Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Working with Taiwan Twinglish Embedded Development Kits

You know sometimes, I wish people would just write a manual.  I've just come across a chap who wants to sell a development kit to the company I work for, he's in Taiwan and very excited, he knows all about his kit, and he's been on the phone bulling it up for the boss.

He has ticked all the boxes with the boss, and they've gone a head and ordered the extortionately priced item, and it's arrived on my desk.

I took one look, and asked "Where's the manual", there isn't one.  Because this is a development kit... Right, what power does it take.. No-one knows, the only way to tell has been to look at the chips and see what the lowest possible power feed should be to the lowest value chip.

Which prong was the negative?... Only could tell that by tracing - by eye - back from an obvious earth plane and a couple of large caps and checking that the line was the negative rail.

This level of just basic documentation, being lacking, immediately makes me worry about the whole bundle.

They're trying to sell this, but I think they're actually trying to get a native English speaker - i.e. me - to write their manual for them.

Next thing, how do I build software to run on this kit?... They don't know... Seriously, this is what the chap has said to me, "It in C, write in C"... okay, what compiler you got?... "We no got compiler"...

So I have to go to the chip vendor and ask for their compiler?... These people throwing this kit together don't have a compiler?  And don't have any recommendation of which compiler to use?....

Luckily I can look at the board and see the processor, so I know what architecture I'm going to target, but I was about to ask "What's the architecture", and I'm pretty sure he'd not know.

How to get the software as built onto the kit, also seems a mystery, there's no obvious portable slot, no ethernet, no USB, no serial... I can't believe I have to burn EEPROM's and plug them in... In this day and age, I've been told "Firmware take your software in, firmware do it"... but not been told how.

I swear, I could pull the last shreds of my hair out with this, not least because I have to appraise this for use by our whole UK arm before this guy jumps on a pre-booked plane ticket from Taiwan over to here.... Gah

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