Thursday, 14 August 2014

Intel Galileo development board

A while back, I responded to an web post, asking people to give an outline idea of what they could make, with an Intel-developed, Windows-based development board.

Unlike a lot of sneerers and open-source devotees, I didn't leave a snarky comment about propriety software, or indulge in some cheap Microsoft bashing. I actually think Microsoft, over the last 30 years or so, have created some amazing software - bloated, unnecessarily complex and - let's be honest - expensive it may have been, but they produced some of the best software for actually being productive.

If you wanted to create a document quickly and easily, for years, MS Word was the mainstay. Outlook was for emails (and calendars if you had the full office version) and no-one created a spreadsheet on anything but Excel. These were (and, still are) great programs for getting work done.

In recent years, Apple's behaviour has made Microsoft look like the shining light of openness and transparency, while Linux - even today - is problematic when it comes to making anything but the most common of applications and hardware work properly.

So when Microsoft said they were interested in joining the "hardware revolution" I was genuinely intrigued. Of course, they're not the first to the party. They're not even a dedicated hardware developer, their programming tools are probably developed by a third party (or once belonged to a company long since bought out, as was their strategy in the early 2000s) and they can't compete with AVR/PIC micros on price. It looks like they're aiming more at the Raspberry Pi market than the 8-bit microcontroller market, as the Intel Galileo looks like quite a capable board - which would be wasted on a simple project for flashing a few LEDs in response to some button presses!

So here it is. It arrived today via FedEx:


I haven't had time to do anything other than take it out of the box. But it's BuildBrighton tonight, and I know a few others had expressed an interest in the dev board. So, if I get an early dart and arrive at the hackspace a bit earlier tonight, what are the odds of getting something - however simple - up and running on this?

Given the level of productivity in recent months? About zero ;-)