S.F.T. Inc.

Software Engineering, Software Tools, and Hardware/Software Integration

Microcontroller (Hardware+Software) Ongoing Projects

XMega For Arduino at github 
Support for ATmel ATXmega processors using the Arduino IDE 
The ATmel ATXmega processors are more advanced than the corresponding ATmega processors currently used by Arduino and compatibles. With some effort, it may be possible to swap in one of these more advanced processors into an existing device that uses an ATmega processor, and in some cases, at a significantly lower cost.

The original web page describes my efforts in building equivalent devices, programmed with a (slightly) modified Arduino IDE, and provides some (older) code and binaries that are necessary to modify the Arduino IDE to build and flash images onto an ATXmega-based device.
 
SFT Synth
(codename: 'Piranha') 
This is an early announcement of an AVR microcontroller-based monophonic synthesizer project. It uses a microcontroller as a combined tone generator, envelope controller, filter controller, and MIDI controller. Having the microcontroller do ALL THAT WORK saves a lot on overall component cost, while in many ways simplifying the design. More info on the project's web page.
 
SFT Power Supply A prototype switching 'bench' power supply, providing 4 different voltage outputs, and controlled using a single microcontroller. An LCD display continuously displays output voltages, and also indicates the voltage setting when one of the 3 voltage setting knobs is changed. More info on the project's web page.
 
SFT Component Tester Another prototype device that uses an AVR microcontroller to perform various tests on an 'unknown' electronic component, identifying the component and its value, and whether or not it is 'good', using an LCD display. A recent change to the design (to improve consistency for higher impedence measurements) will require software updates and extensive testing. This device was primarily used for testing various proofs of concept, including the development of the 'base' calibration program and serial port communications functions used by other AVR-based devices.


Public (Software) Projects

X11workbench A pre-alpha native X11 project featuring a lightweight GUI toolkit. It is intended to (eventually) become an integrated development environment, similar to Microsoft's Visual Studio (but without the cruft). Again, more info on the SourceForge project web page.
    Main Features:
  • (preliminary) Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for software development
  • Lightweight (preliminary, cross-platform) toolkit
  • Minimal dependencies
  • Doxygen generated documentation
  • Context-sensitive help system that includes 'man' pages (nearly complete)
  • GPL or BSD-like license (your choice)
This project is currently VERY preliminary. Most features have not been implemented. However, the core code necessary to IMPLEMENT these features is mostly complete. It is already possible to use the existing toolkit to write an X11 application, though its features would likely be limited.


Articles and Information

Emulating Hardware
Through Software
 
The use of microcontrollers in place of discrete components or custom logic chips, or even specialized devices that might actually COST MORE than a microcontroller. The software is a fixed cost, so B.O.M. cost can be much lower, leading to lower prices or higher profit margins.
 
FreeBSD Utility
'Top Level Packages'
 
Whenever I update the ports on FreeBSD, which typically must be BUILT FROM SOURCE, I find a LOT of problems if I attempt to leave things installed and just upgrade the changes. To facilitate a 'clean re-install' I developed a script that uses a similar technique to 'BOM leveling' typically used by an MRP process.
 
Network Devices  A review of a couple of very useful and highly available networking devices that are both compatible with microcontrollers. It could help you 'Wifi' and/or 'Ethernet' your next microcontroller-based project
 
Making Gnome 3 Usable  There appears to be a current trend by software makers to change the way we use our computers, whether we like it or not. Gnome version 3 and Microsoft Windows™ 8 both exhibit this, in my view. But for gnome desktop users, I have provided some INSTRUCTIONS on how to get back MOST of the functionality and appearance of your familiar Gnome 2 desktop, with a bit of tongue-in-cheek.
It's worth pointing out that the MATE desktop retains all of the old Gnome 2 functionality, with packages and installation instructions for many of the more popular Linux distributions, and source for everythign else. And several OS distributions have already included the MATE packages within their own repository.
 
 
Older Stuff
 
Computing Trends  A set of articles on Computing and Internet Trends, multi-threading and SMP, and the failure of the '.Net' initiative (more to come)
 
Windows to UNIX  Converting a network with a Windows Server to a UNIX or Linux Server
 
Data Encryption Methods  A discussion of methods used to encrypt data
 
Using Interix  Helpful information regarding Microsoft's POSIX subsystem.
 
Windows vs UNIX/Linux  The debate continues! UNIX/Linux vs Microsoft Windows(tm) Operating Systems


Information on 'M.R.P. III'

M.R.P. III  The definition for M.R.P. III, an evolutionary change in M.R.P.
 
M.R.P. Simulation  An effective inventory modeling tool for E.C.O.'s and end-of-life products
 
Bandwidth Management  Information on BANDWIDTH MANAGEMENT
 
Forecast Accuracy  Information on improving sales forecast accuracy
 
Mechanical Forecasts  A discussion of computer-generated forecasts based on statistical models


Free Software (provided by S.F.T. Inc.)

XMODEM library  A generic open source XMODEM library, written with microcontrollers in mind, and suitable for use with POSIX-compatible (Linux, BSD) and Arduino (and compatible) devices
 
FreeBSD® driver
for the Arduino Uno
 
A USB to serial driver for the Arduino Uno for FreeBSD, as a kernel module 'uarduno'. This corrects some of the issues regarding USB device identifiers for various Arduino devices under FreeBSD, as well as giving you the capability of adding your own manufacturer/device identifier pairs (if needed)


Computing History and Ancient Hardware

DEC's PDP-11  When I was in High School I first learned how to program on a PDP-11 using 'mark sense' cards. Later at SJSU I became familiar with more detailed aspects of RT-11 and RSTS/E, writing various programs in BASIC, FORTRAN, and 'MACRO-11' assembly language. These old computers really were on the bleeding edge in a lot of respects, from the ability to add custom hardware (and write custom drivers), and 'complex instruction set' CPUs (making assembly language much less tedious), to being a major platform upon which the 'C' language and UNIX were developed. We owe at least a little respect for our 'computer roots' with the PDP-11, for helping to get us where we are today.




Stewart~Frazier Tools, Inc. is a software development and consulting firm that specializes in providing SOFTWARE TOOLS to improve productivity, with special emphasis on manufacturing industries, networking, embedded devices, and improving process quality for Manufacturing Planning through accurate Demand Forecasting. For more information about S.F.T. Inc., press HERE.

S.F.T. Inc. is owned and operated by:

Bob Frazier E-Mail: BobF (at) mrp3 (dot) com



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Last Update: 11/21/2014

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