Monday, September 25, 2006

Why do I keep doing electronics with my Mac.


If you are into electronics, you have to use Windows in one way or another. You either go to your school's PC lab to fire up PSpice or Eagle, and you get your work done wishing you could be on your Mac. You may choose to use use a virtualization/emulation application to compile your code or simulate your circuit with a Windows-only app.

That was the way I used to do some of my work with my first Mac in 1998. My iMac 233MHz was loaded with 192MB of RAM for the purpose of using Virtual PC, which I used in occassions to finish my AutoCAD work.

However, I discovered some very unique, very useful Mac apps that gave me some edge in finishing my degree. Like Logic Sim and and hc11Sim, there are many little apps gave me some relief and some independence from VPC and that PC lab filled with 200MHz Pentiums on Windows NT :p

Today, the story is much different. I don't know how many of you readers have Intel Macs now, but if you did, you would be booting Bootcamp to use that external ROM programmer or Parallels to run your favorite FPGA synthesizer. YES, I DO TOO. And my life would actually be easier if I just dropped the effort and continued developing electronics the way the manufacturers envisioned: with a white cursor, a blue taskbar, a green Start button, and rocking out with Windows Media Player.

Why do I choose this path of doing engineering within OS X? Perhaps because I am crazy, or perhaps because I am very stubborn. I like to think that using a different tool will eventually lead to a different product, something that has been evading the mind of Windows purists. Perhaps I will end up with the same product, but with an easier way to upgrade it. Perhaps I can discover and leverage some crazy Apple technology and make my creation truly exceptional.

Or maybe I just want to travel the more stylish road, documenting everything in iMovie, and presenting everything with jaw-dropping Keynote sequences.

In future posts, I will describe how I moved some of my development out of VPC/Parallels, and how I am planning to move MOST of my development into OS X.

3 Comments:

At 12:01 AM, Blogger mindwaves said...

Yeah, I remember installing VPC on my Power Mac just to run PSpice. However, I did all of my coding using ProjectBuilder and Codeweaver or whatever it is called. I managed to do all of my other engineering stuff via the terminal in Mac OS X.

 
At 7:12 AM, Blogger Roberto said...

Unfortunately, I didn't have the experience doing my C homework on the Mac. I jumped to the Mac wagon 1 semester after passing my only C class. However, my Mac using roomate did use Metrowerks Code Warrior.
I remember that the CompSci geeks had to log in to a Unix server to compile anything. I guess they didn't trust a Windows compiler to be 100% ANSI. This was back in 1997.

 
At 6:44 PM, Anonymous John said...

I share your mindset. I have found the selection of CAD tools for the Mac limited (schematic entry and PCB layout) but what is available works very well and is well supported. Only on rare occasions do I end up booting a DOS box for something I do less frequently (FPGA programming for example). I have been stubbornly and productively holding on to the platform since the mid 80s.

 

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