This post is a little bit different. It does not contain any how-to, know-how or data. It is a little thought that I came to after a recent experience.
Don’t be afraid of a long learning curve – it might be worth it. I’m lazy and my brain is not as hyperactive as it used to be. Although I like to learn new things sometimes I get to a point when I need to use something more advanced or possibly better but it seems to be hard to learn. Like my last experience with PCB CAD software Eagle and KiCad.
I worked with Eagle as a hobbyist for a few years and then I got a contract which part was a small PCB design. The board was larger that the Eagle Light 10×8 cm limitation and the Eagle Standard license price was too high for the job. I looked into the free alternative KiCad. Lots of people wrote that the software is user unfriendly and has a lots of bug. I think the feel of unfriendliness is caused only due to the fact that it is different. At the end I got used to the way the KiCad is controlled and it is much more efficient then the Eagle. And bugs? Oh yeah, it has bugs, large nasty beasts. But not that big that it will disrupt your work if you learn how to avoid them. Now back to the point: bugs and different work flow were representing the hard stuff and almost foiled my effort to learn something new (CAD software is hard to learn in general). After a few first trials I gave up. Anyway something was telling me to try it again and be more patient. It was worth it! KiCad is awesome, way more flexible and helpful and I don’t want to go back. And I even use the unstable development version!
Another example is my transition from Subversion to Git. Subversion is an excellent successor of CVS. I liked it and I liked it because it was better then the CVS (piece of sh..). Few consecutive updates from the CVS repository and your working tree was a wreck. But Subversion wasn’t an angel’s tool as well. Accidentally deleting any of the .svn directories caused a little hell on Earth. Merging was a nightmare and checking out some older revisions gave you files you have never seen before. It was time to find something better. Git was gaining in popularity so I decided to give it a try. What are those long cryptic revision hashes instead of beautiful monotonically increasing numbers? Staged, unstaged, push, pull, … WTF? Too complicated. No way. I sticked with the Subversion for another year or two. However it (SVN) was starting to be a real pain in the a.. on larger projects. Change was inevitable. I decided to spend a weekend reading through Git documentation and tutorials and play with “hello world” repositories. It was worth it! No more tree disasters and the speed… Yum! The user (command line) interface is not any complicated, it is just different.
So don’t be a coward, go and learn something new! 🙂