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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
- ixquick or duckduckgo in place of google
for web searches. They work the same way from the user's POV, but they don't keep a record of your searches or give the records to
government snoops like Google, Yahoo, and others do. Startmail is available
now too. 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.
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.
- 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 or duckduckgo
instead. They don't keep a record of your searches, use tracking cookies, 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 high 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 Apr 6, 2019