I have a complaint (well, to be honest, I have a lot, but I don’t trot them out all at the same time): Why do hardware and development tools vendors insist on using things like Windows .net? It annoys me to no end to have to resort to reading through KB articles from Microsoft just to get something as straightforward as a compiler up and running. It annoys me even more when I can’t get the software running even after jumping through hoops and hopping up and down on one foot while patting the top of my head. Does it really have to be this way?
Posts Tagged 'Software'
Tags: development, programming, Software, software engineering
Software matters because without it a computer-controlled instrument, device, or system is just a collection of plastic, metal, and silicon. It does nothing.
Without software an interferometer is just a bunch of mirrors and lenses. Without software a CCD or CMOS image sensor is just a slab of inert silicon. Without software a deep space probe is a piece of very expensive metal sculpture. Without software data collection and analysis becomes an exercise in jotting numbers in a notebook, pushing a slide rule to get approximate numerical results, and dealing with errors. Lots of errors.
Good software is not trivial, nor is it easy. It is not the simple exercises encountered in undergraduate courses, nor is it the hacked logic and unreadable gibberish generated by overcaffeinated graduate students late at night. Good software is the result of applied discipline, resulting in the creation of an abstract logical construct that is coherent, readable, elegant, and reusable. Good software is beautiful.
Everyone likes free stuff. Here are some links to some freely downloadable books and papers:
Object Orientated Programming in ANSI-C, by Axel Schreiner (direct link to PDF file)
Computational Modeling and Complexity Science, by Allen B. Downey
C Elements of Style, by Steve Oualline
Object-Oriented Techniques for C Programmers, an HP Labs Technical Report
Tags: programming, Python, Software, software engineering
So-called “INI” files are ubiquitous. You can find them on Unix systems, Windows platforms, and even in the flash memory of embedded systems. I even once wrote my own INI parser for some software on a embedded diskless VME control system running WindRiver’s VxWorks. It allowed us to upload new configuration and control parameters on-the-fly in a human-readable format. Very handy.
Tags: Image Processing, programming, Software, software engineering
I recently stumbled across this whilst sifting through the Weird Wild Web:
The Definitive Guide
Released under the GNU Free Documentation License, V1.1.
If you deal with image processing software then you really need to know about PNG. Superior to JPEG for images containing sharp edges and step gradients (i.e. line art and such), PNG uses a non-patented lossless data compression method. While it won’t compress down as much as JEPG, it also doesn’t suffer from high-frequency signal loss, generation loss and compression artifacts (checkerboarding and such). Also see the Wikipedia article on PNG: