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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wikipedia- great style guide

Wikipedia has several well put articals on writing style. I particularly like the weasel words artical

Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Translator for electrons

It's always hard to relate to people exactly what it is that I help make at my work.

This artical has a good explanation.

"Faint fluctuations in that charge, as small as that of 10 electrons, are picked up by a chip that translates it into an understanding of how the controller is moving."

That's the chip that I help make. it translates the raw signals from these sensors into something a computer can understand.

Tiny springs keep Wii, PS3 under control -


Thursday, November 16, 2006

GSM data module with python interpreter

*very* cool chunk of hardware. Write your own python code to run inside it.

$650 euros is not cheap though.


The CINT C/C Interpreter

Another interpreter, but this sounds even more heavy weight than Tcl/Tk

The CINT C/C Interpreter


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Embedding TCL

Seemsl like TCL is big in the debug and test world. As I'm writing debug and test hardware it looks like it would be interesting to at least look into embedding TCL in our USB <-> SPI bridge.

Probably won't fit into 16k of code space though!

Practical Programming in Tcl and Tk


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Code inspection would have been faster!

So, I've read the white papers, I've done a 7 week intensive PSP training course, I believe what the experts say about code reviews being faster to find bugs than conventional debugging.

But this morning I spent 3 hours chasing a bug that would likely have been caught in code inspection: I was using the wrong loop index name. dang.

It would have been caught as a compiler error if I were in C++ (do to delcaring the loop index in the for loop) but I'm doing C on a little 8051 with 16kB of code space and 1280 bytes of RAM (yes, bytes).

Another excuse (but an excuse nonetheless): I was having debugger problems, to the tune of semi random crashes of the IDE, necessitating hard power cycle of board and debugger, with a little vitamin reboot on the PC thrown in for good measure. Since the tools have been rock solid up till now, and they're relatively new to me I didn't want to wallpaper over problems, so I ruled out bad hardware, bad USB cables, out of date IDE/debugger software and firmware. Maybe because I was using 1154 of my 1280 RAM bytes? Commenting large blocks of code helped in a similar way that I feel like my car runs better after an oil change.

In the end printf debugging made me actually look at what the hell the code was doing. Why didn't I dash off a hard copy of the code and read it in the first place?

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better compilers for 8051 devices

I'm just not all that impressed with the Keil C51 compiler for 8051 chips.

Flaky debugger integration, poor optimization of local variables, clunky IDE, and difficult makefile integration lead my list of gripes.

The compiler from IAR sounds very interesting. It even supports C++.
Embedded Development Tools from IAR Systems

A pretty complete list of compatible C compilers is on the SiLabs support page


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The source for election results

I don't know why the official California results don't pop up much higher on Google, but here they are:

CA Secretary of State - General Election

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

to really split hairs

I've never had much of a head for grammar, but I do have a strong appreciation for good writing.

I was reading a writing tips sheet for school which said to "Rely on a standard American English writing style guide...", however it further advised to not bow to the dictator of style if it meant sacrificing clarity and utility. In an offhand way the sheet mentioned the split infinitive and hanging preposition as if everyone should be familiar with these middling grammatical transgressions.

I wasn't. Though now than I am, I'm not sure I'm any better for it.

Split infinitive - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Preposition Stranding - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Disputed English Grammar- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia