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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

XML is soooo dot com

JSON is the data interchange format for the new webosphere.

All kidding aside, it really is much better than XML. It's just simple. You can grok it in about an hour of reading.

Further linkage:
The fat free alternative to XML's

Monday, July 30, 2007

Use gperf for command line parsing?

I'll agree with the authors of this article that command line processing is an oft neglected block of software implementation that ends up being thrown together and regretted forever. I don't think their article's solution is completely appropriate to the problem they present, and may be leading many programmers down the path of premature optimization.

In effect they say:

1. command line parsers are often implemented as ugly if then else if unmaintainable code
2. typical command line parsers are O(n^2) performance

Part 1 can hardly be argued with. This is just bad (tm).
Part 2 is where I take umbrage. How many programs have so many command line arguments they need to worry about O(n^2) drag on command line parsing? Compilers. EDA tools. Can you think of any others?

Now these guys are EDA tool builders, and if they'd come out and limited their scope by saying this is appropriate for some limited segment of software I'd be happy as a clam with the article. However, by including part 1 of their problem description, they imply that all software should use gperf for command line parsing.

I'd say: all software should use command line parsing library functions such as GNUgetopt(). If after everything is working and you notice performance is being dragged down, then you ought to look into new tools such as gperf.

Use gperf for efficient C/C command line processing


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Company sells its reverse engineering services

I didn't know you could pay for this kind of stuff...

TAEUS: Reverse Engineering Saves one Company and Dooms Another

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More ARM boards

There are just so many little comanies making these boards. Don't know how I missed this one in my earlier wanderings, but they look like they have a good quality/cost ratio

For $2.1k you get a debugger, board, eclipse, and open source eCOS with tools.

Bit of bargain over eCOSPro, but you don't get all the other board support packages that eCOSPro comes with.

Taylor River Real Time - Ronetix PEEDI ARM Starter Kit

Monday, July 16, 2007

Intersting Company: Staccato Communications

Maybe I should have a new label: Yet Another UWB company.

Staccato Communications

Friday, July 13, 2007

Project Patterns

Tim Lister is the author of one of my favorite books about the software workplace Peopleware

Here's a few snippets of what will be in his next book about good and bad patterns on software.

From project sluts to strawmen: An interview with Tim Lister

Source Code Repostitory Browser

Fisheye puts a nice web interface on your source code repository, providing RSS feeds, graphs, and neat stuff.

Cenqua: FishEye Editions

freeware .ICO plugin for Photoshop

I've used a ton of 3rd party icon editors in the past, but since I have a free version of Photoshop elements that came with my camera I've been using it more and more.

Here's a plugin that makes a decent substitute for AWIcons or Microangelo.

Telegraphics - Free plugins for Photoshop & Illustrator...and other software

Thursday, July 12, 2007

usb drive software

So I've heard of software you can run from your USB drive, but I didn't know there were several competing ways of getting this done.
U3: runs on most win32 machines, even if you don't have admin privleges, app must be specifically designed to use U3 APIs
MojoPac: must instal drivers first, but fast enough to run big time apps, and will run any app you need
Moka5: uses VMWare to run apps in a virtualized machine

Bring the power of portable software to your USB flash drive - make it a U3 smart drive!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Software salaries in the Ukraine

I've been very happy with our Ukrainian software outsourcing experience. I feel it has a closer cultural match to the West than India

After reading several articles on the rising cost of Indian salaries, I was curious to see what software wages in Ukraine were. This article points to a similar upward trend, but shows Ukrainians are at a lower point in the curve.

Ciklum estimates the monthly salaray in 2006 for a project manager was between $1k and $2k, and $600-$1000 for a software developer.

Ciklum - Software business growing steadily

Click continue to cancel, cancel to continue

Maybe they made this spam opt out confusing on purpose!

sicko economics

It's not a liberal versus conservative argument: Michael Moore's Sicko is about the upside down economics of for profit health care. HMO's make more money when they deny more people expensive services. Looking from Wall Street's point of view this is excellent for shareholders. However, Moore puts a human face on the consequences of those profit maximizing actions, and makes me question the ethics of for profit health care.

Why shouldn't our healthcare system be like our Police and Fire systems? Could you imagine what would happen if firemen only came to your rescue if you had good insurance? What if you had this insurance and they put out a fire, then they stuck a crack team of people searching for every possible way to retroactively cancel your claim and stick you with the bill for saving your house?

Other people say: "But doctors don't want nationalized health care. If they don't want it, I don't want it." This website shows there's a large number of physicians who do want it:
Physicians for a National Health Program

Interesting Company: American GNC

Navigation Company based out of Simi Valley

Monday, July 09, 2007

Bartender, I'll take a fuzzy Kalman please

Kalman filters seem to be the preferred solution to combine multiple, possibly conflicting, sources of sensor input. However, to properly apply one you have to know the noise characteristics of your different sensors.

Knowing the noise characteristics, and translating them to the proper weights in the Kalman filter is where the real magic comes in. Genetic algorithms are great at finding good combinations of parameters, and this article sounds like a promising combination of the two.

IngentaConnect A fuzzy Kalman filter optimized using a multi-objective genetic algorithm for enhanced autonomous underwater vehicle navigation

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

EM78M611 low cost USB microcontroller

This is no SiLabs USB micro, but looks to be a small, cheap, low power HID controller chip.

Even though it has only 6kB of code space, 144B data RAM, it does have a C compiler.

ELAN Microelectronics Corp.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


If you are executing earned value project management, you can use independent estimate at completion

Most often it is calculated as:

Connecting Earned Value to the Schedule
Independent Estimates at Completion — Another Method