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Veteran Hack a Day writer Caleb Kraft has written a thoughtful response to Phil’s yesterday editorial Why the Arduino Won and Why It’s Here to Stay (which also got a nice mention on the official Arduino Blog).

Caleb’s piece is worth reading in its entirety, but the short version—which you’ll appreciate if you’ve ever had a skilled hacker flame you for using an Arduino when a much simpler circuit could’ve done the job—is that those who have the skill-set to do without the Arduino should stop poking fun at those who don’t, and help educate them instead. Especially if they want to see more folks moving from the Arduino community into their own. Hear, hear!

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


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Comments

  1. Jim(my) Orr says:

    This piece reminds me of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s reaction to Richard Dawkin’s style of rhetoric; advocating the promotion and education of science rather than the mere presentation of science. http://youtu.be/-_2xGIwQfik

  2. Jim(my) Orr says:

    This piece reminds me of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s reaction to Richard Dawkin’s style of rhetoric; advocating the promotion and education of science rather than the mere presentation of science. http://youtu.be/-_2xGIwQfik

  3. anansi133 says:

    If the goal is merely to move product, then the Arduino can’t really teach its users anything useful without cutting its own throat.

    If the goal is teaching folks how to used open source hardware and software, then arduino can’t be evaluated simply by units sold.

    I see the same confusion when firefox and linux present error messages that treat me like a microsoft or mac user. There’s a profound misunderstanding about why I choose this stuff, if I have to deal with the same kind of customer service glurge.

  4. anansi133 says:

    If the goal is merely to move product, then the Arduino can’t really teach its users anything useful without cutting its own throat.

    If the goal is teaching folks how to used open source hardware and software, then arduino can’t be evaluated simply by units sold.

    I see the same confusion when firefox and linux present error messages that treat me like a microsoft or mac user. There’s a profound misunderstanding about why I choose this stuff, if I have to deal with the same kind of customer service glurge.

  5. I’m an experienced digital and analog hacker. I was programing early 6502 micros in machine language in the ’70s. I agree somewhat that the Arduino can become a crutch and its reflexive use can suppress the need to learn simpler analog circuits. I believe in using the simplest technology for anything, and fully exploiting its capabilities. An Arduino doorbell is sort of like cracking walnuts with a log splitter. Fine is all you care about is cracked walnuts, but making your own nutcracker will teach you more about leverage, materials strength and ergonomics. Same with data acquisition and control systems. Arduino gets the job done, but is doing the job the point, or is doing it yourself?

  6. I’m an experienced digital and analog hacker. I was programing early 6502 micros in machine language in the ’70s. I agree somewhat that the Arduino can become a crutch and its reflexive use can suppress the need to learn simpler analog circuits. I believe in using the simplest technology for anything, and fully exploiting its capabilities. An Arduino doorbell is sort of like cracking walnuts with a log splitter. Fine is all you care about is cracked walnuts, but making your own nutcracker will teach you more about leverage, materials strength and ergonomics. Same with data acquisition and control systems. Arduino gets the job done, but is doing the job the point, or is doing it yourself?

  7. I’m an experienced digital and analog hacker. I was programing early 6502 micros in machine language in the ’70s. I agree somewhat that the Arduino can become a crutch and its reflexive use can suppress the need to learn simpler analog circuits. I believe in using the simplest technology for anything, and fully exploiting its capabilities. An Arduino doorbell is sort of like cracking walnuts with a log splitter. Fine is all you care about is cracked walnuts, but making your own nutcracker will teach you more about leverage, materials strength and ergonomics. Same with data acquisition and control systems. Arduino gets the job done, but is doing the job the point, or is doing it yourself?

  8. The 555contest.com is a great step. Hopefully, it will illustrate a bunch of use cases for this versatile chip.

  9. I guess it depends on what you mean by ‘overkill.’ I think of overkill in terms of my time, of hours spent pouring over circuit diagrams and programming protocols, when instead I can learn the Arduino and be on my way. Oh, I used way too many transistors? Sorry!

    I don’t know if anyone intends to make a doorbell out of an Arduino. Artists want it to interface with kinetic sculptures. Gardeners want to control lights and watering. For years I’ve wanted to build specialized tele-operated robots that can be operated over the Internet. Now we can do these things without having to become hackers ourselves first.

    I’m grateful there are hackers out there who understand and sympathize with our aspirations, because otherwise the Arduino and its support community wouldn’t exist.

  10. Arduino doorbell:
    http://boingboing.net/2010/11/10/howto-make-a-bell-ri.html

    In some sense Arduino and similar systems are the Swiss army knives of circuits. Combining I/O and software to do a vast array of things. But like a hammer, when that’s what you have everything looks like a nail. Arduino certainly allows people to do complex things without heavy design work, and that’s good. But when a simpler tool will work Arduino shouldn’t be the default solution.

  11. overkill ? Like this 120 trillion dollars , over 6,000 american lives and no Bin Laden , or 1 small nuke and walk away years ago…. the point is whatever works for you and thank god for all the really good support for both the AVR community and the Arduino community these blogs and forums are amazing resources and the only price you pay is learning to ignore the rants.

  12. drwho8 says:

    That site contains problems. Everytime an article surfaces containing an Arduino, someone complains. It is becoming to resemble SlashDot. They are beginning to study the MSP430 processors but it will take time.