- Kaylan Smith
- Houston native, rice owl , UX designer, artist, die hard Astros fan, and MacroFaber since July 2016
- One of the strange breeds that went from being an artist to software development
- Attended a talk that Stephen Kraig gave about MacroFab at her school where she was learning to become a developer
- Mike Williams
- Fascinated with computers since 7th grade, when he first got to use a TRS-80 model 1
- Seen the software development industry advance from MSDOS to smart phones and cloud computing
- Written and designed software for flying cameras, high speed trains, and lots of business apps
- Joined MacroFab about 2 years ago and moved to Houston last year with his wife Loretta and his dog Kosmo
- Heard about MacroFab from the episode of The Amp Hour where Chris Church and Parker Dillmann where guests
- Kaylan and Mike talk about the new PCB experience on the MacroFab platform they helped develop
- Overall cleaner interface that provides more information to customers
- Quick turnaround
- Eagle 8 and zip file uploading
- Supporting Eagle 8 – challenging because of their new subscription model and purchasing by autodesk
- Only need to upload a board file and BOM will populate with it automatically
- Actual color preview of board, part notes & moves
- Updates to BOM Screen
- Price break graph
- Overall cleaner interface that provides more information to customers
- For inspiring devs what are some tips to getting a solid background for getting that first dev job?
- Kaylan: Be a good collaborator and communicator.
- Stackoverflow article about different programming languages used today
- Who at Macrofab writes the worst Jira tickets?
- What do hardware/electronic people do that drive you nuts?
- Eagle writing out gerbers, it fills in with rasterized lines and default is .01 mil per line that generate monster files. You have to know to go in and change it.
- Longest you have looked for a semi colon or any other kind of syntax error?
- Williams spent three days to find a missing ampersand.
- Visit our Slack Channel and join the conversation in between episodes!
If you have a cool idea, project or topic that you want Stephen and I to discuss tweet at us @MacroFab or email us at email@example.com.
If you are not subscribed to the podcast yet, click that subscribe button. That way you get the latest MEP episode right when it releases. And please review us on iTunes, it helps this show stay visible and helps new listeners find us.
Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro!
About The Hosts
Parker Dillmann is MacroFab's Co-Founder, and Lead ECE with backgrounds in Embedded System Design, and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. He also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Texas.
Stephen Kraig began his electronics career by building musical oriented circuits in 2003. Stephen is an avid guitar player and, in his down time, manufactures audio electronics including guitar amplifiers, pedals, and pro audio gear. Stephen graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University.
Host 1 00:10
Welcome to the macro fab engineering podcast. We are your guests, Mike Williams and
Host 1 00:15
Host 1 00:16
And we're your hosts Parker
Host 3 00:18
Dolan and Steven Greg.
Host 2 00:19
This is episode number 91. So Kailyn is a Houston native rice owl UX designer, artist, diehard Astros fan and a developer at macro fab since last July. And that's not 2017 but 2016 July,
Host 3 00:36
Been here a little over a year, a little over a year. So Mike has been fascinated with computers since seventh grade, when he first got to use a trs 80 model one. He's seen the software development industry advanced from MS DOS to smartphones and cloud computing. Along the way, he's written and designed software for flying cameras, high speed trains, and lots of business apps. He joined macro fab about two years ago and moved to Houston last year with his wife Loretta, and his dog Cosmo.
Host 2 01:05
Does a lot longer for bio, just because you're older wombs. Yeah.
Host 1 01:09
Host 1 01:13
He's got a few years experience. If you
Host 3 01:17
So we're bringing the guest back in the the macro fab fence today. Yes. Talking Talking to some people, some genetic or fabyan. That macro fan. We we've been wanting to bring some of the devs on we have more devs than just these two. We've been wanting to bring devs on for quite a while we've been talking about it for at least the beginning of the podcast since we Yeah, because when we first started, we were like, who are we going to get for guest let's get guys from inside because we know how to talk to. But it's cool that after almost two years of doing the podcast 91 episode, we finally got some devs to agree to come on and talk to some nerds.
Host 1 01:52
Now we finally finished our big project. That's it? Well, yeah,
Host 1 01:56
Good excuse. Yeah,
Host 3 01:58
Yeah. Well, it's always the Battle of the nerds here. We got the nerds on the engineering hardware side and the nerds over in the software side. And it's it's a little oil and watery, right
Host 1 02:06
Nerd on nerd action.
Host 2 02:10
So where did y'all get started in software development? Oh, the hard hitting questions right off the bat.
Host 1 02:17
You go well, yeah,
Host 1 02:17
Well, you know, like I said, in my bio, I've always been a computer nerd. Since I was little, you know, a little baby
Host 1 02:26
Came out the womb with the trs 80, pretty much.
