Any ideas for P2 demos?

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  • Ariba wrote: »
    I think the P2 would be the ideal chip for such a Videosynth:

    Andy
    If this is anything like the Organelle which is made by the same people it can be programmed with the Pure Data graphical language. Can that be ported to P2?

  • PD is interesting... Never seen anything quite like that before...
  • There are few things I would do if I was in charge of moving P2 units. First off, instead of looking at just what the P2 does well, I would look at what Parallax as a company does well, and that is cater to the educational market. What I would recommend is making 2-3 semesters worth of courses that center around programming, electronics, etc that could be used in a school curriculum. The 2-3 courses would basically be intro to advanced courses as with complexity. Design a kit around it, with a P2 board and breadboard, and include things like speakers, lights, etc. Make it easy for the educator by setting up courses with activities that an instructor could follow. Since the curriculum would be tied to the P2 kit then sales would be generated by each kit sold. I would also setup a special instructor support portal where educators can go with questions and whatnot. Depending on how confident you are in P2 supply you could also write a version for the P1 in parallel, however just have it on the back burner just in case. You could also add a component where you can turn it into a virtual class with a video instructor for individuals who want to use this kit instead through a class. I believe having a structured course that Parallax can offer would fit a need that isn't currently met by a manufacturer.

    The other item I would push is programming on the P2 itself. Instead of using SPIN on a PC to dump to the P2, create a basic where you can run the exercises on the unit itself. You would create a similar kit as above, but a little more expensive as it would need keyboard and display options to be paired with it. But with the complete kit you would not have to worry about PC setup/compatibility. You do all the coding on the kit, run the exercises, and boom. The key of course would be the structured curriculum that Parallax would have to create for educators, otherwise it is no different than a Pi or Arduino kit.

    The last item I would push would be similar to the last, but would focus on games. You would have a basic tailored to making games where you have routines to handle sprites, tiled backgrounds, sounds, etc. It would also have a built in sprite editor, tile editor, sound creator, etc. With this item you wouldn't have to gear it towards a curriculum, however you could if the prior worked well. But you would still want to have some tutorials with videos for people to follow along so you can have a higher participation rate. Where a lot of these kits fail is when there is very little or complex documentation and instruction, and people who are novices in programming are lost and give up before they can make any apps on their own. Having a basic game creation environment people can have fun making their own games right on the system. Also with this environment you set hard video limits like number of colors, resolution, etc so this way you can easily support multiple displays (HDMI, composite, SPI LCD). You can also sell different kits like a basic kit (no peripherals included), a kit with keyboard, mouse, and display, and also a handheld (on this unit you would not do any programming, however you can take the application you make and take it with you).

    In this current day there are many hardware MCUs/kits available, and many are affordable. My recommendation is instead banking on the chip, you bank on the service with the chip at the center of that service. The big challenge would be it would require significant investment from parallax to develop the courses and software.
  • JT Cook, I agree.

    I am working on getting the tools to run on the chip now. I've always wanted a self-hosted system, even if it's a little dinghy amid a fleet of Titanic's. Freedom would be nice.
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 14,192
    edited 2020-04-20 - 18:21:30
    JT Cook wrote: »
    create a basic where you can run the exercises on the unit itself
    You mention "a basic" a few times. Do you mean an implementation of the BASIC programming language or are you talking about Spin2 in some sort of "basic" form?

  • David Betz wrote: »
    JT Cook wrote: »
    create a basic where you can run the exercises on the unit itself
    You mention "a basic" a few times. Do you mean an implementation of the BASIC programming language or are you talking about Spin2 in some sort of "basic" form?

    The Basic programing language. Mostly I picture something similar to QuickBasic where you have this text editor where you can scroll up and down as well as not requiring line numbers.
  • JT Cook wrote: »
    David Betz wrote: »
    JT Cook wrote: »
    create a basic where you can run the exercises on the unit itself
    You mention "a basic" a few times. Do you mean an implementation of the BASIC programming language or are you talking about Spin2 in some sort of "basic" form?

    The Basic programing language. Mostly I picture something similar to QuickBasic where you have this text editor where you can scroll up and down as well as not requiring line numbers.
    Yeah, line editors are really a bit *too* retro. I'm using one because it allows me to just use a serial console interface and not depend on any kind of screen control. I could switch to a screen editor pretty easily though since my implementation of BASIC doesn't use the line numbers as labels. They are only there for the editor.

