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'[AD] Looking for work'
2004\10\11@153826 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face

Me again.

They tell me I'm outstanding in my field, unfortunately, it's a cornfield.
There just isn't much/anything in my local area..

So, I'm looking, willing to relocate within reason.
You guys pretty much know what I can do.
Anybody have or know of any situations I could fill?

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2004\10\11@214231 by Bob Axtell

face picon face
You are in Indiana, right?

If you can pass a rigid secret clearance, Raytheon might have a job for
you here
in Tucson  (making Patriot and similar missiles); they are hiring like
crazy, engineers
and techs. Very high level military projects going on, so high level
that the crackpots
aren'e even allowed to march or picket AT ALL and the security is armed
patrols,
police dogs and high electrtified fences.

If you like more adsventure, the US Border Patrol in Tucson has TV and
radio ads going,
and their equipment is becoming VERY hitech so there could be a match
there. They opened
about 500 jobs here.

Low cost of living- a NICE apartment can be rented for $450 a month, a
house for less than
$1000. All the cactus, rattlesnakes and field mice you can eat for free,
and you don't have
to mow the lawn (you rake the rocks around once a year). Bad teeth?
Dentists in Mexico
(50 miles south) cost 1/4 of US dentists, and don't hurt as much...

--Bob

Dave VanHorn wrote:

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2004\10\11@215549 by Dave VanHorn

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At 08:42 PM 10/11/2004, Bob Axtell wrote:

>You are in Indiana, right?
>
>If you can pass a rigid secret clearance, Raytheon might have a job for
>you here
>in Tucson  (making Patriot and similar missiles); they are hiring like
>crazy, engineers
>and techs. Very high level military projects going on, so high level that
>the crackpots
>aren'e even allowed to march or picket AT ALL and the security is armed
>patrols,
>police dogs and high electrtified fences.

No idea on the clearance.
I'd be worried that the positions would evaporate if we run out of folks to
bomb.

>If you like more adsventure, the US Border Patrol in Tucson has TV and
>radio ads going,
>and their equipment is becoming VERY hitech so there could be a match
>there. They opened
>about 500 jobs here.

Hmm. Remote sensing etc, could be fun.

>Low cost of living- a NICE apartment can be rented for $450 a month, a
>house for less than
>$1000. All the cactus, rattlesnakes and field mice you can eat for free,
>and you don't have
>to mow the lawn (you rake the rocks around once a year). Bad teeth?
>Dentists in Mexico
>(50 miles south) cost 1/4 of US dentists, and don't hurt as much...

What's the air conditioning bill look like?

I've been through there, and wouldn't mind living there.

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2004\10\11@232200 by Hopkins

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Is that a cereal joke?

_______________________________________
Roy
Tauranga
New Zealand
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-----Original Message-----


They tell me I'm outstanding in my field, unfortunately, it's a
cornfield.
There just isn't much/anything in my local area..



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2004\10\11@233209 by Dave VanHorn

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At 10:22 PM 10/11/2004, Hopkins wrote:

>Is that a cereal joke?

I wish.

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2004\10\12@003138 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 04:22 PM 10/12/2004 +1300, you wrote:
>Is that a cereal joke?

Is this what corn means to you?

http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/veggies/images/corn.jpg

Or could it be this under any circumstances?

http://waynesword.palomar.edu/images/cereal1b.jpg

I think there's some a-maize-ing Pondial differences.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
.....speffKILLspamspam@spam@interlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com




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2004\10\12@084910 by Lawrence Lile

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face

>
> No idea on the clearance.
> I'd be worried that the positions would evaporate if we run out of folks
> to
> bomb.

It depends, if you make a REALLY BIG bomb, you'll only have a job until they set it off.  But if you make a LOT OF LITTLE BOMBS, you may have a job for quite a while as the population naturally recovers each time.  

Thankfully, I have never had a job where the point was to design things to kill people, and I am rather proud of that fact.  <ducks a thrown shoe and a political argument about defense>


{Quote hidden}

Tucson is cooler than Phoenix.  Phoenix is where the Devil takes vacations when Hell gets too cold for him.  

Air conditioning in the desert southwest is mostly done with swamp coolers, which use evaporative cooling, much cheaper than refrigeration.  

Phoenix is, of course, home to Motorola and Microchip, amongst others.  Motorola lays off about 7000 people every two or three years.  

Good luck, Dave!

--Lawrence
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2004\10\12@095434 by Steve Kosmerchock

picon face
Lawrence,

I HAVE worked on stuff that kills people, I'm proud of that. I have done work for General Dynamics tank operations (Florida) as well as Raytheon Missile Systems (AZ / CA).
I don't judge you, it isn't my place, but as you said, defense is a big deal. I am currently considering an oppurtunity to save lives, medical electronics.
Now if I could only convince "the brass" at Raytheon to outfit my car with missiles, it sure would make rush hour traffic more interesting........ :) The swamp cooler thing is definately not used very often during summer, too darn hot. My AC bill during the peak months of summer is between $150 to $200 a month.Bob nailed the work environemnt fairly well, between Tucson / Phoenix area you have Raytheon, General Dynamics, Intel, Motorola, Microchip, Orbital Sciences, Medtronic, FlipChip, White Electronics Design ... etc.

Here is a small listing of AZ tech companies:
www.geocities.com/researchtriangle/lab/6584/AZ_TECH_EMP.html

Good luck Dave!!

Steven Kosmerchock
Phoenix, Az USA



Lawrence Lile <llilespamKILLspamprojsolco.com> wrote:

>
> No idea on the clearance.
> I'd be worried that the positions would evaporate if we run out of folks
> to
> bomb.

It depends, if you make a REALLY BIG bomb, you'll only have a job until they set it off. But if you make a LOT OF LITTLE BOMBS, you may have a job for quite a while as the population naturally recovers each time.

Thankfully, I have never had a job where the point was to design things to kill people, and I am rather proud of that fact.


{Quote hidden}

Tucson is cooler than Phoenix. Phoenix is where the Devil takes vacations when Hell gets too cold for him.

Air conditioning in the desert southwest is mostly done with swamp coolers, which use evaporative cooling, much cheaper than refrigeration.

Phoenix is, of course, home to Motorola and Microchip, amongst others. Motorola lays off about 7000 people every two or three years.

Good luck, Dave!

--Lawrence
{Quote hidden}

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2004\10\12@100603 by Dave VanHorn

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face
At 08:54 AM 10/12/2004, Steve Kosmerchock wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Thanks.  I've been working along these lines, but unfortunately, my lack of
degree is less likely to be acceptable at larger companies, mostly because
too many HR drones are between me and the guy who has the position open.

It's pretty much vertical wall sledding, in the wrong direction.

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2004\10\12@130947 by Ake Hedman

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Dave,

You haven't though about working from home in your own company?

I have done this for some years now (almost twenty years now with some *real* jobs in between...) and it is the perfect way to work for me. No boss and so on... ;-) It is tough sometimes but certainly worth it. I do general Windows/Linux C++ programming and embedded stuff on Linux/PIC/AVR etc and the trend is definitely against more work/contracts available in the embedded field.  Most work can be done locally with occasional physical trips out into the real world.

As of getting contracts most of the work come in as a spin off from the open-source stuff I do (my hobby..;-)). This work is my advertisement. No one have ever asked for my degree or education yet before giving me a contract (and if they had I wouldn't taken the contract!). The see what I can do from the things I have done and thats true for you as well I think Dave.

The most negative side for me is working alone. I miss the coffee break gossip most of all from the "real job world". The PIC list and similar lists have to fill in for that. And do it quite well to with the likes of Olin and Russel and the rest of you guys around :-). This has also been why I have taken some shorter employment during this time. The close interaction with other people and the often god stuff that comes from this.

What I really would have liked is some sort of fellowship with different talents around the world who could hunt for and do work together. We have tried this in a group here in Sweden but it is hard to keep the people together as a group. But I still believe in the form.

Good luck!

Regards
/Ake







Dave VanHorn wrote:
{Quote hidden}

--   ---
Ake Hedman (YAP - Yet Another Programmer)
eurosource, Brattbergavägen 17, 820 50 LOS, Sweden
Phone: (46) 657 413430 Cellular: (46) 73 84 84 102
Company home: http://www.eurosource.se
Kryddor/Te/Kaffe: http://www.brattberg.com
Personal homepage: http://www.eurosource.se/akhe
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2004\10\12@132548 by Dave VanHorn

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face
At 12:09 PM 10/12/2004, Ake Hedman wrote:

>Dave,
>
>You haven't though about working from home in your own company?

Well, I am, but not having much luck keeping busy.



>As of getting contracts most of the work come in as a spin off from the
>open-source stuff I do (my hobby..;-)). This work is my advertisement. No
>one have ever asked for my degree or education yet before giving me a
>contract (and if they had I wouldn't taken the contract!). The see what I
>can do from the things I have done and thats true for you as well I think Dave.

I wish.. I've done some of that, but I think the combination of where I am,
and that I have spent a fair amount of time working on projects that I
can't discuss due to NDAs, has hurt me a lot.

I must be hiding my light under a bushel basket, but I can't seem to find
my way out!

>The most negative side for me is working alone. I miss the coffee break
>gossip most of all from the "real job world". The PIC list and similar
>lists have to fill in for that. And do it quite well to with the likes of
>Olin and Russel and the rest of you guys around :-). This has also been
>why I have taken some shorter employment during this time. The close
>interaction with other people and the often god stuff that comes from this.

Indeed.  Groups like this also help when you're stuck, and you know you're
not seeing the problem right. Talk it through here, and the group mind will
find a new way to look at the problem.

>What I really would have liked is some sort of fellowship with different
>talents around the world who could hunt for and do work together. We have
>tried this in a group here in Sweden but it is hard to keep the people
>together as a group. But I still believe in the form.

It could work I think, but it would be difficult.



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2004\10\12@142442 by M. Adam Davis

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Dave VanHorn wrote:

>
> Thanks.  I've been working along these lines, but unfortunately, my
> lack of degree is less likely to be acceptable at larger companies,
> mostly because too many HR drones are between me and the guy who has
> the position open.
>
When I was laid off 4 years ago I found that without a degree they would
not even look at the remainder of the resume, as the HR departments
always used that as a hard requirement, and since (at the time) they
were receiving 300-500 resumes per position it was easy to simply
dismiss the half or more who didn't exactly fit the requirements.

I ended up sending customized cover letters, and sometimes customized
resumes, to whomever was listed in the ad, but then I'd call them 3-5
days later and ask if they've received the resume, and when could they
meet with me.  I got about 4 interviews out of 20 customized cover
letters, resumes, and follow up calls, and no interviews for those
positions where I simply sent a resume.

During the interviews that actually took place I found that many of the
other people they interviewed had drastically blown their resume up, and
I was one of the top candidates, but in the end I still only got one
offer - but it was the perfect position for me at the time.  Even better
since the economy took a hard nose dive right after and the industry I
ended up in (video rental) actually rose slightly as the economy went under.

It's a hard row to hoe but the economy is turning around.  There are
many, many companies looking for great employees, the hardest part is
showing them that you are great.

Nothing you don't know already, I'm sure, just commiserating with you.  
I wish you the best of luck!

-Adam
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2004\10\12@165750 by Bob Axtell

face picon face
Having no degree is not a problem if you are older. I
long ago found out that the best embedded programmers
dropped out of high school to play video games. Einstein
had to be home schooled because he didn't like normal
school.

I have an EE in power engineering, and I never ONCE
had a job at it because I was so anti-nuke (Later  I found
out that it was boring, anyway). There was no degree when I
was a kid for EE embedded systems.

Don't be intimidated. Tell them that you will work for the first month
on a low-rate contract to prove your ability, no strings attached.
Place a few references on your resume. If they need help, they'll bite
at it.

--Bob

M. Adam Davis wrote:

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2004\10\12@170651 by Dave VanHorn

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At 03:57 PM 10/12/2004, Bob Axtell wrote:

>Having no degree is not a problem if you are older. I
>long ago found out that the best embedded programmers
>dropped out of high school to play video games. Einstein
>had to be home schooled because he didn't like normal
>school.

My first job, one summer in high school, was repairing PONG and such games.
I learned TTL from the Atari Pong manual. (I'd like to have a copy now!)


>Don't be intimidated. Tell them that you will work for the first month
>on a low-rate contract to prove your ability, no strings attached.
>Place a few references on your resume. If they need help, they'll bite
>at it.

You'd think..
I'm getting pretty depressed over the whole thing. :(

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2004\10\12@175531 by redtock8

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face
Hey Bob,
Where do you live. I'm in the Atlanta area and I'm past 50 and
I have not found what you say to be true. I have been pounding
the streets for over a year and not a singe bite as soon as they
find out I don't have a degree. Heck they want A+ cert for an
$8/hr beanch tech.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------
DXTron Technology Inc
PCB Assembly
PIC Chip Programming
-----------------------------------------------------------------
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http://www.dxtron.com
-----------------------------------------------------------------
{Original Message removed}

2004\10\12@180730 by steve

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face
On 12 Oct 2004 at 13:57, Bob Axtell wrote:

> Having no degree is not a problem if you are older. I
> long ago found out that the best embedded programmers
> dropped out of high school to play video games.

We know that, but the HR first line of offense don't.
I've often wondered about buying one of those dodgy degrees, just to
circumvent that problem. I'd be totally open & honest about it at the
interview - maybe you'd score points for lateral thinking*.
I'm self-unemployed, so it's just a theory.

*As I did when I was the first person at my school to use the new
fangled photocopy machine to assist with writing 1000 lines.

Steve.



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2004\10\12@193932 by Bob Axtell

face picon face
I'm in Tucson, have been for several years, mostly
trying to retire (health issues), but I'm still busy with
PIC embedded design, even though I have a few
health issues Hell, I'm 61..

But I was once in Atlanta, doing law enforcement and
datalogging design there, and my best 8031 programmer (who
later moved to FL) was a high school dropout who liked
to drive up to the nudist colony in North GA above Duluth
someplace.