Host 1 02:28
And, you know, I started out and I did a lot of Salesforce automation work back when you had to do things with portable computing, and you know, portable computing, man, you know, think about the size of a brick that had about as much power as a, you know, a digital watch. And you had to figure out how to put all your software into that. And I did that for a few years. And then I went to a consulting company where I got to work on all sorts of interesting projects, like the the trains and flying cameras and stuff like that. And after they left, or after that company folded, I started my own consulting business where I did some work with the the trains again, and more flying cameras. And then that's how I came along and met the macro Feb crew, and started as a contract for a little bit and then liked it so much like the idea so much that I decided to become a full time faster, and to move all the way to Houston to do it and to move all the way to Houston to do it.
Host 3 03:34
Where were you at before?
Host 1 03:35
We were in Wilmington, Delaware, which is basically a suburb of Philadelphia. And I missed a lot of people from that area, but I can't say I missed the area itself. How it snow. Yeah, it would snow and rain and the winters were born it were drab. And here I can wear shorts year round and
Host 3 03:55
You your barbecue January 1, right, exactly.
Host 1 03:58
So it's it's we've we've we were thinking about moving south anyway. So when this opportunity came along, it was it worked out for us a no brainer. Very cool.
Host 1 04:07
So Caitlin, so me, I was working on UX teams and software development teams. For the last couple years when I was actually working as a designer, doing interaction design, I was doing some UX architecture. And I kind of I got I kept getting over the years a little closer and closer to the development side and working alongside developers and I was finally just kind of curious enough to say, why don't I just learn to do this myself instead of handing off assets all the time to developers or trying to describe what was coming out of my head. So I eventually just made the switch and went back to school. And actually that's how I met Craig and stalked him about macro five when I heard about it, and said, Please let me ask you about Questions. And it happened to me that when I was finishing school, they were posting for a developer job here in Houston. And it was the only job I applied for I really wanted to come and work here. Still, I've really no idea how it wound up that they hired me. But here I am.
Host 3 05:21
Host 1 05:25
Like, what? What we? What was the?
Host 1 05:28
Like, actually, we don't know. Yeah, like, how did that happen? No, no.
Host 3 05:34
Okay, what will give a? So I gave a small amount of a talk. I don't know if that's how you want to talk to you. Yeah, it was it was a target at the school that Caitlin was going to. And I guess I kind of hyped up macro fab a bit. And so she, she asked me to go get coffees and donuts one day, and I was like, Well, I mean, I'm not gonna say no, no. It would be rude. Don't do that. So, and she was like, you know, you're like, Yeah, sure. Why not? Let's let's give it a shot. So, and fate became reality.
Host 1 06:08
Over a year later? Oh, yeah. Yeah,
Host 3 06:11
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. If you can last a year. Yeah, you're on board.
Host 2 06:18
I cool. So, um, so the thing about McWrap, though, is it's it's not all software we have, you know, we have a manufacturing line and stuff. Did that influence y'all to join here?
Host 1 06:30
Absolutely. I wouldn't, you know, the way I found out about macro fab was, you know, I had another customer that are at the consulting business that work and kind of slowed down a bit. So I was able to spend more time with some of my hobbies and things that I'm interested in outside of work. And one of those was electronics. So I started catching up on like, the amp hour podcasts and things like that. And I was actually listening to that when I found out about it. So oh, they talked about us. You guys. Were the guests on the app power.
Host 2 06:59
Oh, they said that the is that the Chris church and Parker one? Yeah. Oh, wait, that was like that was? Yeah. That was like your one ish. Yeah,
Host 3 07:09
I was I listened to that. Before I came to macro fab.
Host 1 07:12
Yeah, it was it was probably three or four months old when I finally heard it. And that day, I wrote a letter off to you guys saying, hey, I'm interested in working together. And here's my resume. And if you're interested, let me know. If not, I'll you've probably got a new customer here today. The next day church, you know, sent me an email saying, Hey, let's talk.
Host 2 07:33
That's interesting. His crate came in looking to get boards made and left with a job to
Host 3 07:42
Do I didn't give you cash. It gave you a resume. Yeah, exactly.
Host 1 07:47
You know, at the time, I was like, Yeah, I could really use somebody like this. And since I've been working at macro fab, I haven't had the time to work on any board. So I have yet to actually have a board made 22 Yeah,
Host 3 07:58
I think it's important to know cuz I just, I just realized, I don't think it's in your bio, that you do a lot of work with oscilloscope and calibrating oscilloscope, every one of
Host 1 08:08
My hobbies, and one of the things I've been doing to help learn, you know, troubleshooting skills and design is, you know, fixing things. And the thing that I just find oscilloscope is fascinating, especially some of the older ones with the CRT and the greens, green tubes and all that. Oh, yeah. So I buy old old beat up ones on on eBay and fix them up and sell them. And again, that's another thing that I have not had much time to spend on at all since I've been down here.
Host 3 08:38
Well, I can I can attest to it because I have been to William's house, and I have seen his oscilloscope tutorial. There's the lab. Yeah, no, it is an entire room devoted to
Host 2 08:48
It's an organized by urine model.
Host 3 08:50
That would be incredible. There's a full server in there, right?
Host 1 08:53
Yeah, there's there's a rack server from from the old business. And a bunch of older Silla scopes and you know, benches and meters and power supplies and sort of like a little geek geek out room that I can go to and not getting away with. I had to have my own room because otherwise I would spread my mess around the rest of the house and, you know, that would be grounds for divorce. So so that room has saved our marriage.