  • David Betz wrote: »
    JT Cook wrote: »
    David Betz wrote: »
    JT Cook wrote: »
    create a basic where you can run the exercises on the unit itself
    You mention "a basic" a few times. Do you mean an implementation of the BASIC programming language or are you talking about Spin2 in some sort of "basic" form?

    The Basic programing language. Mostly I picture something similar to QuickBasic where you have this text editor where you can scroll up and down as well as not requiring line numbers.
    Yeah, line editors are really a bit *too* retro. I'm using one because it allows me to just use a serial console interface and not depend on any kind of screen control. I could switch to a screen editor pretty easily though since my implementation of BASIC doesn't use the line numbers as labels. They are only there for the editor.
    What about a small box that has a 7" or 9" LCD on one side and a breadboarding area beside it? It could ship with a small keyboard like Parallax used to sell. Then there would be no need for the schools to provide monitors or keyboards.

  • Speaking from local experience, keyboard availability probably wont be an issue. School IT departments purchase them by the pallet already as they are subject to all sorts of horrific abuse (lunch, liquids, rogue spitwads, misplaced tushies, exploding science experiments, etc). The local IT guy gets them from a wholesaler overseas for about $8/ea. Of course, having them as a purchase option would be great.

    I really like the idea of the embedded display and breadboard. That notion could have wings. Just make sure that spares for *everything* are available on an expedited basis... because... kids!
  • David,
    The only concern about having the display attached to the unit in whole is usability and visibility. Everyone's workstation is different and having it all attached may make it hard from some people to use. I was thinking more pairing with a small generic display since it makes it easier to source and you aren't tied to a single display/manufacture. Also you can make the kit cheaper if the screen is optional since not everyone will need it.

    JRoark,
    It seems like our local school district primarily has Chromebooks, so I am not sure how their supply of keyboards is. However USB keyboards are easy and cheap to come by, as long as their is a USB Host on the board. I think it still seems like a good idea to offer a complete kit, so a bulk order can be completed how the purchaser needs without having to piecemeal components. And of course make it optional for people/groups that prefer to source their own.

  • JT Cook wrote: »
    David,
    The only concern about having the display attached to the unit in whole is usability and visibility. Everyone's workstation is different and having it all attached may make it hard from some people to use. I was thinking more pairing with a small generic display since it makes it easier to source and you aren't tied to a single display/manufacture. Also you can make the kit cheaper if the screen is optional since not everyone will need it.
    What about Chip's idea of just using an ESP8266 or ESP32 to provide a web interface to an onboard development environment? The all of those Chromebooks could be used as interfaces to the P2 self-hosted IDE.

  • David Betz wrote: »
    What about Chip's idea of just using an ESP8266 or ESP32 to provide a web interface to an onboard development environment? The all of those Chromebooks could be used as interfaces to the P2 self-hosted IDE.

    I do think it is important to have Chromebook compatibility since it seems like schools are moving towards that. How that is done would probably more depend on the software used on the machine and P2 device. I wonder if the ESP chips can also act as a USB host?

  • JT Cook wrote: »
    David,
    The only concern about having the display attached to the unit in whole is usability and visibility. Everyone's workstation is different and having it all attached may make it hard from some people to use. I was thinking more pairing with a small generic display since it makes it easier to source and you aren't tied to a single display/manufacture. Also you can make the kit cheaper if the screen is optional since not everyone will need it.

    I think it'd be hard to beat the price of sourcing some cheap monitors vs a built-in LCD. Also, IIRC from my (admittedly limited) research a while ago, a lot of generic LCD modules don't expose the controller pins necessary for a parallel RGB+sync interface, which is what the P2 streamer is good at.
  • Wuerfel_21 wrote: »
    JT Cook wrote: »
    David,
    The only concern about having the display attached to the unit in whole is usability and visibility. Everyone's workstation is different and having it all attached may make it hard from some people to use. I was thinking more pairing with a small generic display since it makes it easier to source and you aren't tied to a single display/manufacture. Also you can make the kit cheaper if the screen is optional since not everyone will need it.

    I think it'd be hard to beat the price of sourcing some cheap monitors vs a built-in LCD. Also, IIRC from my (admittedly limited) research a while ago, a lot of generic LCD modules don't expose the controller pins necessary for a parallel RGB+sync interface, which is what the P2 streamer is good at.
    It certainly wouldn't be good if the built-in LCD display cost more than a separately sourced LCD monitor. I withdraw my suggestion! :smile:

  • David Betz wrote: »
    Wuerfel_21 wrote: »
    JT Cook wrote: »
    David,
    The only concern about having the display attached to the unit in whole is usability and visibility. Everyone's workstation is different and having it all attached may make it hard from some people to use. I was thinking more pairing with a small generic display since it makes it easier to source and you aren't tied to a single display/manufacture. Also you can make the kit cheaper if the screen is optional since not everyone will need it.

