Let's Make Robots!

magazine recommendations?

I am interested in a new magazine subscription this year. I had one from nuts and volts last year and it was a decent magazine, but i think I want something with a little more advanced programming and electronics. I am thinking of a magazine that focuses on embedded software and hardware, and that may have content on using ARM processors for projects. Please comment on your experience with any magazines you've liked or disliked, cheers

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After ending up with a circuit cellar magazine subscription I have to say I like it.  There seems to be some great content packed into it, and a good ratio of content to ads.  So a two thumbs up recommendation for circuit cellar magazine!

Back in the day, I read Popular Electronics, Radio Electronics, Elementary Electronics.  Later I read Nuts & Volts and Computer Shopper. I Bought all sorts of books, ESPECIALLY the very few about robot building. When I commuted to work on a train, and then rode all over Manhattan on subways doing field service I'd probably go through a dozen or more volumes, that is books and periodicals, a week.

Now, I spend most of my time behind a desk and the internet brings me a lot more--and more up to date information than any 10 year stack of bound paper I ever owned.  And, to (virtually) all intents and purposes, it's free.  And while I did correspond with some (very few) of the writers who wrote up the articles and projects that I read about, it was nothing like posting a question, about say, a Dagu product you own--or are thinking about buying--and getting an answer from Oddbot within a few hours.

I might still buy books and magazines if I was still riding trains, but, probably, I'd buy a tablet or e-reader.

I never built this, but I owned the book, and it was my introduction to digital electronics.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJFXEny-Pt0

Download page for above

http://www.archive.org/details/howtobuildaworkingdigitalcomputer_jun67

And THIS inspired my first robot, which was nowhere near as mechanically sophisticated. . .

http://www.scribd.com/doc/3231860/Unicorn1-Robot-Articles-in-Radio-Electronics-

I enjoyed magazines, but I don't much miss them.

 

Yeah, I want to supplement my normal dose of dry reading of application notes, technical books, datasheets, etc.  I did put circuit cellar (printed version) on my wish list this Christmas, thanks all!

Electronic magazines may be a better choice.

When I was in Australia I used to buy "Silicon Chip". The magazine featured projects you could build each month, many were later sold as kits. Although the range of projects went well beyond robots you would be surprised how often you could take a part of a project (H bridge, amplifier etc.) and modify it for use with a robot. This can help lead your creativity in new directions.

http://www.circuitcellar.com/ have some good articles.

Have you subscribed to this one. I have looked at it before and it looks interesting. I think it may be aimed at professionals in engineering? The article list for the current issue looks interesting enough. But 38 dollars a year for digital subscription is about double what I pay for my current subscriptions.

If it was less advertising and more meat it would probably work out the same in dollar value.

If I was looking for my first arm based controller it would probably be a toss up between stm32 and texas instruments starter kits. For price reasons alone. But I scored an mbed for free so I'm pretty happy with that.

With some issues of those magazines I think, did they just book up the advertising and then just throw a couple of articles in to have some relevance to their title. Another thing I find annoying is the subject matter is often well and truly covered in all corners of the net already. They seem to struggle for original ideas for content. You have to watch servo as well. They send you renewal forms as much as 3-4 months in advance promising you 3 free issues if you renew. But they seem reluctant to give you them when you do.

 

I'm subscribed to servo and robot magazine

Servo and Robot magazine. I had subscribed to Nuts n Volts for a time though. Servo is ok  and Robot magazine I am deliberating whether to continue or not. Both magazines are heavy on advertising and actual useful material is thin with servo the better. Robot magazine started a series on Ai and promised lofty goals in this series and then after 2 posts dropped it without so much as saying why.

I guess thats not really a recommendation and it might not even really be what you are looking for. I can't recall any issues with articles on Arm controllers. I use to also get Elektor. That may have a few Arm articles but perhaps you should look at ee websites and see whats on offer. There's eetimes and eeweb.

Personally from my experience with magazines on Robotics and electronics the gain in knowledge is much lower than what the web or books have to offer. Perhaps you should look at systems from manufacturers and use their application notes and design advice.

The mbed system from nxp is a very good Arm platform with a lot of useful code and examples available. And texas instruments has had a number of good systems available for cheap like the evalbot platform and chronos watch.

Follow some of the design challenges for Arm controllers. There has been one for Stm32, Renasas and mbed and probably others as well. The projects are usually well documented and source available.

 

That is valuable feedback, thanks.  I was looking at Robot magazine's website before I made this post (I hadn't made any conclusions on it) and Servo magazine came to mind but I haven't read one or looked into it yet.  I found the heavy advertising to be a little bit irratating as is the case with Nuts and Volts magazine.  I've also read Elector which came free with a Pololu order and I remember it having a couple of interesting articles.

I have to agree that the internet and books are where it is at for learning something specific.  I suppose the types of articles I would like to read about in a magazine are introductions to robotics topics such as control theory, artificial intelligence, DIY stuff, circuit design, programming techniques, to name a few.

As for ARM MCUs I've found STM32 series to work well and they are very affordable to work with as the ST-LINK JTAG debugger is only $25.  They also have a load of application notes and libraries making them a great, speedy, and low-cost device.  And since the mail man just dropped off my new STM32 boards I am off to populate one!