Host 3 09:24
Yeah, things things tend to leach out with the electronics. I'm having trouble reining it in myself at the moment. I have a whole four by eight sheet of plywood sitting on my coffee table in my living room. Because I'm working on electronic piece for for an art project I'm doing right now and it's it's kind of like we have to watch TV around my projects.
Host 1 09:45
It takes a special kind of patience to be married to you know, nerd. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, deal with
Host 3 09:51
That for sure. And Kailyn so, maybe maybe oscilloscope don't really interest you so much. What's your art? You want to you want to talk about that a little bit?
Host 1 10:02
Um, so I do I think that actually, you know, you guys were gonna you ask you about the getting into electronics, and if you know working in macro fab has made me do that, and sadly no, but but it has pushed me to further explore my artwork, um, no, but I, I actually not knowing a lot about electronics, and hardware manufacturing, even just, I knew there was something special going on at macro fab as a company, and as a startup that was doing something unique not only in Houston, but just I could I could get a sense of that. And that's why I was really eager to come here. And so I have been like learning a little bit, it's exciting to get to, like, pick apart, you know, use cases and stuff that especially like our internal team is doing. But um, I also, I think Craig kind of sold some of what was cool about macro fab too, and that he, like me also does a lot of art projects, and just kind of like, you know, just just stuff for like the hell of it just for fun. And like, he works with a group in town I knew some of the artists he works with. But yeah, I am one of those weird people that went from artists to software developer. So I don't know that there's probably a ton of people that, that do that I still, but I still make art. I like to leave here and exit the computer a little bit and do things by hand, and I draw and I paint and I'll go home and code to but sometimes it's you just need like that disconnect from the screen.
Host 1 11:43
After spending all day in a virtual world. It's really important to be able to do something with your hands after a bit. A little
Host 3 11:51
Bit of therapy.
Host 1 11:51
Exactly. Yeah. Let your mind go. Yeah.
Host 3 11:57
Although there is something kind of for me like I can I can leave this place and then go and make a board.
Host 1 12:01
And it's a little bit different, though.
Host 3 12:03
It's your board. It is yeah. And I mean, like, you know, you got a beer on your desk, and everything's a bit more comfortable. I don't know. It's different. It's in you, right. It's my board. So yeah. And you get a love.
Host 2 12:15
Yeah. And you get to do at home. And so yeah, it's a little bit different. Even though after work, I will just like go on my work computer and design stuff, too. Because, you know, during the day, I don't design boards during the day, which is why I've liked to do but I don't get
Host 1 12:29
To spend time in JIRA.
Host 1 12:33
Host 1 12:34
Managing developer hurting. Yeah, no,
Host 2 12:40
I that's, that's Dan, I got to hurt Dan.
Host 3 12:44
Dan's another developer here.
Host 2 12:46
Yes. He's the He's the director of development, or he is leader. And
Host 3 12:49
We've been trying it. We've actually been trying hardest with Dan to get him on the podcast for all this time. And he's kind of just like, Nah,
Host 2 12:56
No, no, the thing is, Williams was the possibility Williams not making today was was, uh, least yesterday was high. And then I was like, Dan, you got to take his place. And he's like, uh, like, speed dialing Williams, like, get better.
Host 3 13:13
Alright, so you guys have been working on some stuff here. Some we have
Host 1 13:16
Big stuff. And a couple things. Back there.
Host 2 13:20
One liner is a code, right? Yeah.
Host 1 13:22
All one liners. 1000s of one liners. Yeah, a
Host 3 13:28
Couple of classes here. structure.
Host 2 13:32
It would be if you did 1001 liners, it'd be like a Stallone movie.
Host 1 13:36
Host 1 13:41
It's all zeros and ones. If you have enough zeros, you, you don't need as many ones or get the ratio mixed up.
Host 3 13:50
At the end of the day, it's just code. It'll, it'll it just works. Right? That's
Host 2 13:53
That's how that would be interesting. Here at macro, we use these thing called KPIs. Right? Yes. So like figure out like what's doing good and stuff? Key Performance Indicators? Yeah. So what if you had a KPI for ones versus zeros?
Host 3 14:09
Is there is there a statistical like our zeros more than ones or our ones more than zeros? Is it or is it like if you if you were to take all of the binary data in the entire world and cut it in half? Like how many ones and how many zeros? I don't think I've never counted I think you know on that that's your next task. Yeah. I think to get to get nerdy with it, I would guess zeros because zeros take less energy. But that's just me.
Host 1 14:43
That is just you.
Host 2 14:44
Yeah. It depends if you have to count like all old hard drives that are never going to be used again and stuff like that. Yeah,
Host 3 14:52
I this is incredibly important. I think we need to find out this must be
Host 1 14:58
So right in that Guess the sticker?
Host 3 15:05
You know, I bet you I bet you there is some some mathematician professor that that does work in binary or Boolean logic that has spent the time to actually identify that I guarantee you there's a guy who knows.