    I think it'd be hard to beat the price of sourcing some cheap monitors vs a built-in LCD. Also, IIRC from my (admittedly limited) research a while ago, a lot of generic LCD modules don't expose the controller pins necessary for a parallel RGB+sync interface, which is what the P2 streamer is good at.
    It certainly wouldn't be good if the built-in LCD display cost more than a separately sourced LCD monitor. I withdraw my suggestion! :smile:

    The big thing would be to use the P2 as the computer where you can program on it. Ideally you would have HDMI and/or composite out so you can hook up your own display. However it would also be beneficial if this was made to have an optional add on to include a display in the bundle to make it complete, something like a cheap 7" screen. It also needs to be big enough to be readable while programming on it.
  • The big thing would be to use the P2 as the computer where you can program on it.
    Why? For $15 more than the current price of a P2 chip you can have a Raspberry Pi. IMO, the better use of the Propeller is as a specialized co-processor for the RPi or similar computers.
  • JonnyMac wrote: »
    The big thing would be to use the P2 as the computer where you can program on it.
    Why? For $15 more than the current price of a P2 chip you can have a Raspberry Pi. IMO, the better use of the Propeller is as a specialized co-processor for the RPi or similar computers.
    Some people seem to be scared away by complex operating systems like Linux or Windows.

  • JonnyMac wrote: »
    The big thing would be to use the P2 as the computer where you can program on it.
    Why? For $15 more than the current price of a P2 chip you can have a Raspberry Pi. IMO, the better use of the Propeller is as a specialized co-processor for the RPi or similar computers.

    This makes a lot of sense to me. I can pick up a monitor for $15-$20 dollars, add an RPi for about $60 and have a development system for under $100.00. I currently have an Odroid and my first P1 protoboard mounted on the back of a 19" RCA TV for debugging code.
  • One reason I liked the built-in LCD monitor is that it limits the mess of wires required if you have an external monitor. It would be cool to have a single unit that had the LCD monitor and the P2 development board with breadboard. You could even use a wireless keyboard. Anyway, I realize this is impractical because of the cost.
  • JonnyMac wrote: »
    The big thing would be to use the P2 as the computer where you can program on it.
    Why? For $15 more than the current price of a P2 chip you can have a Raspberry Pi. IMO, the better use of the Propeller is as a specialized co-processor for the RPi or similar computers.

    My thought process is about product lines that would have the P2 at the center. It isn't so much to make it a full on development system onto the P2 itself, but to be able do some fun programming activities on and with the P2. I think when you add a Pi to the P2 a lot of people are going to look at the setup and think "Why do I even need the P2 at all?".

  • JT Cook wrote: »
    JonnyMac wrote: »
    The big thing would be to use the P2 as the computer where you can program on it.
    Why? For $15 more than the current price of a P2 chip you can have a Raspberry Pi. IMO, the better use of the Propeller is as a specialized co-processor for the RPi or similar computers.

    My thought process is about product lines that would have the P2 at the center. It isn't so much to make it a full on development system onto the P2 itself, but to be able do some fun programming activities on and with the P2. I think when you add a Pi to the P2 a lot of people are going to look at the setup and think "Why do I even need the P2 at all?".
    Same reason anyone needs a P1 or P2, to get cycle-accurate realtime performance. If that sort of control isn't needed then you may be right that the RaspberryPi will be fine on its own.

  • David Betz wrote: »
    JT Cook wrote: »
    JonnyMac wrote: »
    The big thing would be to use the P2 as the computer where you can program on it.
    Why? For $15 more than the current price of a P2 chip you can have a Raspberry Pi. IMO, the better use of the Propeller is as a specialized co-processor for the RPi or similar computers.

    My thought process is about product lines that would have the P2 at the center. It isn't so much to make it a full on development system onto the P2 itself, but to be able do some fun programming activities on and with the P2. I think when you add a Pi to the P2 a lot of people are going to look at the setup and think "Why do I even need the P2 at all?".
    Same reason anyone needs a P1 or P2, to get cycle-accurate realtime performance. If that sort of control isn't needed then you may be right that the RaspberryPi will be fine on its own.

