This would make sense ... it's free, generates income but only via the unit sales (still closed source), doesn't contain any important IP, and would open the door for improvements and discussions about how it's programmed (sometime you have enough time to make it clean, sometimes you don't ;) ).
I understand your point of view, but in my world this couldn't be an option.
In 2 years I spent about 4 months just for security, trying to get my product hard enough to copy so that it's not interesting for Chinease. Yes that's a lot, that's 4 months I didn't work on improving the flight caracteristics. But I doubt - for now - it will be copied, at least for a few months.
I have quiet good interaction with the users I think (http://www.helifreak.com/forumdisplay.php?f=308) and that's a very interesting part of the project for sure, I also try to spread as much as possible informations, explaining PID, etc. I'm trying to be as much "open developer" as possible, just keeping minimal IP protection.
For me the biggest problem for "us" (software developers), is that people don't care about who did the R&D work, if they can find a copy for half of the price, they'll buy it, but Chinease don't have to pay any R&D.
If I was confident people would buy my product because it's guenuine, better quality, etc, even if there is a 50% price copy from Chinease I'd do it, no problem. But today I'm confident if I do release my code under open source, in 2 months there will be a Chinease copy, and people will buy this one and not mine, and even probably come angry at ME because their Chinease copy doesn't work (already happened) and asking me to fix it. In the meantime I get 0 money to feed my family and develop new products.
I don't want to spend 90% of my time trying to improve security, I want to improve products and release new features (hardware features, which take longer to copy, software features can be copied in seconds) and new products ...
Trust me each time I start a new project I'm asking if it could be suitable for open source, but it can't if :
Unfortunately that covers 95% of the projects I'm working on.
Moreover, if I were to release the BRAIN under open source, you'd find Chinease copies for half the price, which is less than any competitor, so it would just kill everyone ... and without competitors there is no innovation.
I'm more "kicked" by doing better and cheaper than the competition than give all the R&D money to the Chinease and being forced to introduce some unneeded features just to try to make people buy my product and not the copy.
I think releasing under open source is just part of the problem, it is a new commercial strategy, in which we have to find ways to garantee R&D to be paid.
PS : I can be missing something but did you release any commercial grade software (not a demo or "use it at your own risks") in open source ? Open source hardware is a lot easier because even if I take one of your open source product, and want to copy it, for me it would be probably more expensive than buying the real one (what is the R&D part in the final price ? 10%, 15% ?), open source software is a bit different, copying software doesn't require any investment, and the price is 100% R&D.
PS2 : don't take me wrong, I really like open-source, I'd really want to make open-source things, but I'm looking for reasonnable (that feed my family and pay my appartment) way of working on open-source things. Hope you can help me with that.
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