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PICList Thread
'[OT] Death of a PICList?'
2007\06\06@024446 by James Newton

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As it happens, the thing I think makes PICList so valuable are the people
and the general information; much more so than it's use as a source of
information about the PIC. However...

I have noticed a disturbing trend in the number of PIC related and general
post volume of late. We are dying. The number of posts related to the PIC
microcontroller is continuing to drop off. The EE and OT volume remains
strong, but there is less and less REAL application of code and circuits to
the processor.

At first, I thought that perhaps the PIC was loosing favor, but although
there may be a slight decline, Microchip seems to be going well.

I think the issue is more that Microchip actually has a working forum
system. It is a great place for newbie's to go and be abused (rightfully or
not) by crusty old "most valuable PIC guru of the greater what the hell
ever.." sorts. So hobbyists with a need for help with their PICs are coming
here less.

On the one hand, fewer newbie's means fewer annoyances, not to mention less
attention from ego predators. On the other hand, fewer newbie's, in the long
run, means fewer members. And fewer members means fewer minds to answer the
really tough questions that we depend on each other to answer. And
eventually, it means no more PICList.

What to do?

- Let be what will be.

- Expand our focus to include other processors for which good help is not
available. AVR? MSP430? Others? This is what I was wondering about the other
day.

- re-brand ourselves as a "general" ee list where you can PIC the brains of
top level engineers rather than as the PIC Microchip list.

- Turn to the list membership for other options.



*ahem*



Err... This is where you say something?



---
James Newton: PICList webmaster/Admin #last?
spam_OUTjamesnewtonTakeThisOuTspampiclist.com  1-619-652-0593 phone
http://www.piclist.com/member/JMN-EFP-786
PIC/PICList FAQ: http://www.piclist.com



2007\06\06@031237 by Russell McMahon

face
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I'm sure*  a [TECHO] tag will help things :-)

> Err... This is where you say something?


       Russell



* VBG in case you missed it.


2007\06\06@031238 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
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> On the other hand, fewer newbie's, in the long
> run, means fewer members. And fewer members means fewer minds to
> answer the
> really tough questions that we depend on each other to answer. And
> eventually, it means no more PICList.

One could always actively solicit members or effectively advertise in,
of course, a tasteful sort of way.

If the list size dwindles somewhat does it matter? If it shrinks to
10% or less of peak maybe one cares but is there a long term
membership graph available and, if so,  what does it show?

I think we are far far from running out of quality support in the
general electrical area. I don't follow [PIC] overly closely but I'd
be surprised if we were lacking there either. I don't think there
would be very much so far in Electrical Engineering where a reasonably
good starter to a problem wasn't available and, in most cases, a full
solution.

I'd be interested in seeing the long term membership stats.


       Russell


2007\06\06@032437 by Picbits Sales

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I've been on the Piclist for a long time (under another name previously as
well).

I find the transport method rather clunky. Email based discussion lists are
a bit of a pain.

I'd like to see a proper "piclist.com" forum which is web based - if it was
run on a system like PHPBB or VBulletin it would be so much easier to
navigate and search - the current search function on piclist.com is a bit of
a pain and I quite often end up using Goggles ;) to seach archived posts.

Using proper forum software would also speed up the speed of responses.

I'm sure a lot of Piclisters would be happy to continue using piclist.com if
it was ported to a realtime forum but it would be interesting to have some
kind of vote on it to see what others think.

Just my $0.02 or 0.01GBP

Dom
{Original Message removed}

2007\06\06@034214 by Jesse Lackey

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My 2c is... I like it as an email forum.  Maybe I'm old fashioned (I'm
38 fwiw).  I have it sort into a PIClist folder "PIC-2007" on POP
download, the folder name gets incremented yearly.  Having all the posts
from 2002 (!) to present to search now and then for ... whatever is
pretty handy.

Most of my interest is EE, not PIC specifically, unless it is to
complain about a microchip hardware bug / documentation omission.  As
the "newbies" gravitate to AVR, there will necessarily be fewer people
here.  As a newbie in 2002 piclist was absolutely invaluable.

I guess it comes down to work style, going to specific website and
browsing "feels different" than just looking at the latest piclist
postings in the folder in Seamonkey, in the course of doing other
work-related email stuff.

Long live piclist!  :)
J



Picbits Sales wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2007\06\06@040551 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>My 2c is... I like it as an email forum.

Me too. I prefer to have the mails "delivered to my desk top" rather than go
searching for them on a bulletin board or forum. The forums that I do
subscribe to do not get looked at often, and when I do, I find they have
patchy activity possibly because everyone else has the same problem.

>Maybe I'm old fashioned (I'm 38 fwiw).

... and I'm even older ...

>I have it sort into a PIClist folder "PIC-2007" on POP
>download, the folder name gets incremented yearly.

I separate them into the different list categories ([EE], etc) each going
into its own folder as I find this helps me focus on the subject streams and
prioritise my reading. Any posts I find specifically interesting I put into
a "PIC Archive" folder. All these folders are subfolders under a generic
"PIC" one that is used to catch malformed category headers so they don't get
left in the Inbox (it is amazing how many mails come through with one or
both of the square brackets replaced by curly brackets because people miskey
the shift key).

2007\06\06@044721 by Rikard Bosnjakovic

picon face
On 6/6/07, Picbits Sales <.....salesKILLspamspam@spam@picbits.co.uk> wrote:

> if it was run on a system like PHPBB or VBulletin it would be so
> much easier to navigate and search

I'd beg to differ, but I'm having a flu today so I'm not in the mood
for arguing or debating. I know people love phpBB, and I know people
love mailing lists, but I don't know people who love both. I'm with
the latter company, probably because I'm grown up with the Fidonet,
way ahead in time before phpBB et al was invented.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say was - by commenting James' post -
is that list maybe can introduce some sort of a carrot that makes it
unique. I haven't been here for long, 3-4 months or so when I started
out with microcontrollers (and this list helped me with a well placed
boot in my end), but I must agree with James: lately there has been a
very big excess of OT/EE-tags, and the PIC-focused ones facing a
decrease. I'm not saying the EE-ones are uninteresting or anything
like that, just that they might not catch my eyes in the first place.

James also writes about fever minds solving fewer problems if more
people abandon this list - or, if less people join it. There are some
ideas about this. Perhaps some sort of a monthly contest or "the
question / trick of week", or something like that. For example, let's
say I ask everyone to design a LED matrix decoder using as few
components as possible. Ten people send their results, and the one of
these which I find to be the most innovative gets the honor to do the
next week's problem. Not too big ones, just enough to keep the brains
working and also giving newcomers (like me) a chance.

Just a though.


--
- Rikard - http://bos.hack.org/cv/

2007\06\06@050812 by Nate Duehr

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On Jun 6, 2007, at 2:47 AM, Rikard Bosnjakovic wrote:

> On 6/6/07, Picbits Sales <salesspamKILLspampicbits.co.uk> wrote:
>
>> if it was run on a system like PHPBB or VBulletin it would be so
>> much easier to navigate and search
>
> I'd beg to differ, but I'm having a flu today so I'm not in the mood
> for arguing or debating. I know people love phpBB, and I know people
> love mailing lists, but I don't know people who love both. I'm with
> the latter company, probably because I'm grown up with the Fidonet,
> way ahead in time before phpBB et al was invented.

Agreed about those who like mail and those who like web-forums.  I've  
always wonder why that gap was so large that no one's ever hacked  
mail-to-webforum support into one of the more popular webforums.  All  
the tools are there on your average Linux box to do it... just no  
one's felt enough of an "itch" to give it a go.

Same thing with YahooGroups style integration with a filesystem via  
the web for shared files, add ons for things like polls, single-sign  
on authentication, etc... YahooGroups is a popular way to bring  
communities of people together but their incessant advertising and 20  
lines of URL's at the bottom of every e-mail is somewhat annoying.

Seems like there's an open "market" for a REALLY well-designed  
(talking about user-interface AND ease of maintenance for the system  
admin) package that does both, well.  At the same time.  Both types  
of "community" offer benefits... it would be interesting to try to  
mix the two types.