The key will be references. If you are 50, think about it: not
even a handful of colleges taught embedded electronics when you
were a kid; the thing was a pipedream. Call up people that
know  what you have done already, and use them for references,
and provide. Most of the HR people are dimwits, I agree. Say, "I
am self-taught".

Write me offline. I still have a contact or two in Atlanta.

And good luck.

--Bob

redtock8@dxtron wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> {Original Message removed}

2004\10\12@203818 by Josh Koffman

face picon face
I'd be careful with that. A couple years back I was looking at a
program from Kennedy Western (I believe), who are a pseudocollege. I
wanted to do it for the knowledge, but basically what I gathered was
that having a degree from a degree mill can be very detrimental. And
it's very easy to check up on thanks to google. Not a real university?
Resume goes in the circular file.

Josh
--
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something
completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
       -Douglas Adams

On Wed, 13 Oct 2004 11:07:17 +1300, @spam@steveKILLspamspamtla.co.nz <KILLspamsteveKILLspamspamtla.co.nz> wrote:
> We know that, but the HR first line of offense don't.
> I've often wondered about buying one of those dodgy degrees, just to
> circumvent that problem. I'd be totally open & honest about it at the
> interview - maybe you'd score points for lateral thinking*.
> I'm self-unemployed, so it's just a theory.
>
> *As I did when I was the first person at my school to use the new
> fangled photocopy machine to assist with writing 1000 lines.
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2004\10\12@205440 by Dave VanHorn

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At 07:38 PM 10/12/2004, Josh Koffman wrote:

>I'd be careful with that. A couple years back I was looking at a
>program from Kennedy Western (I believe), who are a pseudocollege. I
>wanted to do it for the knowledge, but basically what I gathered was
>that having a degree from a degree mill can be very detrimental. And
>it's very easy to check up on thanks to google. Not a real university?
>Resume goes in the circular file.

Well, I just got a reply from a firm today, telling me that I can't do what
I've been doing for the last 20 years, because I don't have a
degree.  Nothing else was apparently worth commenting on.   The sad thing
is, that I spent a lot of those years doing it for THEM.


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2004\10\12@211929 by Jinx

face picon face

> Well, I just got a reply from a firm today, telling me that I can't do
> what I've been doing for the last 20 years, because I don't have a
> degree.  Nothing else was apparently worth commenting on.   The
> sad thing is, that I spent a lot of those years doing it for THEM.

If you're lucky, deconstructionalism will catch on and "not having a
degree" will actually convey, to those who like reading between the
lines, that you do in fact have one but prefer to not present evidence
of its existence

=======================

Lisa: No Dad ! You can't drive - he's got your licence !
Homer: (puts key in ignition, motor starts) Oh my god, it's working !

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2004\10\12@220953 by Jim Tellier

picon face
Bob Axtell wrote:

> Having no degree is not a problem if you are older. I
> long ago found out that the best embedded programmers
> dropped out of high school to play video games. Einstein
> had to be home schooled because he didn't like normal
> school.
<snip>

Well, I've observed fairly recently that there seems to be something of a
turnaround
in such attitudes (at least in my interviewing experience)... I actually
went on an
out-of-state interview trip not long ago; of course, they had already
perused my resume
and done a phone interview.  They knew &^%% well that I don't have a
degree... but when
I sat down with one of their "associates" (having been there all of 10
minutes), he
bluntly announced that "we can't possibly hire YOU--- you don't have a BS!"
(!)
I politely pointed out that I've got 30+ years of real-world experience, in
addition to
some graduate-level coursework under my hat, but he said "so what?!".   I
told him I wanted
to speak with the manager ... he came in and gave me the same load of crap.
I let them know
in no uncertain terms that a) I hadn't ever heard of a more advanced case of
'degree snobbery'
... ever!, and b) I wouldn't work for them under any circumstances even if
they were to bow
down and lick my boots.   Then I submitted an expense voucher for a REALLY
nice lunch (which
they paid! :^)
  I've got more programming and design experience under my hat than almost
(I say, ALMOST)
all of the people I've had the occasion to work with (of course, probably
"because" I'm older
than dirt!)   But it's not always an easy "sell", as I've discovered.
 By the way, in case anyone's curious as to the identity of the company...
it's in Las Vegas,
and it's name begins with "B".  They're off my christmas list, that's for
sure!

Jim

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2004\10\12@222812 by David Koski

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face
On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 19:09:36 -0700
"Jim Tellier" <RemoveMEjimtellierTakeThisOuTspamcox.net> wrote:

<snip>

> I hadn't ever heard of a more advanced case of 'degree snobbery'

Is it possible they used that for an excuse when they really discriminated
against your age?

David

--
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spamBeGonedavidspamBeGonespamKosmosIsland.com
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2004\10\12@223504 by Dave VanHorn

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face
At 09:28 PM 10/12/2004, David Koski wrote:

>On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 19:09:36 -0700
>"Jim Tellier" <TakeThisOuTjimtellierEraseMEspamspam_OUTcox.net> wrote:
>
><snip>
>
> > I hadn't ever heard of a more advanced case of 'degree snobbery'
>
>Is it possible they used that for an excuse when they really discriminated
>against your age?

VERY possible.

Reminds me of the wisconsin laws on housing discrimination.
They have to rent to you regardless of race etc.
They can't throw you out for being black, or having children, but they CAN
throw you out for NO reason.

So, how stupid do you have to be to get busted for housing discrimination
in wisconsin?


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2004\10\13@013800 by Jim Tellier

picon face
Y'know, I'd thought of that for a couple of milliseconds,, but now, after a
couple of months....
it really makes some sense.   Impossible to prove, but you're probably right
on the money.
Too bad those "college boys" never stayed awake in Ethics 101...
Jim

{Original Message removed}

2004\10\13@014903 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Oct 12, 2004, at 2:55 PM, redtock8@dxtron wrote:

>> Having no degree is not a problem if you are older.

Having no degree is less of a problem if your 25-35 or so; you're
in your prime career time but not overpaid, and and your recent
projects are more important.

Start looking for a job when you're 45, made 6 figures at your last
job, and don't have a degree, and employers start to see the missing
degree as an excuse to hire someone cheaper.

BillW

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2004\10\13@024423 by Jose Da Silva

flavicon
face
On Tuesday 12 October 2004 10:38 pm, Jim Tellier wrote:
> Y'know, I'd thought of that for a couple of milliseconds,, but now, after
> a couple of months....
> it really makes some sense.   Impossible to prove, but you're probably
> right on the money.
> Too bad those "college boys" never stayed awake in Ethics 101...

Does this page look about right?  :-/
http://www.os2hq.com/articles/seven.htm
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2004\10\13@033716 by Ake Hedman

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face
Dave VanHorn wrote:
> At 07:38 PM 10/12/2004, Josh Koffman wrote:
>
>> I'd be careful with that. A couple years back I was looking at a
>> program from Kennedy Western (I believe), who are a pseudocollege. I
>> wanted to do it for the knowledge, but basically what I gathered was
>> that having a degree from a degree mill can be very detrimental. And
>> it's very easy to check up on thanks to google. Not a real university?
>> Resume goes in the circular file.
>
>
> Well, I just got a reply from a firm today, telling me that I can't do
> what I've been doing for the last 20 years, because I don't have a
> degree.  Nothing else was apparently worth commenting on.   The sad
> thing is, that I spent a lot of those years doing it for THEM.
>
But you would not like to work for a company like that anyway. You would probably hate it to be on there pay-roll if they have that attitude. My experience is that big companies are more into this and small companies look at things that matters, like what you done before, your knowledge, if you are a nice person etc etc.

If I was looking for a job today I would check out the companies *I* though was doing fun and interesting things in the geographical area I'm interested in. Then I would get on the phone and call the development manager on each of these companies. Does not matter if they are hiring or not. I would make that call because I would like to work there despite that and they would be a better company with me on the boat.

Dave, with your knowledge and being a nice person and all that you have a job before call seven... ;-)

Regards
/Ake




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eurosource, Brattbergavägen 17, 820 50 LOS, Sweden
Phone: (46) 657 413430 Cellular: (46) 73 84 84 102
Company home: http://www.eurosource.se
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2004\10\13@035454 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>Well, I just got a reply from a firm today, telling
>me that I can't do what I've been doing for the last
>20 years, because I don't have a degree.  Nothing
>else was apparently worth commenting on.   The sad
>thing is, that I spent a lot of those years doing
>it for THEM.

Sounds like time to go knock on the door and ask the signatory on the letter
if they realise this.

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2004\10\13@040003 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Oct 13, 2004, at 12:37 AM, Ake Hedman wrote:

> You would probably hate it to be on there pay-roll if they have that
> attitude. My experience is that big companies are more into this ...

But "big companies" don't have corporate-wide "attitudes."  How well
you enjoy your job is going to be MOSTLY dominated by the couple-dozen
people you end up working most closely with...

BillW

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2004\10\13@050522 by Ake Hedman

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face
William Chops Westfield wrote:
>
> On Oct 13, 2004, at 12:37 AM, Ake Hedman wrote:
>
>> You would probably hate it to be on there pay-roll if they have that
>> attitude. My experience is that big companies are more into this ...
>
>
> But "big companies" don't have corporate-wide "attitudes."  How well
> you enjoy your job is going to be MOSTLY dominated by the couple-dozen
> people you end up working most closely with...
>
> BillW
>
> _______________________________________________
> http://www.piclist.com
> View/change your membership options at
> mailman.mit.edu/mailman/listinfo/piclist
>
>
You are right of course! Agree fully.

/Ake

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Phone: (46) 657 413430 Cellular: (46) 73 84 84 102
Company home: http://www.eurosource.se
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2004\10\13@084820 by alan smith

picon face
FYI.....microchip always seems to be hiring.  Look
under monster.com

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2004\10\13@103826 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face
At 02:56 AM 10/13/2004, Alan B. Pearce wrote:

> >Well, I just got a reply from a firm today, telling
> >me that I can't do what I've been doing for the last
> >20 years, because I don't have a degree.  Nothing
> >else was apparently worth commenting on.   The sad
> >thing is, that I spent a lot of those years doing
> >it for THEM.
>
>Sounds like time to go knock on the door and ask the signatory on the letter
>if they realise this.

Well, that's about 2000 miles from here.  

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2004\10\13@234037 by Rich

picon face
Just as an interesting note.  I once received a resume in the mail for an
advertised position for an electronics fab/test technician.  When I read the
resume, I was surprised to see that the person who sent it had only one
semester of college and little to show in the way of experience.  I put the
resume aside as a curiosity and kind of shook my head.  The ad clearly
stated that a degree was required and it spelled out some task definition.
Other resumes came in and I was reviewing them.  I got a phone call from the
person who sent in the lacking resume.  He pleaded with me to meet with him
so I agreed that it would have to be a lunch hour because I was very busy
and he had no qualifications for the job.  He came the next day.  I met with
him and told him directly what I thought, in the most inoffensive way I
could.  But he said "look, let me work free for two weeks and if you want to
get rid of me it costs you nothing."  I explained that it was against the
law for me to do that.  But this guy was so persistent and his attitude
intrigued me. I put him on the payroll.  The guy was a cracker jack.  He
learned fast, studied hard, worked hard and was with me for a few years
before he relocated to another part of the country, now with some solid
experience under his belt.  No degree, good attitude, hard worker, has
integrity  and a willingness to study hard and learn.  Sometimes, it pays to
look at more than a skill set.


{Original Message removed}

2004\10\14@012632 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Oct 13, 2004, at 8:41 PM, Rich wrote:

>  The ad clearly stated that a degree was required

Just out of curiosity, why did you think a degree was required?
While the ability to get a degree implies a certain level of
intelligence and persistence, for a lot of jobs that's ALL it
will tell you...  You can easily get an EE or software degree
from a prestigious institution without ever having programmed
a microcontroller at all, and usually without ever having soldered.

BillW

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2004\10\14@033057 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Sometimes, it pays to
> look at more than a skill set.

The interesting question is of course: why doesn't such a guy have any
degree?

Wouter van Ooijen

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2004\10\14@034443 by Dave VanHorn

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face
At 02:28 AM 10/14/2004, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

> > Sometimes, it pays to
> > look at more than a skill set.
>
>The interesting question is of course: why doesn't such a guy have any
>degree?

Getting married early, having to support a family?

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2004\10\14@040145 by Ake Hedman

flavicon
face
Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
>>Sometimes, it pays to
>>look at more than a skill set.
>
>
> The interesting question is of course: why doesn't such a guy have any
> degree?
>
> Wouter van Ooijen

Probably by the same reason Bill Gates, Steve Jobs etc does not: to much fun left to do, to litte time to do it...

/Ake

--   ---
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eurosource, Brattbergavägen 17, 820 50 LOS, Sweden
Phone: (46) 657 413430 Cellular: (46) 73 84 84 102
Company home: http://www.eurosource.se
Kryddor/Te/Kaffe: http://www.brattberg.com
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2004\10\14@042308 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
>> > Sometimes, it pays to
>> > look at more than a skill set.

>>The interesting question is of course: why doesn't such a guy have any
>>degree?

> Getting married early, having to support a family?

Better things to do with his time.
Proper grasp of reality.
....

:-)

(I have two. What does that prove?)



       RM
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2004\10\14@042854 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> > > Sometimes, it pays to
> > > look at more than a skill set.
> >
> >The interesting question is of course: why doesn't such a
> guy have any
> >degree?
>
> Getting married early, having to support a family?

I did not mean to say that I can't image a reason. I meant to say taht
in the position of employer I would be interested, because it would
explain things and/or give more insight into the person.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2004\10\14@043949 by Mike Harrison

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face
On Thu, 14 Oct 2004 09:28:53 +0200, you wrote:

>> Sometimes, it pays to
>> look at more than a skill set.
>
>The interesting question is of course: why doesn't such a guy have any
>degree?

..in my case, college was too far detatched from the real world, a lot of useless theory taught by
people who haven't done a proper job in the real world recently.  In a fast-moving field like
electronics, teachers' knowledge can often become outdated.
Some of us are just more suited to practical, real-world stuff rather than academic study. I
frequenly hear tales from my customers of graduates who can't solder, don't know how to make an
inverter from a transistor etc. etc.  
OK, maybe we need to look at a book now & again for a tricky algorithm etc., but in this business,
experience of producing real products is WAY more valuable than any amount of letters after your
name. Pity that some Suits don't understand that.