    But the idea of the thread is ultimately to have something that shows off the P2. So yes you can hookup a Pi to a P2 to do stuff, but in the spirit of this thread, what would that stuff be? And how can you show the value and to convince people that the P2 is worth while?
  • JT Cook wrote: »
    David Betz wrote: »
    JT Cook wrote: »
    JonnyMac wrote: »
    The big thing would be to use the P2 as the computer where you can program on it.
    Why? For $15 more than the current price of a P2 chip you can have a Raspberry Pi. IMO, the better use of the Propeller is as a specialized co-processor for the RPi or similar computers.

    My thought process is about product lines that would have the P2 at the center. It isn't so much to make it a full on development system onto the P2 itself, but to be able do some fun programming activities on and with the P2. I think when you add a Pi to the P2 a lot of people are going to look at the setup and think "Why do I even need the P2 at all?".
    Same reason anyone needs a P1 or P2, to get cycle-accurate realtime performance. If that sort of control isn't needed then you may be right that the RaspberryPi will be fine on its own.

    But the idea of the thread is ultimately to have something that shows off the P2. So yes you can hookup a Pi to a P2 to do stuff, but in the spirit of this thread, what would that stuff be? And how can you show the value and to convince people that the P2 is worth while?
    Yes but do you really want to sell P2 as the best way to run a self-hosted BASIC interpreter that can do simple microcontroller things? Sure it can do that but there are much cheaper alternatives that can do that as well or better. I thought this thread was about finding applications that are uniquely suited to the P2.

  • we need a 2bex
  • The problem with something like the Pi is that it needs to run millions of lines of code you've never seen and probably don't want to see (and sometimes, are not allowed to see (GPU firmware, etc...) to do anything useful. P1 and P2 programming has small, highly optimized, self contained libraries that you can reasonably expect someone to read through, fully understand and modify. I think there is tremendous value in that.
  • Wuerfel_21 wrote: »
    The problem with something like the Pi is that it needs to run millions of lines of code you've never seen and probably don't want to see (and sometimes, are not allowed to see (GPU firmware, etc...) to do anything useful. P1 and P2 programming has small, highly optimized, self contained libraries that you can reasonably expect someone to read through, fully understand and modify. I think there is tremendous value in that.
    But if you're only running the tools on the RaspberryPi then surely the P2 libraries are still available for inspection. I don't think students are going to want to look at the source code for the compiler are they?

  • David Betz wrote: »
    JT Cook wrote: »
    David Betz wrote: »
    JT Cook wrote: »
    JonnyMac wrote: »
    The big thing would be to use the P2 as the computer where you can program on it.
    Why? For $15 more than the current price of a P2 chip you can have a Raspberry Pi. IMO, the better use of the Propeller is as a specialized co-processor for the RPi or similar computers.

    My thought process is about product lines that would have the P2 at the center. It isn't so much to make it a full on development system onto the P2 itself, but to be able do some fun programming activities on and with the P2. I think when you add a Pi to the P2 a lot of people are going to look at the setup and think "Why do I even need the P2 at all?".
    Same reason anyone needs a P1 or P2, to get cycle-accurate realtime performance. If that sort of control isn't needed then you may be right that the RaspberryPi will be fine on its own.

    But the idea of the thread is ultimately to have something that shows off the P2. So yes you can hookup a Pi to a P2 to do stuff, but in the spirit of this thread, what would that stuff be? And how can you show the value and to convince people that the P2 is worth while?
    Yes but do you really want to sell P2 as the best way to run a self-hosted BASIC interpreter that can do simple microcontroller things? Sure it can do that but there are much cheaper alternatives that can do that as well or better. I thought this thread was about finding applications that are uniquely suited to the P2.

    Yes, because the interesting part is the environment is running on the MCU. No it is not completely unique, but it is unique enough to make it interesting. And it would need a little beefier basic environment that would act similar to a simple word processor (not just the tried and true early 80's basic programming environment). Also it can be used as a product by pairing it with a breadboard and create an electronics/programming course. And this product you can potentially get them in schools in good quantity (as Parallax seems to cater to the educational markets on a regular basis), so you can get them in more hands.

    And yes, you do want items to demonstraight the real advantages of the P2. I am not pitching my idea as the end all be all of items, just one that I feel would provide value for Parallax as a way to put the P2 in an interesting light and that can be used a product to move some of the P2s.
  • JT Cook wrote: »
    David Betz wrote: »
    JT Cook wrote: »
    David Betz wrote: »
    JT Cook wrote: »
    JonnyMac wrote: »
    The big thing would be to use the P2 as the computer where you can program on it.
    Why? For $15 more than the current price of a P2 chip you can have a Raspberry Pi. IMO, the better use of the Propeller is as a specialized co-processor for the RPi or similar computers.

