Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Maker Faire:

Maker Faire

Maker Faire

Well, this all started by attending the Bay Area Maker Faire (in SanMateo, CA) last May (2011).  While we were there I met Mr. Ting.  He is in charge of the Forth SIG group that meets there at the University (one of them, anyway).  In any case, he had a small booth, nothing flashy.  But being exposed to the Forth programming language back in the eighties on my original Macintosh computer - I recognized the title quickly.

At first I was not certain of what it was he was selling.  I thought maybe its one of those last surviving group of Forth-n'ites who wont give it up.  So cautiously I approached him.  Honestly, I wasnt sure what to expect.  So I blurted out to him "C-Fetch".  Which is a Forth term for reading a byte out of a memory location.  And he responded back with "Peek and Poke".  Funny.  Those are old Basic terms for doing just about the same thing.  So at that point I knew he was normal enough to talk to.

Forth for Arduino

At first I was amazed when he told me that he had managed to port (or create) a Forth operating system on the Arduino (or AVR's ATMega328).  Wow, the thought of interactive access to the microcontroller while developing solutions without having to recompile with every new attempt.  I mean there are already pseudo operating systems that give you access to ports (via a terminal and a serial connection), but an operating system that allows you to compile commands that actually extend the program on the fly and saves your work in flash memory - now thats Forth.

And then, what if's start to come my way.  What if I had Arduino's on a network - each with there own IP address that I could Telnet into.  And what if these all had the Forth operating system on them - too.  Then I could access each one individually and determine (again via Telnet) what the present condition of ports were, and even modify code - remotely.  Now that seems pretty powerful to me.

Enough dreaming...