New MicroFab Podcast about Propeller2

cgraceycgracey Posts: 11,745
edited 2019-04-04 - 00:41:45 in Propeller 2
Yesterday, Ken and I did a podcast recording with Parker Dillmann and Stephen Kraig of MicroFab. They've been using Propeller chips for 11 years and now operate an electronics fabrication company.

Here is the link:

https://macrofab.com/blog/mep-ep-166-ken-and-chip-gracey-of-parallax-inc/
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Comments

  • Excellent podcast!!!
    My Prop boards: P8XBlade2, RamBlade, CpuBlade, TriBlade
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd, Spinix)
    Website: www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index) , Emulators (Index) , ZiCog (Z80)
  • I should have talked more about all the input that forum members have made to the design. I used the word "we" a lot, but should have elaborated. It would have been good to go into the random number generation.
  • Peter JakackiPeter Jakacki Posts: 8,722
    edited 2019-04-04 - 05:52:18
    I downloaded and converted the podcast to a wav file and I'm listening to it now on my P2 eval board using the A/V extension board :)
    Now I need to add some media controls to my audio player so I can pause and rewind etc. Then I can add a GUI for it and it might be fun to have the audio waveform display on the screen too (inside a bouncing window).

    Tachyon Forth - compact, fast, forthwright and interactive
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  • cgracey wrote: »
    I should have talked more about all the input that forum members have made to the design. I used the word "we" a lot, but should have elaborated. It would have been good to go into the random number generation.

    Don't mind; You've both did it right.

    Any long and complex explanations are boring, when heard. The important parts tend to be missed within a long context, and also underestimated or even misunderstood.

    The important thing is setting the target audience curiosity on fire.

    Let Ken and his crew a chance to be happy, forever, answering to the enquires, and hearing the sound of incoming coins.

    Bits are selfish, twits only speaks about themselves, nibbles play merry-go-round, and bytes essay a tuned little choir. The crowd... pays for.


  • JRetSapDoogJRetSapDoog Posts: 801
    edited 2019-04-04 - 06:09:41
    Here's just a few highlights:

    Chip on SPIN's Performance: "But even staying at, say, 180MHz, we're probably 50 times faster on SPIN, you know, than we were on Prop 1 for the new chip." [00:43:46]

    Ken on Next Batch Release: "[In] July 2019, we'll have the next thousand chips." [1:03:09] Note: That likely means that there will be chips for the P2D2 boards from Peter in addition to the 200 evaluation boards that Parallax is planning. And maybe there will even be some bare chips available to selected parties (but that's mere speculation).

    Chip on the SPIN Interpreter and Compiler: "The whole SPIN thing should be running by the time the chips come out." [1:03:58] Note: Chip mentioned that the interpreter is done.

    Chip on the Price: I would think probably around--our costs are approaching five bucks--so, I would think ten dollars or so ... ten to twelve bucks." [1:05:30] Note: Ken generally agreed with that price range.

    Chip on His Interest: "I like making things that other people use to make other things." [00:5:18] Note: The structure of that last comment reminds of an old BASF commercial: "At BASF, we don't make a lot of the products you buy, we make a lot of the products you buy better." [Click to watch]
  • Was a good podcast. Ken, I could totally see you cringing and biting your tongue when Chip started talking money and pricing. ;)

    FYI, July 13th is my 50th birthday, So having the final P2 be done around then would be a great birthday present!
  • Fun listening to your podcast Chip and Ken!

    Chip it's interesting to hear we completed our final year of high school in the same year, 1986, (and it seems I am very close in age to Roy too). Good times. I agree with a lot of what you say about how things in tech have panned out somewhat differently to how we may have expected or had hoped and how things were back then.
  • I graduated High School in 87.

    Also, Chip, my first home computer was Timex Sinclair 1000, and I did a bunch of Apple //e programming in high school. I just kept going on the whole making games thing and didn't get into hardware stuff until much later.
  • I'm a bore with these kinds of things, as my job is to run a business. Accountants and business managers turn into curmudgeons as they gain more experience, I think. It's really good that Chip has a solid vision in place for the P2 and the enthusiasm will spread when we see some coin coming back into the business this year. It's critical to be viable when you've boot-strapped and there's no OPM (Other People's Money, or opium).

    Ken Gracey
  • YanomaniYanomani Posts: 882
    edited 2019-04-04 - 15:50:46
    Ken ; no pain, no gain. Every decade needs to face its own share of crisis. Too bad we had it twice, in a sequence.

