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Things I do and don't like, relating to the computer hobbyist (I'd be surprised if you agree with
all of it!)
- simple serial communications protocols:
- SPI. On 6502.org, we devised a very
flexible serial bus called
65SIB (for "6502.org Serial Interface Bus") which
is based on SPI but extends it in several directions at once. I show a way to interface to it with a 65c22 VIA on my
circuit potpourri page, with code
linked. 10/31/16: We now have a connector standard finialized for tiny SPI plug-in modules on the 6502.org forum, called SPI-10,
- Microwire. Very similar to
SPI, and can go on 65SIB.
- I²C. I propose a connector standard called
I2C-6 for tiny I²C plug-in modules, and show how to
interface to I²C with a 65c22 VIA on my
circuit potpourri page, with code linked.
- dumb shift registers (like 74HC595, 74HC165, etc.) I show how to use them for tons of I/O extensions from a 65c22 VIA on
my circuit potpourri page, with code linked.
- RS-232/422/485, as they are easily understood (unlike USB), can go long distances (unlike USB), and can even dramatically
outperform USB for very small data packets and where very quick back-and-forths are required. You can make up the
cables yourself with common tools (unlike USB). I have an
RS-232 primer here on this site. It has some
discussion at the end regarding RS-422 and RS-485 as well.
- Linux and open-source software. I'm tired of MS's bugs, big-brother tactics, security holes, instability, and high prices.
- stack-oriented languages
- assembly language with program structures and diagrams
and good commenting (all of which are too rare)
- scaled-integer math (Note that I did not say
"fixed-point" which is a narrow subset of scaled-integer.)
- simple multitasking without a multitasking OS
- software survivalism
- duckduckgo in place of
google for web searches. It works the same way from the user's POV, but it doesn't keep a record of your searches or give the records to
government snoops like Google, Yahoo, and others do. In 2016, Google started censoring health-related search results that run contrary to the profits of the very corrupt
pharmaceutical and medical industry, and started favoring certain political candidates as well.
- HP-IL, basically a serial implementation of IEEE-488 (HP-IB) with some advantages. There's a brief description in the 2nd-to-last
paragraph of this post of mine.
- HP-41cx calculator/computer Not fast, but way ahead of its time in many
ways, and arguably the best calculator HP ever made. It was the controller in the first automated test setup I ever did at
work. See my related links. The 42 and other later HP's
(except the 71) were unable to do this.
Do not like: (I know, very opinionated!)
- Windows. I use Linux instead, and in fact I still use DOS for a few things in my work. When I used Windows, I was always angry
with the computer. It wasn't worth my health. I will say however that Ubuntu has been getting harder to use in recent years,
rather than easier. I think I should have stayed with version 14.04.
- bloatware (see the article "Low-Fat Computing") and the careless
prevailing philosophy of just throwing gigaHertz or gigabytes at a problem just because it's cheap and we want to get to market sooner
- Google. Use ixquick.eu (not .com, which passes search requests on to Google) or
duckduckgo instead. They don't keep a record of your searches, or use tracking
cookies, or store your IP address, or tell Big Brother what you searched for like Google, Yahoo, and others do, or bias the search results.
- algebraic programming languages, including C and its many relatives
- how the consumer electronics market changes too quickly to latch onto. Remember how long Zip discs lasted? PCMCIA? MMC
- USB. It does have its place in consumer electronics where for example you want to connect your digital camera to your PC; but its name
is misleading. How can you call it "universal" if there are nine kinds of plugs (18 if you include male & female of each)? or
"bus" when normally one port goes to only one device? The spec. also does not allow a battery-powered hand-held device to be an actual
controller. Regardless, the complexity is too great for quickly making your projects communicate by USB, other than to use black-box
accessories. RS-485 can do 35Mbps at 33 feet (twice USB's maximum distance), and both
RS-485 can go at least 90kbps at 3/4 mile and allow you to make up your
own cables and use the same UARTs that RS-232 does, without RS-232's higher voltages.
- bluetooth, and misapplications of wireless (no, I do not want a wireless mouse, a wireless connection from my HP-41 to a printer,...) See
the article and the first video at
this link where Dr. Devra
Davis gives loads of info from studies showing the health hazards.
- websites that try to be too cute (especially if they make something move on the screen when I didn't ask for a video—and I absolutely
HATE viscosity effects!)
- gray writing on websites. Supposedly the softer look is more attractive, and the proponents say black on white on the monitor is a much
greater contrast than black ink on white paper; but even when I had some clouding in one eye (fixed in 2015 by diet), I never had
trouble reading black ink on white paper, but gray writing on the screen slows me way down. Please don't do it.
- touchscreens, because of their grime, parallax, lack of accuracy
- color on ATM screens, which makes them unreadable when the sun is shining on them
- voice-recognition on automated phone systems. I've had to call from outdoors with wind on the mic and the voice recognition could not
understand me at all, no matter how long I tried.
- autodialers and the solicitors that go with them. If you say "hello" a couple of times before the caller picks up, just hang up. I
don't make financial decisions on the phone anyway, so even organizations that we support by mail won't get a penny out of me by calling.
- wallpaper (Woops— now we're really off-topic! :D )
last updated Nov 14, 2020