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Nuts & Volts Magazine (December 2017)

What Your Preferred MPU/MCU Says About You

By Bryan Bergeron    View In Digital Edition  

A person’s preferred microcontroller/microprocessor board says a lot about them. Here’s my take on some common MPU/MCU boards, and what they say about their owners — based on purely objective scientific evidence, of course.

PIC users are old school. They’re at home with the microcontroller world, and don’t suffer from the “grass is greener over there” syndrome. They’re conservative in their outlook, and don’t need to fix something that’s not broken. PIC users often pride themselves on being able to solve problems others see as impossible with a relatively limited processor.

Arduino users are solution-oriented and care relatively little about the process. They’re quick to get to the fix and then move on. They rarely document their work, simply because they’re too busy solving problems with the popular microcontroller. Arduino users also tend to collect shields — dozens of them — just in case they might need one in the future.

Raspberry Pi
Raspberry Pi users are often converted Arduino users, attracted by the power and flexibility of the platform. They’re happy to give up the certainty of the Arduino IDE (integrated development environment) for the wild ride of a more powerful platform. RaspPi users pay little attention to standard practices in the microcontroller world. They march on with a certainty that they can tackle any problem thrown at them.

Parallax Propeller
Propeller users think out of the box. They’re not afraid to invest time and money on seemingly wild schemes, all in the name of experimentation. Often, they’re simply bored with the standard architectures and long for the excitement of multiple cogs running virtually in parallel.

BASIC Stamp users (over the age of 12) seek security and safety. They don’t care about speed of execution or the latest features on competing brands. They know what they like and it’s the Stamp. They’re at home with BASIC as a language, and don’t feel intimidated by developers who program in C or C++. Given a choice, they’d hang out with PIC users, but avoid the rest.

BeagleBone users are consummate first adopters. They want and need to have the latest and greatest technology available. They tend to value speed of execution over all else — even if it means more work on their part.

There are, of course, many more MCU/MPU boards on the market. I welcome your take what a person’s preferred board says about them, even if you don’t have “hard evidence” to back up your findings.  NV