Poor effort Make! Go the the headmasters office and wear the dunce cap for a week!
This is true but l picked up a copy of Make for the first time last week, the cover caught my eye. You see I was initially educated in electronics and telecommunications at time when microprocessors were becoming available to the hobbyist.
Although I now work professionally as a software designer I love electronics and wrote articles in the UK some were on hobby robots in the late 70s.
The hobby has all but died and I dabble occasionally but not much, so when I saw that cover I thought ‘what’s this? People actually build stuff as a hobby still? There are still magazines about electronics hobby?’
After reading every word in the sections on microcontrollers, I begin to search online and found GHI, so don’t assume the magazine has not been a help to GHI, though I agree more could have been said about the .Net MF options.
I’ve always recognized that unless microcontroller software development is made more accessible and easier, then these devices will never see much amateur interest.
Moving away from C to C# is a tremendous incentive for aspiring techies, especially with Visual Studio Express being free.
My personal interest in this is that I think its time that a managed API was created which enables general purpose access and control over networked .Net MF devices.
The idea is to develop a general purpose protocol (akin to UPnP but without its weaknesses) so that Any .Net MF board can describe itself and support SOAP like access to its own on board services.
This would enable developers to create managed functionality that can be used locally (by code running on the board) but also selectively exposed and invoked by networked client apps, a little bit like web services but not relying on HTTP or a bloated web server.
With such a platform we could build robots and systems from multiple modules but write very sophisticated control apps that run on large desktop machines.
The “intelligence” part would be running on the PC with the lower level control being done locally, on the device.
Such a platform would bring the world of hobby robotics to life as never before, most of what’s needed is now available and the emergence of .Net MF has reawakened my own interest in this idea.
I have considerable experience in designing fast scalable extensible servers in .Net, including FSM based generic servers that use ultra fast serialization, so I’d be in a position to define such a project in a realistic way - if only I had the time!