Sunday, 22 January 2012

New Year, New Ideas (or not!)

I don't think I am capable of "Original Thought".

Every time I think I have discovered something new, I realise that I am re-inventing the wheel.

Please don't think I am bitter about this, if I have a philosophy in life it would be a misquote (no blasphemy intended!) of one of the "Ten Commandments" (or to be more specific the Tenth Commandment) in that I do not (or at least try very hard not to) covet what another has.

Wives, possessions, original ideas, it's all the same thing to me!  Coveting like resistance (misquoting the Borg this time) is futile.

A couple of weeks ago, a professional colleague who works at our Head Office, unlike me who works "out in the field" mentioned something called an "Arduino" to me, and I had to confess that I'd never heard of it.

Anyway, to cut a long story short I looked "Arduino" up on the web, got very excited (!) at what I saw, bought one, faffed about with it and began asking friends and other colleagues if they knew about this wonderful piece of gadgetry, and it seems that I was the only one who thought it was something "new"!

Largely thanks to my friend and mentor, Ron Taylor (G4GXO) of Cumbria Designs, I had been introduced to the world of microcontrollers some little time ago, in connection with the "Eden 9" project.  For those who don't know, the Arduino is essentially a "mini microcontroller development board" based around an Atmel microcontroller, and as such could be described as a "microcontroller on steroids".

Further research, and reading of other bloggers' output revealed that Arduino isn't the only contender in this market place, Julian,  G4ILO has blogged about the "Gadget Gangster Propeller USB" platform, which seems, at least to the casual observer to be more or less the same thing but done with different hardware.

The unfortunate thing for me is that I now have ANOTHER interest to compete for my limited free time with QRSS, meteor observations, Digimodes, Classic Rigs, etc etc.   If only I could afford to retire from the Day Job and play with all these new toys!