... I have no doubt that an open source toolchain will be a great step forward in lowering that barrier
Yea, because open-source software is famous for having well-designed, easy-to-use comprehensive instructions.
After building a few things with atmel-chip Arduino boards in the last couple years I gave in to my curiosity and bought a couple cheaper CLPD and FPGA boards. On electronics forums there's always people moaning "oh god not another arduino user" and whining how "there's so many other boards that are faster/have more cores/ect ect/why are you still using atmel shit". I ended up choosing Altera-chip boards, for no particular reason. Lower-end Altera or Xlinix boards can be had for $10-$15 from the orient-direct sites. A USB JTAG programmer costs another $5, if one wasn't included. The cost isn't the problem here.
Part of the problem (as I see it) is the complexity of using the programming toolchains, yes. The boards seem to work, but I haven't actually gotten mine to 'do' anything yet.... I have not gone through the available Altera tutorials however.
But another part of it is that most people are hard-pressed to think up anything that would require an FPGA, so there's not a lot of incentive to learn. Myself included.
Most of the projects that most people build with Arduinos probably have the atmel processor sitting there idle most of the time. If an Uno isn't fast enough, the Mega is twice as fast as the Uno. And then the Due (with an ARM chip) is ~5x or more times faster than the Mega, depending on what your program does... And there are other ARM boards that are faster/have more cores than the Arduino Due.... so there are a lot of other easier-to-use options for a 'faster' board, if an Uno or Mega just can't handle the task.
So I think that FPGA's aren't going to advanced into the hobbyist market any time soon. At least. no more than they already are.
The concepts of FPGAs and CLPD's intrigues me, but currently it's a lot of hassle to learn just to gain processor speed that most projects I can imagine simply don't require.
If they don't rule in favor of allowing non-killing weapons they will have more people carrying killing weapons.
Yea, but,,, what effective non-killing electrical weapons are there?
The cheap stun-gun devices are not effective, and the only brand that is effective (Taser--the only one that the [US] police bother to use) regularly results in deaths*.
*('course, a lot of those deaths involve aggravating circumstances (obesity, drugs, ect),,,, but it is a rather odd concidence that a lot of people seem to..... die..... of heart-related causes.... after being shocked with Tasers)
... or a half-assed programming model for turning on and off gpios?
Why so mad?
I've seen this many times--where people insist that Arduino-related anything is somehow "not real electronics/programming". As if it were only a lot harder to use, it would somehow "build programmers with better morals and ideology, like me."
It's not the best hardware or software but it doesn't cost much to try.
And if people are doing it for fun, it doesn't need to be difficult or result in the adaptation of rigorous enterprise-level programming habits. If all they want is to blink the LEDs their way and it does that, how is that a bad thing?
There seems to be an odd perception that "the whole hobby of electronics would be better without all these Arduino people". If you feel this way, what is it they do that interferes with anything you wanted to do?
1) All the participants had metabolic syndrome so the results might not be generally applicable.
2) The meals were fixed portions, so we don't know how it affected appetite or how it compared to previous eating habits.
One of the odd effects of eating low-carb is that you can go much longer periods without eating, and yet you don't feel hungry. You have to try it for at least a few weeks to understand it.
Going 12 hours without eating isn't unusual, and even 18 hours is easily possible without discomfort. It kinda destroys the concept of meals as social settings, because you aren't eating every ~5 hours like everyone else is.
3) We don't know what would happen long term.
See #1 above
Eating low-carb all the time is still considered an extreme diet by medical standards, so (US) doctors won't tell you to try it. And they think you're borderline nuts if you ask about a zero-carb diet.... It is helpful to be under medical care to get your blood numbers tested because there are some conditions that it could easily aggravate instead of improve. Don't be too surprised if they get better however.
If you do try it, the easy rule to remember is that anything from plants is carbs, and is to be avoided--even fresh fruits and vegetables. Basically you can eat any meat (with fat!), milk, cheese and eggs. Lean meat is to be avoided; the traditional Inuit diet was over 50% fat.
The health books in school lied to you. If low-carbs and high-fat was bad for you, there wouldn't be any Eskimos today.
... Our current culture in the US, where unsustainable transportation (driving personal automobiles) is prioritized over sustainable transit, needs to change, and the sooner the better.
It would have been easier to just type "Stop liking what I don't like...."
Mass-transit is itself unsustainable, though most advocates ignore the realities of it:
1) Most mass-transit systems have peak usage that is very high, but is rather low the rest of the time. To be utilized it must be operating as much hours of the day as possible and must be sized to handle the peak usage, but that also means that in many cases they run essentially empty most of the rest of the hours of the day. Running empty trains and buses in circles isn't efficient by any measure.
2) The usefulness of mass transit relies on the ability of it to transport people from where they are to where they want to go--but the more stops that are added, the slower the speed becomes, making it undesirable for that reason alone. So mass-transit engineers are forced to decide between making it inaccessible (with few stops) or making it slow (with too many stops).
The most efficient means of transporting one person is to move them from wherever they are, to wherever they want to go, as quickly and directly as possible, so they will favor using that transportation. It takes an individual vehicle to do that. A 1-person vehicle always has a 100% occupancy rate, and it isn't on the road at all when it's not actually being used. The only issue is technical matters of small vehicle design. It is easily possible right now to build a 1-person vehicle that can get 100 MPG and over 200 MPG is easily possible without any advances in technology.
Mass-transit suffers from utilization problems that are inherent in its use, and that cannot be solved.
Individual vehicles suffer from technological limitations that can be improved with engineering advances.
A rock store eventually closed down; they were taking too much for granite.