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'[EE] The 5-minute USBProg review'
2007\01\02@203717 by Martin Klingensmith

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Like I said before, my girlfriend bought me a USBProg for the holiday. I
just got it today, and I just got my first 12F675 program working 5
minutes ago.
My background is that I've been using the ATMega168 and avr-gcc on Linux
for the past few months. My last PIC project was quite a while ago, and
I used an assembler on Linux. So I decided that since this programmer is
USB and I have a nice laptop running Windows, I'm going to use MPLAB and
see what it has to offer for me.
Well 3 hours later I have a blinking LED from a 12F675. Not a far cry
from the 30F3013 I plan on using for an SMPS project, right? ;-)
So far the USBProg works great. I don't have any complaints. The only
thing I would like is a cable to go from the programming header to my
breadboard. This is probably quite user-specific so I guess I can't
blame Olin for not including one. I just soldered wires to the back of
the header.

The USB driver worked just fine. I installed the software and it said it
installed a driver, and that I should reboot. Me being me, I decided to
see if it would work without rebooting (silly Windows).. it worked fine.
YMMV.

I really like that the programmer can supply the Vdd for the target
circuit. This means that I don't have to mess with an extra power supply
for small circuits. It's also "pretty cool" that the programmer has a
solid Vpp to stand on, so you know that your MCLR resistor isn't going
to cause problems unless it is much too small.
The circuit board was hand-soldered. I have visions of someone,
somewhere, with strained eyes and wrists.
Overall I'm happy with it. I think I may put it in a project box. $88 is
too much to blow because something may get shorted out.
I will field questions, though I am far from experienced with this device.
--
Martin K

2007\01\03@073537 by olin piclist

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> The only
> thing I would like is a cable to go from the programming header to my
> breadboard. This is probably quite user-specific so I guess I can't
> blame Olin for not including one.

That and the PayPal shopping cart system I'm using makes it impossible to
add small options to a order.  I'm looking at alternatives, but PayPal is
the only one that doesn't charge a substantial monthly fee and that you
don't need to be a web guru to set up.  I would like a system where you can
buy various little items where I can supply the shipping weight for each
item, then the system totals up the shipping weight and decides what to
charge for shipping.  Or at least a global per-order shipping charge with
incremental per piece charges.  With PayPal, you have to specify a separate
shipping charge per item.  You can distinguish between the first and
additional quantity, but it is still per item.

This makes is unreasonable to sell little items like cables.  I can charge
$5 for the cable, but there is no way to explain to the system not to charge
additional shipping if you're alreay buying a USBProg, for example.

I'd like to offer a variety of accessories, but until I find a reasonable
shopping cart system this is unworkable.

> The USB driver worked just fine. I installed the software and it said it
> installed a driver, and that I should reboot. Me being me, I decided to
> see if it would work without rebooting (silly Windows).. it worked fine.
> YMMV.

The reboot is for the rest of the Embed Inc software, not the Windows
driver.  The software installation sets some environment variables in the
registry.  Things will work in any command window you create after the
install, but command windows opened before the install do not automatically
inherit the new environment variables, and the software will not work right
in those.  Unfortunately some commands will work and other will just appear
to sortof work.  It's easier to tell people to reboot than to try to explain
or deal with all the issues.  For example, if you ran PIC_PROG in a shell
window that was created before the install it would probably mostly work,
but error messages would look like a mess because it might not be able to
find the message files.

> The circuit board was hand-soldered. I have visions of someone,
> somewhere, with strained eyes and wrists.

The board was machine loaded, but apparently they screwed up something with
the SOT-23 transistors and some of them had to be reflowed by hand.  We had
to do a little work on some of the units as part of the final test
procedure.  I just looked it up the logs and you have unit #103, which had a
bad solder joint on Q12 fixed during final test.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2007\01\03@082432 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> That and the PayPal shopping cart system I'm using makes it
> impossible to add small options to a order.

I use paypal too, but not their shopping cart. I manage the shopping
cart, calculate per-item prices (varies between $ and Euro, with and
without VAT), and I add a shipping/handling fee (based on destination,
but otherwise fixed). Then I submit the total to paypal for handling
their stuff. Probably more complicated than what you do, but I am no web
guru. My stuff is all in javascript. Definitely not 'immediately
adaptable' to your case, but maybe a source of inspiration, like your
proggers interface specs are for me :).

