Friday, January 11, 2013

One way the Arduino Due is flawed...

... is that its name is supremely unhelpful.

Surely you'll think I'm crack-headed for trying to make this point, but bear with me. Naming a product using a common word will work against the interests of your users in almost every case - because we are now in the post-documentation, active-searching world of problem-solving. Here's a real world example:

I recently got two Arduino Due boards (from the Maker's Shed). I've installed the Arduino 1.5.1 software, and attempted to load the Blink sketch from the standard library. If I'm using the Programmer's Port, I will either get a "SAM-BA" error, or the system will cease seeing a device on the serial port. I can successfully load and run Blink using the Native Port, so I know that the software is operational, the cables are good and power is sufficient.

I've tried searching the Interwebs for information that might help me figure out what a "SAM-BA" error is, or why a Due might have problems with a Programmer's Port on OS X. In fact, I've been unsuccessfully in finding a useful search phrase that could help, mostly because the "Due" name is searched the same as the work "due" (as in "this board is due to fail any day now"). Thus, I'm consistently getting way too many results without actually getting any help. Very frustrating.

This rant may sound funny from a guy that helps ship the "Max" product, but at least we were pre-Internet; today, there's no reason to use a common word (even if its origins are something else). Do a quick Google search on your product name before you ship. If it provides an overwhelming number of hyper-common results, you might want to go a different way.

In the meantime, I'm just going to use the damned Native Port and shut up.


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