Page 3 of 5

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 5:12 am
by Jednorozec
W. H. Heydt wrote:Back in the day (yes, I'm old enough that my first programming languages were FORTRAN II and SPS II)
I've got you beat there. I used SOAP before FORTRAN. Oh, the joys of punched cards.

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 8:03 am
by Heater
skspurling,
I blame surface mount components... and fat fingers... of course, aging eyes don't help. And, as clock frequencies go up, so does the cost of test gear. If you can't test it, you might as well buy prebuilt components and modules. I love the idea of wire wraping s100 cards, but my generation just built with isa, pci, and pci-e cards on a motherboard.
On the other hand...

I tried working with surface mount for the first time recently and found that soldering the larger sized surface mount caps,resitors, LEDs, transistors, etc is actually easier than messing around with through hole parts. Even a lot of SMD chips can be soldered by hand very easily. There are tons of videos on YouTube that show good techniques for that.

It's a lot easier than hacking out that aluminium chassis that I built my first projects, which were tube based.

The young generation still have thin fingers and good eyes!

Test gear is faster and vastly cheaper today than it was back then. Check out those Rigol scopes for example.

Today you can get prototype PCB's made incredibly quickly and cheaply, and design them using free PCB layout software.

There is no excuse for kids today to not be attempting designs of their own and getting down with a soldering iron!

They should be doing this in school. Like we used to learn how to use industrial sized lathes and mills in the school metal shop back in the day.

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 8:09 am
by Heater
Jednorozec,
I've got you beat there. I used SOAP before FORTRAN. Oh, the joys of punched cards.
Punched cards were great. Some of my first programming was in ALGOL.

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 8:14 am
by jamesh
broe23 wrote:I have to use Reading glasses aince I had Cataracts removed. I saw better up close before the Surgery. Now it is that if it is within 5-8 feet, I can see fine without them.
.
My reading glasses are just because of age!

Hint: Tesco Opticians, if you are in the UK, £20 for a pair of prescription glasses targeted for very close up work. I need them for crawling around under cars on ramps, where focal distance needs to be about 20cm, but also good for small PCB's I imagine! At that price you can afford them for lots of different distances.

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 8:24 am
by Pithagoros
W. H. Heydt wrote: Back in the day (yes, I'm old enough that my first programming languages were FORTRAN II and SPS II), in one shop I worked in the "go to" guy for problems one couldn't solve had a policy. The first time a given person asked a particular question, he would tell them what the answer was, why that was the answer and how to understand both the problem and the answer. The second time the same person asked the same question, he would give them the answer. The third and subsequent times, he would give them the manual reference.
That's the idea behind the knowledge base and the FAQ.
Sometimes people come here to ask a question and they are used to learning in a two way interchange, what they want is a conversation where they can ask for particular points to be elaborated, clarified. Telling these people to go and read the documentation, or old threads is not going to be any good because that's not what they are looking for. They may have tried that and been frustrated by all the out of date stuff out there.

Way back when I started there was no internet, no BBS, not much of anything.
I had to go and seek out expensive books (because the library didn't cover that stuff), get datasheets sent in the post, the good old Texas TTL databook, Babani books (thank you Mr R.A Penfold for enabling a long career), Horowitz and Hill and even the RS or Maplin catalogue was a learning resource. But the best place of all was the local enthusiast clubs, where a schoolkid like me could find an expert and have a two way conversation.

Oh, I should mention Elektor magazine, Practical Electronics, Practical Wireless and RadCom.

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 8:54 am
by Heater
Pithagoros,

Hey, we have walked the same road. Texas TTL databooks, Babani books... (there was no Maplin when I stated out)...the local Ham club meetings.

One of my greatest "toys" was the "Philips Electronic Engineer" kit I was given when I was 9. Try as I might I could not make much sense of the circuit diagrams and descriptions but I got things working and my curiosity was ignited.

I hope there are lot's of 9 year olds being given Pi who get that same inspriration.

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 9:14 am
by Pithagoros
Heater wrote:Pithagoros,

Hey, we have walked the same road. Texas TTL databooks, Babani books... (there was no Maplin when I stated out)...the local Ham club meetings.

One of my greatest "toys" was the "Philips Electronic Engineer" kit I was given when I was 9. Try as I might I could not make much sense of the circuit diagrams and descriptions but I got things working and my curiosity was ignited.

I hope there are lot's of 9 year olds being given Pi who get that same inspriration.
The Philips Electronic kit. .... was it a large board laid out with real components with their electronic symbols printed on, and springs for contacts into which you pushed the bare end of a wire to make the circuit connections? I think it was one of those that set me rolling at around the same age. It was about finding out that I <I>could</I> more than anything. I then did a RAE course and became a licensed Radio Amateur aged 14. I couldn't operate though, because I couldn't afford kit until I built it.