Host 1 15:17
And I'm sure there's, you know, folks that are, you know, experts in compression algorithms and things like that, that actually think about that kind of stuff.
Host 3 15:24
Right, right. Yeah, absolutely.
Host 2 15:26
That's actually probably where we would find papers on that. Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Host 3 15:30
Right. So what do you been working on?
Host 1 15:33
Yeah, not bad. Looking on the whole new experience for our PCB workflow.
Host 3 15:42
I like that. Yeah. Yeah. Like there should be like harps in the background while you're saying that or some kind of like, lovely music will
Host 1 15:49
Be no new PCB experience.
Host 1 15:51
You'll see that Woodstock this year. Yeah.
Host 3 15:54
Yeah. Have you experienced Are you macro fab
Host 1 15:57
Host 1 15:59
Is that when you go to the like the planetarium and they have the laser shows you go to the PCB?
Host 3 16:04
Oh, yeah. Like the like the old Pink Floyd laser light. Yes. Yeah,
Host 2 16:08
That's, that's the last Wednesday of every month here at the macro engineering. That's an act of experience.
Host 3 16:15
I have totally snuck in a six pack of beer into the planetarium to watch the Pink Floyd show. Like the old one. They updated it. And now it's all like, you know, it's cool. It's, it's super awesome. It's all like, no way more flashy now, but like the old one where it was like, you know, a single color cube that bounced across the floor or something like that, you know, cuz it was awesome at 92 or something. That was awesome. That was so great.
Host 1 16:37
Yeah, my dad took us to that. Oh, yeah. So great.
Host 1 16:42
They don't have the solid bouncing cube going on surface anymore.
Host 3 16:46
Nights. It's way more like blessing you in the face with all kinds of stuff. Ah, yeah.
Host 1 16:51
But the, the new stuff has lots of new features. We do a little bit of macro fab plug here. We support Eagle eight. Now. That's what you really worked on. That was that was one of my the bane of my existence was.
Host 1 17:12
Why was that the venue? Yeah, it's the same
Host 1 17:14
Reason Eagle eight is the bane of many, many folks existence these days, which is the new subscription model and the changes that came about from the purchase by Autodesk. So I understand why they did it. It's just made lives for folks like myself a little more difficult than they were before. Yeah.
Host 1 17:39
So it's a whole GUI thing.
Host 1 17:42
Yeah, yeah, the gooey thing. And we do a lot of stuff that is automated and scripted. And when the GUI pops up and asks for a sign in or alerts me to a new version that's now available. It just kind of grinds things to a halt. But we, we now we support the quick turnaround stuff, which is a big deal for a lot of folks. Yeah.
Host 3 18:12
We talked about that last week with Chris gamble. Yep. Yep.
Host 1 18:16
It looks a lot better. We have an actual preview of the board that actually shows you the solder mask and silkscreen that you have selected for your board. It's not purple and yellow anymore. Yeah, the Space Invaders.
Host 1 18:30
Color time colors.
Host 1 18:31
Yeah, the color. It was
Host 2 18:32
Funny. That's actually what it originally was called. It was nice invaders but it was called the alien color. Right? Yeah, it probably actually probably called it that in the backend too. Yeah, because the when we first launched macro fab, we wanted like different colors for people can select different colors. How they uploaded because like the normal you know, red blue for top and bottom. And then the poem was written blue is colorblind people can't see that or a specific subset. Yeah, some people so we picked the yellow purple because it's like the least amount that you can hit and and back then we couldn't figure out how to make the colors change. But now they do. The there's a little six screen thing that you can select and it changes the entire color of the board. magic magic when took you know, four years, right that's a little harsh. Yes, the we changed a lot. Yeah.
Host 3 19:29
I think changing a lot would be an understatement. You guys changed everything
Host 1 19:35
Is all new. Yeah, you know,
Host 3 19:36
Okay, so let me let me say something about the bomb tool. I love it now. The old one wasn't wasn't bad in any sense. But the bomb tool what's what's interesting is I kind of kept myself the word we were using was pure. I didn't look at your guys's work until like, the last minute because I wanted to see like what was the end result? And I looked at the ball here wasn't my mind wasn't changes. But no, like I, I looked at the bomb tool. And what made me really excited about it is the fact that the way you guys write bombs is exactly the way that I write bombs. So it was just like, oh my gosh, it looks like, it looks like I made this. And I know that's sort of like really opinionated in a way. But it was just like, oh, this is great. And the way everything is categorized is that
Host 1 20:21
We tried to take a lot of the feedback that we got from you guys and our customers to make it work the way that you know, folks need to work when they're building a bill of materials.
