Tools of the trade Pt.1
Hallo und wilkommen zu, ehh… I mean hello and welcome to the second article of the Electronics series. Today we will be dicussing tools. Every electronics hobbyist must have a set of trusty tools to rely on while embarking on the magnificent journey of electricity. I like dividing my tools into 2 major categories software and harware.
-But is software a tool?
Well.. yeah,because there sooo many kinds of compilers,IDEs,CAD (and other) software,operating systems (trust me here, there are more than 3) that you need to have quite a bit know-how in order to find your way through all of that info.
-So where do I start from?
The basic stuff,a general rule of thumb for beginners(especially those of you with no programming experience) is to keep it nice and simple,just so you can get hold of general concepts that dwell in the realm of programming. My suggestions:
Regarding programming languages:
- Absolute beginner: Scratch, a simple yet information packed computer language that can get your running with the big boys (or girls) at no time!
- Intermediate: C or some variety/version of C (such as C++,C#),because it’s a language that combines some high level characteristics (similarity to physical language,libraries,functions) with low-level goodies (speed,efficiency,etc.)
- Advanced: Python,what can we say about Python? It’s such a weapon!High level,featuring powerful built in functions in a vast array of applications, just an all around wild card!
- Super Advanced Boss Level: Verilog. If you have never heard it,then you probably don’t fall in this category. If you do then you certainly don’t need instructions regarding basic electronics!
Regarding software (from the design/CAD viewpoint):
- Absolute beginner: Fritzing super simple but powerful designing software,really intuitive too.
- Intermediate: After a lot of thought I reccomend Draftsight, which is sort of a free AutoCAD version but a tad simpler.
- Advanced: For you there is AutoDesk 123 a 3D designing program ideal for the well conditioned hobbyists (or as I like to call them semi-pros).
- Super Advanced Boss Level: Eagle CAD with PCB layout features and a ton other stuff.Eagle is really powerfull, but skillwise a very demanding software.
For everyone I recommend CircuitLab a very usefull and easy-to-use little programme!
Regarding Operating Systems(this can come in handy in our Raspberry Pi exploratons):
- Absolute beginner: If you have Windows stick to it, if you have a Mac well things might be a little more difficult for you but hang in there! More and more programms are incorporating Mac compatibility and in the meantime we are here for you!
- Intermediate/Advanced: Linux,cause it’s EVERYWHERE nowadays: PC,servers,smartphones (I’ve even heard of vending machines that run it) plus the infamous Raspberry Pi platform runs Linux.
- Super Advanced Boss Level: Hehe aren’t you in for a treat.. for all of you OS wackos out there I have…. MINIX 3, I won’t even say more just look it up!!
-Whoa you weren’t kidding when you said there are a lot of stuff out there.
No I wasn’t. But hey,look at the bright side we’re done with the software part of tools!
-Thank God,…ehh I mean bummer 😦
I will let that slide,Mr. hypothetical reader but just this once!
**Note: Because I will be upgrading some of my equipment in the next few days/week(s) the hardware part of Tools is going to be uploaded a bit later (sorry in advance.)
Books: C++ Primer,Python for kids(not really a book for kids)
Confused? Ask me anything right here,
or there: https://twitter.com/jacofe
Images from: Google.com