Friday, 17 September 2010

Another day, another dollar

I spent most of today programming flash chips using DFU (Device Firmware Update) over USB, monitoring the communications using a very expensive Lecroy USB packet analyser. I struck me that packet analysers provide an excellent way of adding many more layers to your stack diagram, especially as this one could be operated over an Ethernet network, or remotely over USB using a DCOM based system.

The analyser worked on a store and dump basis, so you're going to add some pretty bad latency to the system (which is good), grabbing a few bytes at a time and then displaying them on screen.

For maximum wrongness, I think you should connect the computer running the packet analysis tool to something using Composite video out. Perhaps a really old black and white TV display. Which you could then photograph, and send the photograph via fax. And the data retrieved once you had OCR'd the fax of the photo of the screen would in fact be bytes of compressed audio which when converted back to PCM were in fact DTMF tones. Or maybe the output of a Commodore C64. Too much Commodore C64? Tough, I still love them. OK, maybe they are the bytes from a webcam pointed at another monitor. Or bytes from a USB flash drive having data written to it. Too run-of-the-mill? How about bytes of PostScript being sent to a USB printer? Bytes of data from a USB Infrared receiver? Bytes of data sent to a USB LCD?

Sometimes I get worried about how natural this all seems to me.