"Those that can, do; Those that can't, teach....."



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2004\10\14@044829 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Oct 14, 2004, at 1:26 AM, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

>> The interesting question is of course: why doesn't such a
>> guy have any degree?

Well, I can see getting really disgusted with most EE (calculus,
physics,
semiconductor theory, antenna design) and CS (compilers, smalltalk,
provably correct SW) if your main interest is doing things with
microcontrollers.  Mind you, having a broad educational base can
be useful eventually, or if you change your mind, but it can be
hard to see that when you're 18 :-)

Or, it devolves to the same question as 'why doesn't everyone get PhDs?'
At some point, what most people want to DO diverges from what schools
want to teach, and additional theory becomes increasingly less useful.

BillW

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2004\10\14@053806 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>Some of us are just more suited to practical, real-world
>stuff rather than academic study. I frequenly hear tales
>from my customers of graduates who can't solder, don't
>know how to make an inverter from a transistor etc. etc.

It was questions being asked about basic things like "draw an inverting
op-amp circuit" and "what happens to a pulse in a transmission line when the
far end is short circuit" and "why use a balanced line" that got me a job
ahead of guys fresh out of University with their bright shiny Masters
certificates.

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2004\10\14@071856 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
> It was questions being asked about basic things like "draw an inverting
> op-amp circuit" and "what happens to a pulse in a transmission line when
> the
> far end is short circuit" and "why use a balanced line" that got me a job
> ahead of guys fresh out of University with their bright shiny Masters
> certificates.

When I was boy (uphill, in the snow, both ways etc) anyone worth their salt
fresh out of engineering school (even at Bachelors level) would hopefully
have been able to make a reasonable job of answering those questions. But
there will still of course be many who have more practical knowledge than
them.


       RM

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2004\10\14@091019 by Mike Hord

picon face
> When I was boy (uphill, in the snow, both ways etc) anyone worth their salt
> fresh out of engineering school (even at Bachelors level) would hopefully
> have been able to make a reasonable job of answering those questions. But
> there will still of course be many who have more practical knowledge than
> them.
>         RM

Ayup.  Although as a recent grad, I can witness to the fact that such a
thing is no longer the case.  In the course of my last year I saw things
such as people trying to set up serial links with no ground wire.

These were senior level students.  I have no idea why some of them
graduated.

Mike H.
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2004\10\14@092547 by hid Sheikh

flavicon
face
> I frequenly hear tales from my customers of graduates who can't
solder...

Yeah like my lab partner from the first EE lab in school who picked up a
resistor and asked me what it was. I told him it was a resistor and with
a totally astonished look on his face he goes "I thought they were
supposed to be zig-zag in shape!"

Shahid

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2004\10\14@092738 by hael Rigby-Jones

picon face


>-----Original Message-----
>From: RemoveMEpiclist-bouncesspamTakeThisOuTmit.edu [piclist-bouncesEraseMEspam.....mit.edu]
>On Behalf Of Mike Hord
>Sent: 14 October 2004 14:10
>To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
>Subject: Re: [AD] Looking for work
>
>Ayup.  Although as a recent grad, I can witness to the fact
>that such a thing is no longer the case.  In the course of my
>last year I saw things such as people trying to set up serial
>links with no ground wire.
>
>These were senior level students.  I have no idea why some of
>them graduated.

Due mainly to the overly theoretical bias that typical EE degrees offer.
Often the graduates that have a good understanding of the practicalities of
engineering are those that have had an interest from a younger age and have
had more hands on experience.

Regards

Mike

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2004\10\14@102037 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> It was questions being asked about basic things like "draw an
> inverting
> op-amp circuit" and "what happens to a pulse in a
> transmission line when the
> far end is short circuit" and "why use a balanced line" that
> got me a job
> ahead of guys fresh out of University with their bright shiny Masters
> certificates.

Those are (among others) things I try to learn my students. Like a
colleage teacher said: it should be mandatory for teachers to spend some
time in industry.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2004\10\14@102038 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> >> The interesting question is of course: why doesn't such a
> >> guy have any degree?
>
> Well, I can see getting really disgusted with most EE
> (snip)

The answer would provide interesting information about the person, the
school/university/whatever he tried to do, or both.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2004\10\14@120438 by vze27bym

picon face
Ah-ha, that's why people invented fiberoptics ;)


WBR Dmitry.


Mike Hord wrote:
>
> Ayup.  Although as a recent grad, I can witness to the fact that such a
> thing is no longer the case.  In the course of my last year I saw things
> such as people trying to set up serial links with no ground wire.
>
> These were senior level students.  I have no idea why some of them
> graduated.
>
> Mike H.
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2004\10\14@130146 by Win Wiencke

flavicon
face
<Rich observed>
> ...I was surprised to see that the person who sent it [the resume for a
job]
> had only one semester of college and little to show in the way of
experience.
<snip>
> I put him on the payroll.  The guy was a cracker jack.
<snip>
> Sometimes, it pays to look at more than a skill set.

Rich comes close to an important point.  Enterprises with competitive
advantages succeed.  An enterprise staffed based on pedigrees tends to be
ordinary and lack competitive advantages.

I worked with a fellow (now a Fortune 50 CEO) who refuses to hire anyone who
has not been fired.  He looks for managers willing to take personal risks.

Hiring engineers is easier than hiring management, IMHO.  Either the person
can check their ego at the door and do the work or they can't.  Don't worry
about skills, look for interesting people who will add something to the
enterprise.  Try 'em on a project and after a few weeks their skills will be
perfectly obvious to everyone.

Management, on the other hand, produces nothing immediate in terms of a
real, tangable, product.  Managers have to work through others so it takes
much longer to separate the wheat from the chaff -- and sometimes the damage
(demoralization for example) can be huge.

Human Resource departments aren't very good at recruting.  They tend to
emphasize mediocrity over character and that makes the enterprise bland,
ordinary, and without a competitive advantage.  Good managers use back
channels to find staff with pizzazz.

If you don't have a degree tell the prospective employer how you learned the
stuff in the "real world."  One reference saying "the candidate out-performs
many of our EEs" overcomes that hurdle.  But don't stop there, show what
else you've learned while the other candidates were safely snuggled in
school.  Black belt in Karate?  Part of a dance troup?  Delivered papers
every day without fail? Enclose a picture of the rocket you built in your
basement.  Got busted for selling dope? -- tell 'em if you're clean and how
you designed your nefarious enterprise.  Brag about your kids if that's what
you did.  If you were a bum tell 'em where you went, how you got there and
what you saw.

Unless you are exceptionally good at it, don't lie.  If you're good at it go
into marketing or politics ;-).  What if you got the perfect job and three
years later up pops the lie and you have a tragedy on your hands?  Remember,
engineering is a team business.

Remember, no one is everybody's ideal candidate.  Think about the kind of
folks you'd like to work with and tailor your resume to them.  Sure you'll
make the circular file that much faster in some outfits, but you'll glitter
in front of the "right" outfit.

Oh yes, rejection sucks.  That's the hardest part for me.  When job hunting,
I have to overcome the rejection and keep on peddling my wares.  Good
employers know that, but watch out for employment agencies that prey on
demoralized job seekers.  Spouses or significant others are very important
as confidants and to help you through your misery -- resist the temptation
to turn your back on them.

BTW one of our best employees was practically suicidal when we hired him,
he'd been rejected at every turn.  He made it clear that he never again
wanted to be in these circumstances and that's why he'd return loyalty and
hard work over the long haul.  Five years later he is the backbone of an
excellent development group.

Win Wiencke
Image Logic Corporation



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2004\10\14@131910 by Win Wiencke

flavicon
face
<William Chops Westfield observed

>You can easily get an EE or software degree
> from a prestigious institution without ever having programmed
> a microcontroller at all, and usually without ever having soldered.

I don't doubt there are software degree programs that don't include embedded
work or involve circuit design.

But I find it hard to believe that an accredited EE degree would not involve
making at least one project involving an embedded processor and soldering up
a prototype.  It would be a sad comment on education if true.

Win Wiencke
Image Logic Corporation

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2004\10\14@132651 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face

A friend of mine is taking EE courses at Ivy tech (accredited).
Every week, he calls me up with new Revelations in physics.

60/40 solder (rosin or acid core) is the best for electronics.
He has a roll of 63/37 that the instructor tossed because "that's worthless
for electronics".

Apparently the instructor has a PHD in botany or some equally related field.

But in the end, he'll have a degree!

Fortunately, he's got me, and my loaner copy of AofE to keep him sane.



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2004\10\14@133603 by Win Wiencke

flavicon
face
<Mike Harrison observes


> ...in this business, experience of producing real products is WAY more
> valuable than any amount of letters after your  name.
> Pity that some Suits don't understand that.

I'll bet the successful ones do.  The middle layer, however, tends to shy
away from hires that may threaten their job security.

> "Those that can, do; Those that can't, teach....."

Ouch!  Some of the bench folks here teach in evening school.  Apparently,
people who already have work experience populate the evening schools.  The
institutions know it and try hard to get instructors who are also working in
the field.

Also, many tenured professors get a title, an office, and a teaching load,
but not much else.  They have to earn their living by consulting, hitting
the lecture/book circuit or hustling grants.  IMHO most succeed in keeping
body & soul together by being a reliable accurate source of the latest
information in their field.  To me, at least, that's "doing"

Win Wiencke
Image Logic Corporation

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2004\10\14@140249 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 01:17 PM 10/14/2004 -0400, you wrote:
><William Chops Westfield observed
>
> >You can easily get an EE or software degree
> > from a prestigious institution without ever having programmed
> > a microcontroller at all, and usually without ever having soldered.
>
>I don't doubt there are software degree programs that don't include embedded
>work or involve circuit design.
>
>But I find it hard to believe that an accredited EE degree would not involve
>making at least one project involving an embedded processor and soldering up
>a prototype.  It would be a sad comment on education if true.
>
>Win Wiencke
>Image Logic Corporation

Four years of hard work is just not enough to do much hands-on beyond labs
and still get a solid footing in the fundamentals. The fundamentals will
last a lifetime, much of the hands-on stuff is ephemeral beyond just the
feel-good factor. If you have a talent for technician-type work, it's easy,
if not, it's not very teachable. The professors, most of them, if they are
world-class, do not spend much time doing practical stuff. They do
cutting-edge
research and write papers describing their work to their peers. The research
may be of a mind-numbingly theoretical nature. Grad students are
probably the ones doing any soldering that is required. Same with their
connections with industry. The professors' talents are usually elsewhere
(often
their talents and heart are REALLY not in teaching undergrads either- it's
just a duty that comes with the fun parts of the job).

Would it surprise you if a good litigation lawyer wasn't very efficient
at registering a mortgage? Or if a endocrinologist had to consult a book
before attempting to deliver a baby?

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
EraseMEspeffspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
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2004\10\14@160105 by Bob Axtell

face picon face
I've hired a few really good folks in the same way.

--Bob

Rich wrote:

{Quote hidden}

>{Original Message removed}

2004\10\14@161358 by Robert Rolf

picon face
Mike Hord wrote:

>>When I was boy (uphill, in the snow, both ways etc) anyone worth their salt
>>fresh out of engineering school (even at Bachelors level) would hopefully
>>have been able to make a reasonable job of answering those questions. But
>>there will still of course be many who have more practical knowledge than
>>them.
>>        RM
>
> Ayup.  Although as a recent grad, I can witness to the fact that such a
> thing is no longer the case.  In the course of my last year I saw things
> such as people trying to set up serial links with no ground wire.
>
> These were senior level students.  I have no idea why some of them
> graduated.

Because to fail them would have shown that the teachers
were not competent.
How else do you explain the huge numbers of illiterates
graduating from most schools?

We had an opening for a design technician a few years back.
We had hundreds of applications, most of which we could
immediately trash because the applicants couldn't spell or
write coherently (something the position required).

Most of the engineering graduates that made it to the
interview stage could draw an inverting op-amp but
couldn't name a suitable part to use at audio frequencies,
or have any idea what supply voltage /current it might
use or be capable of driving.

We ended up hiring a guy with no degree but who built
hobby robots since he clearly knew off the top of his head
what to use, and when to use it.

What was appalling was that graduate engineers, from
our OWN institution, were some of the least capable of
answering 'real world' design questions.

Robert


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2004\10\14@173644 by Lawrence Lile

flavicon
face
Ok, Full Disclosure:

> If you don't have a degree tell the prospective employer how you learned
> the
> stuff in the "real world."  

High school electronics, and fixing TV's, CB's and installing stereos in cars.  BSEE was an afterthought.

>Black belt in Karate?  Part of a dance troup?  

No, and Yes.  Lindy hop is my favorite

>Delivered papers
> every day without fail?

No, but I did work on a Demolition crew and picked apples one summer.  Also grew strawberries.

>Enclose a picture of the rocket you built in your
> basement.  

No rockets, but do have some robots, recumbent bikes, windmills, and other crazy stuff. I used to have a truck with parts from a 52, 54, 63, and 65 chevy plus a 67 cadillac in it, and I ran it on acetylene once.


>Got busted for selling dope?

Can't say that I was.  I did get a ticket for having working headlights once.  Proved that they were working in court, but still had to pay a fine for having nonworking headlights.  Ain't justice great?  Also got an income tax bill for $20,000 in a year when my total income was $700.  


>If you were a bum tell 'em where you went, how you got there and
> what you saw.

I lived for nearly a year out of a tent, spent a lot of the time on a bicycle going nowhere in particular and doing nothing in particular.  Had to stop when winter came along. I would love to do it again.  


-- Lawrence Lile, P.E.

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2004\10\14@175538 by Mike Harrison

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face
On Thu, 14 Oct 2004 13:34:43 -0400, you wrote:

{Quote hidden}

This may be different in the US, but I don't remember any of the teachers on my
electronics/computing course (that I droppped out of) having much of a clue. One classic that sticks
in my mind is when we were told that eproms hold data using a chemical process....!