    When the time comes, the ones that are able to survive, will be at the right place. Just remember: expectations are known to consume a lot of nails&hair, like tooth fairies.

    Looking forward, by the good side of all of this: success, in excess, is harmful to peoples's life, and also to business health; it makes determinism feel like a soft jelly bag. A thin containner, surounding a soft core, that don't stands vertically by itself; any rip and it's gone.

    You, Chip and Parallax will win. We all will benefit, in some way. :smile:

    Henrique
  • Ken,
    While it can be hard, I think it's better to not have OPM.

    In fact, I would go so far as to say that a big part of our problem as a nation is rooted in OPM. Companies serving shareholders (which are largely not customers) over anything else, and the government being made up of mostly shareholders who then serve the companies (in order to increase their wealth) instead of the population.

    Anyway, I look forward to the new era for Parallax around P2, with expo's happening again, and all the cool new products everyone builds with and for it.
  • RaymanRayman Posts: 9,791
    edited 2019-04-04 - 16:24:34
    Chip has done a great job of making it easy to program in assembly.

    P1 is pretty good too, but doing some things feels like a hack.

    With P2 ASM, it's really nice to program in assembly.
    And, the ability to jump in and out of hubexec and lutexec removes a lot of limits on what is possible.

    The sheer speed is also great. Makes a lot more things possible.

    I'm really glad I don't have to learn FPGA anymore. I got started on that several times, but Chip is right, there's a big learning curve...
    Prop Info and Apps: http://www.rayslogic.com/
  • potatoheadpotatohead Posts: 9,813
    edited 2019-04-04 - 17:43:16
    Lol, "some people on a 20 year hiatus came back."

    That's me. Saw the P1 and said, "YES!"

    Thank you Chip. P2 has been amazing so far. I will return here soon. Enjoyed the podcast.

    Do not worry about the attention span. It only takes a small percentage.

    @Ken Gracey you are the best brother. Chip can be Chip and all of the Parallax people really do make the world a little better.



    Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball! @opengeekorg ---> Be Excellent To One Another SKYPE = acuity_doug
    Parallax colors simplified: https://forums.parallax.com/discussion/123709/commented-graphics-demo-spin<br>
  • Ken and Chip,
    The podcast was great. I think (and hope) there was enough info there to whet other peoples appetite to investigate the P2, and P1 for that matter. The more others are aware, the better. It’s not the same multi-core as all the others out there now. It’s fun to program - the others are not!

    Did you realise 20th July is the 50th anniversary of the moon landing? Would be a nice date for P2 to become available.
    My Prop boards: P8XBlade2, RamBlade, CpuBlade, TriBlade
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd, Spinix)
    Website: www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index) , Emulators (Index) , ZiCog (Z80)
  • Great podcast. I share Chip's sentiment about low level programming - it's really annoying when there's no easy way to start building from the ground up. OTOH, I guess some fun can be derived from digging for the knowledge of the ancients, buried deep down in some uncommented C file written a decade ago >.> (you get that a lot when you try to go somewhere where you're not "supposed" to go, like programming for game consoles that actively try to lock you out from programming them using signature checks. long live strncmp!)

    Speaking of pricing, with a $10 chip, what do you think will a simple-ish board with just pin headers (like the quickstart for P1 or an Arduino Mega) cost? with all the built-in analog pins, I could see that being quite popular.
  • I think we could build a nice P2 board for a $29 sale price. Not much room for a big distributor discount there.
  • cgraceycgracey Posts: 11,745
    edited 2019-04-05 - 05:18:36
    Being able to work from the ground up is important. I think if we can make it easy and effective to develop like that, people would discover the value in it and it would drive P2 popularity. It's no good to not understand how something works that you are relying on, and even worse to realize you are locked out or dissuaded from understanding.
  • On that thought, I'd recommend increasing visual documentation of the microcontroller functions for the purposes of teaching how it executes machine code. I distinctly remember feeling ill-equipped until I understood this area.

    I know processor architecture is usually considered an advanced level of teaching but I don't think it needs to be. It doesn't require much knowledge from other school subjects. Would need to teach number systems for binary. And logic terms obviously. I'm sure both are already in curriculums just for doing the robotics.
    "We suspect that ALMA will allow us to observe this rare form of CO in many other discs.
    By doing that, we can more accurately measure their mass, and determine whether
    scientists have systematically been underestimating how much matter they contain."
  • RaymanRayman Posts: 9,791
    edited 2019-04-05 - 13:10:35
    I did notice that they ducked the question about colored programming language.