    My thought process is about product lines that would have the P2 at the center. It isn't so much to make it a full on development system onto the P2 itself, but to be able do some fun programming activities on and with the P2. I think when you add a Pi to the P2 a lot of people are going to look at the setup and think "Why do I even need the P2 at all?".
    Same reason anyone needs a P1 or P2, to get cycle-accurate realtime performance. If that sort of control isn't needed then you may be right that the RaspberryPi will be fine on its own.

    But the idea of the thread is ultimately to have something that shows off the P2. So yes you can hookup a Pi to a P2 to do stuff, but in the spirit of this thread, what would that stuff be? And how can you show the value and to convince people that the P2 is worth while?
    Yes but do you really want to sell P2 as the best way to run a self-hosted BASIC interpreter that can do simple microcontroller things? Sure it can do that but there are much cheaper alternatives that can do that as well or better. I thought this thread was about finding applications that are uniquely suited to the P2.

    Yes, because the interesting part is the environment is running on the MCU. No it is not completely unique, but it is unique enough to make it interesting. And it would need a little beefier basic environment that would act similar to a simple word processor (not just the tried and true early 80's basic programming environment). Also it can be used as a product by pairing it with a breadboard and create an electronics/programming course. And this product you can potentially get them in schools in good quantity (as Parallax seems to cater to the educational markets on a regular basis), so you can get them in more hands.

    And yes, you do want items to demonstraight the real advantages of the P2. I am not pitching my idea as the end all be all of items, just one that I feel would provide value for Parallax as a way to put the P2 in an interesting light and that can be used a product to move some of the P2s.
    I'll be interested to see what you come up with. In the meantime, I'm going to try to get my BASIC interpreter working and I think Mike Green is already doing the same with FemtoBASIC. We should have a few options soon. Now we just need a simple screen editor to pair with one of these interpreters.

  • David Betz wrote: »
    JT Cook wrote: »
    David Betz wrote: »
    JT Cook wrote: »
    David Betz wrote: »
    JT Cook wrote: »
    JonnyMac wrote: »
    The big thing would be to use the P2 as the computer where you can program on it.
    Why? For $15 more than the current price of a P2 chip you can have a Raspberry Pi. IMO, the better use of the Propeller is as a specialized co-processor for the RPi or similar computers.

    My thought process is about product lines that would have the P2 at the center. It isn't so much to make it a full on development system onto the P2 itself, but to be able do some fun programming activities on and with the P2. I think when you add a Pi to the P2 a lot of people are going to look at the setup and think "Why do I even need the P2 at all?".
    Same reason anyone needs a P1 or P2, to get cycle-accurate realtime performance. If that sort of control isn't needed then you may be right that the RaspberryPi will be fine on its own.

    But the idea of the thread is ultimately to have something that shows off the P2. So yes you can hookup a Pi to a P2 to do stuff, but in the spirit of this thread, what would that stuff be? And how can you show the value and to convince people that the P2 is worth while?
    Yes but do you really want to sell P2 as the best way to run a self-hosted BASIC interpreter that can do simple microcontroller things? Sure it can do that but there are much cheaper alternatives that can do that as well or better. I thought this thread was about finding applications that are uniquely suited to the P2.

    Yes, because the interesting part is the environment is running on the MCU. No it is not completely unique, but it is unique enough to make it interesting. And it would need a little beefier basic environment that would act similar to a simple word processor (not just the tried and true early 80's basic programming environment). Also it can be used as a product by pairing it with a breadboard and create an electronics/programming course. And this product you can potentially get them in schools in good quantity (as Parallax seems to cater to the educational markets on a regular basis), so you can get them in more hands.

    And yes, you do want items to demonstraight the real advantages of the P2. I am not pitching my idea as the end all be all of items, just one that I feel would provide value for Parallax as a way to put the P2 in an interesting light and that can be used a product to move some of the P2s.
    I'll be interested to see what you come up with. In the meantime, I'm going to try to get my BASIC interpreter working and I think Mike Green is already doing the same with FemtoBASIC. We should have a few options soon. Now we just need a simple screen editor to pair with one of these interpreters.

    I don't think I will be jumping on the P2 train, just throwing out ideas. Recently in my free time I have been working on learning OpenGL. However I do like to drop by from time to time just to see how things are progressing.
  • Did I already mention MAME? It'd be neat to put a P2 board in my arcade box instead of the old PC that's there now...

    I wonder if arcade machines are coming back in fashion... Microcenter has an endcap and part of an isle full of DIY arcade box stuff...
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