--
Nate Duehr
.....nateKILLspamspam.....natetech.com



2007\06\06@051946 by Zik Saleeba

face picon face
Well as far as I'm concerned the piclist is fantastic. I think I'd
have to say it's the single most useful resource I've found on the
net. In a couple of years of lurking and asking the occasional
question I've gone from being a PIC newbie to designing commercial
PIC-based products and implementing PIC support in a C compiler.

It's not just the PIC content either - the wisdom I've gained from
[EE] has been utterly invaluable. Despite being employed as a software
person I've been able to put our hardware guys on to some really
helpful tips I've gained from the list, and given my apparent hardware
knowledge they've now let me loose on some hardware design too. Little
do they know that so much of my knowledge is learnt from the piclist!

So has this list's time passed? No way! By my estimate PICs are used
less in hobby projects these days but it still totals about half as
much as AVRs. That's still a lot. It's hard to quantify but I believe
that PICs are more popular than AVRs in commercial products, possibly
due to pricing or supply reasons. In my own personal projects I'm
using a combination of PICs and Atmel AT91 ARM-based processors these
days.

I'd like to thank everyone on the list for their wisdom and fantastic
advice over the years. Special thanks go to Bob Axtell for some great
answers he's given to my questions, to Russell for always posting
amazingly interesting stuff and to James for running the place. Hats
off to you guys and everyone else out there.

Cheers,
Zik

2007\06\06@054312 by Hector Martin

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Alan B. Pearce wrote:
>> My 2c is... I like it as an email forum.
>
> Me too. I prefer to have the mails "delivered to my desk top" rather than go
> searching for them on a bulletin board or forum. The forums that I do
> subscribe to do not get looked at often, and when I do, I find they have
> patchy activity possibly because everyone else has the same problem.

I'll agree on this one. Web forums are great when users really only
visit a few of them, but they tend to get only patchy visits if you're a
newcomer (as a forum). I've seen it happen a lot - forums which die out
due to people forgetting about them, sometimes even after a huge surge
of popularity which eventually decays. Microchip's forum will obviously
not die out anytime soon, but that's because it has de facto authority
status - after all, it's the chip maker's forum, which is where many new
people will end up in.

I've tried to set up a forum for our FIRST team. It failed miserably.
Then I set up a mailing list. Worked like a charm. I guess if you really
want to get people to answer, stuff the message in their inboxes :)

>
>> Maybe I'm old fashioned (I'm 38 fwiw).
>
> ... and I'm even older ...

I guess I'm here to balance things out a little. 16.

{Quote hidden}

I just have it all stuffed into one PICList folder, and I used to delete
old messages when it got too unwieldy. Not anymore though, as I've
switched to Dovecot IMAP which can handle the volume (Courier used to
choke bad on the quantity of messages). Currently, my log goes back a
little over a year. I might eventually have per-year folders, now that I
can actually manage my e-mail without waiting hours.


--
Hector Martin (EraseMEhectorspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTmarcansoft.com)
Public Key: http://www.marcansoft.com/marcan.asc

2007\06\06@060359 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On 6/6/07, James Newton <jnspamspam_OUTefplus.com> wrote:
>
> I think the issue is more that Microchip actually has a working forum
> system. It is a great place for newbie's to go and be abused (rightfully or
> not) by crusty old "most valuable PIC guru of the greater what the hell
> ever.." sorts. So hobbyists with a need for help with their PICs are coming
> here less.
>

Actually Microchip Forum is not only good for newbies but it is also
very successful in terms of more complicated PIC related issues as well.
I think Microchip Forum is definitely much better for more advanced
PIC users than PIClist now. For example, some of the best top
"super users" (Eg: Dario, Bob Barr, Olin, jtemples) are also posting
here but they are posting PIC related  issues much more often in
Microchip Forum. You will seldom come across dsPIC related issues
in PIClist since they are not so popular in the PIClist members. You
also seldom come across more advanced topics like
USB/CAN/Ethernet/Zigbee related issues here.

On the other hand, PIClist is still a good forum, especially for [EE] and
[OT].

Regards,
Xiaofan

2007\06\06@063818 by Tomas Larsson

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Why can't we have both, today it would not be a problem to have a web-based
forum and have RSS-feeds directly to the e-mail client.
Then we would have both.

The only drawback would be that one have to login in order to post, but I
can't really see that as a problem (maybe there is some forum-sw out there
that can deal with email-post's as well)

Personally I like BOTH the web-based and the list-based ones, however, I
find the web-based easier to work with, since I don't need to fill up my
mailbox with stuff that does not interest me for the moment.
But It might be of interest in the future, and searching /finding old stuff
on piclist is a pain, to be honest.

A forum-based PicList with RSS feeds is certanly on my wich-list, and it
would certanly stop quite a lot of spam as well, and solve the problems when
the isp gets blacklisted as well.

By the way, for you people that does not know it, I host a large number of
service/users/operators manuals on my ebaman site. Most of it is electronic
instruments, quite a lot of TEK equipment and Nakamichi stuff as well.
After registering the stuff is avaible for free download, plus that if you
have any manuals you can easily upload them as well.


With best regards

Tomas Larsson
Sweden
http://www.tlec.se
http://www.ebaman.com

Verus Amicus Est Tamquam Alter Idem

2007\06\06@082255 by John Ferrell

face picon face
I like it the way it is.
I am 67 and long time retired computer fixer.
Many questions are now answered with an archive search.
Many questions about non-Pic processors can also be resolved by an archive
search.

I follow the softrock40 group on Yahoo both on the web and via email. I find
both ways useful.
The questions asked by the "new Guys" that are answered by the "seasoned
users" are interesting reading and educational, at least for those of us in
the fourth quarter of our lives.

Volume is not a very good indicator of usefulness!

>From this user's viewpoint PicList is not dying but seems to be maturing...

John Ferrell    W8CCW
"Life is easier if you learn to plow
      around the stumps"
http://DixieNC.US


2007\06\06@082406 by wouter van ooijen

face picon face
> I find the transport method rather clunky. Email based
> discussion lists are a bit of a pain.

Funny. the main reason why I am not active on the Mirochip forums is
that they don't have an email interface.

>> - Expand our focus to include other processors for which

go with the flow. there are tags for AVR, ARM, etc, so when questions
are asked they can be identified and answered.

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\06\06@083509 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Tomas Larsson wrote:

> Why can't we have both, today it would not be a problem to have a
> web-based forum and have RSS-feeds directly to the e-mail client. Then
> we would have both.

I'm not sure what you guys want, but there are already a number of ways to
use (read/post to) the piclist:

- Traditional mailing list
- Newsgroup (gmane.org)
- Forum (nabble.com)

Current readers (both mail and news) can show the messages as threads and
free email accounts and news allow you to get/read the messages when you
want and don't have to fill up your normal inbox, which IMO leaves little
that a forum could provide that the email or news way doesn't.


James Newton wrote:

> I have noticed a disturbing trend in the number of PIC related and
> general post volume of late. We are dying. The number of posts related
> to the PIC microcontroller is continuing to drop off. The EE and OT
> volume remains strong, but there is less and less REAL application of
> code and circuits to the processor.

I don't feel that the list is dying. There are not anymore the contests of
yore to squeeze out the last instruction of a 2 1/2 digit binary to BCD
conversion, but for me (as an addicted HLL programmer :) this was never the
reason to subscribe. "The EE volume remains strong" is IMO the important
thing. To me, this list is a source of keeping me in the loop of general
(electrical) engineering issues. So if a change, for me that would be the
rebranding as a "PIC the brains" list -- which for me it already is :)

Regarding PICs, I think both the Microchip forum and the fact that there's
so much material out there bring this to a natural slowdown. Also, once
upon a time the PIC was a pretty unique animal, especially attractive for
hobbyists who wanted to get some processor power in small low-budget
projects. It's lost that uniqueness -- there are many others out there,
small and big. So I think that the PIC part is slowly going down (at least
on this list, but possibly in general) is probably unavoidable.