Maplin go back a long way. in the late 70s their much thinner catalogues were sold in newsagents and were interesting and educational for their projects and component descriptions. Ordering was by a form in the back pages of the book where you hand wrote a list and mailed of to Rayleigh, Essex.

I've wandered off into nostalgia, but point was about interaction, and hand holding instead of "go and RTFM".

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 9:19 am
by mfa298
broe23 wrote:As adults, we should be helping them troubleshoot their programs if they ask for assistance, instead of shoving them off to some obscure link that all they will find is attacks telling them RTFM.
Answers telling people to RTFM can be good, but they should also point in the direction of a useful manual (actually check the man page has some content before telling people to read it) and often some help in how to read it (particularly for the likes of man pages and datasheets).

I've found there's a skill in being able to read some forms of documentation and get useful answers out of it. This is a worthwhile skill in learning but people tend to either need help in learning that skill or a lot of motivation.

The thing that particularly annoys me are the occasional people that come looking for answers with no intention of learning anything themselves. Luckily there aren't many of them around.
broe23 wrote: I do not mind helping others with hardware or networking issues. That is something I have gotten really good at over 38 years in doing. Since I reignited my fire for wanting to create and build with the Pi platform, I am finding that I am searching elsewhere for information that is incomplete or end up giving up.
Incomplete and/or badly written information feels like it's a growing problem. Unfortunately the people that tend to write readable tutorials for beginners are the people who spent hours trying to do something that others find simple (e.g. connecting an LED, resistor and battery together). These often miss out the important bits (why there's a resistor there, and how we calculate its value) and can even be totally wrong.

I'm not sure this is a new problem. I remember being taught, 20 years ago in school, that because we had two LEDs in a simple circuit we needed two batteries, along with no mention of current limiting resistors. However the age of the internet and blogging has made it a lot more obvious.

With this range of poor/incomplete information I'd say it's becoming more sensible that if someone is told RTFM they should also be pointed at the right manual and helped to learn how to determine if documentation is good or bad.

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 9:54 am
by Heater
Pithagoros,

The Philips Electronic Engineer kit was a great system...

There was a board full of holes.

You laid a card, with the circuit layout printed on it, onto the board.

You poked spring clips through the holes where components were to be connected.

You poked the wires of the components through loops in the top of the spring clips.

Got that working? Showed it off to everybody? Got bored with it? OK, remove the components, clips and card and start on the next project.

There was battery, speaker and a pot or two permanently mounted on the base board.

Point was you had to assemble the thing yourself. I have seen similar kits on sale in toy stores recently but they have all the components mounted permanently and you have to hook them up with lot's of jumpers.
This seems like a confusing mess and not so "hands on". But then they are using IC's, opamps, TTL, and such so I guess that's about the only way to go.

Maplin came on the scene ten years later. I used to visit their first shop in Essex. It was great. Wall to wall components and tools and such. I was in heaven. The modern day Maplin stores are a pale shadow of that paradise.

The Maplin magazine was pretty good. My partner and I got a article published in there, on making holograms with the Maplin HeNe laser in 1996 or so.

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 11:04 am
by liz
I had a schoolfriend in the 80s whose Dad was a BBC Micro enthusiast, and who taught me (very patiently) about BASIC, what databases were, about typesetting (he'd twigged that I liked writing, and helped me set up and print a newspaper and write text adventures), and lots of other stuff besides. If I'd been left with school, I'd have come out of my education knowing how to type on a keyboard, and that'd have been your lot. I'm very grateful to him; and I'm grateful that my job means I get to pay it forward.

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 12:43 pm
by Pithagoros
mfa298 wrote:
Unfortunately the people that tend to write readable tutorials for beginners are the people who spent hours trying to do something that others find simple (e.g. connecting an LED, resistor and battery together). These often miss out the important bits (why there's a resistor there, and how we calculate its value) and can even be totally wrong.

I'm not sure this is a new problem........
Definitely not a new problem, in fact it's a well understood cognitive bias with a name "curse of knowledge". Despite it being well understood, it's still a prevalent problem, though it needn't be because all a person needs to do to prevent it is be aware of it.

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 2:49 pm
by scruss
mfa298 wrote:Incomplete and/or badly written information feels like it's a growing problem.
One of the difficulties here is that search engines tend to favour older articles. Much of the technical writing from the first couple of years of the Raspberry Pi no longer applies. True, the processes have become easier, but the old articles stick around and confuse.

I've tried to tag my older articles with Hey! This is really old! notes so that readers might get the idea to look elsewhere. Of course, when your articles are lifted by linkfarmers or other types (cough adafruit cough …) they stick around forever, being unhelpful in ways I can't fix.