    Sounds like expo in late July
    Prop Info and Apps: http://www.rayslogic.com/
  • Gate crash the Eval board assembly.
    "We suspect that ALMA will allow us to observe this rare form of CO in many other discs.
    By doing that, we can more accurately measure their mass, and determine whether
    scientists have systematically been underestimating how much matter they contain."
  • cgracey wrote: »
    Being able to work from the ground up is important. I think if we can make it easy and effective to develop like that, people would discover the value in it and it would drive P2 popularity. It's no good to not understand how something works that you are relying on, and even worse to realize you are locked out or dissuaded from understanding.

    I strongly suggest everyone here go checkout Bret Victor's "Seeing Spaces" talk (15min) RIGHT NOW!!!.
    http://worrydream.com/#!/SeeingSpaces
    It is literally the evolution of Makerspaces and falls directly into what Chip is talking about here.

    For Bret's vision to come true, the maker would need a board/uC that can/has:
    -Able to display on multiple displays simultaneously
    -Lots of IO
    -Live debugging
    -Interactive programming environment
    -Multiple cores to make all this happen

    The P2 appears more than capable of actually making this happen.

    Also, as far as Visual Documentation, check out Bret's COMIC BOOK version of the talk.
    Visualizing concepts and processes is very powerful !!

    Jason
  • evanhevanh Posts: 8,056
    edited 2019-04-07 - 01:12:51
    Ouch over 1.1 GBs! That's a huge video for 15 minutes! EDIT: Bah, I didn't think to force it lower, just changing from .mov to .mp4 at same resolution makes it 5 times smaller! Too late now.
    "We suspect that ALMA will allow us to observe this rare form of CO in many other discs.
    By doing that, we can more accurately measure their mass, and determine whether
    scientists have systematically been underestimating how much matter they contain."
  • If there is an expo in the fall, reserve my seat now. I am totally flying to California for it.

    I am also going to forward links to this podcast to several people. One of whom is chief engineer for a major international manufacturing enterprise. He has specific needs the Propellers addresses like nothing else.

    I am also older than all you people. 1990's? I'm so old I learned ASCII by bit-banging it with a telegraph key, and when you got the timing wrong a giant loud buzzer would sound and you'd have to listen to the studio audience berate you as you tried it again.

    And unless something really dramatic happens I will be considering FastSpin the native language of P2. Having conquered the neglected enc28j60 my next legacy project will be the ps/2 keyboard.
  • He's talking about incorporating and using telemetry. Given the number of scientific examples he gave I think he intentionally avoided naming the word itself.
    "We suspect that ALMA will allow us to observe this rare form of CO in many other discs.
    By doing that, we can more accurately measure their mass, and determine whether
    scientists have systematically been underestimating how much matter they contain."
  • Re: "Seeing Spaces"

    Propeller users have been using multiple monitors for testing/debugging since the P1 was released.
    I currently have two VGA monitors displaying "live" data from my P2-ES board while running Micropython.
    This configuration seems very normal to me. :)

    Melbourne, Australia
  • ozpropdev wrote: »
    Re: "Seeing Spaces"

    Propeller users have been using multiple monitors for testing/debugging since the P1 was released.

    In your opinion, how might the P2 take the "Seeing Spaces" vision even further than the P1 did?
    J

  • thej wrote: »
    In your opinion, how might the P2 take the "Seeing Spaces" vision even further than the P1 did?
    The first feature of P2 that fits this "seeing" model is the ability to capture IO pin states with the streamer, including the "scope" mode.
    Melbourne, Australia
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 15,456
    edited 2019-04-07 - 11:42:50
    I gave one of my 24” monitors to the P2 VGA 1920x1080 and streamer to ouput pin samples. Its not conplete yet but it does work. That leaves me 2 x 24” and the 15” of the laptop itself. If i use the desktop then i lose the 15” :(

    I’ve been drooling over those 43” 4K monitors.
    My Prop boards: P8XBlade2, RamBlade, CpuBlade, TriBlade
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd, Spinix)
    Website: www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index) , Emulators (Index) , ZiCog (Z80)
  • Cluso99 wrote: »
    I’ve been drooling over those 43” 4K monitors.
    I've noticed they're hard to find now.
    "We suspect that ALMA will allow us to observe this rare form of CO in many other discs.
    By doing that, we can more accurately measure their mass, and determine whether
    scientists have systematically been underestimating how much matter they contain."
  • Cluso99 wrote: »
    I’ve been drooling over those 43” 4K monitors.
    They look cool but unfortunately my ancient Mac mini can't drive a 4K monitor.
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