Gerhard

2007\06\06@103917 by Jake Anderson

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> Agreed about those who like mail and those who like web-forums.  I've  
> always wonder why that gap was so large that no one's ever hacked  
> mail-to-webforum support into one of the more popular webforums.  All  
> the tools are there on your average Linux box to do it... just no  
> one's felt enough of an "itch" to give it a go.
for PHPBB its called mail2forum and i run it for a group i'm a part of.
I started off with a (yahoo) mailing list and i found out why all my
users were having so much difficulty with it. They all thought email
meant web based. IE gmail/hotmail/yahoo none of them had an actual real
email program.
no wonder they prefered a BB type system, it makes it almost as easy as
real email.

Needless to say I really dislike web forums. I have the ones i look at
set to email me when a message is posted in a thread i'm interested in,
then i open the bookmark in firefox, go to latest posts click on all the
threads then read them.

GAH! for the love of god loosers learn what IMAP or POP3 are for!

mail2forum = best of both worlds. I get everything by email. The lusers
can use their crappy forum crap.

Computers are meant to work for me not the other way around.
</vent>

2007\06\06@105230 by M. Adam Davis

face picon face
On 6/6/07, James Newton <@spam@jnKILLspamspamefplus.com> wrote:
> I think the issue is more that Microchip actually has a working forum
> system. It is a great place for newbie's to go and be abused (rightfully or
> not) by crusty old "most valuable PIC guru of the greater what the hell
> ever.." sorts. So hobbyists with a need for help with their PICs are coming
> here less.

On top of that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of websites that
answer most PIC related questions, and even more that cover general
microcontroller and electronics questions.

On top of that, Google works far better than did Altavista, Netscape,
AOL, Yahoo, and the search engines of yesteryear.

On top of that, it is far easier and cheaper to get started with a
higher level language on the PIC (and other micros) than it used to
be.

On top of that the university students and professors that were the
initial big users of the piclist have now turned their students on to
pre-built kits, with copious existing documentation and they know how
to use a search engine.

The PICList is a brain for PIC knowledge, but as the information has
disseminated, the brain is no longer used/needed - all the info is
built into muscle memory now.

> On the one hand, fewer newbie's means fewer annoyances, not to mention less
> attention from ego predators. On the other hand, fewer newbie's, in the long
> run, means fewer members. And fewer members means fewer minds to answer the
> really tough questions that we depend on each other to answer. And
> eventually, it means no more PICList.

That is true.

> What to do?
>
> - Let be what will be.

A reasonable choice - essentially recognizing that the goal of the
piclist has been met, and thus the continuing service is, while used,
becoming less useful generally.

> - Expand our focus to include other processors for which good help is not
> available. AVR? MSP430? Others? This is what I was wondering about the other
> day.

The piclist has tried this in the past, and it hasn't worked out well
for many reasons.  Most of the reasons it hasn't worked out are the
same reasons it worked as a piclist:

1. Timing is off - there are already good and great forums out there
for most of the other processors.  AVR, ARM, MSP430, PSoC, etc.  The
piclist started when pic info was in great need, web forums were
non-existant, manufacturer's were mum, and the PIC was cheap and
plentiful.  Even if we caught a new wave for a new chip, it wouldn't
work.

2. Focus is difficult - Even microchip now has 3 distinct lines that,
while related, are targeted at different consumers and most people
want to drill down so their area of interest fills their vision.  Move
to AVR, and there's more fragmentation.  Move to ARM and it just
explodes - _some_ code questions between different arm processors are
related, but the vast majority of microcontroller questions target
bootup, interfacing, clocks, hardware design, peripheral usage, etc
which not only differ greatly between manufacturers, but differ
greatly within the same manufacturer, and along the line of available
arms - arm7, arm9, cortex, etc.  The piclist was very focused when it
started - there were a few chips, and they all had the same electrical
and firmware specs.  The peripherals were simple and easy to use.

3. Manufacturers that are interested in the hobbyist, as microchip was
when piclist started, are legion now.  They now see what a huge impact
microchip is making in the market because they, intentionally or not,
flooded the market with pic designers.  As long as they continue to do
that, they'll probably do well.  However, Atmel wasn't far behind, TI
is doing better, and ever other chip manufacturer is supporting
hobbyists through web forums and good faqs.

4. There was nothing else, and the university-style interaction that
started the list made it suitable for beginners and seasoned pros
alike, which led to the fact that word of mouth was enough to spread
the news.  If you spend much time on any forum on nearly any topic,
however, you find all sorts of people encouraging others to go visit
their forum or join their list, trying to evangelize their 'unique'
resource.  You won't be able to grow this list on another topic unless
you have a critical mass, and you can't get a critical mass until you
grow the list.  You'd have to parlay the existing intelligence into
the new niche, and that's not going to be easy without sending out 500
dev kits to existing list members.  Although that might work, you'd
have a very hard time selling that idea to someone with the resources
to do so.

5. Email lists were to newsgroups what forums are to email lists.
Right now beginners prefer the forum interface.  It's not ideal, but
it's better for looking through the information without a significant
investment in time and energy, and it looks like web email, which is
what the vast majority of new users use for email now.  In the days of
yore, newsgroups were the defacto interface, but newbies started off
their internet experience with email, and many never got past email
into newsgroups, which really do have a much larger cost of entry, in
terms of learning the interface, using the appropriate software, etc.

There are undoubtedly other good reasons, but I believe those are key
reasons why it would be difficult to gain any reasonable critical
mass, as well as why it worked the first time.

> - re-brand ourselves as a "general" ee list where you can PIC the brains of
> top level engineers rather than as the PIC Microchip list.

I believe any re-branding effort is going to require interaction with
MIT that will eventually lead you to have to find another server, and
the transition as well as general announcement of the death of the
piclist will cause you to lose a significant subscribership,
accelerating the decline significantly, and all will be doom and gloom
from here on out.  :-P

> - Turn to the list membership for other options.

You seem to have chosen this option.  :-)

Just as in Real Life (TM) every community faces gentrification and
must choose at some point whether to revitalize the community to
attract newcomers (and turn off old timers) or grow with the existing
community to continue to meet its needs (and turn off new-comers).
You really can't have it both ways.

Quite frankly, the time to revitalize the piclist was years ago.  It's
easier to see it in hindsight, and I certainly couldn't have seen it
coming even if I had been looking for it.  It'll be _very_ difficult
to re-direct the list intentionally, and even more difficult to do so
in a way that promotes significant new blood.  In the process, it
would lose significant existing membership, and one would have to
survive a 3-8 year list depression tenaciously to come out on the
other side.  Well, 3-8 internet years, anyway.

So all of this is to say:
- What are the goals of the piclist?
- Are we meeting those goals?
- Should we change those goals?

If left alone, the list, like a lithium battery, will still have
significant life and volume, but there will be a precipitous drop at
the end, and a definite end.  To wax metaphorical, the list will have
an afterlife in archives, though the cells that composed the body will
be integrated into other entities...  :-)

This isn't a bad thing, and it's going to take years before it fully dies.

-Adam

--
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Moving in southeast Michigan? Buy my house: http://ubasics.com/house/

Interested in electronics? Check out the projects at http://ubasics.com

Building your own house? Check out http://ubasics.com/home/

2007\06\06@110904 by Dario Greggio

face picon face
> Just as in Real Life (TM) every community faces gentrification and
> must choose at some point whether to revitalize the community to
> attract newcomers (and turn off old timers) or grow with the existing
> community to continue to meet its needs (and turn off new-comers).
> You really can't have it both ways.

why don't we move to Second Life ??

--
Ciao, Dario

2007\06\06@113230 by M. Adam Davis

face picon face
On 6/6/07, Dario Greggio <KILLspamadpm.toKILLspamspaminwind.it> wrote:
> why don't we move to Second Life ??

