Last night I started playing with my Arduino that I bought a long time ago. I’m programming it on my second laptop. That system is running Windows XP and off the network so I’m using a good bit of sneaker-net with it.
I installed a few things – Perl, Eclipse, the Arduino suite, the current version of Java, Visual Studio re-distribution kits. Although Java gave a warning, the only thing that refused to install was the Atmel studio. I’m doing Cygwin now…. I don’t know what to do without grep and find…
I also installed “shycis” which is a program that draws a little ripple around the cursor when you click. I like the visual feedback
I don’t really like the laptop. It’s old and the fan is noisy. The benefit is that it was free and I’ve got another desk to set it up on so my hardware mess on the desk doesn’t clutter up the software mess on the other desks.
So, my first program was pretty simple. Flash the Arduino LED at a increasing and decreasing pace. It’s pretty cute. Blinky lights are always nice to see–getting immediate, physical feedback for the code is a little intoxicating. It’s a couple levels beyond regular software development on the “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” scale.
I’m comfortable using wire wrap for semi-permanent prototypes, but also am looking for PCB manufacturers. Four that I know about:
http://www.pcbway.com/ Cheap PCB Prototype Manufacturer in China
http://dirtypcbs.com/ Dirt Cheap Dirty Boards
http://dev.dangerousprototypes.com/store/pcbs Dangerous Prototypes
https://oshpark.com/ OSH Park
I don’t have experience with any of these yet so I don’t know which are best.
If you’re interested… here I am on Hackaday https://hackaday.io/projects/hacker/95124
I’ve got one project I’m actively pursuing… The Mars Distance Calculator. Don’t have a good name for it. It’s supposed to keep a dynamic display of how far Mars is from your current location, updated as rapidly as the system can calculate it.