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2007\01\03@095213 by olin piclist

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Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
> I use paypal too, but not their shopping cart. I manage the shopping
> cart, calculate per-item prices (varies between $ and Euro, with and
> without VAT), and I add a shipping/handling fee (based on destination,
> but otherwise fixed). Then I submit the total to paypal for handling
> their stuff.

You can do all this from javascript running on the client?  I didn't know it
can track state as the user moves between pages.  I don't know javascript
but would be willing to learn.  I assume it's just another programming
language, right?

Why do you do the monetary conversion yourself?  This is one thing PayPal
seems to be good at.  I specify prices in US dollars and they convert
everything as needed.  I'd prefer not to change that unless there is a good
reason to do so.

Would you be interested in consulting to set up a small sample site for me,
with documentation so that I can make incremental changes from there?

> Probably more complicated than what you do, but I am no web
> guru.

All I do is what it said in the PayPal shopping cart manual.  I didn't even
know it was possible to add my own layer like that.  Do you use a regular
web hosting service or do you run your own web server or run critical parts
of the site on your own server?


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2007\01\03@113239 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> You can do all this from javascript running on the client?

yes, you can even - to some extent - save values between browser
sessions (using cookies).

> I didn't know it can track state as the user moves between pages.

cookies, but I am not sure they are realy needed for that. but it is
what I use.

> I don't know javascript but would be willing to learn.  
> I assume it's just another programming language, right?

It is a lot like C/C++/Java/C#. Plenty of documentation on the web and
in books.

> Why do you do the monetary conversion yourself?  This is one
> thing PayPal seems to be good at.  

IIRC way back when I wrote this PP could not do it, so I did it myself.
Never felt an urge to change somthing that worked.

> Would you be interested in consulting to set up a small sample site
for me,
> with documentation so that I can make incremental changes from there?

No, too much work (for the time I have to spare, which value tends to be
negative anyway, and even more so now). But I can give you the
uncompressed sources of what I use (on the web the javascript is
compressed to long lines, to save some web space and gain some speed,
and to discourage hackers).
The whole thing is a bit complicated because the shopping cart page
(which is the page that does the transfer to PP) is generated by
javascript, so there is no plain HTML to see. The cart can be filled
either from that page or from the individual product pages.

Note: I don't write the pages by hand, they are written by a Python
script. Yet another programming language :)

> All I do is what it said in the PayPal shopping cart manual.  
> I didn't even know it was possible to add my own layer like that.  

When I wrote this PP had different documentation, I think what I use is
now documented in
www.paypal.com/en_US/NL/pdf/PP_WebsitePaymentsStandard_Integrati
onGuide.pdf chapter 8.

> Do you  use a regular
> web hosting service or do you run your own web server or run
> critical parts of the site on your own server?

I use a 'standard' hosting service, without any server-side scripting
(simple passive HTML, but with embedded javascript). I use a third-party
service to convert non-paypal orders to an email (which my
administration program converts to a proforma invoice). My hosting
service can now provide CGI scripts for that, but not at the moment I
wrote the whole thing, and this makes it easy to switch web services if
I ever want to. The shopping cart effectively runs on the clients PC,
the payment actions on PP, email-to-profoma conversion on my PC (when I
run the administration program). No need for a 'critical' server
anywhere. (I think PP is only 20% of my business, but that is almost
100% of the outside-europe business.)

One catch: for some reason my shopping cart does not work on apple
safari (but it works on other browser on apple). And of course it won't
work if the user has disabled javascript and/or cookies.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2007\01\03@132734 by pic

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Hi-

I might be able to shed some light on the process as I too am in process
for this.  *SIGH*

As I understand it from the PP documentation (I really suggest hitting their
site and getting the documentation, although there is quite a bit of it),
the PP system DOES NOT supply shipping costs, only includes it as a line
item for the bill. Drat.