One is enough, thank you very much.  :-)

Although if someone created electronics in second life, with pspice
simulation, and PCBs, and such, I might be more interested.  :-)

-Adam

--
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Moving in southeast Michigan? Buy my house: http://ubasics.com/house/

Interested in electronics? Check out the projects at http://ubasics.com

Building your own house? Check out http://ubasics.com/home/

2007\06\06@113456 by Dwayne Reid

flavicon
face
At 01:23 AM 6/6/2007, Picbits Sales wrote:
>I've been on the Piclist for a long time (under another name previously as
>well).
>
>I find the transport method rather clunky. Email based discussion lists are
>a bit of a pain.
>
>I'd like to see a proper "piclist.com" forum which is web based - if it was
>run on a system like PHPBB or VBulletin it would be so much easier to
>navigate and search - the current search function on piclist.com is a bit of
>a pain and I quite often end up using Goggles ;) to seach archived posts.

Its probably because I'm one of those "old, crusty" people mentioned,
but I find the forums you mention above to be almost useless for me.

Its a "push" vs a "pull" sort of thing.  PIClist mail is delivered to
me and filtered into the proper mailbox for me to read at my leisure.

On-line forums using PHPBB or VBulletin are the exact opposite.  I
have to go there and decide what I'm going to read.  Its a major
paradigm change for me.

Believe it or not, Yahoo Groups comes closest to a forum system that
works for me.  One of the options is to "expand messages" if you are
reading on-line.  The messages presented in that fashion closely
resemble how they look within my email client - its very quick to
dismiss / skip the messages that are not interesting or important to me.

That said: I rarely read messages on the Yahoo Groups site.  I
normally read them when they are delivered to my email client.


Another thing that is often overlooked when comparing email delivery
vs on-line forums: consistency.  Messages presented in the various
on-line forums look different depending which forum system you are
visiting and often look different within the same forum depending
upon who or how the message was composed.

I don't have that problem with email.  My email client (set for
text-only, thank you very much) presents the messages in pretty much
the same style - all the time.

I typically read a few hundred messages each day.  These messages
arrive from MANY different sources: piclist, Yahoo Groups, Stamps
list, message notifications from a few selected Notebook Forums
threads, message notifications from a couple of other (paid for)
technical lists.

Of all those messages, the Forum notification messages are the most hassle.

First: it means that I actually have to be on-line to go read the new
messages.  I often read email while not connected to the Internet.

Second: I have to read that message in that on-line forum.  The lack
of consistency is frustrating.


Just one person's opinion.

dwayne

--
Dwayne Reid   <RemoveMEdwaynerTakeThisOuTspamplanet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
(780) 489-3199 voice          (780) 487-6397 fax
http://www.trinity-electronics.com
Custom Electronics Design and Manufacturing

2007\06\06@120754 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>However, Atmel wasn't far behind, TI is doing better, and
>ever other chip manufacturer is supporting hobbyists
>through web forums and good faqs.

And magazine articles for the hobbyist. Elektor seems to largely use AT-
series chips more now, where they had used PIC chips for a while. This has
to rub off onto the manufacturers getting more exposure to the hobbyist,
creating demand via Farnell etc.

>Quite frankly, the time to revitalize the piclist was years ago.
>It's easier to see it in hindsight, and I certainly couldn't have
>seen it coming even if I had been looking for it.  It'll be _very_
>difficult to re-direct the list intentionally, and even more
>difficult to do so in a way that promotes significant new blood.

The only way this will happen is for people to actively use the [ARM] and
[AVR] (and whatever other uC tags there are) purposely so that there is
traffic on those topics. Only once that happens will search engines find the
archives when people are looking for something on them, and that should
eventually grow the population and hence traffic on those topics.

2007\06\06@120848 by Dario Greggio

face picon face
M. Adam Davis wrote:

>>why don't we move to Second Life ??
>
> One is enough, thank you very much.  :-)

Funny, a friend of mine said the same :)

> Although if someone created electronics in second life, with pspice
> simulation, and PCBs, and such, I might be more interested.  :-)

Yeah, i took a look some months ago.
Actually it can mostly let you do things about graphic, such as building
small objects (clothes, paintings, even houses and houses-things).
Also DVD players and such!

No, I don't think that it can be a "better place" to design electronics,
but it can be a place to meet.

--
Ciao, Dario

2007\06\06@121234 by M Graff

flavicon
face
Picbits Sales wrote:
> I'd like to see a proper "piclist.com" forum which is web based - if
it was
> run on a system like PHPBB or VBulletin it would be so much easier to
> navigate and search - the current search function on piclist.com is a bit of
> a pain and I quite often end up using Goggles ;) to seach archived posts.

Oh goodness no, please.  Forums means I have to go to them, piclist
comes to me.  I like it that way.

--Michael

2007\06\06@121413 by Dario Greggio

face picon face
Xiaofan Chen wrote:

> Actually Microchip Forum is not only good for newbies but it is also
> very successful in terms of more complicated PIC related issues as well.
> I think Microchip Forum is definitely much better for more advanced
> PIC users than PIClist now. For example, some of the best top
> "super users" (Eg: Dario, Bob Barr, Olin, jtemples) are also posting
> here but they are posting PIC related  issues much more often in

Thank you for that :)
I actually have to say that, as a "general tool for learning", I find
the forum a better resource. It's been the first forum that I started
"living" at a deep level, and found myself rather well with it: I like (
I always did) sharing knowledge, I learnt many new things, I saw ideas
and algorhitms.
I'm subscribed to some <10 lists, and the total amount of knowledge
shared was never this high (I actually have never searched their
contents using a search engine).

Monitoring all threads on the Forum is IMO what gives you the highest
"knowledge" meant as "things you get to know". Posting a query or a
problems guarantees some good answer soon - but this probably can also
be achieved on a List.

> On the other hand, PIClist is still a good forum, especially for [EE] and
> [OT].

This holds true indeed :)

--
Ciao, Dario
--
ADPM Synthesis sas - Torino
--
http://www.adpm.tk

2007\06\06@121413 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
Its a "push" vs a "pull" sort of thing.  PIClist mail is delivered to
me and filtered into the proper mailbox for me to read at my leisure.

Exactly - it really is a nice way of doing things, and when a thread gets
boring it is real easy to skip it or junk it.

>That said: I rarely read messages on the Yahoo Groups site.  I
>normally read them when they are delivered to my email client.

Me too - this has to be the nearest to being the best cross between email
and forum.

>I typically read a few hundred messages each day.  These messages
>arrive from MANY different sources: piclist, Yahoo Groups,

Glad to see I'm not the only one with this affliction ...

2007\06\06@124038 by Dwayne Reid

flavicon
face
At 04:38 AM 6/6/2007, Tomas Larsson wrote:

>searching /finding old stuff on piclist is a pain, to be honest.

Something worth considering: James makes the PIClist.com content
available on CD for those who want it.  His small fee covers the time
it takes to burn the CD and postage.

<Shameless Plug inserted here>  You can also use that same
opportunity to donate to piclist.com if you wish.  <end of Shameless Plug>.

dwayne

--
Dwayne Reid   <spamBeGonedwaynerspamBeGonespamplanet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
(780) 489-3199 voice          (780) 487-6397 fax
http://www.trinity-electronics.com
Custom Electronics Design and Manufacturing

2007\06\06@134551 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
> I've been on the Piclist for a long time (under another name
> previously as well).
>
> I find the transport method rather clunky. Email based
> discussion lists are a bit of a pain.
>
> I'd like to see a proper "piclist.com" forum which is web
> based - if it was run on a system like PHPBB or VBulletin it
> would be so much easier to navigate and search - the current
> search function on piclist.com is a bit of a pain and I quite
> often end up using Goggles ;) to seach archived posts.

How on earth do you use google to search the archive? The archive is only
very partly even spidered by google and they do not return proper (that is
complete) results.

What is a pain about the current search? The fact that you have to wait a
few seconds for it? I really would like to know what the objection is.

> Using proper forum software would also speed up the speed of
> responses.

How is the current archive not proper?

> I'm sure a lot of Piclisters would be happy to continue using
> piclist.com if it was ported to a realtime forum but it would
> be interesting to have some kind of vote on it to see what
> others think.

I completely agree.

---
James.


