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Programming for Electronics Engineers

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Guy Macon, Jan 14, 2005.

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  1. Guy Macon

    Guy Macon Guest

    This is the golden era of writing your own programs!

    Here are three excellent languages for beginners:
  2. It is less a problem writing your own software, more a
    problem in also getting paid for it. Since every plummer
    and every houseman can write software, it became rather
    hard to communicate that your software took so long and
    is to be that expensive.

  3. Jim Douglas

    Jim Douglas Guest

    You would be surprised how easy it is to still do, even with the .NET
    foundations and 8000 pages. Although the tools have become more complicated
    the same old "basic" language is there.
  4. Kryten

    Kryten Guest

    I'm staggered that they bother to produce these massive books (and sets of
    books) for colossal prices.

    If I were them, I would slap all the documentation on DVD and give it away.

    I guess they charge money so that only serious programmers leap that

    You've got to wonder if something is a good idea if it needs books that
    size! :)

    Well, you still can in the same way you can still make anything else.

    It is just the scale of complexity has widened.

    Individuals can still make some cool small projects, but not huge ones.

    You could perhaps make a hang glider but not a stealth fighter.

    Microsoft are big enough to do the colossal projects.
    There's no way I want to spend the time needed to develop the software that
    I have on my PC, or the PC itself.

    I look for projects that are small enough to be done by me, yet big and
    clever enough to be satisfying and fun.
  5. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    On Fri, 14 Jan 2005 13:52:59 GMT, "Kryten"


    Yes, and No. It's been a few years since I was inside Intel. Back
    then it was ONE MAN who was the principal architect of the uP's,
    although there were lots of do-bee's hanging onto his shirttails.

    ...Jim Thompson
  6. Kryten

    Kryten Guest

    I agree there are people who are enormously productive.

    However they are rare, as indicated by the ratio of do-bees to genius.

    I'm not one of the mega-productive people, so I have to scale my projects to
    suit. I've enjoyed my own pet project more than I would writing a compiler,
    and the world has many of those already.

    I do see some very impressive sized amateur projects on the web but most are
    modest sized and perhaps just as much fun for less complexity.

    I've seen inside ARM for example, and the fun creative design work is much
    smaller than the non-fun tedious aspect of verifying, documenting, licensing

  7. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    I do program in PowerBasic a lot. I mostly use the 3.5 DOS version,
    which has nice graphics and lets me do direct hardware i/o and
    peek/poke without hassle. It's blindingly fast, does useful megahertz
    FOR loops.

    I just did a little prog to talk in a binary protocol (inside TCP/IP)
    to a Lantronix Xport ethernet gadget. I used the 32-bit PowerBasic
    (Console Compiler) version. The TCP OPEN thing just works... it was
    amazing... everything I needed to do the ethernet stuff was on about
    three pages of the manual.

  8. Mark Jones

    Mark Jones Guest

    Hmm, I'd beg to differ here, in the instance that hang-gliders are
    special. Making a hang-glider is no easy task, dispite the
    simple-looking geometry. Those who put bamboo and garbage bags
    together to make a "flying contraption" have a nasty reputation of
    killing themselves.

    Modern hang-gliders are the product of 50+ years of [technological]
    refinement and are still getting better and safer every day. There are
    many factors that go into the performance and stability of a
    flexible-wing craft; anyone trying to design them without being an
    ultralight aeronautics engineer is asking for trouble.

    -- "Theoretically speaking... if a vehicle's mass were reduced to zero
    and its speed increased to twice the speed of light, would time
    outside the vehicle appear to run backwards at 1x speed?" MCJ 200405
  9. mc

    mc Guest

    The starter pack for Visual C# or Visual Basic (about $99) is very nice and
    gives you the full power of the .NET Framework.
  10. Actually, I think it is the prevailing idea that 'anyone' can program
    computers. Like in this weeks West Wing, they talked about firing
    teachers, and they said "Let them just learn to program computers"

    Now, I can program computers, including embeddeed systems, and I know
    that not just anyone can program computers! To do it right requires a
    certain amount of anal retentiveness that most don't have. I am not a
    good programmer. I am barely above the hacker level.

    But, what does this have to do with expensive computer books? It is
    because they have convinced every high school dropout that, if they just
    go to ITT tech, and take 6 months of classes, then they too can earn
    100K a year programming computers. And, as part of that, they need to
    get certifications in .NET (or MSCE, or whatever the latest buzzword is)
    and to get those certifications, they need to purchase these books.
    (Evidently, reading them is optional!) So, the writers and publishers
    make a lot of money, as usual, from the infinity gullibility of the
    public! (Scott Adams is right, again...)

  11. Reg Edwards

    Reg Edwards Guest

    Amongst other things, I write high-quality computer programs. I give them
    away for free to anybody who can find a good home. I went on my first (and
    last) 2-day programming course around 1962 as a small sideline of a
    particular large engineering project. The input/output device was a
    teleprinter and the media was ticker-tape. I forget the number of holes.

