I'm interested as well, but I look at some of those projects and WOW, they look complicated!
I would like to state my interest as well, and that I'm in the same boat as many others: no experience with digital. I am really excited by all of the possibilities, though (as cheesy as that sounds), and this looks/sounds very promising.
This is an interesting point. We're confronting some of the basic responses to logic systems here.
The "wow they look complicated" is valid. They DO look complicated. However, there is a repetition there that hides an underlying simplicity. What matrix, crossbar, barrel and other highly interconnected systems are composed of is one basic concept repeated over and over. My implementation of any-order is based on a one-of-N selector switch. Once you understand that a selector switch can take one signal and select any one of a number of places to send it to, you have the concept nailed.
When one makes eight copies of a selector switch, things start looking messy. It's when you add on top of that a slight difference per copy that normal human eyes start glazing over. But it's a lot like you learned to build effects. This is a resistor. It has two ends. Either end is identical. This is a capacitor. It has two ends; some capacitors you have to remember that one end is positive. This is a transistor, three leads. Only one more - but they are very picky about which is which. Now we take four resistors, two capacitors, and hook them together in special ways. And solder...
It's all building blocks. Aron, as you know, if you skip a building block, it WILL come back and bite you. It's not that any one block is crucial or incredibly complicated. It's that you have to assemble blocks. If you carry the attitude that you have to learn a few basic blocks, and that each new project may have one or two new blocks involved, you'll do fine.
It's like in Hack - how does one attack a long worm? Recursively.
Not knowing digital is a bit more basic. It's the analog to not knowing anything about electricity. To do effects on more than a "hook wire 23 to resistor 15 and solder; wrap resistor 15 around pot lug 3 and solder:" basis, you simply have to know a little about electricity. It's not tough, as the blocks are things like:
- electricity must flow in a complete loop from the electrical source through the circuit and back to the source.
- things can be more positive or more negative; what changes that is where you decide "ground" is
- "ground" is any place you decide is going to be 0.000V for a reference.
- grounded metal shields help keep hum and RF out
The list goes on, but you see where this is leading, right? There is a certain irreducable minimum of blocks you have to learn. There is an infinite number of blocks, and as you collect them, the next blocks get easier to pick up.
For those not having an inkling about digital, you have to learn a little. For instance:
- Digital circuits depend on interpreting voltage levels as a 1 or a 0, on or off.
- Usually we decide that a higher voltage is a "1" in the positive voltage system
- Rarely and seldom we decide that a lower voltage is a "1", in the negative logic system. If you ever want to totally confuse experienced logic people, make them work in negative logic. 8-)
- Logic signals can be combined to get specific logical results. For instance, an AND gate puts out a 1 if and only if all of its inputs are 1. If any of them are 0, then the output is a 0. An OR gate puts out a 1 if ANY of its inputs are 1. A NOT gate puts out the opposite of its input.
It's the same process. You learn one block, then go to the next.
But - I can hear you thinking - when do I have enough blocks?
I'm still collecting blocks after almost four decades of this. But the first ones were the toughest, and you only need a few basic ones before you start to say... oh, I see!
I think that we ought to advise people who have any inkling that they want to mess with uCs that are concerned at all that they don't know anything about digital to go buy a copy of the CMOS Cookbook by Don Lancaster. It goes over a lot of this in very readable form. I have worn out two copies. This is available from abebooks.com for as low as $1.60 plus shipping. It's kind of like having a multimeter.
Good points, and very apt for the folks here.