2007\06\06@134835 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
> Agreed about those who like mail and those who like
> web-forums.  I've always wonder why that gap was so large
> that no one's ever hacked mail-to-webforum support into one
> of the more popular webforums.  All the tools are there on
> your average Linux box to do it... just no one's felt enough
> of an "itch" to give it a go.

I could have sworn I did that already...

http://www.piclist.com/techref/postbot.asp

Is the complaint that you can't reply to posts on that page? Because I can
add that in no time flat.

---
James Newton: PICList webmaster/Admin
TakeThisOuTjamesnewtonEraseMEspamspam_OUTpiclist.com  1-619-652-0593 phone
http://www.piclist.com/member/JMN-EFP-786
PIC/PICList FAQ: http://www.piclist.com


2007\06\06@135900 by Rich

picon face
I doubt that the LIST is in any mortal danger.  There are always newbies and
the technically sophisticated.  There are always hardware, software and
other questions that the list addresses.  I have gotten great technical help
from the LIST.

{Original Message removed}

2007\06\06@140804 by Picbits Sales

flavicon
face

----- Original Message -----
From: "James Newton, Host" <RemoveMEjamesnewtonspamTakeThisOuTpiclist.com>
To: "'Microcontroller discussion list - Public.'" <piclistEraseMEspam.....mit.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2007 6:45 PM
Subject: RE: [OT] Death of a PICList?


>
> How on earth do you use google to search the archive? The archive is only
> very partly even spidered by google and they do not return proper (that is
> complete) results.
>

Well it appears to work for a lot of the searches I've done - I don't know
how much has been spidered but I usually find it quicker to do a quick
Google search.

> What is a pain about the current search? The fact that you have to wait a
> few seconds for it? I really would like to know what the objection is.
>

I quite often find myself going round in circles clicking on the wrong links
in the results and re-reading posts or replies to posts that I didn't
realise I've already read. Although having said this I've just had another
play with the search and it seems different - before I was getting some
strange problems with frames and stuff appearing in the wrong place - have
you changed anything recently ?

>> Using proper forum software would also speed up the speed of
>> responses.
>
> How is the current archive not proper?
>

Ok - poor choice of wording. I meant that using proper web based forum
software rather than some of the cheap (and free) and nasty web based forum
software. I'll stand by the speed of responses comment though - I sometimes
see replies to posts before I get the original post and have a lag of
between 5 and 15 minutes sometimes between posting and seeing my post on the
list.

{Quote hidden}

2007\06\06@153029 by Herbert Graf

flavicon
face
On Wed, 2007-06-06 at 08:23 +0100, Picbits Sales wrote:
> I've been on the Piclist for a long time (under another name previously as
> well).
>
> I find the transport method rather clunky. Email based discussion lists are
> a bit of a pain.
>
> I'd like to see a proper "piclist.com" forum which is web based - if it was
> run on a system like PHPBB or VBulletin it would be so much easier to
> navigate and search - the current search function on piclist.com is a bit of
> a pain and I quite often end up using Goggles ;) to seach archived posts.
>
> Using proper forum software would also speed up the speed of responses.
>
> I'm sure a lot of Piclisters would be happy to continue using piclist.com if
> it was ported to a realtime forum but it would be interesting to have some
> kind of vote on it to see what others think.

Hehe, on the other side, if piclist were to go to a forum format, I
would never visit.

I HATE forums, I just can't stand them. Email lists are just "better"
IMHO, although I can't really describe WHY I like them more.

Just my opinion. TTYL

2007\06\06@162737 by Barry Gershenfeld

face picon face
I'm going to ignore my usual principles of reading the thread first and
risk repeating what's been said, under the assumption that seeing a post
from me two weeks from now won't be useful.  (But I did peek)

I filter my mail such that there is a folder for each topic tag.  It's like
being subscribed to six (or so) different lists.  Even though I could (nay
SHOULD) ignore OT, it's too fascinating--and it makes for good dinner
conversation.  But I get one hour a day for list-reading so PIC has to
complete with all that.

Here comes point two:

I connected an LED to RA4 and it won't flash.  Any idea why?

Did you roll your eyes and say, "Dude, that's like, the oldest question in
the universe!"  Point two is that it is easy to become too seasoned.  One
way to keep the membership up is to attract new people and not lose them a
day later.  Questions should be answered as if you've never seen them
before.  The newcomer knows nothing of the history of this place.  A few
will lurk first, but most won't.  If you're tired of answering a question
let someone else do it.   Posters with a sense of the history are afraid to
ask something knowing that somehow, somewhere, the answer is already out
there and they should know it.  Rather, treat a discussion as spontaneous,
as if it were over lunch.

I don't like web-based boards.  Well, the dynamics are different.  And the
latency in retrieving each message wears on me.   But if my only choice
were web boards, I'd probably just use the Microchip one.

See you later after I've read the thread.  Note that I saw it 'cause it was
posted to O.T. !  :-)



2007\06\06@170234 by Steve Smith

flavicon
face
Snap:
Forums are not as good this puts the items on yr screen at breakfast its
just 2 much hassle to bother with a forum whilst breakfast is consumed and
its to dam tidy all listed by topic not by time arrived...

Rgds
Steve

{Original Message removed}

2007\06\06@171430 by Carey Fisher

face picon face
Everyone that likes the mail list better than a forum style PICLIST
has already said everything I would say. My "vote" is for the status quo.
I couldn't have survived my early encounters with the PIC without the
PICLIST....
well... I could have survived but it would not have been nearly as much fun!
Carey

2007\06\06@173619 by Dave King

flavicon
face
Just to add a bit to what Hector has said, yet more negative web
forum experience. I belonged to a fair sized yahoo group a few years
back when web based forums were getting popular. So of course we had
a flood of newbie's join and start making noise about how everything
should be web based. So of course the list owner went with it and
started the web based forum. Only about 30% of the 2200 odd member list
went to the forum. The other chunk which included the guys who actually
knew something and had voiced their dislike of web forums simply
disappeared.
The web forum eventually collapsed within about 4 months and they tried to
shuffle back to yahoo but by then the experienced guys were long gone and
about 3 months after that so was the list permanently.

Basically you get maybe 1-3% of the list being active and the rest lurk.
Problem is when that vocal minority starts sounding like the majority.
Every format has its problems and attractions but if your experienced
members refuse to cross over then you have a bit of a dilemma.

Personally I'd rather get the list in this format. If I am forced to look
for something on a web based forum it tends to be a quick one time visit.
I am always getting reminders that I haven't visited for some time from
forums I have no intention of going to again. That includes microchips
forum which is not that painful but still a pain. I've done the forum/bbs
thing
for long enough starting on a 300 baud dialup, it was a pain then, its not
much better now.

This group is not the only slow group right now. Everything seems to be
slow.
Has the group churn rate changed recently? One thing I have noticed is a lot
more unanswered questions over the last few months. The norm had always
seemed
to be that you asked a question then you might get a good answer or two and
then
the topics would drift a little from say transistors to why aliens would
want to
fly across the galaxy and just what they hope to achieve from anal probes.
Yes
that happened about 3 -4 years back ;-]

Dave


{Original Message removed}

2007\06\06@180616 by Don Lewis

picon face
-- Keep the email format.
-- Encourage and/or recruit more AVR and ARM content.

Don

2007\06\06@193903 by Zik Saleeba

face picon face
I'll second that. I'd love to see ARM content here.

Cheers,
Zik

On 6/7/07, Don Lewis <EraseMEdon.lewisspamuptimer.com> wrote:
>  -- Keep the email format.
>  -- Encourage and/or recruit more AVR and ARM content.
>
> Don
>
> -

2007\06\06@222956 by Jeff Latta

picon face
I've been here for three years.  I found the list while searching for
general electronics information.  I was skeptical about the mailing list
format as I had no experience with it.  Over time I came to appreciate
the advantages and now prefer mailing lists to forums, in most cases.

I use AVRs and Rabbits so obviously have reasons other than PIC for
being here.

For me, the strong points of the PIClist are:
1) Diversity of topics.  What other single source covers the range of
subjects that the PIClist does?  E.g. microcontrollers,  electronics,
Sterling engines, programming languages, alternative energy, depression
cures, Linux, etc...
2) High signal to noise ratio.
3) Sense of community.

