Arduinos seem to have won the rapid-electronic-prototyping-system war. Bringing electronic design to the masses.
Since the masses don’t really know what they’re doing (and don’t have to), we get stuff like this:
Which is pretty and all, and it’s cool that we can throw things like that together in a few minutes. It’s cheap and fast and easy, and you can do it even if you got your degree in Film Studies.
But it’s also using a fairly feature-full modern microprocessor: 16 MIPs, 35 kilobytes of memory, 20 I/O lines. It has all sorts of voltage regulators, a USB port and associated controller… and, of course, it boots. It’s a microprocessor. There’s a bootloader, maybe a copy from ROM to RAM, stack setup and initialization, et cetera, et cetera.
To flash some LEDs.
That whole mess would typically be implemented with an LED driver and a 555 timer or something.
That’s apparently a trade-off of generalizing development tools. Wasteful, but simple.
And that’s acceptable… to a point.