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I'm trying to program a microcontroller today. All I want to do is make some LEDs blink. You would think that that would not be so hard right? Well, since I happen to want to use a Mac to do it I seem to be pretty much out of luck. In order to easily program this thing I need to use a windoze box. Can I use virtual PC? No, because the programmer is USB based and VPC doesn't seem to want to play nice.

There is some software for the Mac. Unfortunately it's pretty spotty. What I really want is a compiler (C by preference) and way of dumping said compiled code onto the MCU with a programmer. Well, I found a free C compiler that will do the job. Only works in Windows or Linux. Fine. I have plenty of Linux boxes, I'll just run it on one of them. The docs for this compiler actually go over how it turns the C into binary. Very nice but could you please tell me how to simply use the thing? No? Well, I'll figure it out for myself. Fine.

Now that I have some compiled code I need to get it onto the chip. Turns out that while developing the programmer that I have the company that made it Microchip built a Mac OS GUI for running it. The funny part is that in the About pane of the program they explain that they wrote the Mac version so that they could test the programmer while they slaved away on the Windows program. Turns out that it was a hell of a lot easier to use a Mac to do the job. Not surprising really. Giving away the source code was a nice touch too.

So you would think that I'm golden. I thought so too. Turns out that no matter what I write to the chip it never verifies properly. I write one thing in and get another out. bleah.

On top of that, it's not so easy to debug code that gets written into a chip...

ok, back to the pain.