Saturday, January 26, 2008

How do you them... Apples

After being a Microsoftie for many years, I finally bought an Apple Macbook this week to go along with my work iPhone and my new black turtle-neck ;-)

I've always followed the Mac's progress as it's roots are seated deeply in GUI history which I have always been fascinated by.

Coming to OSX from Windows Vista is an interesting experience.. I actually LIKE Vista it offers definitely productivity improvements over XP too.  Initially Leopard looks a little bland now in comparison and the heavy font anti-aliasing used takes a bit of getting used to initially.
To begin with the weird "Zoom vs. Maximize" thing got on my nerves a bit and the Macbook lacks some keys like pgup/pgdown, delete and my beloved right mouse button!

In some places using OSX is a bit like a step back in time for various reasons that I can't fully articulate; with it's foundations in NeXTStep it's trodden a different path to most of the crowd.. This becomes VERY evident when you start looking at programming Cocoa and is very interesting (more on that in a future post).

But, soon you start to feel the real magic of the platform; the anti aliasing of the display really adds a "print" quality to the display... which with it's glossy coating looks beautiful.  Harnessing the power of OpenGL throughout, the UI is very smooth and responsive.  Apple have really got this right compared to the others who have tried in the Linux and Windows space.

The supplied software is great too, responsive and simple (I can see why Macs are so popular in the consumer space).  The simplicity of the hardware and software design  shows the trademark Apple flair throughout. 

The bottom line is that I will still always have a place in heart for Microsoft, their software has enabled me to work well for many years and I think I will always use Windows PC's on a day to day basis but has gotten steadily more complex over the years for little gain.

The Macbook on the other hand is like a breath of fresh unpolluted air and I'm sure I will get many hours of great use out of it.  I'm particularly interested to start programming for the platform especially as there is now a new outlet for OSX software on the iPhone (and I finally got the toolchain running before xmas!).

Insanely Great!....indeed.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

More motion experiments

Quick update on the motion stuff...

I created my own driver software that interfaces directly with LFS and hooked the motors up to Pulse Width Modulated outputs on the USB board.

The result is much smoother motion with better resolution. Video can be seen here:

I'm starting to investigate micro-controller based positioning implementing the closed loop control inside a PIC microcontroller. I've also got hold of some full size motors and successfully tested them with my motor driver board. Next step is to work out some method of connecting a decent crank to the real motors...