After dropping out, I worked as a technician at another college, and a large proportion of the
teaching staff were 'career teachers' who were happy to coast along in a job they essentially
couldn't get fired from - those who did have some real-world experience were often laughably out of
date - one habitually referred to memory as 'core' and dismissed microcomputers as useless toys.....


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2004\10\14@180256 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face

>
>This may be different in the US, but I don't remember any of the teachers
>on my
>electronics/computing course (that I droppped out of) having much of a
>clue. One classic that sticks in my mind is when we were told that eproms
>hold data using a chemical process....!

The real thing is much more scary and interesting!

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2004\10\14@233210 by Ben Hencke

picon face
>
> I wish.. I've done some of that, but I think the combination of where I am,
> and that I have spent a fair amount of time working on projects that I
> can't discuss due to NDAs, has hurt me a lot.


Is it wrong to take a printout of some code and show it to the
interviewer so long as you do not let it leave the room? (yes, and
take it with you after the interview)

I was told last week that my printout was the major deciding factor in
my hiring (hired 4 months ago). He found my coding style and well
commented easy to read code exactly the kind of thing he was looking
for, more than any degree.

I think working on open source software carries the same benefit (and
a ton more) without any NDA or otherwise in the way.

If you have some free time, contribute.

BTW: has anyone used my nestable if macro library?

- Ben
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2004\10\14@233737 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face
At 10:32 PM 10/14/2004, Ben Hencke wrote:

> >
> > I wish.. I've done some of that, but I think the combination of where I am,
> > and that I have spent a fair amount of time working on projects that I
> > can't discuss due to NDAs, has hurt me a lot.
>
>
>Is it wrong to take a printout of some code and show it to the
>interviewer so long as you do not let it leave the room? (yes, and
>take it with you after the interview)

It would be. I've agreed not to disclose these things.

>I was told last week that my printout was the major deciding factor in
>my hiring (hired 4 months ago). He found my coding style and well
>commented easy to read code exactly the kind of thing he was looking
>for, more than any degree.

Well, if I ever get past the HR drones and get an interview, I'll take some
code with me for sure.


>If you have some free time, contribute.

Been doing that, See my page.  

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2004\10\15@000859 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Oct 14, 2004, at 10:17 AM, Win Wiencke wrote:

> But I find it hard to believe that an accredited EE degree would not
> involve making at least one project involving an embedded processor
> and soldering up a prototype.

Well, I graduated in 81, so embedded processors were a bit scarce.
We did get to solder together some intel SDK86 boards senior year,
since they arrived as kits; it wasn't a planned part of the class.
There was also supposed to be a "senior design project"; assembly
technique unspecified.  Wirewrap was still moderately common in
those days.  There was one CS class where the class (collectively)
was supposed to put together a working microcoded minicomputer with
8085-based front end/diagnostic processor, but that wasn't required
for EE majors (IIRC, the only REQUIRED Computer class for EEs was
an intro fortran class.)

Having gone into SW myself, I would HOPE that todays EE education
includes more software, but I'll be damned if I can figure out
what they would have dropped to make room for it.  The 21 semester
hours of liberal arts?  I doubt it.  Physics and chemistry?  I
don't think that would be a good idea.  To some extent, when you
insist on a degree, you're claiming to be specifically interested
in that sort of breadth of education, over the specific experience
someone might get via self-education, associates degree, or technical
school...  Maybe they've added more EE to the CS programs instead.

>  It would be a sad comment on education if true.

Maybe.  Maybe not.  I've met people, on this list and elsewhere,
that make me say "so that's what happens if you're really good at
THAT side-branch of a typical education."  People who really understand
RF and emissions stuff, for instance (which was my particular weak
point.)
The point is that SOME people put "degree required" on a job description
as if they knew exactly what that meant in the way of eduction, or that
it somehow guarantees a persons suitability for a profession that didn't
even exist at the time they went to college.  Humph!

I tried to do a computer networking thing for my senior design project,
and was told that that was "too much software and not enough EE."  Foo
on them! (NOW they have more networking expertise, and somehow I'm
supposed to benefit from their current reputation enough to keep
donating
money.  Sigh.)  This was a prestigious Ivy League university, BTW...

BillW

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2004\10\15@020024 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Oct 14, 2004, at 8:37 PM, Dave VanHorn wrote:

>> projects that I can't discuss due to NDAs,

Can't discuss AT ALL?  Those are pretty strong NDAs.  Perhaps not
even legal.  Have you checked with your previous clients to see if
you can include their projects in your resume/etc?
Obviously, you can't give away key 'secrets' or source code, but
no interviewer would (should) ever expect you to.  NDAs on the
fact that company X might be shipping product Y soon have definate
lifetimes to them...

BillW

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2004\10\15@043727 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>But I find it hard to believe that an accredited EE degree
>would not involve making at least one project involving an
>embedded processor and soldering up a prototype.  It would
>be a sad comment on education if true.

Based on what I have seen of gap year students coming through our lab, with
a year of university to go before they graduate, it would not surprise me.
One I specifically remember had absolutely no knowledge about the need for
supply bypass capacitors. By the time we had punched and pummelled some
practical experience into him over the year, he became a reasonable
engineer.

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2004\10\15@050157 by steve

flavicon
face
> >> projects that I can't discuss due to NDAs,
> Can't discuss AT ALL?  Those are pretty strong NDAs.

I wouldn't discuss them anyway. NDA or not, if I get information in
confidence then that is how it stays. Just as I don't expect my
accountant, lawyer or doctor to discuss anything relating to another
party.

I was asked to bring my lab notebook to an interview once, refused and
still got the job. I turned it down on the basis that they had asked.

OTOH, there is plenty of code that is generic and suitable for sharing. A
microcontroller initialisation routine is a good example. It says a lot
about your coding style, but gives away nothing more than what is in the
datasheet.

Steve.

==========================================
Steve Baldwin                          Electronic Product Design
TLA Microsystems Ltd             Microcontroller Specialists
PO Box 15-680, New Lynn                http://www.tla.co.nz
Auckland, New Zealand                     ph  +64 9 820-2221
email: RemoveMEsteveEraseMEspamEraseMEtla.co.nz                      fax +64 9 820-1929
=========================================



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2004\10\15@051559 by BryanW

flavicon
face
Hi,

I left school and needed work, couldn't afford to go to college, and parents
were too poor to pay, so I became a carpenter. Twenty years on I'm a
software engineer :) I always was, started from a ZX81 for christmas, got
into Assembly language self taught etc ett. Also started adding and taking
apart bits of hardware, so got into electronics.

Now though, I see many who do not seem to have the curiosity to take
something apart and see how it works. Its there so who cares is the usual
attitude, but isn't that curiosity the thing that got us into this industry
in the first place, it was for me.

I got my job by sending code and working projects to Kanda, because I had no
degree. They took me on. They had then, lots of degree programmers, who
worked on their stuff. Well after they went bust, I was the only one who was
taken on by Embedded Results. Need I say more :)

I'm a fast learner, can read a datasheet and understand it. Thats because
I'm currious and that means I want to learn new things, keeps my brain
active :)

I used to be able to say "ah, this is for engineers they can work that out",
now I even have to put an icon on the desktop cause I get engineers not
knowing how to use the start menu :( As the eighties wave of enthusiasts
starts to die out, mainly due to stupid management decisions to take
degree's against real world experience, the newer engineers seem to lack the
ability to think for themselves without someone giving them instruction.
Maybe I'm just getting old and intolerant.

Bryan

PS. Also excuse my punctuation and spelling in places, I am dyslexic and
have signed a pact with Santa ;)

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2004\10\15@054629 by D. Jay Newman

flavicon
face
> >embedded processor and soldering up a prototype.  It would
> >be a sad comment on education if true.
>
> Based on what I have seen of gap year students coming through our lab, with
> a year of university to go before they graduate, it would not surprise me.

...

Around 15 years ago my wife got a job as a programmer for Penn State.
She was fairly skilled (she had previously worked for a defense contractor
and saw the next wave of layoffs coming). Lee has a BS degree in Math.

During her first year she had to explain the concept of *pointers* to
one of her coworkers who held a Master's degree. About six months
later the same coworker asked her the same question again!

I am not surprised at a lack of practical experience in graduates now. :(
--
D. Jay Newman           ! DCX - it takes off and lands base down,
RemoveMEjayspam_OUTspamKILLspamsprucegrove.com     !       as God and Robert Heinlein intended.
http://enerd.ws/robots/ !
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2004\10\15@093236 by Lawrence Lile

flavicon
face
Sneak attack job-getting methods:

Find out, by hook or crook, who the director of engineering is.  Send him a Fax with a good idea, maybe a sketch of something interesting and applicable to his work.





-- Lawrence Lile, P.E.
Electrical and Electronic Solutions
Project Solutions Companies
http://www.projsolco.com

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2004\10\15@095929 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 11:00 PM 10/14/2004 -0700, you wrote:
>On Oct 14, 2004, at 8:37 PM, Dave VanHorn wrote:
>
>>>projects that I can't discuss due to NDAs,
>
>Can't discuss AT ALL?  Those are pretty strong NDAs.  Perhaps not
>even legal.  Have you checked with your previous clients to see if
>you can include their projects in your resume/etc?
>Obviously, you can't give away key 'secrets' or source code, but
>no interviewer would (should) ever expect you to.  NDAs on the
>fact that company X might be shipping product Y soon have definate
>lifetimes to them...
>
>BillW

IHMO, a portfolio of previous successful projects, one that you can
convincingly describe your actual contributions to*, is worth a metric
pantload of those tired lists of skills that tend to populate CVs these
days.

* describing how a project was approached and what problems had to be
overcome gives me the confidence that the person actually was deeply
involved. Some people do puff up the scope of their contributions or
outright lie, unfortunately.

You don't have to give away any proprietary information at all in 90%+
of the cases. I would, however, be especially careful if the project
you want to discuss and the company you are interviewing for are in the
same industry, or even worse if it's a company you know or suspect to
be a competitor. Maybe best to elide such material, if practical.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
RemoveMEspeffTakeThisOuTspamspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
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2004\10\15@104105 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face

>
>Can't discuss AT ALL?  Those are pretty strong NDAs.  Perhaps not
>even legal.  Have you checked with your previous clients to see if
>you can include their projects in your resume/etc?
>Obviously, you can't give away key 'secrets' or source code, but
>no interviewer would (should) ever expect you to.  NDAs on the
>fact that company X might be shipping product Y soon have definate
>lifetimes to them...

Some specifically state that I am not allowed to disclose that I am doing
work for company X, much less what I'm doing.


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2004\10\15@104850 by Win Wiencke

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<William Chops Westfield recalls in part>

> I tried to do a computer networking thing for my senior design project,
> and was told that that was "too much software and not enough EE."  Foo
> on them! (NOW they have more networking expertise, and somehow I'm
> supposed to benefit from their current reputation enough to keep
> donating  money.  Sigh.)
> This was a prestigious Ivy League university, BTW...

How true!  Once I modeled a procurement system to defend a finance thesis.
I was roundly criticized because "this is not the place to demonstrate
programming skills."

Now I get frustrated trying to sort through someone else's Windoze code
which always seems a bit disconnected and hard to follow because I'm not
used to the messaging model.  I imagine that's how my advisors felt when
confronted with that procurement model (written, I believe, in APL which is
marvelously inscrutable if you don't use it regularly).

It's one thing to teach someone what you know.  It's another thing to try
and figure out what they know.  I wonder if the days when the "master" knows
more than the student are gone.  We have so many competent tools and
sub-disciplines that rarely is there one "right" answer outside the
political arena.

This dilemma spills out into the workplace where it is even harder to assess
a candidate's knowledge from a one page resume and a 30 minute interview.
We suits *must* learn to deal with that or take up selling pencils on the
street corner.

A rather successful US airline (Southwest) hires for attitude and trains for
skills.  Their emphasis is on hiring people who play well with others.  The
reasoning is that the requisite skill set is constantly changing, but the
employee's personality is far less mutable.

That's why I suggested writing a resume focusing on who you are.  I think it
was Lawrence Lile who made a masterful example with his wry "disclosure"
response -- what came across is that he's an interesting guy who will bring
something special to the table.

Win Wiencke
Image Logic Corporation

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2004\10\15@105743 by Win Wiencke

flavicon
face

<I'd opined earlier>
> >But I find it hard to believe that an accredited EE degree
> >would not involve making at least one project involving an
> >embedded processor and soldering up a prototype.  It would
> >be a sad comment on education if true.

<Alan B. Pearce, and more people than I'd care to admit, observed>
> Based on what I have seen of gap year students coming through our lab,
with
> a year of university to go before they graduate, it would not surprise me.
> One I specifically remember had absolutely no knowledge about the need for
> supply bypass capacitors.

Boy, that's scary.

I'm either very lucky or awfully naive.

Thanks to all of you for the reality check.

Win Wiencke
Image Logic Corporation

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2004\10\15@111428 by Support - KF4HAZ

flavicon
face
One power supply manufacturer we tried apparently has not heard of using low ESR bypass caps either.
Their switchmode supply has no bypass cap on its output,
as a result if it is used to power a radio and the SWR goes high even briefly
(such as birds on the antenna) it blows the supply, while the load current remains below 1/2 its rated continuous output.
I experimented with one after seeing several failures and found that adding a 0.01uf cap across the output lugs was enough to prevent this even when transmitting into an open or short or an antenna for a different band.

KF4HAZ - Lonnie

----- From: "Win Wiencke" <Win@
{Quote hidden}

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2004\10\15@112420 by Win Wiencke

flavicon
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> > ...projects that I can't discuss due to NDAs,
> > Can't discuss AT ALL?  Those are pretty strong NDAs.
>
> I wouldn't discuss them anyway. NDA or not, if I get information in
> confidence then that is how it stays. Just as I don't expect my
> accountant, lawyer or doctor to discuss anything relating to another
> party.

A snippet of code or page of a notebook does not have to reveal any
confidences.  But a snippet of code or a page of a notebook says volumes
about work style.  Remember, your product is largely code and documentation,
isn't it reasonable for a prospective employer to try and find out what you
are likely to produce?

