[sdiy] TI to buy NatSemi!!!!!

Scott Gravenhorst music.maker at gte.net
Thu Apr 7 18:52:14 CEST 2011

"David G. Dixon" <dixon at interchange.ubc.ca> wrote:
>> Jumping in late, so apologies if that was already covered by 
>> a post I have yet to read, but...
>...<major snippage>...
>> learning/experience and saving money.
>Yes, this was a factor, but I doubt that anyone without the inclination to
>build electronic gizmos in the first place would have taken up DIY
>electronics just to save money.  They'd have done without or waited until
>they could afford what they wanted.
>> However, not all is lost...
>> Of course this moves the DIY aspect from soldering to 
>> software, therefore some skills of the past (like remembering 
>> pinouts of your favorite part or resistor color codes) become 
>> less relevant.
>...which brings us right back to where we started: if you want to get into
>electronics today, you basically need computer skills, and perhaps not much
>else.  If this isn't "strictly" true today (Joe Grisso), then give it five
>or ten years and it probably will be.  That'll be the day I find a new hobby
>(or maybe start practicing the piano again...).

When I was a youngster, I remember building things from schematics.  If I could read the
schematic and collected all the correctly valued parts, I could make it work - without
really understanding what I did.  In fact, for me, that stunted my learning for quite
some time.  I ignored the theory and math and got the "Look! It works!" cheap thrill. 
That's something that doesn't happen with DSP unless you think that loading some
prewritten machine code into a dsPIC is actually "building something".

Certainly programming skill is part of it (and it is not impossible to learn it any more
than analog electronics is impossible to learn).  However, programming is not all there
is to it.  There are also DSP concepts themselves to learn and the associated math.  With
FPGA/CPLD technology, you must still think like a digital designer in terms of RAMs,
ROMs, adders, AND/OR/XOR/INVERT gates, multipliers, multiplexors, buffers etc.  When I
work with a digital design for a synth, this is exactly how I think, as if I had a huge
pile of CD4xxxx parts and RAM, ROM, etc.  Sure, that isn't analog electronics, but synth
design and build isn't over as a hobby.  After all, we did survive the demise of the
buggy whip, did we not?  

-- ScottG
-- Scott Gravenhorst
-- FPGA MIDI Synthesizer Information: home1.gte.net/res0658s/FPGA_synth/
-- FatMan: home1.gte.net/res0658s/fatman/
-- NonFatMan: home1.gte.net/res0658s/electronics/
-- When the going gets tough, the tough use the command line.

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