Category Archives: 1

True Tools – You Tools

The greatest tool you have is, YOU.  The processor at the heart of an embedded system is the heart and mind of the embedded systems designer.  That’s what I love about the Apple II.  Steve Woz took what others were already using, put his heart into it, and came up with a system that many people could love.  I know that computer love is a taboo topic, but not many people can bond with a desktop  these days.  The Apple II offered that.  A lot of the final design was because Woz wanted to be able to play ‘breakout’ on the new system.  If he hadn’t had love for the system, the project wouldn’t have been as great.

I am an amateur.  I love working with the embedded design process because it takes something which is bound – a computer system – and turns it into something without boundaries – the imagination of the designer.  An embedded system is not necessarily dictated by the skills of the designer, but by his drive and creative imagination.  Yes, my code is fat, yes my circuits are often faulty, but in the end it is my drive that makes the projects move forward.

I’m taking my passion and turning it into cash.  I’ve applied for a second undergraduate degree in Computer Systems Engineering (though I may switch over to the move traditional ‘computer science’).  I know it won’t be as fun getting paid for it, but eating every day will be a huge bonus.

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New Tools, Hacks, and Toys

Which one of the following is a tool, which is a toy?

Toys or Tools?

Development Tools for the Project

From left to right: New Breadboard with a 6502 and 64K SRAM chip.  New Multimeter – my old one was trash.  Keyboard from Apple IIGS taken apart and ready to hack.

Current project update:

Keyboard is ready for hacking – literally.  My roommate and blacksmith friend Ellen is going to cut the numerical keyboard half off of the keyboard – which as luck would have it – seem to only be attached by jumpers.

Design is coming together.  I am planning on doing some very retro things with the case/layout design.

Tools are chosen:  I am going to learn the propeller chip because it is an optimal chip for this type of project – more on that in an upcoming post.

Learning Apple II memory map and 6502 Assembly.  Though, I’ve realized that I probably don’t need to know as much 6502 Assembly as I once thought, it is a very rewarding experience to learn a chip from the inside out.