When I started working on my first embedded project at Atomic, I was given just two pieces of advice regarding C programming:
- Read the K&R C book.
- Turn to the C technical standard for language questions.
The second one struck me as an odd proposition at the time, as I had never before cracked open a language spec.
My impression of language specifications and formal documents in general was that they were for a chosen few, and not generally useful day-to-day. This turns out to be almost completely untrue. Since the standards documents lay out the rules which the people implementing the standard must follow, they often provide one of the very best references for how things behave in the real world. They also must be clear enough to follow, and detail the corner cases that introductory blog posts always seem to leave out.
Surely enough, I quickly found myself skimming through the C99 specs for everything from finding out what the ‘register’ keyword actually does (hint: nothing to do with register allocation) to the exact behavior of designated initializers for structs. The spec isn’t always the clearest, and takes some time to read, but importantly it’s almost always right. Read more on Don’t Fear the Standards – They’re There for a Reason…
I recently found myself needing to make a really thorough system image of my MacBook when my Mac OS install picked up some subtle corruption that was causing some really crazy suspend/resume bugs. I chose to make full system images with SuperDuper!, since it has proven itself quite capable in these matters in the past.
I already had Netatalk set up on my trusty personal file server, so I set up a gigabit ethernet connection with jumbo packets, mounted an AFP share on my mac, and started a backup to a new sparse bundle. “Slow” does not even begin to describe for how painfully sluggish the speeds reported by SuperDuper! were, at less than 8MB/sec. Over 18 hours were estimated to complete the backup. Since I need to work on my laptop at least 8 hours a day, this was unacceptable. Thankfully, I found a faster way. Read more on Faster MacOS Drive Images with SuperDuper, SSHFS, and Netcat…
This post is not about any of those programming languages. This post is about more esoteric languages — ones that I will never use for practical purposes.
These are languages that exist not to get work done, but to have fun. If you ask yourself “Why?” you are probably missing the point. The question is more often, “Why Not?” Read more on A Primer on Esoteric Programming Languages…
Ember.js can be an extremely polarizing framework. If the stars align, you can accomplish astonishing volumes of work in a short period. When you start exploring the boundaries of what’s known practice, sometimes you can get buried under a mountain of yaks that need shaving.
The application I’m currently working on has quite a few form pages. This has lead me to look some of the tougher problems in Ember like radio boxes and modal dialogs. While I’ve had exceptionally poor luck trying to get radio buttons working properly and am not unsatisfied with my current solution for modals, I had a really awesome experience adding a calendar date-picker widget with Ember.
Read more on Ember.js Date Pickers – It’s Easy!…
Posted in Web Apps Tagged emberjs
Ember.js is an intriguing framework, but I have occasionally been frustrated trying to find the proper way to accomplish a task. With Ember.js evolving at such a rapid pace, it’s not uncommon for information written only months ago to be completely out of date. To that end, I’ve assembled some of the more helpful sources of information I’ve discovered.
- Ember Homepage
- Contains definitively up-to-date information about the API and at least some basic guidance about how it should be used in the Guides.
Read more on Resources for Getting Started with Ember.js…
Posted in Web Apps Tagged emberjs
Recently, a group of people at AO collectively bought a MakerBot Replicator 2. The printer has been going pretty steadily, but not without the teething problems expected in an early-adopter technology.
Poor Extruder Block Design
Makerbot’s stock extruder for the Replicator 2 uses a round delrin plunger mounted on the end of a screw to pinch the filment against the stepper motor’s hobbed wheel to push filament. Delrin has a low enough coefficient of friction that this works great so long as your filament is a constant diameter. In our printing, we’ve found that our extruder occasionaly still skips steps, leaving gaps in the extruded filament.
Read more on Replicator 2 Teething Issues…
In order to get off the ground quickly, I chose Laurent Bugnion’s MVVM Light framework to build a test project around. MVVM Light provides a nice framework upon which to base a MVVM application, with some handy facilities for messaging and commands.
As I built up my test project, I was quite happy with everything. I had previously started building a test WinForms application which downloaded files over the internet in parallel. I used this same idea to test out WPF. In short order, I had a worker thread system downloading files from different servers. Each thread was updating model properties which fired PropertyChanged events to update a view’s progress bars. All of this worked straight away, without any of the WinForms worries about only triggering updates from the UI thread.
Read more on MVVM Light Messenger Registration Causing Test Failures…
Posted in .NET / WPF Tagged testing