I agree with James' observation:

> As it happens, the thing I think makes PICList so valuable are the people
> and the general information; much more so than it's use as a source of
> information about the PIC. However...
>  
What to do?
As the saying goes, if you're given lemons make lemonade.
You've already noted the change from specific PIC information to more
general topics.
Build on it.  Microcontrollers, electronics, and more....
Add tags as required to further organize the topics.
Encourage and promote discussion.
Spread the word to attract like-minded people to ensure an ample supply
of ideas, opinions and discussion.

Whatever you decide, write a clear description of what the PIClist is.

--Jeff

2007\06\06@230555 by Peter Todd

picon face
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On Wed, Jun 06, 2007 at 11:44:05AM +0200, Hector Martin wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I know what you mean. I'm working on a research project right now who's
coordinators keep trying to get us to use this webforum/blog system. Yet
to see a single post, except by the coordinators... Email on the other
hand...

Actually our del.icio.us account gets a fair number of posts too. But
again, it's easy and nothing more then clicking on "post to del.icio.us"
I don't tend to *read* those posts though, because then I'd have to go
to del.icio.us... but if they had a summary that went to my inbox...

> >
> >> Maybe I'm old fashioned (I'm 38 fwiw).
> >
> > ... and I'm even older ...
>
> I guess I'm here to balance things out a little. 16.

Great! Now I at 22 can finally feel old... :)

{Quote hidden}

For me being able to use tools like that is one of the main reasons I
like mailing lists. If I'm at my apartment or studio I have to perch my
laptop on the window-sill to get wifi. As much as I kinda like sitting
on window sills on the 8th floor, lets face it, it's damn convenient to
run maildirsync, grab my mail and go somewhere else to read it! The
tools to manage mail are just so much better and have a much longer
history. I'm subscribed to a dozen different mailing lists right now,
piclist, sdcc-users, gnupg-devel, emc, risks-digest, rfc-notifier,
debian-announce, tlug-announce etc. There is one forum I semi-regularly
read, rockclimbing.com, and that's mostly because of the pretty
pictures. Well, I read slashdot.org too, but that's different...

Speaking of email management, take a look at mairix. It's a pretty
decent program to search your Maildir and mbox mail archives. I've
stopped worrying so much about carefully sorting my mail into folders
now that I can rely on efficiently searching for it. I've got about
15,000 emails indexed by it, and searches return pretty much instantly.

- --
http://petertodd.ca
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2007\06\07@012540 by Nate Duehr

face
flavicon
face
> For me being able to use tools like that is one of the main reasons I
> like mailing lists. If I'm at my apartment or studio I have to  
> perch my
> laptop on the window-sill to get wifi. As much as I kinda like sitting
> on window sills on the 8th floor, lets face it, it's damn  
> convenient to
> run maildirsync, grab my mail and go somewhere else to read it! The
> tools to manage mail are just so much better and have a much longer
> history. I'm subscribed to a dozen different mailing lists right now,
> piclist, sdcc-users, gnupg-devel, emc, risks-digest, rfc-notifier,
> debian-announce, tlug-announce etc. There is one forum I semi-
> regularly
> read, rockclimbing.com, and that's mostly because of the pretty
> pictures. Well, I read slashdot.org too, but that's different...

Agreed 100% with this -- when I used to travel heavily, I could  
easily keep up with mail lists.  Web-based systems require that you  
be online to use them, and back when I started traveling, (I've since  
quit doing that) seeing a laptop on during a flight was a rarity.  I  
could sync all the mail and read and catch up on things that  
interested me whenever I had "down time" on a flight.

> Speaking of email management, take a look at mairix. It's a pretty
> decent program to search your Maildir and mbox mail archives. I've
> stopped worrying so much about carefully sorting my mail into folders
> now that I can rely on efficiently searching for it. I've got about
> 15,000 emails indexed by it, and searches return pretty much  
> instantly.

Interesting - I'll have to look for this.  I spend at least a couple  
of days a year cleaning the Inbox of cruft that didn't end up getting  
filed into the appropriate folder on the IMAP server, or deleted.

Now if I could just search from the cell phone... THAT would be an  
impressive little remote application... (I know I have an e-mail  
about a particular topic at home on the server and I want the info to  
share with someone real-time... but that means firing up the laptop  
and using bluetooth serial to search for it.

--
Nate Duehr
RemoveMEnateEraseMEspamEraseMEnatetech.com



2007\06\07@015011 by wouter van ooijen

face picon face
> I'll second that. I'd love to see ARM content here.

me too, but at the moment I don't have any questions :)

but you can try me for answers...

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\06\07@021744 by James Newton, Host

face picon face

> Now if I could just search from the cell phone... THAT would
> be an impressive little remote application... (I know I have
> an e-mail about a particular topic at home on the server and
> I want the info to share with someone real-time... but that
> means firing up the laptop and using bluetooth serial to
> search for it.
>

I search the piclist.com archive from my cell phone (Treo 650) all the time.

When you get to the archive page, just click the link to turn frames off and
then proceed as normal. View threads, posts, etc... Search, browse, even
post questions.

Did it not work for you?

---
James Newton: PICList webmaster/Admin
RemoveMEjamesnewtonspam_OUTspamKILLspampiclist.com  1-619-652-0593 phone
http://www.piclist.com/member/JMN-EFP-786
PIC/PICList FAQ: http://www.piclist.com


2007\06\07@030225 by Vasile Surducan

face picon face
On 6/6/07, James Newton <RemoveMEjnTakeThisOuTspamspamefplus.com> wrote:

> I have noticed a disturbing trend in the number of PIC related and general
> post volume of late. We are dying. The number of posts related to the PIC
> microcontroller is continuing to drop off. The EE and OT volume remains
> strong, but there is less and less REAL application of code and circuits to
> the processor.

You have absolutely right.

>
> What to do?

I suggest to shut down the list for say one-two weeks.
Then turn in back and see the discussion volume and quality.
If dissapoints you turn off the OT topics.
The problem is most people over here likes to talk.
I suggest than all american/english readers to answer in french or spanish, all
european readears (except english) must ask/answer in english.
In that way asking and answers will be concise.
On Microchip forum the posts are very short and concise (and many of
them infantile).

greetings,
Vasile

2007\06\07@083757 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
>> I'll second that. I'd love to see ARM content here.

ARM is the wave of the future [VBG*].
Poor for low absolute mA applications but almost irresistable overall.
I think we would do well to promote it here.

Re access - I much prefer the email based system to alternatives. If
you ever want to get rid of me desparately enough you may well succeed
if you go to a fully web based system.


       Russell



2007\06\07@093313 by Russell McMahon
face
flavicon
face
> ARM is the wave of the future [VBG*].

I forgot to put a footnote to that asterisk - so

* Very Big Groan :-)


       R

2007\06\07@100251 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On 6/7/07, wouter van ooijen <EraseMEwouterspamspamspamBeGonevoti.nl> wrote:
> > I'll second that. I'd love to see ARM content here.
>
> me too, but at the moment I don't have any questions :)
>
> but you can try me for answers...
>

Me too. ARM7 based MCU seems to be the replacement for
higher end 8-bit MCUs like PIC18F/8051s.

That being said, my experience with the TI TMS470 ARM7
MCU is not that positive. It is really very fragile and consume
quite some current. It requires dual core 1.8V/3.3V and
its I/Os are not 5V tolerant. The main reason for us to use it is
that it can operate at 105 degree C.

2007\06\07@161753 by alan smith

picon face
suppose its time to chime in.  I've been reading, etc since the early days of Jory when he put it together.  I'm not sure how I found it....maybe uunet newsgroups....sci.electronics...
 
 remember those? maybe they still exist, but they were pretty cool before spyglass made its debut
 
 Is this list dead? I say no.  Is it changing some? Sure.  I'd love to see ARM stuff.  Never used it yet, but who knows.  And if the conversation looks interesting I will follow it.  If not...delete key right?
 
