I am active on the Parallax Propeller Forum as “Cluso99”.
My background is in Electronics. In 1974 I joined Singer Business Machines (same as the sewing machine company) who made minicomputers. I trained as a product specialist and whilst there I also taught hardware maintenance to Field Engineers and then software programming to Customers and Programmers. In 1976 ICL (International Computers Limited) purchased the computer section of Singer.
Also in 1976 Motorola released the MC6800 shortly followed by the D1 Evaluation Kit. I purchased one in late 1976 and was totally hooked. In December 1976 I started my own company and have been designing electronics and programming since then. I built add-on boards to my D1 and interfaced it to the Singer/ICL System Ten minicomputer. My first complete microprocessor design utilised the Motorola MC6802 in the latter 1970’s, and was soon followed by my dual processor board based on the MC68705P3S which was sold commercially to ICL and their users.
Since that time I have set up a few companies and done modem designs for NetComm Australia (a company two mates and I set up) including two for Apple, and for SimpleComputing (a company a mate and I set up with our wives). I have also designed various boards and interfaces for minis and mainframes including a board that plugged into the ICL System 25 bus. Many of my designs incorporated multiple microprocessors and a few had FPGAs as well.
After a brief pause in electronics (while building a catamaran and doing some cruising along the Australian east coast – Sydney to Cairns and back with my wife) I returned to electronics.
In early 2008 I decided to learn the PIC family of microprocessors, so I ordered a few chips and kits. While waiting I discovered (by accident) the Parallax Propeller microprocessor chip (P8X32A). Upon reading the info I immediately purchased two Propeller ProtoBoards. This was an amazing find. The chip was designed by Chip Gracey and funded by his relatively small electronics company (by comparison to chip manufacturers).
The Propeller chip (Prop as it is affectionately known on the Parallax Forums) is a fantastic chip with 8 identical 32-bit RISC processor cores truly running in parallel. The architecture is mind-blowing but yet extremely simple. You can add color composite video using 3 pins and 3 resistors, VGA color using 8 pins and 8 resistors, a PS2 keyboard with 2 pins and 4 resistors, a microSD (or SD) card with 8 pins and a resistor and capacitor. It can do sound with 1 pin and 2 capacitors and a resistor, or stereo with 2 sets. It could do 16 UARTs (and nothing else). All these things are possible, and many others using just the one same chip! No family of parts to choose from, just one. There are no peripherals in the chip… these are all created with software and counters! This means that the peripherals can become extremely intelligent and all are accomplished all without the need for interrupts – because there are none – and once you realise that they are not required (requires a minor mindset change) it becomes so easy to use the 8 cores to multi-process simply without any of the inherent problems of interrupts that took years to master. You can find out more about the amazing Propeller microprocessor chip here.