Host 2 20:33
Yeah, basically, like what the last three years of feedback went into all of it. It's not just Yeah,
Host 1 20:39
But a lot of it. Yeah. And and some of it was fixes some issues that we would encounter. Every now and again, with customer projects that oh, well, if we're going to redo things, let's make sure we address this, this and this as well. Yeah. So things like with Eagle eight, you now only need to upload a board file. And we actually can extract the bill of materials directly out of that board file. Whereas before, it's been a bit of a schematic in the board. Yeah, it was a bit of a manual process
Host 2 21:07
And the interface, like if you just dump in Gerber's, it will automatically figure out that you have four layers and stuff like, right,
Host 1 21:13
Right. So we tried to clean it up a little bit and make it a little smoother for customers. And one thing I'm particularly excited about was the is the quoting and pricing screen, where we show you, actually graphically what your prices per board will do in both the production as well as prototype tears. And and you can see where things where it makes sense to switch from one to the other. Yeah, I think that was pretty, right.
Host 3 21:42
If that's something you've ever done by hand, it takes a lot of time. And and there's, there's always questions behind it then. So I guess there's like a nice, pretty graph where you see the two lines intersect, and it says, yeah, it's it's time to go to production,
Host 1 21:56
Right, say something really funny about how that graph came about, though. Go for it. So we were when we were kind of wireframing what all we wanted to have in this new experience. I just slapped in, like we had a we had a table showing we knew we were going to support production pricing and prototype pricing. And then I had this wireframe to show church and because like the screen just looked really like it was like okay, well that's it and like, what else could I do here I just put like a approximation of a graph. And I was like that, you know, would be neat if you saw some, like price breaks or something. And then he latched on to that and that and he was like, that's gonna happen. And then it's gonna be interactive, and you can like slide things around. And like, quantities change in prices change. And then once we realized, like, we couldn't get out of that. It was like the hot potato of the dev team to be like, who was gonna have to build that thing? To do it, but it was really kind of like by accident that that appeared and well, but also church like is a big, really big fanatic about like visuals and being able to see metrics for things. So yeah, I mean, it is awesome. But it was shout out to Philips for doing doing the bulk of that graph experience. It was not fun.
Host 2 23:16
So churches are CEO, and then Phillips is another developer here.
Host 3 23:19
Yes. Which we might never hear he took the potato.
Host 2 23:22
Yes, he did. A lot of the potatoes that like the last suggestion someone ever made on dev team. Yeah, it was about this value.
Host 3 23:30
Sometimes keep your ideas to your show. You mentioned that
Host 1 23:34
You might have to write it. Yeah, that's right. Graph is pretty sweet, though. Oh, yeah.
Host 3 23:38
No, it's It's great. It's so well done.
Host 2 23:44
So yeah, that's the I think that's the end. Oh, yeah. And then there's the big whole new front end website, which young Irish did? Yeah. Thumbs up over here. Yep. Anything else we missed in the, that's new.
Host 1 23:58
That's most of the stuff that folks will see. There's always change things changing on on the, you know, behind the curtain that we're working on some of our secret sauce and magic that we make happen. Both, you know, in terms of software that we're writing and processes that we put in place to kind of improve our, the speed with which we can get things done, as well as our overall quality. But yeah, those are the things that folks are gonna see.
Host 2 24:25
Cool. So I asked people in our Slack channel, what would you want to ask developers at macro fab? Oh, so this is gonna be the RFO.
Host 1 24:34
Well, yeah, tell me who's gonna be the quiz. Yeah, that was the end
Host 3 24:37
Of our macro fab advertisement. Yeah. We'll try not to do that again for a long time. Let's get back to questions about you guys. Okay, it's fun stuff. So RFO the rapid fire opinions. Yeah.
Host 1 24:49
So did these already.
Host 2 24:52
Presented? Yeah. For inspiring devs what are some tips to getting a solid background for getting that First developer job?
Host 1 25:02
I could I could spend an entire podcast answering that question. Well, it's rapid. So yeah, so the three minutes the Cliff's Notes version, the technology is always going to be changing. So there's always gonna be a new flavor of the month for languages and databases and tools and infrastructure, things like that. What you need to know, Are you need to have some great problem solving skills. And you need to be able to research and find information if you master those two skills, and you will do well. The other thing that I would say is don't be a specialist. At least from from my perspective, you know, there are folks out there that all they do is, you know, Oracle databases, and they're incredible at it. But as soon as you try to get them out of that world and interface with other folks in the business, it's, you know, you'll run into language barriers and, and just different ways of thinking. If you're a generalist, and you expose yourself to lots of different technologies, you're going to be able to talk to anybody in the business and and learn new things really quickly.
Host 2 26:11
And this came, this is Caitlin's first developer job. Yeah, yeah. So yeah.
Host 1 26:17
Um, I was gonna say the same thing. I was gonna say, problem solving. Actually, um, no, I was gonna say, being a good problem solver. And then I have sat though, on several interviews now for the developers we've brought in, onto the team. And I think that a big thing is just being a like, you, no one works in a bubble. So if you're like, a decent people, person or human being or you can actually communicate, you can communicate. I mean, that sounds really like a thank you. Yeah, it's actually quite difficult. And I mean, you ultimately write software for people to use. So you have to be able to be a team player. And, you know, like, working with others and communicating. So um,
Host 1 27:08
Attitude will get you so far.
Host 1 27:10
Yeah, really? Well, yeah.