    Quality is fitness for the intended purpose.

    Reliability is Quality versus Time.

    And if the job is done by a committee, if it is ever finished, the result is
    a bricked Arabian camel with 5 or 6 humps.

    43 years later, in my opinion, for what it's worth, the salient attribute of
    so-called professional computer programmers is the ability to make vast
    amounts of money under false pretences.
  12. Reg Edwards

    Reg Edwards Guest

    In anticipation of a query "What is a bricked camel?"

    As is well known there are such things as Middle Eastern camel races. (What
    a pity there is a war on at present. It detracts from normal life.)

    The first driver sits on a saddle strapped to the humps.

    At the start of the race a second driver stands BEHIND the camel with an
    ordinary standard-size house-brick held in each hand with his arms far apart
    at an appropriately correct height.

    On the signal from the starting gun, the first driver digs in his spurs and
    the second driver brings together, as hard as he can, the pair of bricks
    with the aim of enclosing the camel's testicles between them.

    The second driver is immediately left well behind of course. But you get
    the idea - the camel certainly does! It's not THAT stupid!
  13. "Doesn't that hurt?"

    "No, you make sure to keep your fingers from getting between the
  14. artie

    artie Guest

    ISTR that not only are most camels *very* good at spitting, they can
    also kick extremely well. I wouldn't want to be the bloke trying this
    the *second* time...
  15. Kryten

    Kryten Guest

    I heard a similar joke where a guy asks if a camel will get him over the

    The dealer says sure, so long as you feed it water it and brick it.

    The guy buys the camel, gets a fair way into the desert and the camel dies.

    After nearly dying himself, he gets found by some nomads who take him back.

    When recovered he gets hold of the camel dealer and demands compensation for
    the trauma.

    The dealer says no way, did you feed it, water it and brick it?

    The guy says "what the ???? does it need bricks for?"

    "Ah" says the dealer, when it has almost drunk it's fill at the water hole,
    you sneak up behind with a brick in each hand and clap them onto it's
    When the camel goes

    <sound effect of pain-induced sharp intake of breath>,

    it sucks up many more gallons of water!
  16. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    If I were them, I would slap all the documentation on DVD
    Density would be nice.
    Sure would make it easy to search for something obscure
    --and just as easy to copy.
    You covered this.
    It's not hard to stop thinking like an engineer
    and start thinking like a marketing guy.
  17. Mike

    Mike Guest

    I don't know about the availability on DVD, but I have the printed
    documentation in addition to the online documentation. The printed
    documentation is offered for those of us who like to have it in book form.
    The online documentation, which I suppose I could put on a DVD if I was so
    inclined, is indeed free.

    -- Mike --
  18. Danny T

    Danny T Guest

    I'm a Senior Web Developer, and around 80-90% of what I know has come
    from the internet (for free)! When I was learning during
    GCSEs/A-levels), I couldn't afford to buy books on subjects that may not
    make me money, so I used the web. I'd highly recommend it over any book,
    since you can read the opinions of a thousand people for free, not one
    for £30. It's also full of up-to-date information - something a book (in
    a non-electrical form) can never rival!

    They do! Not on DVD, but the web. All documentation for the Microsoft
    ..NET framework is published online at MSDN (,
    along with all the APIs and DOMs you could think of. The books generally
    cover things from "teaching" side, whereas the online docs serve as
    mainly for reference. They do also include very good examples against
    the whole of the .NET Framework :)
  19. Danny T

    Danny T Guest

    Is that like a cut down version of Visual Studio?

    I use VS at work, but I've grown fond of the new Express packages.
    They're lightweight and fast, though still beta (and using the next
    version of the framework):
  20. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    You have to realize that guys like Jim and I are fulltime circuit
    designers. We have an infinite, unlearnable amount of stuff to keep up
    with in our own field, and all the work we can handle, often more. If
    we do want to write a program to do some math, we need to do it
    quickly, without spending a couple years getting up to speed in .NET
    and C++ classes and stuff like that. We're solving math problems, so
    user interface isn't important. The only eye candy that's really
    useful to us is graphing data so we can get a feel for the dynamics of
    a system, and even then we can dump a comma-delimited file to a
    grapher program. Some of the stuff I do is very compute intensive, so
    a pig like Visual Basic would be unusable. So what we need is a
    simple, quick, easy to learn and easy to use language that runs fast.
    And, at least for me, can do hardware i/o without requiring me to
    write device drivers.

    I think pRogramming should be the fourth 'R' of basic education,
    something everybody can do. Modern OS's have gone a long way to making
    programming something only pros have time to learn.

    If I wanted to spend serious hours learning a new computer skill, it
    would be learning Linux.

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