Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS
- Dave has been struggling with his Windows7 upgrade.
- Chris released a new version of KiCad tutorials, which was needed because of software upgrades. MeowCAD was listed as a possible open source alternative to KiCad, though it doesn’t look like many are developing it. Dave knows someone named Meow Meow.
- Dave’s manufacturing/design partner relented and is switching from a PIC16 to a PIC32.
- It’s amazing how much time is spent in organizations simply maintaining lines of communication.
- Dave has been sort of acting as a manager, but mostly offers his opinion.
- There was discussion about whether Dave’s product should be 0pen source on the forum.
- Competitive advantage these days comes down to cost of components and branding.
- Chris gave a talk on “Top down electronics“, which made him rethink about how he thinks about modules.
- Other links we mentioned
Great show as always guys!very entertaining! I love trying to guess at which point in the podcast Chris becomes inebriated, ha, Chris you’re a great guy- thanks so much for all your efforts putting the podcast out each week. Dave, thanks for sharing with us about your product development updates, it is interesting insight into the process and I think a lot of us without that experience can learn a lot from hearing about it.
Take care guys!
Chris Gammell says
Surprisingly, no drinking during this episode. I was giggling from being drunk on electronics talk!
Nice show as always, i love interviews but listening to you two just ranting on everything is always a great fun, you should do a 2h episode.
Speaking of opening up the firmware, IMHO is always a good thing. It’s true that nobody will probabily add any new big feature to Dave’s product, but having the source code available will make fixing bugs much more efficient and comprensive. “Just” having more peoples looking at the code and fixing bugs is well worth the effort to open up the whole firmware.
Thinking about modules, we had college seniors come and present their senior projects at my employer. Some interesting projects.
They all used single board modules, there was no designed from scratch. At one point a student said, we should have used a different micro, like a Beagle Bone Black. To them that is the micro. No reason to mess with the fiddly hard parts like a DDR interface.
I need to change my point of view from “that is not a micro” to that is the way to go.
Chris Gammell says
Not sure I would encourage them to mistakenly refer to the BBB as a micro, that just makes them sound silly. But I think in general encouraging them to start with a high abstraction level is OK, especially given the time constraints of senior projects. In the end, it’s about problem solving and I think a single board computer is a totally legit way of solving a problem these days, much to the chagrin of purists.
Hey guys, I’m the developer of MeowCAD! Thanks for taking a look!
I wanted to respond to a few points you brought up. MeowCAD was primarily meant to an online EDA tool (as opposed to a natively run tool), so something that could run completely in your browser. There are some other companies that had this idea but they’re almost proprietary, which makes me very nervous.
MeowCAD wasn’t meant so much as a replacement for KiCAD but as a complement. The idea was to try and leverage the benefits of an online tool for circuit design (as in, you only need a browser to run it, you can share your projects with other people easily, etc.). For better or worse MeowCAD, like other online electronic EDAs, was trying to be ‘GitHub for electronics’. Electronics are a different beast than software so it’s not clear that this model would work as well for electronics as it did for software. Maybe some enabling technology needs to happen before ‘social circuit design’ becomes fashionable. Regardless, I saw a trend of proprietary online EDAs being released and I wanted to make sure that there was at least one open source alternative.
There’s also a difference between the parts library that an EDA uses and the EDA itself. MeowCAD uses KiCAD parts ‘under the hood’ and also supports (in a very limited, prototype sense) export to KiCAD and import from KiCAD. One of the reasons why MeowCAD was at all possible was because of the massive amount of work that went into the KiCAD parts, format and ideas. KiCAD forged the way and MeowCAD reaped the benefits. At one point I was even thinking of naming MeowCAD as ‘webKiCAD’ but thought better of it.
Developing a standard parts library is something that’s been talked about for a long time and as far as I know, hasn’t been solved anywhere, either in KiCAD, Eagle or any of the others. I know of some projects (like KiCAD cloud) that tried to take steps in this direction but this is still a large, unsolved problem. I tried to sidestep this issue by essentially using KiCAD parts and the underlying format as the de-facto standard.
I think there’s still a large barrier to circuit design. KiCAD is great but still is a bit difficult to get started with and I was hoping that MeowCAD would help overcome that barrier. Anyway, I’m the sole developer and since I announced the release I haven’t made any large additions to it. I plan to use it for some of my projects in the future so maybe I’ll add functionality as I need it.
ru4mj12 (@ru4mj12) says
You might want to consider making a simple MeowCAD course on Udemy. Lots of interesting courses related courses too!