Host 2 27:13
To expand on that, what kind of language should someone aim at? English? Given the last answer English yet? Well, I guess it depends on the country you're in. Like I
Host 1 27:24
Host 1 28:13
It's on StackOverflow. They do a big annual survey every year about you know, popular editors, popular languages. And so,
Host 1 28:23
Yeah, don't recommend Perl.
Host 3 28:27
What about bad one? Yeah, I would
Host 1 28:29
Not recommend Perl, despite the fact that we do a lot of Perl here. Not by choice. But you know, there's less and less Perl being written here. On a daily basis. But yep, pearls, probably not the great career choice. Yeah, then there's a bunch of stuff like assembly that you're, you know, you're not going to use anymore. Kobe I
Host 3 28:52
Was about say.
Host 1 28:55
Talking about? Yeah, no, I'm not I'm talking not the embedded space. That's a very different world.
Host 2 29:02
Right, a web server and assembly. Yeah, oh, good lord, gonna
Host 1 29:05
Happen x86 assembly, you know, there are other languages like COBOL, that there will always be a place for it, and you'll actually be able to make a pretty good living at it. It's not what I would suggest is going to be the most exciting career that you'll ever have. But you'll be able to do well with it. But yeah, and everybody's wired a little differently to so you're going to find a language that really just kind of floats your boat and, and, and, like works for you.
Host 1 29:33
Yeah. Not a toy language.
Host 3 29:35
What's your what's your boat languages.
Host 1 29:37
I'm a big Python fan. I'm a huge C sharp fan. We don't do any C sharp here. But it's, I really like what they've done with the language. It's sort of like what C++ could have been and should have been, if it didn't have to deal with all the baggage that you get when you try to be compatible with C at the same time. So it's it's a much more modern language but Yeah, there's a lot of neat languages out there, you know, some of the guys that that are on the team, they're big Erlang. Folks, they find that very exciting. I'm not as familiar with Erlang as as I could be. So I never heard of that. It's a, it's what's called it's, it's a language for functional programming, which is a completely different way of thinking,
Host 3 30:24
Suddenly, like a name from like a MMO RPG or something. Yeah, it's, it's
Host 1 30:27
A, it's an odd, and then there are spin offs off of that. And we had one guy that we had, we were having an interview for a new developer here. And he wanted us to write all of this in this weird little spin off language that there's like, 10 guys that use it. Like, no, I don't think so. But yeah, there's, there's so much stuff out there, it's hard to keep keep up with all of it, too. That's the other thing, you're gonna have to have skills that, that help you to learn new tools quickly. So, you know, get used to reading lots of thick manuals.
Host 1 31:03
Host 1 31:58
Yeah, absolutely. Languages come and go. So speaking
Host 2 32:03
Of solving problems, What's the longest you've ever looked for a syntax error? A colon,
Host 1 32:10
I had a single character mistake that I had found in somebody else's code. That took me somebody else's. Somebody else. I don't write bugs. Make that clear. Right now. My,
Host 1 32:23
I don't write bugs, William.
Host 1 32:27
But we had one this was, this was way back early on in my career. It took me three days to find this particular bug. And the fix was the addition of a single ampersand. Yikes. And it took me three days to find
Host 2 32:43
M percent. That's was it a pointer? Yeah, it was. Yeah,
Host 1 32:46
It was a function that someone was passing was supposed to be passing the address of a structure. They were passing the whole structure in on the stack. And it caused, because this was back in the MS DOS days where there was no protected memory. It was overwriting code, and then, so everything worked fine until you did one thing and then other stuff just broke because the code got all overwritten. And it was
Host 3 33:09
And you need a haystack
Host 1 33:09
And ampersand made you the hero, ampersand made me the hero.
Host 3 33:15
That that's that's that could be the name of your book that you write later life. Title this ampersand made me a hero. Yeah, that sounds like a great time.
Host 1 33:25
Oh, man, for me it Gosh. You know, I don't know, I feel like when I was starting to write a lot of code, I was very heavily reliant on thinking that I was going to look and find like, a missing thing here or there. But as you I think, as you kind of like, our I mean, there's still like syntax errors and little things like stupid things that we we do, but I don't know, I was really happy the other day because I debugged some Perl, church code, and it was a one line change that out. Like Mike drop, because I was like, I don't, I don't prefer working in Perl. None of us do. And I and I didn't even know what it was a year and a half ago, I'd never heard of it. So I'm, like I I was able to track a bug down and and solve it. And it was a one line, variable name change. But
Host 1 34:24
That must have been in there for like over two years,
Host 1 34:26
Then. Oh, yeah. Yes. There's still some Christopher church code for sure.
Host 1 34:30
That's the interesting thing is because we all work on each other's code. Like there's, you know, nobody owns one specific thing. So we do frequently run over each run into things that other people have done that we're like, okay, we're in you can also tell like, who wrote what I say, yeah, you can. Yeah, we all have styles for sure. And you
Host 1 34:51
Learn a lot looking at other Yeah, yeah,
Host 1 34:53
Host 1 34:54
I like how they did that.
Host 2 34:55
Yeah. Yeah. It's like I only have still have one piece of code that's runs in the server. Some Williams Eagles stuff.
