Archive for the 'Rants' Category

Frustrating Development Tools

I have a complaint (well, to be honest, I have a lot, but I don’t trot them out all at the same time): Why do hardware and development tools vendors insist on using things like Windows .net? It annoys me to no end to have to resort to reading through KB articles from Microsoft just to get something as straightforward as a compiler up and running. It annoys me even more when I can’t get the software running even after jumping through hoops and hopping up and down on one foot while patting the top of my head. Does it really have to be this way?

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Dropbox Drops the Ball

I like use a secure file sharing service to move things around between myself, publishers, co-workers, and so¬† on. For years I’ve been using Dropbox and its directory syncing feature under Linux without any major hassles. I finally decided to pay them some money and get more storage space, and it was fine at first. But lately that all changed. Continue reading ‘Dropbox Drops the Ball’

Chinese CNC Tools

Maybe I’m spoiled, or just out of sync with things, but when I worked with professional CNC equipment (I worked on the control systems and servo amplifiers for big things like vertical mills, jig bores and huge lathes) the software was usually custom made for a particular machine type. If not, then it was some type of high-reliability real-time operating system or maybe a real-time OS for a minicomputer, like a PDP-11 or the IBM Series I machines.

But at the price some of the Chinese CNC tools are going for these days it would be nuts to expect them to come with custom control software. Instead, a lot of them come with Windows-based software, and some of that is of dubious heritage. As someone who likes to open the hood on things the poke around inside, Windows is a problem for me. I prefer to use Linux instead, but when the shiny new CNC tool that just arrived only comes with Windows software, then it’s time to start looking for alternative software. Continue reading ‘Chinese CNC Tools’

Failure to communicate

I know I should get over it, but I never cease to be amused/dismayed by the people who make comments about a book that don’t even relate to the book in question. Case in point: Someone commented that my recent book from O’Reilly, Practical Electronics: Components and Techniques, didn’t have the information that they wanted regarding “…an example of how to interface a simple serial circuit with a USB port and read data…”

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