Category Archives: Recommendations

My Personal Programming Language Recommendation Shift over Time

I am developing software for 20+ years now. In the early days, I developed software in Assembler, Basic, Fortran, Pascal and C. Meanwhile my focus gradually shifted over time.

It is a very personal view, with my own language recommendations I gave over time. Languages I never recommend are missing in this article, even I actively use them in software development – like C#.

Personally, I always distinguished between script languages and compiled languages, until languages with bytecode compilers got popular.

Also, the performance of computers led to this shift. There was no way around Assembler for the Commodore 64 until the end of its era. With more power, languages like C and Perl got popular and later even Java worked reasonably well on most systems.

If you ask me today, which programming language you should learn, I will recommend you one of the ones on the right side in the diagram. In the case you already know one, I will recommend you to look at one of its successors on the right.

My recommendation always depends on the usage of the language. Developing a desktop application is a whole different task than adding some animations and interactions to a website.

Continue reading My Personal Programming Language Recommendation Shift over Time

SMD Adapters from Adafruit

Today most chips are only available in SMD packages, therefore I often need adapter boards for prototyping. There are only a few manufacturer of adapter boards and they are often very expensive. I think the reason for the high price is, because most of this boards are made to replace DIL chips in devices with SMD ones. So this boards require a certain quality for this productive use.

For prototyping this is not my greatest concern. In most cases I am happy to get chips working and be able to experiment with them. I am aware there are many limitations on a breadboard, so the adapters do not have to be electrical perfect for my use. Spending $6-$9 per adapter, often for a single use, for a chip which costs only a few cents seems wrong to me.

Now I discovered, Adafruit has a nice set of SMD adapter boards in their shop. You always buy a set of three, six or even more, and they have different package sizes on both sides. It is exactly what I would expect from an adapter board for prototyping.

Have a closer look in Adafruits shop here, here and here.

PCBite Arrived

I recently ordered a set of “PCBite”. These are special PCB holder as shown in the images in this post. To solder components into PCB I sometimes used one of this many “helping hands” products with two clamps, but they are no real use in most cases.

PCBite seems to solve some of the problems very well. You get a metal plate with a mirror finish and four of this cylinders which have a very strong magnet in the base. The middle part of the cylinder with the grip on is can be moved down and the PCB fastened that way. It is very solid and two would be enough to hold the PCB easily.

PCBite Closeup

The mirror finish makes the bottom side of the PCB easily visible so you can solder on the top side and keep the component in view.

PCBite Mount

The shown PCB is from my Outmoded Sequencer project.

You can get you own set for $79 here, this includes free shipping. The quality of this PCB holder is outstanding. If you look at the close up photo, you see the perfection how this tool was made. I can really recommend this PCB holder.

Currently I am working on the final assembly of the Outmoded Sequencer, it looks very promising. There will soon be an update with all details about the final device.

 

Projects from Boldport Club Arrived

This week the beautiful projects from Boldport club arrived. Each of them comes with a nice box or bag which matches the individual project. All electronic components to assemble and solder the project are included, but you need some external power supply and jumper cables to bring some of the projects to life.

In the following sections, I will show you some impressions of the assembled kits. My soldering skills are far from perfect, so even after cleanup you see a lot of impurity on the PCB’s. If you like to join the club, you can do this here.

Project “Tap”

This project is based on a project from 1974, which is a touch activated switch. The “Tap” project is combined with the “Cordwood Puzzle” for the LEDs.

See the project in action:

Continue reading Projects from Boldport Club Arrived

Introducing the Boldport Club

I recently stumbled over the “Boldport Club”. This is a subscription where you get an unique electronic project for soldering every month in your mailbox. Each project is based on artful crafted PCBs and a couple of electronic components. You have to assemble everything by yourself, soldering all components together.

Read more and have a look at the projects here: http://www.boldport.club