If you don't have some personal work you can demonstrate, here's one
suggestion born out of over 40 years of being on both sides of
confidentiality agreements.

Make a photocopy of your exemplars.  Make sure it is not a complete program
or write up.  A few pages here and there is enough.

Redact them and photocopy again so someone can't read through the blackouts.

Give the redacted exemplars to a colleague subject to the same NDA or the
client representative for comment.

Everyone should have examples of their work to show style and thoroughness.
The time to make them is long before you are job hunting.  The examples are
useful for teaching situations too.

I used to look for programmers who wrote "if(3 = = foo)" rather than "if(foo
= = 3)" and who properly bracket compound logic in higher level languages.
Careful in-line documentation aimed at the naive reader was another plus.
They all seem to be indicia of someone who's learned from mistakes and who
makes a maintainable product.

Win Wiencke
Image Logic Corporation

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2004\10\15@113259 by Alex Harford

face picon face
On Fri, 15 Oct 2004 10:56:23 -0400, Win Wiencke wrote:
>
>
> Boy, that's scary.
>
> I'm either very lucky or awfully naive.
>
> Thanks to all of you for the reality check.

Just another data point here. :)

For my 4th year group project course, one of my group members was
assigned to build the power supply for our project, an MP3 player.

He read the datasheet, did all the math to get the right values, then
was puzzled why it wasn't outputting the exact voltage that he had
calculated.  After I told him about tolerances, etc (which everyone
learns at some point or other, but it really shouldn't be in 4th
year), he got it to within spec.

Then I asked him what kind of load he was putting on there to make
sure it would be able to handle the audio, LCD, etc.  This confused
him even more, he didn't realize that output voltage may change when
you're actually drawing current from it.

Sad thing is, on average he got better grades than me, since he's good
at memorizing all of the formulas.

Last I heard, he's gone back to school to get his CompSci degree.

But to be fair, there's a lot of learning that they want to cram into
you in 4 years.  In first year at UBC, all of the engineers are in the
same general eng studies, ie physics, chemistry, etc, and you don't
get any specifics until second year.

I was fortunate enough to be there in the first year that they were
doing the Project Integration Program, where we did all of our
learning through building projects in groups: a 'touchpad', digital
voltmeter, line following robot, and wireless mouse were the ones we
worked on.  It was all very open ended, we only had about 4 hours a
week of actual EE courses, otherwise it was spent in the lab.
Unfortunately it was only for second year, and the fellow I referred
to earlier wasn't in it.

Alex
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2004\10\15@113713 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face

>
><Alan B. Pearce, and more people than I'd care to admit, observed>
> > Based on what I have seen of gap year students coming through our lab,
>with
> > a year of university to go before they graduate, it would not surprise me.
> > One I specifically remember had absolutely no knowledge about the need for
> > supply bypass capacitors.
>
>Boy, that's scary.
>
>I'm either very lucky or awfully naive.
>
>Thanks to all of you for the reality check.


At Verifone, we had the "pick of the litter" of the University of Hawaii
students, and we would bring these guys in for "slave labor" :)  I remember
one in particular, nice guy, smart, good in theory, but his final project
wasn't working.  He asked me to help him with it one evening, and lo and
behold, NO bypasses. Talking to him, they never covered this at all.

The design was good, and it was built properly, in that once we added a few
bypasses, everything started working.

This was one of the brightest guys we got.


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2004\10\15@113807 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face
At 10:14 AM 10/15/2004, Falcon Wireless Tech Support - KF4HAZ wrote:

>One power supply manufacturer we tried apparently has not heard of using
>low ESR bypass caps either.
>Their switchmode supply has no bypass cap on its output,

That's hilarious!


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2004\10\15@114246 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face

>
>I used to look for programmers who wrote "if(3 = = foo)" rather than "if(foo
>= = 3)"

Ok, I'm new at C, why is the second case less preferable? It seems
counterintuitive.
The first case seems to imply that 3 is the variable, though I know it
can't be.

>and who properly bracket compound logic in higher level languages.

For me, it's paranoia brought on by long experience!

>Careful in-line documentation aimed at the naive reader was another plus.
>They all seem to be indicia of someone who's learned from mistakes and who
>makes a maintainable product.

One thing that seems not to get through in classes, is the critical
difference in comments that tell you what the code is doing (useless, I can
read the code!) and comments that tell you WHY it's doing this. (priceless!).


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2004\10\15@115026 by Ake Hedman

flavicon
face
Dave VanHorn wrote:
>
>>
>> I used to look for programmers who wrote "if(3 = = foo)" rather than
>> "if(foo
>> = = 3)"
>  >
> Ok, I'm new at C, why is the second case less preferable? It seems
> counterintuitive.
> The first case seems to imply that 3 is the variable, though I know it
> can't be.

If you find a line with "if ( 3 = foo ) 2'am in the morning after hours of debugging you understand why..... ;-)


/Ake

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2004\10\15@115312 by Ake Hedman

flavicon
face
Sorry, we take this again...

If you find a line with "if ( foo = 3 ) 2'am in the morning after hours
of debugging you understand why..... ;-)

Was what I intended to write

/Ake

Ake Hedman wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2004\10\15@115429 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Fri, Oct 15, 2004 at 10:42:48AM -0500, Dave VanHorn wrote:
>
> >
> >I used to look for programmers who wrote "if(3 = = foo)" rather than
> >"if(foo
> >= = 3)"
>
> Ok, I'm new at C, why is the second case less preferable? It seems
> counterintuitive.
> The first case seems to imply that 3 is the variable, though I know it
> can't be.

Because unfortunately

if (foo = 3) { // Note how man equals signs there are...

is legal in C and C++ though most compilers will issue a warning.

>
> >and who properly bracket compound logic in higher level languages.
>
> For me, it's paranoia brought on by long experience!

I find it unreadable unless it has proper indentation and comments.

>
> >Careful in-line documentation aimed at the naive reader was another plus.
> >They all seem to be indicia of someone who's learned from mistakes and who
> >makes a maintainable product.
>
> One thing that seems not to get through in classes, is the critical
> difference in comments that tell you what the code is doing (useless, I can
> read the code!) and comments that tell you WHY it's doing this.
> (priceless!).

I tell my students this all the time but I still get

v += 1; // Add one to v

Talk about a waste of file space.

BAJ
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2004\10\15@115929 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face

>
>Because unfortunately
>
>if (foo = 3) { // Note how man equals signs there are...
>is legal in C and C++ though most compilers will issue a warning.

I see. I knew that, and that's one of the points where C worries me.
In some cases it seems easier to hose yourself than in assembler.
Hard to resist this, since your natural tendency is to say it the other way.


>I tell my students this all the time but I still get
>v += 1; // Add one to v
>Talk about a waste of file space.

I catch myself doing it too, the urge to comment sometimes gets the better
of me.

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2004\10\15@120037 by Alex Harford

face picon face
On Fri, 15 Oct 2004 10:42:48 -0500, Dave VanHorn <EraseMEdvanhornspamspamspamBeGonedvanhorn.org> wrote:
>
> >
> >I used to look for programmers who wrote "if(3 = = foo)" rather than "if(foo
> >= = 3)"
>
> Ok, I'm new at C, why is the second case less preferable? It seems
> counterintuitive.
> The first case seems to imply that 3 is the variable, though I know it
> can't be.

Because old compilers didn't give you a warning if you accidentally wrote

if(foo = 3)

whereas you will get an error if you write

if(3 = foo)

although with MSVisualC++ you can put a pragma in there to say, yes, I
want to have an assignment operation within an if statement.  And if
someone ever does that, they should be taken out back and shot IMO. :)

Now you shouldn't be using = instead of == in the first place, but if
people never made mistakes, we wouldn't need debuggers, simulators,
etc.

Alex
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2004\10\15@121152 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face

>
>Because old compilers didn't give you a warning if you accidentally wrote
>
>if(foo = 3)

ICCAVR's current version will accept this, I did it a few nights ago.

>whereas you will get an error if you write
>
>if(3 = foo)
>
>although with MSVisualC++ you can put a pragma in there to say, yes, I
>want to have an assignment operation within an if statement.  And if
>someone ever does that, they should be taken out back and shot IMO. :)

I'd agree with that.

>Now you shouldn't be using = instead of == in the first place, but if
>people never made mistakes, we wouldn't need debuggers, simulators,
>etc.

Bingo.

Talk about fun mistakes.
Here's some verifone TCL

157=BLUE KEY TO SEND
160=P81*W1+F5B2.2G+I6.5.2*L163I-4D2B2.1GOI6.2.'FIN'B1.1GR4+I*W1Z*KX3B1.4GL161
161=R'U'XR'.4L160'U269.4B2.4GO4XL269
163=B1.1GR21+I*W1*M
170=P94B2.2G+I6.1.1L170B2.5GOXD2J1L171
171=P95B1.1G*B*F1.2L173*E1+I1*W1+I7*W1L172
172=B1.1G*E*F1.3L173+I1+I7G*W1L172
173=B1.1GR2R'FINISHED'R3R17R4+I1*W1*D2P96*W1*K


The "compiler" simply strips off the comments and packs the statements into
the form above.  If you forget to put in the ; to indicate comment, then
your code ends up like this:

157=BLUE KEY TO SEND
160=P81*W1+F5B2.2G+I6.5.2*L163I-4D2B2.1GOI6.2.'FIN'B1.1GR4+I*W1Z*KX3B1.4GL161
161=R'U'XR'.4L160'U269.4B2.4GO4XL269
163=B1.1GR21This is pretty stupid+I*W1*M
170=P94B2.2G+I6.1.1L170B2.5GOXD2J1L171
171=P95B1.1G*B*F1.2L173*E1+I1*W1+I7*W1L172
172=B1.1G*E*F1.3L173+I1+I7G*W1L172
173=B1.1GR2R'FINISHED'R3R17R4+I1*W1*D2P96*W1*K


Unfortunately, "This is pretty stupid" is entirely legal code!
Spaces are skipped, and every letter in that statement is an executable
command.
Improperly formed commands are skipped, but nothing there would generate
any warning to the programmer.  The results can be rather subtle, or rather
hilarious.


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2004\10\15@121154 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>Ok, I'm new at C, why is the second case less preferable?
>It seems counterintuitive.

Which is why you use that form in this case (see below)

>The first case seems to imply that 3 is the variable,
>though I know it can't be.

That is why you put them in that order. Now if you slip on the keyboard and
end up with (3 = foo) then somewhere an error will be thrown up saying that
you cannot assign to a constant, or something similar. If you have them the
other way around then you have an extremely hard to find erroneous
assignment to a variable when you meant to compare the variable to a
constant.

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2004\10\15@121348 by Ake Hedman

flavicon
face
Alex Harford wrote:

>
> although with MSVisualC++ you can put a pragma in there to say, yes, I
> want to have an assignment operation within an if statement.  And if
> someone ever does that, they should be taken out back and shot IMO. :)
>
I don't think that something like

if ( NULL == ( pObject = methodThatReturnObject( .... ) ) ) {
       ;
}

is that bad or hard to understand.  Defintily nothing to be shot for... ;-)


For me

pObject = methodThatReturnObject( .... );

if ( NULL == pObject ) {
       ;
}

looks much worse. Possibly it has the advantage that one can comment both lines.

/Ake




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2004\10\15@123007 by Peter Johansson

flavicon
face
Dave VanHorn writes:

>
> >
> >Can't discuss AT ALL?  Those are pretty strong NDAs.  Perhaps not
> >even legal.  Have you checked with your previous clients to see if
> >you can include their projects in your resume/etc?
> >Obviously, you can't give away key 'secrets' or source code, but
> >no interviewer would (should) ever expect you to.  NDAs on the
> >fact that company X might be shipping product Y soon have definate
> >lifetimes to them...
>
> Some specifically state that I am not allowed to disclose that I am doing
> work for company X, much less what I'm doing.

What are the possibilities of working with your previous employer to
have a work sample cleared for job hunting purposes?  One would assume
you were terminated under good conditions, that you are collecting
unemployment, and that it would be in the best interests of the
previous employer for you to find new work as quickly as possible.

Surely you must have developed some generic libraries that don't
involve any IP that could be used to showcase your skills.

Personally, I have done so much coding for fun (open source projects,
etc.) that I have a relatively large code base to show prospective
clients.  The mere fact that even my personal projects are completely
commented and contain a complete RCS/CVS log is often a selling point
on it's own.

-p.
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2004\10\15@123215 by Mark James

flavicon
face
part 1 1520 bytes content-type:multipart/signed; (decoded 7bit)

--nextPart1612822.fun3f4LfaG
Content-Type: text/plain;
 charset="windows-1252"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
Content-Disposition: inline

People like that get in, and I get turned down for a graduate job comming o=
ut=20
of university with a MEng! ahh well!

maj

On Friday 15 October 2004 09:39, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> >But I find it hard to believe that an accredited EE degree
> >would not involve making at least one project involving an
> >embedded processor and soldering up a prototype.  It would
> >be a sad comment on education if true.
>
> Based on what I have seen of gap year students coming through our lab, wi=
th
{Quote hidden}

--nextPart1612822.fun3f4LfaG
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Version: GnuPG v1.2.6 (GNU/Linux)

iD8DBQBBb/smcCiIowKJhdgRAuRiAKCcHKMzQoR6MpIRZhsuNJpnR1A3+gCfT/2g
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part 2 194 bytes content-type:text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
(decoded 7bit)

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2004\10\15@123855 by Peter L. Peres

picon face

On Wed, 13 Oct 2004, William Chops Westfield wrote:

> On Oct 13, 2004, at 8:41 PM, Rich wrote:
>
>>  The ad clearly stated that a degree was required
>
> Just out of curiosity, why did you think a degree was required?
> While the ability to get a degree implies a certain level of
> intelligence and persistence, for a lot of jobs that's ALL it
> will tell you...  You can easily get an EE or software degree
> from a prestigious institution without ever having programmed
> a microcontroller at all, and usually without ever having soldered.

And in some countries getting a degree implied having a long and flexible
tongue, knowing when and how to bow, being a member of the communist
party, as well as knowing whom to bribe and when. Pass.

