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Bert22306
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CEO
Re: Not electronic, but...
Bert22306   12/31/2013 6:40:15 PM
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Wait, David. Office 2003? Really? I was glad to be rid of it.

Not that I like the ribbon feature, but as one who often has to generate .pdf files from my Office documents, doing so from Office 2003 was *excrutiating*.  It went pass after pass, over the entire document, sloooowly, at least three times, so anything of substance would take 30 to 45 minutes to process.

Ribbon and all, Office 2007 and 2010 took care of that problem. What took 30 minutes with Office 2003 now takes, say, 4 minutes. Maybe even less. In fact, I discovered this using the same version of Acrobat, and just changing Office from 2003 to 2007.

As to organization, going from Office 2003 to Office 2007, I could usually see the logic of the change. Go in assuming you were new to Office, where would you put that feature if you'd never used an older Office? That usually worked. Going from Office 2007 to 2010, unfortunately, is a different matter. The proverbial "change for the sake of change."

Even something as basic as printing a document. Where did they put the "print" button? At the bottom of the screen, after you've navigated through the options? Of course not. It's at the top of trhe screen. How silly is that?

Oh, I got a very nice WiFi Radio stereo tuner. Fun toy, I must say.

Aeroengineer
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Books, glorious books
Aeroengineer   12/31/2013 2:35:23 PM
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I love books!  I just wish that bookstores carried books that I was actually interested in.  also somewhat detrimental to my book purchasing is the high cost of the books I want to purchase.  I would say that the average price is in the $60-$80 with some of the books that I want to get going as high as $160.

Max The Magnificent
User Rank
Blogger
Books, glorious books
Max The Magnificent   12/31/2013 2:16:54 PM
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I also got three really great books from my wife (plus a set of 11 Doctor Who miniature figures from my mom LOL). First I got the Arduino Cookbook, which I quickly read from cover to cover -- very useful stuff.

I also got The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, which was recommended a few weeks ago in comments to another column and which is proving to be very interesting.

Last, but certainly not least, I got How to Sharpen Pencils: A Practical & Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening for Writers, Artists, Contractors, Flange Turners, Anglesmiths, & Civil Servants, which turns out to be a really funny work -- I only wish I was clever enough to come up with something like this.

Suffice it to say that I heartily recommend all three of these little scamps.

Aeroengineer
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Not electronic, but...
Aeroengineer   12/31/2013 9:51:34 AM
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Ooo, you got one of the things that I have been eyeing up.  Have you played at all with the ICEstick?  I would be interested to hear a review on it.  I am looking to jump in and learn FPGA's this year.  Are there any thoughts that you could share on it?

 

As to the IDE for STM32 microcontrollers, I use CoIDE.  It is a nice IDE based upon a customized version of Eclipse.  It has a few quirks, but on the whole it is not too bad.  You will want to download and install GCC ARM (instructions with download link for GCC ARM 4.8).  Then you can download and install the CoIDE.  I usually do it through their CoCenter application as it will check for updates.  I have never set it up on a VM or on an XP box, only on a Vista, 7, and 8.1 box.  The other small caviot is that I am not sure if the STM32F429 is supported yet.  I know that there are plans to do so.  There is a work around here.

 

As to the thread topics, no worries, I just prefer to focus on the positive side of things.  Some times things can have a tendancy to run away otherwise.  Thanks for posting!

sa_penguin
User Rank
Manager
Re: Not electronic, but...
sa_penguin   12/31/2013 4:27:41 AM
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Sorry, I didn't intend to usurp the thread. Although I got some great replies to sort through.

What did I get? A Lattice ICEstick kit, and an STM32F4 Discovery [with LCD]. So pray tell: how did you set up a toolchain for the STM32, in only 10 minutes? I was planning on a Virtualbox copy of XP as a development platform...