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 3:06 pm
by Jednorozec
liz wrote: write text adventures
I'm a big fan of text adventures and there's still a small active community. Have you released any of your text adventures?

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 4:29 pm
by liz
Ha! No - it was about 1987, they were all on 3.5in floppies, and God only knows where they are now.

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 4:33 pm
by darkbibble
maybe you could write-up a tutorial for kids on making text adventures for the foundation site liz

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 4:46 pm
by lpsw
darkbibble wrote:maybe you could write-up a tutorial for kids on making text adventures for the foundation site liz
Not a bad idea. Getting the little ones to compose and maintain plot and prose, supported by a little lot of code, and a tiny processor.
Brilliant.

Text adventures, meet your new friend GPIO...

Edited for clarity.

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 4:47 pm
by fanoush
scruss wrote: One of the difficulties here is that search engines tend to favour older articles.
Also the forum search here is not very useful. few days ago I tried to find specific thread by name, I remember the name is 'linux kernel is now 4.4' or something. The result?
Information: The following words in your search query were ignored because they are too common words: kernel linux now is 4 4.

Can this "common words" feature be somehow tuned or disabled?

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 4:50 pm
by W. H. Heydt
liz wrote:Ha! No - it was about 1987, they were all on 3.5in floppies, and God only knows where they are now.
In the great Bit Bucket in the sky?

(I used to occasionally empty actual "bit buckets", then usually referred to as "chip bins" because they filled up with the bits of card stock punched out in keypunches, card punches, and reproducing punches. Also used to have to tell people NOT to use them for confetti because of the sharp corners.)

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 4:56 pm
by mthomason
lpsw wrote:
darkbibble wrote:maybe you could write-up a tutorial for kids on making text adventures for the foundation site liz
Not a bad idea. Getting the little ones to compose and maintain plot and prose, supported by a little code, and a tiny processor.
Brilliant.

Text adventures, meet your new friend GPIO...
Hmmm, looks like Inform 7 works on the Pi, and it looks like it might be possible to write an extension to talk to the Pi's GPIO.

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 5:04 pm
by PeterO
Pithagoros wrote:
Heater wrote:Pithagoros,

Hey, we have walked the same road. Texas TTL databooks, Babani books... (there was no Maplin when I stated out)...the local Ham club meetings.

One of my greatest "toys" was the "Philips Electronic Engineer" kit I was given when I was 9. .
I started with their "X40" set. http://lushprojects.com/blog/2015/02/ph ... onics-x40/
Still got the manual and a few components somewhere....
PeterO

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 5:12 pm
by darkbibble
"Hmmm, looks like Inform 7 works on the Pi, and it looks like it might be possible to write an extension to talk to the Pi's GPIO."

I justs had a look at that site and am confused by the need for interpreters and virtuals machines are needed to manage a huge string of IF, ELSE, THEN, GOTO, commands

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 5:22 pm
by Heater
W. H. Heydt,
In the great Bit Bucket in the sky?
I used to empty bit buckets as well. Usually from the tape punches in teletypes.

In the late 1970's Intel sold development systems, Intelec MDS, that ran their ISIS II operating system.
ISIS II had drive names :F1:, :F2: etc. The null device was :BB: The Bit Bucket.

:BB: never needed emptying :)

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 5:32 pm
by darkbibble
liz, the hardest game I ever played was the "lord of the rings" text adventure on the Commodore64

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 5:34 pm
by W. H. Heydt
Heater wrote:W. H. Heydt,
In the great Bit Bucket in the sky?
I used to empty bit buckets as well. Usually from the tape punches in teletypes.

In the late 1970's Intel sold development systems, Intelec MDS, that ran their ISIS II operating system.
ISIS II had drive names :F1:, :F2: etc. The null device was :BB: The Bit Bucket.

:BB: never needed emptying :)
I never had to deal with an actual Teletype, but I did have access for a while to a Frieden Flexowriter which used paper tape and that needed emptying on occasion. It was most used in conjunction with a modified IBM 026 Keypunch that had a paper tape reader and was used to convert from paper tape (from the Flex) to cards to feed to an IBM 1620.

Later, a company I worked for had some hardcopy (from TI, IIRC) terminals that were remotely accessed to punch paper tape. The Paper tape was then run through a 1000-char/min reader attached to an IBM S/370 mainframe. I wrote some CICS programs to replace that process so we could get rid of the--rather expensive--paper tape reader on the main frame. (I worked there long enough that I have a very tiny pension from them.)

Re: Raspberry Pi 'community'

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 5:40 pm
by lpsw
I have (or should have) the source to the ascii-art Star Trek game from the mid-70's. Mainframe fortran source code.
Except that it's on an FDR backup from a mainframe, I don't have a tape drive, or a mainframe.
But if I get it off I'll port it.