Peter
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2004\10\15@123903 by Peter L. Peres

picon face

On Thu, 14 Oct 2004, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

>> Sometimes, it pays to
>> look at more than a skill set.
>
> The interesting question is of course: why doesn't such a guy have any
> degree?

In your country, I don't know, but for the remaining 90% of the planet,
see my other posting.

Peter
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2004\10\15@123906 by Peter L. Peres

picon face

On Thu, 14 Oct 2004, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

>> It was questions being asked about basic things like "draw an
>> inverting
>> op-amp circuit" and "what happens to a pulse in a
>> transmission line when the
>> far end is short circuit" and "why use a balanced line" that
>> got me a job
>> ahead of guys fresh out of University with their bright shiny Masters
>> certificates.
>
> Those are (among others) things I try to learn my students. Like a
> colleage teacher said: it should be mandatory for teachers to spend some
> time in industry.

Been tried with students too, as forced labor (sort of), where I come
from. No results. It has to be voluntary or not at all imho.

Peter
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2004\10\15@124257 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Fri, Oct 15, 2004 at 11:11:55AM -0500, Dave VanHorn wrote:
>
> >
> >Because old compilers didn't give you a warning if you accidentally wrote
> >
> >if(foo = 3)
>
> ICCAVR's current version will accept this, I did it a few nights ago.

It's not an error. Assignment in C is an expression, not a statement.
So it's not a matter of acceptance or non acceptance, but intent. 99%
of the time you intend to compare the two values in an if.

The GCC compiler has a nice compromise. It'll warn you when you do an
assignment and suggest double parens to shut up the warning. So you
have to indicate that you really want to do an assignment in that
context. Smart.

{Quote hidden}

It's a shortcut that experienced C programmers are used to. On the
extremely rare cases that I actually used it, I make sure to add a
big bold comments to the fact.

>
> >Now you shouldn't be using = instead of == in the first place, but if
> >people never made mistakes, we wouldn't need debuggers, simulators,
> >etc.
>
> Bingo.
>
> Talk about fun mistakes.

Again I like GCC's way of handling it. Sometimes an assignment and
then a check on it is useful. And by warning you and also giving you
an explicit out on the warning, it covers all of the bases.

It's when the odd situation happens silently that you get driven
crazy.

C is my most used language still. However I do get annoyed with its
faults. Parameter passing, fallthough on a switch, and named breaks
and continues are three areas that I wish could be fixed.

But while it gives you enough rope to hang yourself, that same rope
can be made into something really creative.

BAJ
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2004\10\15@130115 by Peter Johansson

flavicon
face
D. Jay Newman writes:

> Around 15 years ago my wife got a job as a programmer for Penn State.
> She was fairly skilled (she had previously worked for a defense contractor
> and saw the next wave of layoffs coming). Lee has a BS degree in Math.
>
> During her first year she had to explain the concept of *pointers* to
> one of her coworkers who held a Master's degree. About six months
> later the same coworker asked her the same question again!

I'm not surprised by this at all.  I too could not afford college, so
I worked odd jobs and sat in on the classes I found interesting.  I
probably took 30-40 classes this way, and not once did a professor
ever bat an eyelash that I wasn't even enrolled as a student -- I
think they were typically too flattered that someone would be
interested in taking their cource not for the grade/credit but simply
because they wanted to learn something.  After a year or so of this,
people just started to assume I was a graduate student, and I wound up
with a key to the graduate computing lab.

I found the lack of practical computing experience among graduate
students, and even professors, to be absolutely stunning.

At one point, I wound up taking a job for a professor who was taking
one of his previous graduate student's research projects and turning
it into a commercial product.  The project was an event-driven
packet-based network simulator for protocol analysis.  I was porting
the project from SunOS 4 to SunOS 5, but since I loathe Sun keyboards
I was working on an SGI, running a remote display.  There was much
confusion one day when I showed the prof the output on the SGI and
just couldn't believe it was actually running on a Sun across the
room.  It was at that point that I had to explain the entire concept
of the X/Windows system to him.  This was the chairman of the
*networking* department at the university.

It was at that point that I realized just how bad the University
system was.  In many cases, professors are not evaluated on their
skills or how well they can teach, but strictly on how well they can
bring in grant money.  This was some 15 years ago and I imagine it has
only gotten worse.

I've hired a lot of programmers over the past 10 years and never once
have I considered education.  The first thing I would do once I saw a
reasonable resume was to do a Deja News Usenet search (in the days
before the web) or Google search to find out more about the person.
In many cases, I based my hiring decisions on what I saw in the Usenet
archives alone, and I never once made a bad hire that way.

-p.

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2004\10\15@130356 by Win Wiencke

flavicon
face
<I'd opined>
> >I used to look for programmers who wrote "if(3 = = foo)" rather
> >than "if(foo = = 3)"

<Dave VanHorn asks>
> Ok, I'm new at C, why is the second case less preferable? It seems
> counterintuitive.
> The first case seems to imply that 3 is the variable, though I know it
> can't be.

IMHO it's a good indicator because the habit is sort of counter intuitive.

Assignment goes from left to right as in "foo = 3;" and, as you observed, "3
= foo" is utter nonsense.

If you screw up and forget the second equality symbol in a logical test ("is
foo equal to 3" in our example) you will get a clear cut compiler error in
the first case (you can't assign a variable to a constent).  However,
forgetting the eqality sign in the second case results in quietly assigning
3 to "foo" and considering the test met (it evaluates to something
non-zero -- namely 3).

> For me, it's paranoia brought on by long experience!

Well put.  When you're looking for proof of experience those habits speak
volumes.  Someone referred to engineering as like riding a motorcycle.  If
you get cocky you end up in a ditch...

> One thing that seems not to get through in classes, is the critical
> difference in comments that tell you what the code is doing (useless, I
can
> read the code!) and comments that tell you WHY it's doing this.
(priceless!).

Sounds like you've tried to maintain code!  Unless you've had to diddle
someone else's code, it's hard to really appreciate what sort of comments
will be useful.  That shows up in even the most redacted code sample or
notebook entry.

Win Wiencke
Image Logic Corporation

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2004\10\15@131249 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face

>
>Sounds like you've tried to maintain code!  Unless you've had to diddle
>someone else's code, it's hard to really appreciate what sort of comments
>will be useful.  That shows up in even the most redacted code sample or
>notebook entry.
>
>Win Wiencke
>Image Logic Corporation

And yet, you'll NEVER see this sort of requirement coming from an HR drone.

Did I mention that I'm looking for work?  :)


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2004\10\15@132358 by Win Wiencke

flavicon
face
<Peter L. Peres observed>

> And in some countries getting a degree implied having a long and flexible
> tongue, knowing when and how to bow, being a member of the communist
> party, as well as knowing whom to bribe and when. Pass.

<VBG> With only a few changes your observation applies in the US too .  A
friend calls it "being housebroken."

Win Wiencke
Image Logic Corporation

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2004\10\15@133912 by Win Wiencke

flavicon
face
<Peter Johansson wrote in part>

> I've hired a lot of programmers over the past 10 years and never once
> have I considered education.  The first thing I would do once I saw a
> reasonable resume was to do a Deja News Usenet search (in the days
> before the web) or Google search to find out more about the person.
> In many cases, I based my hiring decisions on what I saw in the Usenet
> archives alone, and I never once made a bad hire that way.

A few months ago I would have agreed.  But the search engines are so hit or
miss that a young engineer's work might not show up.

We tracked a few real and bogus sites for about a year.  There appears to be
no logic to what Google, Yahoo or MSN pick up.  One of our markers was
deliberately chosen because it was so on-point.  The first key word ("how
many sisters") matched the site name, the title contains "How Many Sisters",
there are many references to "How Many Sisters" in the body, and the term
"How Many Sisters" is pretty big.  Yet a half year after the site was
registered by hand with each search engine a search for "How Many Sisters"
yeilds no hit on this Finnish jazz group's site.

Now if a site that's presented to the search engines doesen't get listed,
what earthly chance does a newly minted engineer have to get their
contributions listed?  Add to that the ambiguity if the engineer's name is
John Smith or Lars Engstrom and you have a mess.

Win Wiencke
Image Logic Corporation



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2004\10\15@135806 by Josh Koffman

face picon face
I'm not sure how the other engines do it, but Google ranks pages. They
have a pretty good explanation on their site. One part of it is that a
page gets a higher rank when lots of other pages link to it. By
getting enough people to link to something using a specific word for
the link, you can do some fun stuff. As an example, SCO is a much
hated company amongst Linux users right now. There are a lot of Linux
users on the net. Do a search for "litigious bastards" on Google, and
see who tops the list :)

Regardless, I agree that unless a young engineer's work is linked to
or viewed a lot, they aren't likely to end up very high in the Google
rankings.

Josh
--
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something
completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
       -Douglas Adams

On Fri, 15 Oct 2004 13:37:53 -0400, Win Wiencke <RemoveMEwinKILLspamspamslycurves.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2004\10\15@143009 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 08:59 AM 10/15/2004 -0700, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

C is kinda designed to encourage that sort of thing. A lot of experienced
C programmers will write

if (infile = fopen(...)) {...}

rather than

infile = fopen(...);
if (NULL == infile) {...}



>Now you shouldn't be using = instead of == in the first place, but if
>people never made mistakes, we wouldn't need debuggers, simulators,
>etc.
>Alex

and code coverage analysis. It would be nice if MPLAB supported it like
Keil's IDE does (it shows you which lines have executed in your source
code so you can see at a glance if you've missed testing any branches
in the program.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
spamBeGonespeffSTOPspamspamEraseMEinterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com




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2004\10\15@144736 by Bill & Pookie

picon face
#define  EQU  ==       //  equates

if (foo EQU 3)

Will keep it from happing if you use it.

On subject of readability, if it takes too many lines of comment to explain
a cleaver piece of code, then the code is too cleaver and I use a more
straight forward way of doing it.

Bill

{Original Message removed}

2004\10\15@145351 by Support - KF4HAZ

flavicon
face

----- From: "Dave VanHorn" <dvanhorn@
> At 10:14 AM 10/15/2004, Falcon Wireless Tech Support - KF4HAZ wrote:
>
> >One power supply manufacturer we tried apparently has not heard of using
> >low ESR bypass caps either.
> >Their switchmode supply has no bypass cap on its output,
>
> That's hilarious!
But true, these power supplies were designed to power RADIO TRANSMITTING equipment,
and they assumed the cap inside the radio would be more than enough.
They failed to take into account RF getting into their supply and wreaking havock.

KF4HAZ - Lonnie

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2004\10\15@145626 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face
At 01:47 PM 10/15/2004, Bill & Pookie wrote:

>#define  EQU  ==       //  equates
>
>if (foo EQU 3)
>
>Will keep it from happing if you use it.
>
>On subject of readability, if it takes too many lines of comment to explain
>a cleaver piece of code, then the code is too cleaver and I use a more
>straight forward way of doing it.

There's a programming maxim that says if you write code as cleverly as you
can, they by definition you're not smart enough to debug it, since
debugging is harder than writing.

Seems reasonable to me.

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2004\10\15@155937 by Peter L. Peres

picon face

On Fri, 15 Oct 2004, Alex Harford wrote:

> I was fortunate enough to be there in the first year that they were
> doing the Project Integration Program, where we did all of our
> learning through building projects in groups: a 'touchpad', digital
> voltmeter, line following robot, and wireless mouse were the ones we
> worked on.  It was all very open ended, we only had about 4 hours a
> week of actual EE courses, otherwise it was spent in the lab.
> Unfortunately it was only for second year, and the fellow I referred
> to earlier wasn't in it.

Where was this (what country, type of college) if I may ask ?

Peter
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2004\10\15@155940 by Peter L. Peres

picon face


On Fri, 15 Oct 2004, Dave VanHorn wrote:

> At 10:14 AM 10/15/2004, Falcon Wireless Tech Support - KF4HAZ wrote:
>
>> One power supply manufacturer we tried apparently has not heard of using
>> low ESR bypass caps either.
>> Their switchmode supply has no bypass cap on its output,
>
> That's hilarious!

I do not agree. Imho the supply maker should be told if he is to expect
huge rf components coming back from the load on the output. If not, his
regulator may go crazy under these circumstances. Anybody who has seen a
lab full of good quality instruments go crazy because a rf generator had
an interrupted shield on the output coax will tell you this.

Peter
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2004\10\15@155951 by Peter L. Peres

picon face

On Fri, 15 Oct 2004, Ake Hedman wrote:

> Dave VanHorn wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> I used to look for programmers who wrote "if(3 = = foo)" rather than
>>> "if(foo
>>> = = 3)"
>>
>>
>> Ok, I'm new at C, why is the second case less preferable? It seems
>> counterintuitive.
>> The first case seems to imply that 3 is the variable, though I know it
>> can't be.
>
> If you find a line with "if ( 3 = foo ) 2'am in the morning after hours of
> debugging you understand why..... ;-)

You mean the other way around, no ?

Peter
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2004\10\15@161916 by Ake Hedman

flavicon
face
Dave VanHorn wrote:
{Quote hidden}

But clever code can be many things. Ohhh yes we have all been looking an hour or two on a few lines of code trying to understand what is done. Sometimes we have even coded these lines our self's.  Eventually we learn and comment such a section and then the clever code is no longer a problem. So it all eventually comes down to commenting the code. If you feel to be clever one day you also need to comment that section extra good. Result, no harm done everyone is happy.

