About a year ago I got a burr up my butt to learn something about FPGAs. I bought a Mojo board, and some accessories, and did some of the beginner tutorials. Really cool stuff, but I was using this well aged (read: shitty) windows PC that was pretty underpowered, and an AIO (all-in-one like an iMac). Since that computer was camped out on our kitchen table, it was inconvenient as hell. But the toolchain, ISE from Xilinx doesn’t run on the mac (and while I could have setup a virtualbox and ubuntu VM, that was a drag.)
Then over the Christmas break, I bought and configured a lil’ Intel NUC to act as my Plex server. It is a perfect platform for my learning.
For my July 4th fun, I finally bit the bullet and re-setup the toolchain, and recreated some of the early tutorials.
It wasn’t without pain. Apparently, I couldn’t get a clean license for the system (it has been end of development since 2013, and for this class of FPGA it is free to use, but you need a license). Fortunately, my old license is still associated with my name, so I was able to download it.
Plugging in the Mojo board was a bit of a struggle. No, not the micro-USB cable, but I had to do some arcane command in the ubuntu linux to get my user id added to a modem dial group (so I could access the USB serial port).
However, once I got through those two hurdles, it mostly worked.
There is a new book Learning FPGAs: Digital Design for Beginners with Mojo and Lucid HDL that happens to be available for free with my Safari Online subscription I get through work. Very cool.
So, it is sitting on my desk, the NUC is all set to be my vehicle for self-education, and I have something to keep me mentally engaged.