 This is a very nice collective of users, both PIC and non-PIC, good to bounce things off of from now and then (done that several times lately) and then I may go silent for a month or two and then pop back in.  I also use the microchip forums but like others, sometimes its hard to follow whats going on there.  ENG-TIPS is another good forum but again, the topics can range widely and sometimes just takes too much time to follow.
 
 Will there be more PIC content here...sure....think it will spike from time to time.  I was surprised there wasnt more posts about the contest.
 
 back to work....


---------------------------------
We won't tell. Get more on shows you hate to love
(and love to hate): Yahoo! TV's Guilty Pleasures list.

2007\06\07@170743 by Carey Fisher

face picon face
That reminds me of something I meant to say in my
previous post on this subject...
I have a sub to sci.electronics.design and
PICLIST [EE] is a **much** better version of s.e.d thanks to James et
al.  No "crap"
like on s.e.d.

Carey
> suppose its time to chime in.  I've been reading, etc since the early days of Jory when he put it together.  I'm not sure how I found it....maybe uunet newsgroups....sci.electronics...
>    
>
>  

2007\06\08@000741 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Jun 7, 2007, at 2:07 PM, Carey Fisher wrote:

> I have a sub to sci.electronics.design and
> PICLIST [EE] is a **much** better version of s.e.d

Yeah.  Also, I've been very disappointed in the "electronics"
forums at places like Orkut.  However it got it, PICList seems
to have a critical mass of knowledgeable, helpful, and sometimes
philosophical contributers that it can be very hard to collect.
They're not always KIND, but that can be part of the charm.
(I think it's the "philosophy" that I mess most elsewhere.  On
a lot of forums, someone will ask a question, one person will
post one answer, and that will be it...)

BillW

2007\06\08@001417 by Rikard Bosnjakovic

picon face
On 6/7/07, alan smith <RemoveMEmicro_eng2KILLspamspamyahoo.com> wrote:

>sci.electronics...
>   remember those? maybe they still exist, but they were pretty cool before spyglass made its debut

I found this list through sci.electronics.basics, so they surely do exist.


--
- Rikard - http://bos.hack.org/cv/

2007\06\08@061125 by Marco Genovesi

flavicon
face

>
> What to do?
>



My little contribute on this topic by an "eternally beginner" (sorry for my shaking English..)

I agree with the most part of James mail.
Actually, IMO, "EE" part is quite good, "OT" are often too many, "PIC" are decreasing considerably.

I came in the PICLIST some years ago, no electronics knowledge, nor micros.  
I was searching for a low cost dataloggers for temperature monitoring ( I was interested in Caves exploring and research): a my friend, an Italian electronic specialist, suggested: "why don't try to build yoursef? There are the PICs..".

I searched the WEB and found the "TLOGGER" by Stan Ockers, an useful tutorial about a very-basic temperature logger but quite good for my requirements.
I had a VERY great support, suggestions and patience from Stan (thanks Stan, even if I have lost you..) and other PICList members. I learned a bit of ASM programming and many others things, starting from <zero>.  I'm very pleased to this List even if actually I make little plans and don't have to share much knowledge to others.      

Possible Solutions?

>From my point of view, expand the focus on other processors may be one (good) of the possible Idea: even if I will continue to use the PIC, other processors may get projects ad ideas that one can implement in other environments.
For example, some weeks ago I was searching for a Turbidity Meter project and I found this one based on a AtmelMega32:

http://instruct1.cit.cornell.edu/courses/ee476/FinalProjects/s2005/jsa25_jyh25/TurbidityMeter.htm

It seems not very difficult to implement with a PIC, moreover it also contains other useful information that aren't strictly related to a specific processor: a lot of similar cases are on the Web.

At last:  I prefer the Mail form, but also a forum isn't too bad.


regards
Marco






------------------------------------------------------
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2007\06\08@180049 by Peter Todd

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On Wed, Jun 06, 2007 at 11:25:30PM -0600, Nate Duehr wrote:
> Agreed 100% with this -- when I used to travel heavily, I could  
> easily keep up with mail lists.  Web-based systems require that you  
> be online to use them, and back when I started traveling, (I've since  
> quit doing that) seeing a laptop on during a flight was a rarity.  I  
> could sync all the mail and read and catch up on things that  
> interested me whenever I had "down time" on a flight.

I also find that when I'm disconnected I can get so much more done and
really focus on my work without the distraction of the internet.

Unfortunately right now my disconnected setup is working a little too
well...


In all seriousness there is a real conceptual shift between systems that
rely on central websites and stuff like email and usenet. Notice how the
former are relatively recent inventions, after proprietary systems and
massive complexity took over the internet. The latter, email and usenet,
were created when it was feasible to propose a open standard and have
everyone follow it.

For instance, if wikipedia was like usenet everyone would have a local
wikipedia cache constantly updating with new articles. If you got some
smart guys with distributed systems experience to do it right now, it'd
be all crazy hashcash and reputation schemes.

But that's never going to happen because it is far more effective to
throw money at the problem and have a (relatively) simple set of the
couple hundred servers wikipedia has scattered around the world.

Other than filesharing, which is distributed for legal reasons, can you
name a single distributed consumer-visible internet app that has come
into fashion in the past 10 years? And by distributed, I mean with the
architecture of email.

Skype? Nope, it's dependent on the central skype servers for setting up
calls.

Online games? Central servers, and even simple death match stuff tends
to rely on the gaming companies servers to advertise games.

Chat? Jabber hasn't caught on yet, it's all MSN, Yahoo, AIM etc. At
least GTalk has jabber support, but no-one has written important stuff
like video messaging or file transfers, so it's crap for most people.

Bittorrent? Relies on central servers, though at least the servers are
under the control of anyone who wants to set one up, it's really just an
extension of websites from a users perspective. Notice how all the tools
to *search* for bittorrents are centralized websites.



Centralized stuff is just flashier and easier to implement. I mean, the
only exception I can think of is distributed revision control systems,
and that's not exactly consumer visible.

{Quote hidden}

Personally the one feature I think it needs is tags. For instance, I
have a folder called utf8 that's filled with all manner of interesting
unicode email, spam etc. It's a good way to show off how well unicode
works on the Linux terminal. Point being though, that's impossible to
search for *except* by a user added tag. The "tag" in this case is the
Maildir folder I've saved it to, but really, why shouldn't I be able to
add a whole pile of tags to something?

I think it'd be ideal if I could simply save *all* my mail to one
gigantic database, and then rely on good searching to find it when I
need it. I'm almost there, but I need tags for it to really work.


It'd actually kinda like my bookmarks list. I keep a file called
urls.otl that's a vimoutliner file with a big hiearchy of stuff. But
really, I don't think of my bookmarks as a hiearchy, they should have
tags, just like del.icio.us does it. But that's an app I need to write
someday...

- --
http://petertodd.ca
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2007\06\08@182205 by Alex Harford

face picon face
On 6/8/07, Peter Todd <peteSTOPspamspamspam_OUTpetertodd.ca> wrote:
>
> Other than filesharing, which is distributed for legal reasons, can you
> name a single distributed consumer-visible internet app that has come
> into fashion in the past 10 years? And by distributed, I mean with the
> architecture of email.

Peter, I have to disagree with you here.  We're all using a central
server for this list (spamBeGonepiclistSTOPspamspamEraseMEmit.edu).  I think that BitTorrent is
very much the equivalent here.  If you know where to look
(http://torrent.fedoraproject.org/) you can access the BitTorrent
files directly.

I think that Distributed Version Control isn't quite here yet, but I
think it will become much more popular.  Bram Cohen (creator of the
BitTorrent protocol) is working on one, Linus Torvalds (Linux kernel
creator) is working on one as well.  A Wikipedia equivalent could sit
on top of this.

>
> The "tag" in this case is the
> Maildir folder I've saved it to, but really, why shouldn't I be able to
> add a whole pile of tags to something?