Host 1 35:02
Oh yeah, the ULP
Host 3 35:04
Oh, you have a new pet yet?
Host 1 35:06
Nope, some of it, but it's all there.
Host 2 35:09
I only had to rewrite it once. So Oh yeah. So we'll keep going right? Down the list down the list. Um, let's see, cuz I kind of skipped around in the our photo kind of, cuz that was a good segue to that question.
Host 3 35:26
Well, let me ask one real quick. Okay, so I'm seeing this here. And I like this one, we're gonna move right to this. What do hardware or electronic people do that drive you nuts? And before you answer it, the answer is nothing. Okay? Just just to make it. No, no, no. See? That's a fun one. I actually I hadn't seen
Host 2 35:48
One I'm going to answer for Williams. Oh, this one. Okay. Okay. It's going to be really high resolution bitmaps vectorized. And not vectorized rasterize. In Gerber's
Host 1 36:00
That has been the bane of my existence. So we yeah, we've had we've had folks do I mean, I find the some of the logos that folks put on some of their boards fascinating. So I've seen some really neat artwork come through. We had we've had more than one customer do this, where they think their artwork is so awesome that they're going to do it, render it on the board and 1000 dots per inch. And promptly, you know, grinds everything to a halt because it takes you know, wondering that in a in a vector format like Gerber takes gobs and gobs? Yeah,
Host 2 36:39
Cuz it set up because in a raster, like in a bitmap, it's fine, because the format supports it but in Gerber's is a vector style format. So basically, it has to draw a line all the time,
Host 1 36:51
Draw a dot here, draw another dot here, draw another dot there, that adds up to a lot of data.
Host 3 36:58
Well, and the best part about that is yes, your your your EDA tool allow you to do that. But in reality, the screen that is actually used to deposit exactly, it's like 150 dots per day. You're wasting,
Host 1 37:12
Even like standard printing is 300. Is that even 300?
Host 3 37:16
Yeah, 300 is like, good quality. Like yeah, it's like laser really high quality like, you know, it depends on what PC house PC board as you go to, because I mean, some of them they will give you absolute garbage.
Host 1 37:27
Yeah, the silkscreen technology, and PCBs is fairly low rez, even the good stuff?
Host 3 37:33
Well, and let's be honest, it was never really intended to be artwork. It's not Yeah, we've kind of hacked artwork into it.
Host 1 37:40
Exactly. And, And on a related note, one of the things that drives me bonkers is the an AI, it sounds like I'm picking on Eagle all day. Don't get me wrong Eagles a great tool, you can you can do that. So one of the things one of the things that eagle does is the way it generates a Gerber dive down this little rabbit hole real quick, the way it generates a Gerber, when you have a region that you need to floodfill like a pot, you define a polygon and the tool. The Gerber format supports an actual polygon region, and it takes like 20 bytes, depending on what you're doing. It's really small and compact, and it lets the renderer of that image, do the hard work for you. But when ego writes out the Gerber, it does what we were talking about earlier, it's like you have a region here that needs to be filled in it says okay, draw a line from here to here, draw a line from here to here, it fills it in with a bunch of rafters, yesterday's lines. And the default when you create that polygon is it does it at like point 01 mil per line or something ridiculous that just generates these big nasty monster gerber files. And you actually have to know to go in and change it
Host 2 39:00
To like 10 mil
Host 1 39:00
Right something reasonable lose
Host 2 39:02
On those ports, you don't lose anything because it draws a 10 mil line around the whole thing and then just flood fills with 10 mil
Host 1 39:09
Exactly it and it's you know, if if folks would just spend an extra minute and make sure that those flood fills were set up, right, that would be great, or if the tool just generated the polygons properly to begin with. But, but yeah, that's those are a couple of the things that drive me nuts.
Host 1 39:29
Pass. No. Um, no. I don't know. I think that I think that I sort of commiserate with like, the hardware, electronics people. I feel like they're compulsive tinkerers. I certainly have noticed that about two people sitting across from me. And so I get that because I feel like in my own way, I tend to be like, obsessive about projects and stuff that I'm working on. Like, if I have to make it work, I have to figure out a solution. I have to like, you know, figure out a way to make an art project come to life or whatever it is. And then I think like, what's exciting to me about what we're doing is that we're, we're writing the software that's helping all these people ultimately make cool things. And ultimately, like bringing the concept that's just in their brain to life. So maybe that was more of like a love story, not a pet peeve. But
Host 1 40:27
It's like, it's very exciting to be here at macro fab. Doing that, you know, because, you know, I've seen it from the other end, where it's like, Okay, I've got this great idea. I just need this board made. And, you know, it's very difficult to or until macro fab. It was very difficult to get that that done. So the idea that we're helping people create things is very exciting.
Host 2 40:53
One more question. Sure. All right. Let's see, it would be let's see, who at macro fab writes the worst JIRA ticket. This is pop up in Slack. I'm like, I have to ask this one in JIRA
Host 3 41:09
Is our support tickets? Yes.
