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Posts Tagged ‘Software’

GCC Competitor: LLVM

May 13, 2013 Leave a comment

I’ve used GCC for the better part of my career.  It’s worked fairly uniformly across many platforms:  x86, MIPS, PPC, ARM, AVR8, and AVR32.  Honestly, it is near and dear to my heart.

When I got wind of the Embedded.com article titled “Does GCC still have a future?“, I felt a little blind-sided.  After reading the article, however, my conclusion is that competition is often a good thing.

Check it out.  Maybe your next project can leverage LLVM for quicker build and execution times?

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MakeVR: Making it Easier to Design 3D

May 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Creating 3D Designs is getting easier!  The topic seems to be getting much more attention now that we can use 3D printers to make objects a reality.  Check this Design News link for a short video on tools to make design easier for everyone; not just CAD jockies.

MakeVR looks like a substantial evolutionary step to make things easier.  The biggest progress may be in the development of new controls.  While getting rid of menus may make the software _sound_ friendlier, the underlying concepts and operations one must learn to do effective 3D design look the same.  Making a gesture with your hand may be quicker, but it doesn’t shorten the learning curve.

There are a lot of options out there for 3D CAD.  Autodesk 123D is free, but feels pretty conventional, big, complicated, and a bit ugly to me.  Sketchup “works”, but is limiting for rounded and organic design, is often time-consuming without the right aftermarket plug-ins, and seems buggy at times.  You get what you pay for when you use it for free.  I definitely don’t see myself paying $500 for the “Pro” version.

I really like MoI for designing 3D parts.  It’s free to try for a month, and reasonably priced to purchase.  It’s intuitive, powerful, and rock solid.  The interface is a bit ugly in my opinion, but it’s very functional and a joy to work with.  Best of all, it works on the Mac and PC.

What tools do you like?

Keep Your Mac Awake With Caffeine

March 17, 2013 Leave a comment

Tired of your Mac falling asleep when it should be doing your bidding?  Maybe you’re running a service on it you need  24/7 access to?  Apple seems to be a little too environmentally friendly some days.  It’s hard to keep a Mac completely awake – no matter what you do in System Preferences.

I have a VOIP VM that I occasionally run on my iMac.  Despite setting my iMac to “never sleep” in its System Preferences, the VOIP server would frequently unregister and cause phone outages because the Mac was going to sleep anyway.

A free program called Caffeine solved my problems.  Check it out at the Lighthead website or install it from the App Store.  You can easily turn it on or off indefinitely or for an amount of time.  It simply and effectively keeps your computer completely awake, display and all, or allows it to keep its normal sleep schedule.  Maybe it can help you, too.

 

Android App List

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Here’s a list of must-have applications for your Android device.  While there are a lot of other apps you may enjoy, you might consider this list as mandatory installs.

  • Dropbox – take your files with you everywhere
  • Evernote – go paperless and get super organized
  • Netflix – entertainment
  • Pandora – find new music and listen to your favorite tunes
  • Amazon Kindle – buy your books on Amazon and read them on any device or OS.  Not all companies offer you so much flexibility.
  • Skype – keep connected with your friends and family with free video calls
  • KeyPassDroid – keep track of all your other accounts.  You need Dropbox for this, too
  • Lookout – secure your device and make it ready to find in case you lose it
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Notifications for Long Processes

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Tired of manually monitoring long processes during your daily grind at work?  How many times have you launched a build and headed off to the water-cooler, only to find that it stopped a minute into the one hour build _after_ you came back?  Ever forget about a big job because you were so caught up in lots of other little jobs?  These types of things can really stall progress on big tasks.

Check out a tool called jnotify if you want help with these types of issues.  In short, it notifies you when a process completes.  Notifications can be SMS messages from your Google Voice account, Email messages via SMTP, or a Growl Notification.  You can start your jobs using jnotify, or point the tool at any existing process for monitoring.  It can even monitor processes on remote hosts using SSH.  Visit the bitbucket page for more info or to get a copy.  If you spend much time at a terminal you’ll thank yourself.

Jnotify is a work in progress.  Watch it for updates or contribute if it doesn’t do everything you need.  It’s OpenSource!  Find the jnotify repository in this link.