Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bloody pirates!

Someone was kind enough to notify me that my book has been pirated. That's not nice! I'm not sure how to respond to this. I've notified Wiley and they'll take care of this.

I know there are few folks who believe that such books should be free because they're based on Open Source. But they have to realize that that won't encourage folks to write books. These books are not so much about the Open Source Software as the author's solutions. It takes talented editors and a lot of other folks to get a book written (this does not include getting it printed). Don't believe me? Take a look at the average documentation for any Open Source project (or close source for that matter).

Now on to happier thoughts. I ordered an ARM SBC from Technologic Systems. I found them in Circuit Cellar Magazine (it's one of the first places I look for electronics). The TS-7200 has 32M of Ram, 16M of flash, CF Flash 2 serial (RS485 half duplex, an option), 2 USB 2.0 ports, 10/100 Ethernet, PC104 16 bit bus and 20 IO bits. I may get the DAC (12 bit x 8 channels) but I also orders a real time clock and an on-board temperature probe (both options). This matches the functionality of the original HCS II SC (Z-180, RS232 console, RS485 half duplex comm. port, 16 in/8 out digital I/O, 8 channel - 8 bit DAC). I'm happy with this setup so far. I do wonder if more ram would be a good idea. The TS-7200 can take up to 64M of ram. I'll have to remove the 32M chip and replace it with a 64M chip.

There is some discussion as to whether this setup is embedded. It does use dynamic ram and an OS but I feel that this combination buys me a flexible, already written package that I can expand. I managed to get the Linux running by simply plugging it in (LAN, console and power). I know Linux well enough that it took me a few minutes to configure the board for my setup.


At 9/04/2006 11:39 PM, Anonymous Jason Melton said...

Are you thinking of porting the whole HCS II setup to a linux based central node and various peripheral nodes that are ethernet connected (using rabbits core modules etc)? Or will the peripheral nodes be connected via the previous serial network?

At 9/05/2006 12:31 AM, Blogger Neil Cherry said...

I'm proposing a similar setup to the HCS II plus the ethernet codes. The current HCS II has support for direct I/O (analog and digital) and RS485 comm-links. I propose Ethernet comm-links and maybe even software comm-link. That would cover really remote support (via the Ethernet) and other devices such as USB, or ISA bus board.

At 9/07/2006 5:51 PM, Blogger Bruce Perens said...


I have published 24 books by various authors as Open Source text. It has not kept their authors from writing the books or the publisher from paying anyone, nor has it kept Barnes and Noble from stocking them in brick-and-mortar stores. Indeed, you might have tried me before going the "Dummy" route.

I do find that many technical authors have unrealistic expectations regarding what they will make with their proprietary-only publications. 5000 books sold is a hit for a technical title, 20000 is a smash-hit.

Please see for a look at the titles.



At 9/07/2006 8:35 PM, Blogger Neil Cherry said...

This was an odd case of I wasn't the orignal author (and I had no intention of writing a book). The original author had to bail at the last minute so it was offered to me. Not knowing what I was doing I wrote it (not all of it). I had forgotten that you had written Open Source books because I was in a rush. Honestly the money given to me didn't cover the cost of writing the book (hours and some equipment). I did it more for my interest in the subject. Now I wish I had remembered your series. I doubt it would have paid less.

I'll still support the book not because of money but rather because of my interest in the subject. If I ever write another book it won't be a for dummies but it most likely be Home Automation.

At 9/12/2006 9:31 AM, Blogger Neil Cherry said...

Bruce, thanks for pointing out the Open Source Series from Prentice/Hall. When I want to write my next book I'll contact you and see where we go from there. It will most likely be another Linux HA book but this time more electronics and embedded software in addition to the apps running under Linux. I hope my wife doesn't find out! ;-)


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