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2008-01-08 The Royal Oak, Dorchester

Present: Ralph Corderoy, Andrew Morgan, Simon O'Riordan, Marti Settle, Peter Washington.

There was a strong electronics bent to the night's discussions.

The cost of interruptions and open-plan offices versus individual offices:

The benefits of colour syntax highlighting when editing source code to avoid attempting to compile syntactically wrong code.

Cream, a tailoring of the Vim (vi improved) editor so it's easier for novices.

Two (Ada biased) alumni professors write open letter to their college saying Java is a bad choice for teaching students programming.

Why regular expressions can't do unlimited-depth bracket matching, and that they're equivalent to finite automata, making them the wrong choice for some text scanning needs.

How PyParsing, a recursive descent parsing module for Python, overloads operators to make the grammar definition more readable, and can scan text for snippets matching a grammar, saving you from having to specify a grammar that matches the whole text.

OpenOffice under Ubuntu 7.10 seems to have changed compared with 7.04 so that Jet database access to Microsoft Access databases won't list table's contents. (I may be summarising this a bit wrong.)

Using launchpad to open a bug or question on a bit of Ubuntu, e.g. OpenOffice.

The problems getting Sage accounting software running under WINE, the re-implementation of Win32 libraries for Unix.

Using free(1) as an alternative to top(1) to examine memory usage, e.g. `free -tms 5'.

Mary Lou Jepsen, creator of the OLPC's screen technology, has left OLPC, her work being done, to commercialise the technology in other devices.

Exporting part of your Linux directory heirarchy using Samba so it can be accessed as a network share in Windows XP running under VMware on the same physical PC.

Elektor electronics magazine is selling the USBprog in the UK, an open hardware and software USB device for programming microcontrollers designed by Different firmware can be downloaded allowing it to program Atmel AVRs, or Microchip PICs, or just act as ten digital I/O lines under control of the USB host (your PC).

Sterling dropping against the Euro, pertinent to buying from Elektor above.

Some of the differences between PIC MCUs and the Atmel AVR used in the USBprog.

The Arduino, an Atmel ATmega168-based I/O board, as an alternative means of easily dabbling in electronics to the USBprog.

The trials and tribulations of collecting traffic lights. Real-life, big, traffic lights. And using 74595 and 74165 shift registers to extend the number of I/O bits available in a circuit, e.g. hanging off the USBprog above.

Household electrical wiring in the USA is just plain weird.

Whether Microchip PIC microcontrollers with USB can act as USB hosts or slaves. It's seems they're slaves only.

Many USB devices register as a USB Human Interface Device, and how Bluetooth follows the USB protocol for HIDs.

ADSL filters don't stop the ADSL signal appearing on the telephone, they only stop the telephone signal interfering with the ADSL signal. News to me, and this link suggests otherwise.

A just-purchased phone rings on an ADSL filter but two older phones don't. Perhaps the new phone has a ring capacitor internally and is only using two of the three incoming wires.

DEK, a Weymouth company, build machines that use techniques similar to screen-printing to put solder paste on circuit boards ready for surface mounted devices to be stuck on.

meetings/pub-2008-01-08-rc.txt · Last modified: 2008/08/13 22:16 by