But lots of comments and documentation can also be part of the problem. Take the WIN32 API (is it +2500 function calls or something?). It's no easy thing to initially grasp this world on a coffee break. It take some time.... If you are practically minded you start to code your project. You make a few mistakes as you go but learn on the way. Its slow in the beginning but you eventually get more and more speed as you understand what is available and get your own code base to reuse from. The other way is to read book after book after book after book after book after book after book and then see the light and  UML'ize the world instead of coding... ;-)

Regards
/Ake



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Phone: (46) 657 413430 Cellular: (46) 73 84 84 102
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2004\10\15@162703 by Alex Harford

face picon face
On Fri, 15 Oct 2004 14:53:35 -0400 (EDT), Peter L. Peres wrote:
>
> On Fri, 15 Oct 2004, Alex Harford wrote:
>
> > I was fortunate enough to be there in the first year that they were
> > doing the Project Integration Program, where we did all of our
> > learning through building projects in groups:
>
> Where was this (what country, type of college) if I may ask ?
>

Undergraduate program at UBC, in Vancouver Canada.  I'm not sure what
an undergrad program is equivalent to in other countries.  I have a
Bacheleor of Applied Science degree after finishing.

https://www.ece.ubc.ca/mod.php?mod=userpage&menu=190206&page_id=15

I hope this takes you to the correct page, otherwise you can peek
around http://www.ece.ubc.ca and look for PIP stuff.  You may even find a
picture of me. :)

It was started in '99, and I think they based it on a concept
developed at a university in Sweden.  Can't recall any more details,
but the profs listed on the page should be able to give you more
details.

Alex
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2004\10\15@171241 by Ake Hedman

flavicon
face
Peter L. Peres wrote:
>>
>> If you find a line with "if ( 3 = foo ) 2'am in the morning after
>> hours of debugging you understand why..... ;-)
>
>
> You mean the other way around, no ?
>
> Peter

Yes, got a bit to excited.... ;-)

Regards
/Ake


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eurosource, Brattbergavägen 17, 820 50 LOS, Sweden
Phone: (46) 657 413430 Cellular: (46) 73 84 84 102
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2004\10\15@183531 by Ben Hencke

picon face
On Thu, 14 Oct 2004 22:37:36 -0500, Dave VanHorn <KILLspamdvanhornspamBeGonespamdvanhorn.org> wrote:

> >
> >Is it wrong to take a printout of some code and show it to the
> >interviewer so long as you do not let it leave the room? (yes, and
> >take it with you after the interview)
>
> It would be. I've agreed not to disclose these things.

Showing a few pages is not disclosing anything that could be
considered a trade secret, and thats the only thing NDAs affect. I
would never disclose important, secret, or otherwise valuable
information. Consider how much balls it would take to do so with a
potential employer during the interview! Code out of context is
useless in most cases (and in this one specifically, an xml parser).
Also NDAs must legally have clauses that allow you to share some
information so long as you make effort to protect that information or
put the other party under similar NDA. I think keeping physical
control of the printout and making sure they interviewer was not
scanning it or anything would qualify.


>
> >I was told last week that my printout was the major deciding factor in
> >my hiring (hired 4 months ago). He found my coding style and well
> >commented easy to read code exactly the kind of thing he was looking
> >for, more than any degree.
>
> Well, if I ever get past the HR drones and get an interview, I'll take some
> code with me for sure.

That is always the hardest part. A blatantly simplified resume and
phone harassment are a good start. Offering to work for free for a
week never hurts. I have done this once before -- they were very
impressed). I am very glad not to be in that position right now, it
sucks.

>
> >If you have some free time, contribute.
>
> Been doing that, See my page.

It was more of a general rant than a reply specific comment, no
offence intended ;-)

- Ben
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2004\10\15@205549 by steve

flavicon
face
> I used to look for programmers who wrote "if(3 = = foo)" rather than
> "if(foo = = 3)"

Despite the hows and whys, this is still a cute trick, rather than a good
proccess.

The statement "if(3==foo)" is written in the opposite way to how you
would describe what the statement is doing, so the statement isn't
immediately and inherently self documenting.

More importantly, the method only works for one instance in a collection
of related mistakes. ie. mistyped operators.
You are just as likely to type "if(foo=3)" when you meant to type  
"if(foo==3)" as you are to type "if(foo & 3)" when you meant to type  
"if(foo && 3)".  

If you had intended to use ==, &&, ||, >> or << and only used a single
character, transposed operands would only be an error in 1 of the 5
cases. A procedure that only works 20% of the time, isn't that good a
procedure.

Steve.



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2004\10\15@221228 by Win Wiencke

flavicon
face
<"Steve" writes in part>

> The statement "if(3==foo)" is written in the opposite way to how you
> would describe what the statement is doing, so the statement isn't
> immediately and inherently self documenting.

I'm not sure I agree.

"Do the following if foo equals three" seems to mean precisely the same
thing as "Do the following if three equals foo."

The "Looking for Work" discussion seemed to center on how employment
candidates are vetted.  Surely evidence that shows that the candidate has
taken steps to develop habits which prevent errors reflects well on the
candidate's determination to improve and adapt.

But you do make the point that nothing I mentioned addressed the question of
how a candidate conveys to a prospective employer how well the candidate
will adapt to the workplace.  Clearly, someone with a "my way or the
highway" attitude will be a problem no matter how good their code and
documentation is.  On that score the best interviewing technique I've seen
is to have something lying around and casually ask the candidate their
opinion.  But it takes an experienced interviewer to pull that off.

Win Wiencke
Image Logic Corporation

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2004\10\16@021027 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Oct 15, 2004, at 8:22 AM, Win Wiencke wrote:

> Everyone should have examples of their work to show style and
> thoroughness.

That's interesting.  I don't think "we" have ever asked to see prior
work when interviewing a candidate.  Of course, it's nice if they can
say "I wrote xyz's implementation of abc" and you're familiar with the
product and it's reputation.  We put candidates through full days worth
of interviews with half-a-dozen interviewers, and grill them pretty
thoroughly on technical background.  But looking at actual code? Hmm.
In some sense, any code small enough for the interviewer to understand
isn't enough to get an idea of the overall quality.  We don't hire
people
based on programming STYLE; we give them a style manual when they arrive
and say "this is the way you should do it HERE."  They're supposed to be
good enough to be able to deal with that...

Of course, this provides an interesting reason to contribute to the
open source movement.  Or on forums like piclist...

BillW

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2004\10\16@021637 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Oct 15, 2004, at 9:13 AM, Ake Hedman wrote:

> For me [code example] looks much worse.

Another reason why small amounts of code are pretty useless at
interviews;  LOTS of different opinions, and an applicant should
not be dinged for conforming to the previous employers style guide,
even if it doesn't match YOUR style preferences.

BillW

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2004\10\16@022816 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Oct 15, 2004, at 9:42 AM, Byron A Jeff wrote:

> On the extremely rare cases that I actually used it,
> I make sure to add a big bold comments to the fact.
>

Check out THIS lovely example:

   if (match_number(csb, 0, MAXUSHORT, &i, var2, flags, NULL) &&
       match_char(&csb->line[csb->line_index], &i, ':') &&
       ((got_num_colon = TRUE)) &&     /* Remember we got "<number>:" */
       match_number(csb, 0, MAXULONG, &i, var3, flags, NULL) &&
       match_whitespace2(&csb->line[csb->line_index], &i,
csb->in_help)) {
       *var1 = VPN_RD_TYPE_0;
                       :

Think that "got_num_colon = TRUE" in the middle of the if statement
belongs there, or not?  It ALMOST got by a very experienced engineer
when a new compiler complained about it...  And it HAS a comment!

 :-)
BillW

PS:  Don't forget fortran's infamous "DO 10 I = 1.20"

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2004\10\16@034424 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Oct 15, 2004, at 5:55 PM, EraseMEstevespamEraseMEtla.co.nz wrote:

> The statement "if(3==foo)" is written in the opposite way to how you
> would describe what the statement is doing, so the statement isn't
> immediately and inherently self documenting.

I dunno.  It's just not ENGLISH.  Mathematicians will consider
an equality statement fully reversable; "foo = 3" is precisely
identical to "3 = foo"; one of the foundations of algebra, sort of.

BillW

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2004\10\16@035842 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face
At 02:44 AM 10/16/2004, William "Chops" Westfield wrote:


>On Oct 15, 2004, at 5:55 PM, @spam@steve@spam@spamspam_OUTtla.co.nz wrote:
>
>>The statement "if(3==foo)" is written in the opposite way to how you
>>would describe what the statement is doing, so the statement isn't
>>immediately and inherently self documenting.
>
>I dunno.  It's just not ENGLISH.  Mathematicians will consider
>an equality statement fully reversable; "foo = 3" is precisely
>identical to "3 = foo"; one of the foundations of algebra, sort of.

Yes, but in C, it's not reversible.
In some C compilers, the statement 3 = foo or foo = 3 is not evaluated the
same way humans do.


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2004\10\16@053936 by Jose Da Silva

flavicon
face
On Saturday 16 October 2004 12:44 am, William Chops Westfield wrote:
> On Oct 15, 2004, at 5:55 PM, spamBeGonestevespamKILLspamtla.co.nz wrote:
> > The statement "if(3==foo)" is written in the opposite way to how you
> > would describe what the statement is doing, so the statement isn't
> > immediately and inherently self documenting.
>
> I dunno.  It's just not ENGLISH.  Mathematicians will consider
> an equality statement fully reversable; "foo = 3" is precisely
> identical to "3 = foo"; one of the foundations of algebra, sort of.

To add to the arguement....    :-)
If you look at the output of some compilers, you may find disagreement too.

if (foo == 3) {

would collect "foo" and subtract the #3 to test for zero

if (3 == foo) {

would collect 3, place it on the stack, then collect foo, then subtract foo
from stack value "3"

it doesn't seem to sound like much, but if you have seen a DWORD being done
on a 16bit compiler, you do see a fair bit of juggling of values.

To me, if (foo == 3) is just more "efficient" from a compiler point of view.
likewise, I would also prefer to see complicated stuff on the left with
simple stuff on the right... therefore, preference for:

if (foo == 3) {
if (function(foo) == 3) {
if (function(foo1) == foo2) {
if (function1(function2(foo1) == function3(foo2))

also in the name of efficiency, it makes sense to test for something more
likely, then test for something less likely, so:

(poor example, but hopefully conveys the idea)
if ((c < 32) || (c == EOF)) {   <- more likely to encounter c < 32

would be prefered versus:

if ((c == EOF) || (c < 32)) {  <- only going to encounter EOF only once
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2004\10\16@095214 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
>>>if(foo = 3)
>>
>> ICCAVR's current version will accept this, I did it a few nights ago.
>
> It's not an error. Assignment in C is an expression, not a statement.
> So it's not a matter of acceptance or non acceptance, but intent. 99%
> of the time you intend to compare the two values in an if.
>
> The GCC compiler has a nice compromise. It'll warn you when you do an
> assignment and suggest double parens to shut up the warning. So you
> have to indicate that you really want to do an assignment in that
> context. Smart.

All C compilers /should/ do that, and the better ones actually do.

> It's a shortcut that experienced C programmers are used to. On the
> extremely rare cases that I actually used it, I make sure to add a
> big bold comments to the fact.

Rather than adding a comment (you know how they tend to get out of sync
with the code :) I prefer

if( (foo=3) != 0 ) ...

Serves the same purpose (could you write that more succinctly in a
comment?) but is not a comment. And this only if it doesn't make more sense
to write

foo = 3;
if( foo ) ...

The original code being a "shortcut" is rather questionable if you need to
add a big fat comment to the code that it is ok to do what you are doing.
Most of these C "shortcuts" are not really that short, if you add it all
up.

And most C compilers are smart enough so that the generated code is not
better either. So why bother? Write clear code that doesn't need comments
to explain what you are doing in the first place :)

> C is my most used language still. However I do get annoyed with its
> faults. Parameter passing, fallthough on a switch, and named breaks
> and continues are three areas that I wish could be fixed.

My editor adds a "break;" to every "case" I write :)  I'm sure this is
possible with many code editors -- at least with those that have some kind
of language-dependent templates.

Gerhard
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2004\10\16@100438 by Gerhard Fiedler
picon face
> Well put.  When you're looking for proof of experience those habits speak
> volumes.  

Maybe not... I don't have that habit, but I have another one: I don't
switch the warnings of my compiler off. (In fact, I usually put them on a
higher level than they are by default.) And that's why I don't need that
habit: every time I write something like this, I get a warning of my
compilers. (I didn't work with a C compiler in the last 10 years that
couldn't be made to issue a warning on that. And if you should have one,
there's always lint... :)

> Someone referred to engineering as like riding a motorcycle.  If
> you get cocky you end up in a ditch...

So with this rule (to never hire anybody who doesn't use a particular order
of == comparisons) you might end up with a guy who is cocky enough to ditch
all the compiler warnings by disabling them (and thus felt the need to
adopt this technique), and ditch the one who's smart enough to use the
compiler warnings and thus doesn't need to resort to artificial techniques
that wouldn't be necessary with proper use of the tools.

Gerhard
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2004\10\16@101447 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
> Start looking for a job when you're 45, made 6 figures at your last
> job, and don't have a degree, and employers start to see the missing
> degree as an excuse to hire someone cheaper.

Even though it would be nice if our income would never go down, I'm not
sure it is a good thing -- or the "natural" thing -- that it doesn't go
down with age. Of course, experience grows, but possibly there comes a time
where people (me included) are going down in the productivity scale. Thus
going down in the paycheck scale just seems natural...

Gerhard
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2004\10\16@102350 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
>>You can easily get an EE or software degree
>> from a prestigious institution without ever having programmed
>> a microcontroller at all, and usually without ever having soldered.
>
> I don't doubt there are software degree programs that don't include embedded
> work or involve circuit design.
>
> But I find it hard to believe that an accredited EE degree would not involve
> making at least one project involving an embedded processor and soldering up
> a prototype.  It would be a sad comment on education if true.

I don't value degrees because of experience with electronics -- I think
most of them don't provide much (mine sure didn't), and it's difficult to
tell which ones do and which ones don't. The actual work done after the
degree (or without any degree) usually tells much more.

But I value them because of a usually solid foundation, in things not
apparently related to the immediate issues. Some kind of a general
background; having been forced to study some of the things you won't study
on your own when "just" doing electronics (or "just" programming).

Gerhard
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2004\10\16@105750 by Paul Hutchinson

picon face
I agree with Steve on this "C" topic.

In addition there is the case of two variables in the test expression. When
"if(foo == bar)" is typed incorrectly as "if(foo = bar)" the trick won't
help.

