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Comment Re:Getting rid of XP would mean I can't do my job (Score 1) 860

Sounds like the real answer to this problem is an improved USB to serial dongle. If this is a serious problem for electronics engineers, they are the perfect people to fix it. Whatever the problem with the USB to serial interface is, fix it. Then sell your improved serial port adapter for $100. Profit!

The problem is not the hardware. It is the software stack in the middle which is necessary to implement USB.

If only there was a way to put, say, a 16550A chip on the processor data bus and hook it into the port I/O logic... (/sarcasm)

Comment Getting rid of XP would mean I can't do my job (Score 3, Interesting) 860

I work with embedded software. Chip designs are often 20 years old. So are the software development tools.

Software designed for Windows 3.1, or even DOS 5.0, will still run under XP. They will not run under Windows 8, or even Windows 7 (64-bit, I have to get my hands on a Windows 7 32-bit disk and see if it works).

Moreover, on chips that old you talk to them via serial (either RS232 or RS485). To do it properly, this MUST be done using a real serial port. USB to serial dongles need not apply. This means old hardware. Which means they do not have the horsepower to run Windows 7 / Windows 8.

I've played with some VM's but there is a problem -- limited access to the actual system hard drive. So I either have 99% of my system in the VM (so all projects area availble), which means I spend all my time in the VM (and am effectively running XP anyway), or multiple small VM's, which limits access to different projects for code sharing...

Comment Specialty software (Score 1) 1880

I write embedded code for a living.

The compilers / tools are written for the biggest section of the market. This means Windows.

Moreover, many of the tools were written years ago. This means Windows 95 compatibility.

So, I'm using Windows. Windows XP to be exact, and dread having my computer die on me -
I'm not sure I can get many of the old tools running under Windows 7.

Comment Re:Cue a gazillion posts... (Score 2) 433

OK, I'll admit it...

Damn, I'm old. I remember personal computers before IBM threw their hat in the ring. I lusted after microprocessors and blinking lights in an 8-bit world.

I'm so old I actually bought one of the SCP board sets (my first computer purchase! I could not resist the lure of 16-bit power), an S-100 mainframe kit, and started soldering.

My system came with DOS version 0.10, serial number 11 on an 8" 256K soft sector floppy (for my Cromemco 4FDC running a Persci 277 dual floppy drive). And I still have the assembler / linker / ROM monitor source on my hard drive (anyone else remember the trick 6-byte ASCII hex conversion?)

What's really amazing is that the skills I used for this are what I use every day in my job (embedded software for industrial controllers). I never learned Windows / Linux programming...

Comment NO! (Score 1) 1213

I work in embedded software (tiny little systems, not something like embedded Linux).

Software systems for some of these chips dates back to Windows 3.1.

There is insufficient support for this software in Vista / Windows 7.

Not to mention direct hardware access to system resources like RS232 ports (USB COMM ports
need not apply).

Some people have a great ambition: to build something that will last, at least until they've finished building it.