Aeroengineer
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Not electronic, but...
Aeroengineer   12/30/2013 11:23:12 PM
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David,

 

No worries, though it is hard to ask for progress without having to deal with change.  I think that this is what has happened with Win8.  I was a bit worried as I had heard all the negative reviews on Win8, but I went in with a go and see for myself viewpoint.  I came away actually very impressed.  Was it different, yes, but it works very well, and is laid out in a fashion that is rather intuitive for most people.  Is it different yes.  If you want to go back to standard views there are some options available.  Here are a few:

http://www.ubit.ch/software/ubitmenu-languages/

http://www.addintools.com/office2010/enterprise/

 

The other reason that I support having changes in systems and programs is because everything can be made better.  A great example is how CATIA has stuck with their interface for such a long time.  It is the worst example of a mid to late 90's interface.  At the time it was state of the art.  Then a company called SolidWorks came along and started to take market share with their intuitive product.  It had a great user interface.  In fact it was one of the first mcad products to embrace the ribbon.  Here it makes loads of sense.  There are different sets of tools that are not all used at one time, and so you get to save screen space by using this interface method.  You would have thought that after the company that owned CATIA would have used some of the elements from SolidWorks after it was under the same company, but no, CATIA launched an all new version with the same 90's interface.  Such a waste.  There are many other CAE tools that do not change because it would make all the old users mad that they had spent years learning skills that are now antiquated (Ansys).

 

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Not electronic, but...
David Ashton   12/30/2013 10:57:57 PM
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@Adam... " I did not intend to have this be an OS bashing thread. "

Sorry, Adam, that's what you call getting sidetracked.....But MS annoy me with the way they let you get comfortable with one way of doing things, which is perfectly good, and then replace it with another "flavour of the year" merely, it seems, for the sake of change.

MS products are the nearest thing there is to a universal OS / office suite and hence will always be popular, and almost obligatory, but they do have a way of getting up your nose.....

 

Aeroengineer
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Not electronic, but...
Aeroengineer   12/30/2013 9:51:44 PM
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@SA

 

Here is a link for windows embedded.  It has been our for quite sometime.  I know that it has been around for at least a year, though I am sure that it has been around for longer than that.  This was first setup for the first Beaglebone, and now has been setup for the Beaglebone Black.

http://www.adeneo-embedded.com/en/Products/Board-Support-Packages/BeagleBone

Here is one project to get Windows CE7 working on RasPI

https://ceonpi.codeplex.com/

It seems that it is not quite up and running with full drivers yet, but it is recent effort.

 

As for using C++ for developing on it here is a link to a basic guide on how to get going.  It is very old as it talks about compiling projects for PDA's.

http://www.wirelessdevnet.com/channels/pda/training/vcce.html

Here is a more current version detailing with Windows CE7 and CE8

http://geekswithblogs.net/WernerWillemsens/archive/2013/09/13/building-windows-ce-6-or-7-smart-device-application-with.aspx

So perhaps Christmas for 2014 has come early for you ;)  Though, that being said, I am not sure that Windows CE is the best for this type of device.  It would really depend on what you want to do with it.  I did read that there may be an effort to get Win RT up and running on the BBB, but I am not sure if it is a serious project.

Aeroengineer
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Not electronic, but...
Aeroengineer   12/30/2013 8:10:22 PM
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I for one love the ribbon feature, but then again, I come from a mechanical design world where most MCAD, and PCB design tools suffer from not being able to get the features out to the user.  Plus I still use the hotkeys for most of the things that I need.  In the end, though, I found that the ribbon interface bring out a lot of options that many people did not know existed.

 

In all seriousness, though, I did not intend to have this be an OS bashing thread.  I think that all OS's have their good and bad features.  Each one caters to a specific subset of users, and marketing will attempt to highlight the faults of their competition.  For me Microsoft products meet my needs better than any other OS for a variety of reasons. 

 

One of those reasons is that, on a tablet I installed a full IDE for the STM32 microcontrollers in less than 10 minutes.  It is something that I could easily guide anyone else to do in less than a few steps.  I did a quick look, and I do not see a full IDE for Android or Mobile iOS for STM32.  In this sense, for me this is an area that without Win8.1 on a tablet, I would not be able to do this.  I would have to bring another complete laptop. 

 

If I was looking for a media consumption device, then Apple products have this cornered.  For people that like to tinker with the OS and other feeatures, then Android.  For the record, I own an Android phone, I have a dual booting computer with Ubuntu and I use Windows as my primary OS.  My wife owns an iPhone and iPad.  So I have been exposed to all of them.

 

But, like I said, let's hear about what you got.

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Not electronic, but...
David Ashton   12/30/2013 7:34:38 PM
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@SA-penguin....MS Office Ribbon....well said....it's an abomination.  When you can find the relevant command on the ribbon, it does not have all the options...some of them you can only get by right clicking....etc.....

I use the version with the ribbon because I was sick of not being able to read .DOCX files, but I do yearn for 2003.  Don'cha love progress?

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