I enjoy reading Jack Crenshaw's column in the "Embedded systems" magazine. One of his nicest ideas is "praise the good guys". Jack claims that people spend a lot of time whining about bad companies/people - it doesn't help. The better way is praise the good companies/people, this way giving them publicity and appreciation. It's a really good idea - have a positive look on things, not negative. Praise Linux, don't bash Windows. Praise Perl and Lisp, don't bash Java.

In this spirit, I want to praise some "good guys" - the support engineers in Altera (a manufacturer of FPGA's and tools for them). There's a newsgroup - comp.arch.fpga, where people discuss FPGA design, tools, synthesis, etc. In the past week I asked a couple of questions there, facing a complex design with Altera's Quartus FPGA synthesis/programming tool.

It seems that Altera asks its engineers to monitor the group and answer questions. The first time I got a quick response, explaining a feature and promising a feature I asked for in the next release. The second time - even better. I posted a snippet of code that synthesized badly in Quartus. After a discussion with other people in the newsgroup, I got a personal mail from an Altera engineer. He analyzed my snippet, explained the limitations of synthesis, provided alternative solutions, and promised improved optimizations in the next release.

This is just great ! Kudos, Altera.