I have some gmail invites if you want... :D

Alex

2007\06\08@195454 by Dwayne Reid

flavicon
face
At 08:02 AM 6/7/2007, Xiaofan Chen wrote:

>That being said, my experience with the TI TMS470 ARM7
>MCU is not that positive. It is really very fragile and consume
>quite some current. It requires dual core 1.8V/3.3V and
>its I/Os are not 5V tolerant. The main reason for us to use it is
>that it can operate at 105 degree C.

Just thought that I'd chime in here: you *do* know that the older
"16C" chips work very well while hot?  I have acquaintances who
routinely and regularly tell me that they run some of those parts
well past 150 degrees C.  They use them in down-hole test equipment -
it gets hot in deep holes.

Apparently only the older "C" (eprom based) parts are usable at those
temperatures.  Definite hearsay on my part - I haven't need to run
any uP's that hot myself.

Food for thought . . .

dwayne

--
Dwayne Reid   <KILLspamdwaynerspamBeGonespamplanet.eon.net>
Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
(780) 489-3199 voice          (780) 487-6397 fax
http://www.trinity-electronics.com
Custom Electronics Design and Manufacturing

2007\06\08@205340 by Peter Todd

picon face
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On Fri, Jun 08, 2007 at 03:15:47PM -0700, Alex Harford wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Perhaps I wasn't wording things right. What I was trying to get accross
is more how services are increasingly tied to the inventors of the
service, rather than the actual data involved, or at least where the
data could be.

It's more about how much easier it is to create a webservice, just write
some code that goes on your server that you control. The user interface
is standard HTML which has relatively few compatibility issues.

But if you wanted to write the "next" email, and chat services come to
mind, you suddenly have to write code to run on clients, which is a huge
pain, even if you only want to support windows. There's no incentive, so
you end up with piles of forums, or in the case of chat, deliberately
proprietary stuff.

The main thing is it used to be that someone wanted a new type of
service, they'd write an RFC for it and an example client/server, and
people would start implementing based on a standard. But the world is
far too big and complex for that to work anymore.

> I think that Distributed Version Control isn't quite here yet, but I
> think it will become much more popular.  Bram Cohen (creator of the
> BitTorrent protocol) is working on one, Linus Torvalds (Linux kernel
> creator) is working on one as well.  A Wikipedia equivalent could sit
> on top of this.

Actually Linus isn't working on git anymore, maintainership has been
handed over to someone else as git is very stable now. The kernel has
been completely hosted by git for a few years now, I've got a copy of
the Linux-2.6 branch myself.

You're totally right though, many open source projects are transitioning
to distributed rcs right now. Mozilla has switched to Murcurial for
instance, darcs is really popular with smaller projects, pidgin has
switched to monotone etc.

As for a wiki... I think the technology is there, it's more the "social
technology" that will be tough. How would reputations work? Spam? Heck,
how do even package it the software to access it? Websites are
easy, downloading software isn't.

> > The "tag" in this case is the
> > Maildir folder I've saved it to, but really, why shouldn't I be able to
> > add a whole pile of tags to something?
>
> I have some gmail invites if you want... :D

Where do you think I got the idea? :D

Actually it was when I setup gmail domains for my brother, so his
@iantodd.org email address could go via gmail, that the whole thing
really came to mind. I'd have done it too for my domain, but then I'd be
tied to gmail...

- --
http://petertodd.org
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2007\06\08@221657 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On 6/8/07, Dwayne Reid <spamBeGonedwaynerspamKILLspamplanet.eon.net> wrote:
>
> Apparently only the older "C" (eprom based) parts are usable at those
> temperatures.  Definite hearsay on my part - I haven't need to run
> any uP's that hot myself.
>

Yes I think the older "C" parts are very robust. Some of them
are used quite often in Automotive applications. I've used one
(16C72A) 7 years ago and it is still running in a run rate of more
than 100k per year now (perhaps more than 150k). Luckily I did
not choose the AVRs. ;)-

That being said, I will not design anything above specification
without the guarantee from the vendor that it will work.

Regards,
Xiaofan

2007\06\09@160700 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Peter Todd wrote:

> It'd actually kinda like my bookmarks list. I keep a file called
> urls.otl that's a vimoutliner file with a big hiearchy of stuff. But
> really, I don't think of my bookmarks as a hiearchy, they should have
> tags, just like del.icio.us does it. But that's an app I need to write
> someday...

I'm using Powermarks for a few years now (on Windows,
<http://www.kaylon.com/power.html>).

For me, that's how bookmarks should work. When I store a bookmark, I add an
ad hoc list of keywords (you may call them "tags" :). When searching for
something, I just start typing what I think I might have added as keyword,
and it filters the whole bookmark list as I type.

Email could be similar, as could be file storage -- as could be /any/ type
of storage, actually.

Hierarchies just don't work for most things. Programs simply force their
users into hierarchical storage schemes because they don't need a lot of
thinking to implement :)  Hierarchical file systems are complete nonsense.
They had their time, like when Unix ran on the equivalent of a Z80 and
maximizing efficiency was necessary to be able to just store something, but
that's long over. It's a complete pain to have to decide whether an invoice
belongs to the client dir, the project dir, the accounting dir, the tax
dir, and so on.

A reasonably structured system of tags (like GUIDs for the stuff that needs
to be predictably found) together with complete free-form tags and a good
search engine is what's needed.

Gerhard

2007\06\11@233446 by Ling SM

picon face
Should I say, for live, one-time-off, or un-organised content, the
Internet should be a transition not the destination.  This list falls in
this category, I think.

Cheers, Ling SM

2007\06\12@001448 by Marcel Duchamp

picon face
Ling SM wrote:
> Should I say, for live, one-time-off, or un-organised content, the
> Internet should be a transition not the destination.  This list falls in
> this category, I think.
>
> Cheers, Ling SM

Excellent!

East meets west.  The journey is the destination.

2007\06\17@084145 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On 6/6/07, James Newton <.....jnspam_OUTspamefplus.com> wrote:
> And eventually, it means no more PICList.
>
> What to do?
>
> - Let be what will be.
>
> - Expand our focus to include other processors for which good help is not
> available. AVR? MSP430? Others? This is what I was wondering about the other
> day.
>

I thought a bit more about this and I think it is not necessary to
expand to other
MCUs. There are already many good resources for AVR users and MSP430
users. Even for ARM MCU users, there are some good websites and Yahoo
Groups. So it will not be easy to attract other MCU users to PIClist.

I'd be interested to know the answer to "how many AVR users in PIClist".

On the other hand, it seems to me that Microchip is now pursuing more
and more opportunities now that it has a strong lead in 8-bit world and
started to do well in the 16-bit world. For example, they start to persue
the market of connectivity options like Ethernet, USB and Zigbee.

There is also a rumor that they will go to the 32-bit market but the core
will not be ARM.

So I think there is plenty of opportunities to stick with PICs. Of course
we need to keep the good [EE] and [OT] traditions.

Xiaofan


'[OT] Death of a PICList?'
2007\11\09@191625 by M. Adam Davis
face picon face
On Jun 17, 2007 7:41 AM, Xiaofan Chen <TakeThisOuTxiaofanc.....spamTakeThisOuTgmail.com> wrote:
> There is also a rumor that they will go to the 32-bit market but the core
> will not be ARM.

So, willing to fess up about your rumor source?  ;-D

-Adam


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2007\11\09@201305 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On Nov 10, 2007 8:16 AM, M. Adam Davis <TakeThisOuTstienmanKILLspamspamspamgmail.com> wrote:
> On Jun 17, 2007 7:41 AM, Xiaofan Chen <.....xiaofancspamRemoveMEgmail.com> wrote:
> > There is also a rumor that they will go to the 32-bit market but the core
> > will not be ARM.
>
> So, willing to fess up about your rumor source?  ;-D

http://forum.microchip.com/tm.aspx?m=293868
They have worked on it for two years. And I only heard the rumor
(not from Microchip but from a conversion with friends and it was really
just a hint, not confirmed) around May/June this year. Maybe those
who heard it earlier has signed an NDA.

I am not that well connected with Microchip after all other than
the fact I am quite active in Microchip Forum and is a avid PICkit 2
and USB PIC fan.

Xiaofan

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