Host 1 41:12
I'll give me a hand. His last name is night. Oh, actually boat? Yeah, we got. They were on the podcast. They are. They're great guys, but they write terrible JIRA tickets.
Host 3 41:24
Why are they are they? Are they tickets like do this do that? Yeah,
Host 1 41:28
It's a complaint.
Host 1 41:30
It's one line statement in the in the subject of the JIRA ticket, and then you open it up, and there's
Host 1 41:35
Nothing else. In fact, the example we are talking about is, I think the most recent one that we had from Brandon was, and they've been on the podcast too before. And the most recent one was just like, uploading sucks. What about it?
Host 3 41:55
You know what's great about this, both of you didn't realize, but actually one of the night brothers had walked in the room. And he was he heard that they better watch out. Yeah, tomorrow is gonna be rough. Oh, boy. All right. Well, that's, that's, that's fantastic. I'm glad it wasn't me who writes bad?
Host 1 42:19
You You understand?
Host 3 42:21
I understand. Because I've been on the opposite side of tickets in in a previous life before the
Host 1 42:26
The software equivalent of it's broke. doesn't do us any good.
Host 3 42:31
Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean, like, in a previous life, when I was doing hardware tickets, I'd get stuff like, wire too long. And I didn't. And this is at a company where we had over 50 products. And each one of those products had, you know, multi level assemblies and bombs. And that's all I get. And it would be like, All right, sure. Great. The wires too long. I'll get right on that. Why are they shortened? What?
Host 1 42:58
What are the 1000s of wires?
Host 3 43:00
Exactly. I actually I became the bad guy at that company for for some period of time, because I, I got with our developers there and I had them implement a system where if a ticket is in your inbox, he would email you every morning with with a reminder, that ticket was in your inbox. Lonnie do the entire company was like, Oh, my God wanted. We had some people who were sitting on tickets that were over a year old, you know, and there were still things that needed to be done. So yeah, I was the bad guy don't get to put those things got done.
Host 2 43:40
So Williams would be the big one on that. I know, I'm terrible. He's got it. He's got some going through the old JIRA stuff and like, you know, making all nice new and organizing it. And then I'm like, I opened it up and I look up Williams, tickets assigned. He's got like tickets assigned to him when he started here that he'd never closed. It's all done. Everything's done. It just closed out. Because as soon
Host 1 44:03
As you put that fire out, another one is parked somewhere else and you're busy putting that one out. So I'll never have time to go back fixed
Host 2 44:09
It is if you mark something is done in seven days later, it automatically closes it. There you go. There we go. Nice. Yeah.
Host 3 44:16
So in other words, we don't have to do anything after we're done. We just done and that's it.
Host 2 44:21
Yeah, well, it depends because if you mark something done then it has to get released, though and then after release has to be approved by the request D and then it goes to archive right but all those acts of steps after release are automated in some fashion, you have
Host 1 44:37
Certain amount of Speak now or forever hold your peace type this type of deal
Host 2 44:40
If you if you wait because it goes from release to if it still sits in release after seven days it gets put into a acknowledged or accepted and then after that seven more days, go into archive and you've waited 14 days to actually do anything about it and you haven't you're fired.
Host 1 45:02
That was probably way too much information.
Host 3 45:07
You're still listening to our podcast, you are hardcore into your workflows. We think every single one of you guys, you guys are troopers.
Host 1 45:20
No, but are you reading like an 800 page book about agile development? Oh boy.
Host 1 45:25
Yeah, that one's fun.
Host 3 45:26
He's on page eight.
Host 2 45:28
I'm actually in the fifth chapter now. Still page eight. He was written very shortly. No, no, it's written by Microsoft in 94.
Host 1 45:38
Well, okay. Yeah. All right.
Host 1 45:40
It's changed a little
Host 2 45:41
A little bit. It's, it's, I'm really just reading just like, no management skills and stuff, because I don't really care about like, it's like, new technology, c plus plus. And I'm like, ooh. And it talks about, like grinding, like, actually writing applications in assembly. And they're like, you can use new technology like C to speed up developments.
Host 1 46:10
Like we were talking about earlier, where, you know, yeah, the technology is always gonna change, but the skills that you build around all of that correct, take you through your career.
Host 2 46:18
Correct. So Do y'all want to sign us out? I think since Williams opened Kaylynn. Closing
Host 1 46:25
No, and Williams has the best radio voice we determined. So thank you. There's a note to say. Thank you. Thank you so Anyways, that was the macro fab engineering podcast number 91. Right. Yep. We were guests, Katelyn Smith
Host 1 46:50
And Mike Williams.
Host 2 46:51
And we're your hosts Parker Dolan and Steven Craig. Later everyone take it easy.
Host 2 47:04
Thank you, yes, you our listener for downloading our show. If you have a cool idea, project or topic that you want Steven is to discuss, tweet us at macro fab or email us at podcast at macro fab.com. Also, check out our Slack channel. It's below in the description. If you're not subscribed to the podcast, click that subscribe button that's on the right side of the screen. That'd be awesome. If you could do that. Also, give us a review on iTunes and Google
Transcribed by https://otter.ai