Entries in Category Software

Github and Grabcad

Although I'm not very active on either platform, I have accounts on both Github, for some of my more public software efforts (mostly web development experiments), and on Grabcad, for some parts I've modeled in CAD that are both non-proprietary and potentially useful to other engineers. These models are mostly commercially available products that I have to work with or design something around, and Grabcad has a more appropriate audience for that than, say, Thingiverse. Naturally Grabcad also gets bonus points for having been an Estonian startup!

So if you'd like to be fully aware of my activities on the Internet, now split over at least ten platforms including this blog, visit both sites and follow me there too. Thanks!

A Javascript Resistor Color Code Calculator

I recently built a small app that calculates a resistor's value based on color coding. This was an educational exercise in plain-vanilla javascript and old-fashioned html+css, although using jQuery would have saved me a lot of typing if nothing else. I tried to keep the color definitions and so forth as D.R.Y. as possible, going so far as to populate the select boxes from javascript using tedious DOM hacking. I'm sure many possible improvements will be immediately obvious to the attentive reader.

Using the STK500 with Atmel Studio 6.1

I'm starting another AVR project using my by-now-venerable STK500 and the latest 6.1 version of Atmel's Studio software. Although I'm sure Atmel would like all developers everywhere to buy STK600s, it's perfectly possible to use the older development kit with the newest software, although this combination is not as well documented as I'd like; hence I'm using this post to collect a few tips distilled from recent experience.

LaTeX Description Lists with Dot Leaders

Datasheets for electronic components frequently present maximum ratings and other such specifications in the form of lists where a label, “Operating Temperature Range” for example, is separated from a value, say “-55 to 125 C”, by a dot leader, or row of dots intended to make it obvious which value belongs to which label. Maxim Integrated does this (page two), as does Microchip (page three), among many others. Here's a way to implement it in LaTeX.

My New Résumé, and How to Build It in LaTeX with SCons

I recently rewrote my professional résumé. In accordance with received wisdom I was always careful to limit the story of my working life to a single page, but I've heard too much lately about how this restriction is out-of-date and likely to shortchange an applicant; in my case I had to describe the positions I've held very thinly and leave out some of my minor honors altogether. Some of the layout compromises I was forced to make never sat quite well with me either.

Since I was going to radically change it anyway, I took the opportunity to implement my new two-page résumé in LaTeX instead of InDesign, partially for geek-cred but also to make it more maintainable: for instance, the plain-text source file works well with revision control tools and now resides in a git respository.

Building my résumé from source also solves an irritating little problem I had with my InDesign workflow: the need to maintain two otherwise-identical *.indd files, one with my personal phone number and email address for sending to recruiters, and one without them for publishing on the Internet. If I changed anything in one, I had to make the same changes in the other, and then make sure to export both to PDF. With LaTeX I can pass command-line arguments to conditional statements to make this easy. For even more geek-cred, I can automate all this using SCons and provide myself with “public” and “private” build targets for the two versions of the document.

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