In the US (where I am), the US postal service (USPS) has a service where
you can send an XML transaction to one of their servers (if you are a
registered (but free) signed up and qualified site) to determine the
postage of a number of different postage services (bulk, letter, package,
express, etc.) both domestically (with to/from zip codes) and internationally
(via destination country codes), along with package size and weight and
it will return the postage rates for them. If you want to persue this
path, go to the USPS web page and there will be information on the site
related to this information.  You have to register, then you get info
on their "test" site while you build and test your scripts (this is where
I am) and then after scripts are "checked" you are given the "live"
machines names.

I am using PHP as the server side scripting language for this effort.


I also have a couple of friends who have gotten "shopping cart" packages
(I believe that they are both free) who concurrently both swear by and
at them at the same time.......  One is Zen-cart the other is CRE loaded.

Neither of them were what I wanted, however, CREloaded had both the USPS
calculation package (along with UPS and Fed Ex.) as well as the PP
interface.  Both packages are quite extensive (way too extensive for my
needs).  Also, from my friends, both have their own set of "quirks" (bugs)
that make the debugging of them quite interesting.  I believe that ZEN
cart is on sourceforge.net.  And for CRE loaded you can go to:

http://www.creloaded.com

Where you "buy" a copy for 0.00 dollars......

Zen Cart is at:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/zencart/

I didn't like the the interfaces for these guys and I prefer using POSTGRES
database rather than mysql, as in cre-loaded.  I did a "pilot" install of
cre-loaded (both require PHP, and creloaded requires https services), and
kinda got it working.

And THAT finally reminded me why they didn't work for me.  I don't want
backorders. I want the package to check on existing stock and inhibit the
transaction if the entry exceeds "safety" stock.  There are times in my
package where there might be "large" orders of maybe 10 to 20 boards.
If, for example, I had 15 on hand with a safety range of 5 boards and the
customer wanted to buy 11 boards, there would be two orders with both the
packages that I looked at (and the PP shopping cart too if I remember).
You would get the order of 10 with a back order of 1 with twice the
shipping and handling.  The only entity that benefits from that is the
shipping company.  So, THAT's why I'm rolling my own.

Please be adviced that mine is still a work in progress.  I just got my
XML test scripts working with the USPS a couple of weeks ago (a paying
job came up in between) and I'm just about ready to get back to it again.

It's a fits and starts operation, so no timeline can be expected.  Sorry,
but I hope that my little message adds some light on the subject.

 Cheers,

  Rich S.


{Quote hidden}

> --

2007\01\03@143310 by olin piclist

face picon face
Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
> No, too much work (for the time I have to spare, which value tends to be
> negative anyway, and even more so now). But I can give you the
> uncompressed sources of what I use (on the web the javascript is
> compressed to long lines, to save some web space and gain some speed,
> and to discourage hackers).
> The whole thing is a bit complicated because the shopping cart page
> (which is the page that does the transfer to PP) is generated by
> javascript, so there is no plain HTML to see. The cart can be filled
> either from that page or from the individual product pages.
>
> Note: I don't write the pages by hand, they are written by a Python
> script. Yet another programming language :)

It sounds like you've got a nice system set up, but it would take
substantial work for me to understand it.  I know how to write basic HTML,
but anything beyond that is over my head currently.  I'd like to learn more,
but there always seems something more important to do first.

If it's easy for you to provide the uncompressed source, I'll take it and
keep it for if/when I get a chance to learn Javascript and try to understand
it or find someone else to do it for me.

Thanks for your help.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2007\01\03@151047 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> It sounds like you've got a nice system set up, but it would take
> substantial work for me to understand it.  
> I know how to write basic HTML,

not many newcomers bother with that. the advantage over them is that you
can probably understand code that writes HTML.

> but anything beyond that is over my head currently.  I'd like
> to learn more,
> but there always seems something more important to do first.

sounds exactly like here

> If it's easy for you to provide the uncompressed source, I'll
> take it and keep it for if/when I get a chance to learn Javascript and

> try to understand it or find someone else to do it for me.

sent directly

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2007\01\03@174642 by olin piclist

face picon face
Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
> sent directly

Got it, thanks.  Now I just have to get some time to learn Javascript and
try to understand what you've done.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

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