About this blogThis blog is intended to be a record of my research, experiments and projects as I learn about electronics and the Arduino open source electronics prototyping platform in my spare time. I hope that it will be an interesting and useful source of information for other "home engineers".
As well as documenting experiments and projects it is planned to write some posts covering experiments with electronic junk (pull them apart and wire them up) and reviews of books, and components or boards.
About Kevin SadlerI live and work in England, on the Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire borders, with my wife and two daughters. I work in the family business, Boxhouse Publishing, where, among other things, I am responsible for the web site and integration of various computer systems. If I wasn't working there my dream job might be as a member of the Mars Curiosity Rover Team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA - call me?!) or an Archaeological Geophysicist (think John Gater of the "Geo-Fizz" Team on Channel 4's Time Team).
Computers and Computer ProgrammingI have been interested in Computers since I was a child when I taught myself the BASIC programming language on a Sinclair ZX Spectrum (before I got distracted by Elite). In the 1990s I owned an Amiga, and learned the C programming language, whilst at work I used UNIX (IBM's AIX, Solaris, Sillicon Graphics). Around 1996 I built my first PC, running Windows 95, and shortly after it was "dual booting" SuSE Linux. Through 2000 and into the naughties I jumped ship to various other flavours of Linux - Red Hat and CentOS (popular at the time and used at work), Gentoo (compile your own Linux optimised for your own processor), LFS (Linux from scratch, for minimal systems) and now - Ubuntu.
After 2000 I began to program with Java using early versions of the Eclipse IDE which I still use today at work and at home.
These days Java is my programming language of choice, but now, with the Arduino I find myself writing in C again for the first time in about five years.
Why Arduino?I've tended to hack "software" rather than "hardware" because it is pretty much always cheaper to do (especially with the Open Source movement) and the risk of an expensive mistake is low - you can "turn it off and on again" if it hangs, but if you've "let the magic smoke out" that's it. When I started my adventure in 2012 there were quite a few options to choose from, but the main choice for me was between the very popular Arduino and the recently developed Raspberry Pi.
One might think that the Pi would be my first choice, after all I have over a decade of experience of Linux, and it is a far more powerful computer. But the adventure isn't primarily about software, it's about hardware, and the Arduino looked better suited to that, and it would be interesting to get out of the Linux and Java comfort zone and into a micro-controller and C.
The Pi is certainly very interesting and I would look forward to playing about with one in the future.