I feel the proper way to prevent this and other "C" easy potential mistakes
is to use a tool, a static code checker (i.e. lint). For many years I've
read articles in ESP magazine (http://www.embedded.com) by the experts
(Ganssle, Saks, Plauger, Murphy, Barr, etc.) very strongly encouraging the
use of a lint tool. About 3 years ago I made the effort to learn LCLint,
applied it to all company and personal projects and now I will never code in
"C" without it. I find that adding the stylized comments to suppress
warnings when I really want something unusual helps highlight the need for a
clear comment explaining why I've used an unusual construct.

A decent lint tool will pick out many common mistakes including, = vs. ==,
likely infinite loops, fall-through cases, incomplete logic, statements with
no effect, ignored return values, unused declarations, and many more.

I use the open source LCLint which is included with most Linux distro's and
next week will be changing over to its successor SPLint
http://www.splint.org/. For those who want a tool with commercial support,
I've seen PC-lint from Gimpel Software highly recommended numerous times by
the experts at ESP http://www.gimpel.com.

Some other tools/techniques I have adopted because of the advise of those
ESP experts are:
Set the compiler to it's highest warning level and only silence the warnings
for small blocks. Use a version control tool, my favorite is QVCS from Quma
Software http://www.qumasoft.com/. Create and rigorously follow a coding
conventions document (style guide) that works for your particular situation
and, keep it under version control so that you can get the old version when
you have to maintain old source. When changing old source code, update it to
comply with the current version of your style guide.

I also want to give a recommendation for an open source tool that helps me
make sure that source code is well commented, Doxygen
http://www.doxygen.org.

Paul


> {Original Message removed}

2004\10\16@132145 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Oct 16, 2004, at 12:58 AM, Dave VanHorn wrote:

> In some C compilers, the statement 3 = foo or foo = 3

Of course not.  Mathematicians don't have an "assignment" operation,
and the equality operator behaves differently.  A MATHEMATICAL statment
like  "A = A + 1" is nonsensical.   This is one of the reasons that
some "new" languages (pascal, apl) have a special assignment
operator other than "="; to avoid "confusing" people.  I don't know
that I've ever met anyone who was confused, just people who didn't
type carefully :-)

BillW

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2004\10\16@152511 by Peter L. Peres

picon face

On Fri, 15 Oct 2004, Alex Harford wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Ok, thanks,

Peter
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2004\10\16@152530 by Peter L. Peres

picon face

On Sat, 16 Oct 2004, William Chops Westfield wrote:

>
> On Oct 15, 2004, at 5:55 PM, .....stevespam_OUTspamtla.co.nz wrote:
>
>> The statement "if(3==foo)" is written in the opposite way to how you
>> would describe what the statement is doing, so the statement isn't
>> immediately and inherently self documenting.
>
> I dunno.  It's just not ENGLISH.  Mathematicians will consider
> an equality statement fully reversable; "foo = 3" is precisely
> identical to "3 = foo"; one of the foundations of algebra, sort of.

Does this have anything to do with mathematicians ranting about C being
'wrong' and the 'right' way being the Pascal syntax of foo := 3 ?

Peter
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2004\10\16@154753 by Eric Bohlman

picon face
William Chops Westfield wrote:

> Check out THIS lovely example:
>
>    if (match_number(csb, 0, MAXUSHORT, &i, var2, flags, NULL) &&
>        match_char(&csb->line[csb->line_index], &i, ':') &&
>        ((got_num_colon = TRUE)) &&     /* Remember we got "<number>:" */
>        match_number(csb, 0, MAXULONG, &i, var3, flags, NULL) &&
>        match_whitespace2(&csb->line[csb->line_index], &i, csb->in_help)) {
>        *var1 = VPN_RD_TYPE_0;
>             :
>
> Think that "got_num_colon = TRUE" in the middle of the if statement
> belongs there, or not?  It ALMOST got by a very experienced engineer
> when a new compiler complained about it...  And it HAS a comment!
>
>  :-)

That strikes me as either

1) Attempting to write sh code in C
or
2) Obscurity merely for the sake of nerdismo

If I were reviewing it, I'd demand that the conditional be broken into
two if statements (everything after the second condition in a nested if,
with the assignment being a statement of its own.  Last time I checked,
braces were in considerably better supply than flu vaccine.
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2004\10\17@023700 by hilip Stortz

picon face
i had a college programming teacher who didn't know how to use a text
editor!  that was my conclusion since we had to buy her class notes
which were always hand written, and entirely unreadable (i didn't bother
for long..).  i did mention this to the dean when there was another
conflict and he was suitably shocked! (as well as being irritated that i
had to see him over what should not have been a problem in the first
place).  it had been her first year there, i really hope she was quickly
replaced, but it's alarming that she was hired in the first place! (and
her personality and programing knowledge were just as poor).

when i was working at the company that made the gravimeter that measured
local gravity to 12 or 13 decimal places we were consulting with
physicist who my boss had worked with while earning his Ph.D. using a
unit the physicist had built that did the same thing.  we needed a small
circuit board inside the vacuum chamber, i suggested teflon and we had
them made.  when we mentioned this to the other Ph.D. he said "teflon,
doesn't that hold a charge?", duh, it's hard to make a pcb without an
insulator!  (we were concerned about static charges and magnetic fields,
but the part that was actually sensitive was shielded from the pcb, and
the wiring, it only interacted with a light beam through a pair of
conductive windows).  you'd think someone with a Ph.D. in physics, who
had built such an instrument (i don't know how much help he had from
students...and ours was much nicer) would know that you need an
insulator to make just about anything electronic, and that by definition
an insulator will hold a charge.....  it did take all i had to muster a
blank look and not laugh or make a rude comment to his face, honesty is
one of my strengths and weaknesses, i did leave the area quickly
however, there's only so much a person can stand.  then again we spent
considerable time and money trying to add a "mode" of operation based on
this person's estimate of how much the mirror/mass rotated in free fall
before realizing that is was only a guess, and barely a guess, and
terribly, terribly lower than reality.  i could say more but.... i may
be looking for work sometime in the future... (and i can generally work
with any one, even employees that no one else can tolerate, which isn't
to say that i like every one i work with or have to like them though i
have like most).

Peter Johansson wrote:
--------
{Quote hidden}

--------

--
"We cannot simply suspend or restrict civil liberties until the War of
Terror is over, because the
War on Terror is unlikely ever to be truly over," Judge Gerald Tjoflat
wrote for the three-member
court. "September 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy,
cannot be the day liberty
perished in this country." <www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/10/16/protesters.terrorism.ap/index.html>
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2004\10\17@072948 by ?J=2E_Pe=F1a?=

flavicon
face
On Sun, Oct 17, 2004 at 12:39:14AM -0600, Philip Stortz wrote:
> i had a college programming teacher who didn't know how to use a text
> editor!  that was my conclusion since we had to buy her class notes
> which were always hand written,
[...]

Like Dijksta...

Saludos,
                                       HoraPe
---
Horacio J. Peña
TakeThisOuThorape.....spamTakeThisOuTcompendium.com.ar
TakeThisOuThorapeKILLspamspamspamuninet.edu

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2004\10\17@125255 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face
At 01:39 AM 10/17/2004, Philip Stortz wrote:
>  we needed a small
>circuit board inside the vacuum chamber, i suggested teflon and we had
>them made.  when we mentioned this to the other Ph.D. he said "teflon,
>doesn't that hold a charge?",

Bob Pease specifically warns against teflon, because of it's ability to
hold a charge buried inside itself. Like an EPROM gate sort of.

BTW: How do you assure that your gravmeter isn't being accelerated by some
sort of external motion? You can't discern between acceleration and
gravity, right?

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2004\10\17@140056 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face
Dave VanHorn wrote :

> You can't discern between acceleration and
> gravity, right?

Actualy,  gravity = acceleration.

:-)

Jan-Erik.

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2004\10\17@141850 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face
At 01:00 PM 10/17/2004, Jan-Erik Soderholm wrote:

>Dave VanHorn wrote :
>
> > You can't discern between acceleration and
> > gravity, right?
>
>Actualy,  gravity = acceleration.

That's what was bothering me.
How do you measure gravity, in a portable instrument, when it's being
bumped and banged around?


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2004\10\17@143722 by Herbert Graf

flavicon
face
On Sun, 2004-10-17 at 14:00, Jan-Erik Soderholm wrote:
> Dave VanHorn wrote :
>
> > You can't discern between acceleration and
> > gravity, right?
>
> Actualy,  gravity = acceleration.

Nope. You can discern between gravity and acceleration. The acceleration
in a body is constant everywhere in the body, the force of gravity on a
body is dependant on the distance from the center of mass.

So, if you were in a ship, and wanted to determine whether the force you
are feeling is due to a gravity field, or an acceleration, all you'd
have to do is measure the force in a few places, if it's acceleration
the reading will always be the same, if gravity, it will be very
slightly lower in the direction of farther away from the center of mass.
TTYL

-----------------------------
Herbert's PIC Stuff:
http://repatch.dyndns.org:8383/pic_stuff/

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2004\10\17@143735 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face
Dave VanHorn wrote :

> >Dave VanHorn wrote :
> >
> > > You can't discern between acceleration and
> > > gravity, right?
> >
> >Actualy,  gravity = acceleration.
>
> That's what was bothering me.
> How do you measure gravity, in a portable instrument, when it's being
> bumped and banged around?

Where did it say that it was designed to be "bumped and
banged around" ? Or even "portable" at all ?

Jan-Erik.
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2004\10\17@150351 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face
Herbert Graf wrote :

> On Sun, 2004-10-17 at 14:00, Jan-Erik Soderholm wrote:

> > Actualy,  gravity = acceleration.

> Nope.

Yes they are.
As defined in the "General Theory of Relativity".

Doing tricks to work around this little "problem",
wasn't the issue here. :-)

Jan-Erik.
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2004\10\17@152806 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Of course not.  Mathematicians don't have an "assignment" operation,
> and the equality operator behaves differently.  A
> MATHEMATICAL statment
> like  "A = A + 1" is nonsensical.   This is one of the reasons that
> some "new" languages (pascal, apl) have a special assignment
> operator other than "="; to avoid "confusing" people.  I don't know
> that I've ever met anyone who was confused

Almost every first-time programmer I see is confused.

Wouter van Ooijen

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consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


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2004\10\17@152806 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> if (foo == 3) {
>
> would collect "foo" and subtract the #3 to test for zero
>
> if (3 == foo) {
>
> would collect 3, place it on the stack, then collect foo,
> then subtract foo from stack value "3"

stack??

Some compilers might do that, but most C compilers for PICs I know will
evaluate 3 == foo and foo == 3 the same way. Jal certainly does.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2004\10\17@152807 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> In some C compilers, the statement 3 = foo or foo = 3 is not
> evaluated the same way humans do.

? Afaik all C compiler will bark at '3 = foo' and evaluate 'foo = 3' by
assigning 3 to foo and yielding 3. You must of course pronounce the '='
correctly, it is 'becomes', not 'equals'.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2004\10\17@162112 by Peter L. Peres

picon face

(cf. Newsgroups: gmane.comp.hardware.microcontrollers.pic)
Date: Sun, 17 Oct 2004 20:37:34 +0200

{Quote hidden}

In my experience the gravimeter is mounted on a gyro stabilised and damped
platform good enough that it won't spill a glass full of water in a force
3 sea over many hours. The gravity field features run by very slowly wrt
the disturbances induced by the ship or helicopter and can be filtered out
later via computer. At the same time another gravimeter runs at the base
station and records diurnal changes. When the two records are fed to the
computer it can figure out what the moon & tide did and remove the fast
noise from the movement of the instrument.

It is not very hard to make a diy 'instrument' using bowling balls,
fishing line and a couple of other household implements:

<http://www.fourmilab.ch/gravitation/foobar/>

(I love this link, I went back there at least 5 times in the last 2 years
or so ?)

A more scientific experiment, but without damping:

<http://physics.usask.ca/~kolb/p404/cavendish/>

Here is how removing motion data is done (some technical details):

<http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/pi/WAIS/> US version

gravimetry in general, and in motion:

<http://www.soes.soton.ac.uk/teaching/courses/soes6004/fields/lecture_6/lecture6_index.htm>

gravimetry at an oil drilling survey site catches a sun eclipse and may
prove gravitational shielding effects:

<http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/Eclipse_Mishra.html>

the whole story from a to z (very thorough), from an army geodesy course
(titled 'Geodesy for the layman'):

<http://earth-info.nga.mil/GandG/geolay/TR80003C.html>

historical interest: Eotvos Lorand museum with some (torsion balance)
instruments from 2 centuries ago:

<http://www.elgi.hu/cgi-bin/cnt_eng>

very good cutaway drawing of what's inside his torsion balance and what
can be done with it:

<http://www.kfki.hu/~tudtor/eotvos1/stepcikk.html>

the precursor of Eotvos's balance was likely Boys's experiment which
served a different purpose (determining G):

<http://www1.physics.ox.ac.uk/History/BigGHistory.html>

and finally a SciAm style homemade (electronic) gravimeter:

<http://www.web-ee.com/Schematics/Gravimeter/gravimeter.htm>

whew this was a long post. Sorry.

Peter
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2004\10\17@164342 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face

>
>In my experience the gravimeter is mounted on a gyro stabilised and damped
>platform good enough that it won't spill a glass full of water in a force
>3 sea over many hours. The gravity field features run by very slowly wrt
>the disturbances induced by the ship or helicopter and can be filtered out
>later via computer. At the same time another gravimeter runs at the base
>station and records diurnal changes. When the two records are fed to the
>computer it can figure out what the moon & tide did and remove the fast
>noise from the movement of the instrument.

Ok, I thought it might be something like this. WAY oversampled
I saw a seismic observatory in Hawaii, that was able to see waves breaking
on the shore (<1' waves) a couple miles away.

All in all, a fun measurement problem.

>It is not very hard to make a diy 'instrument' using bowling balls,
>fishing line and a couple of other household implements:

This is the cavendish rig then?

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2004\10\17@190706 by hilip Stortz

picon face
simple, but complex.  what it does is watch an object falling in a
vacuum.  the distance is measured with a laser interferometer, the time
with a $10K rubidium oscillator (atomic clock, actually widely used by
network tv to keep things locked in sync to facilitate switching the
video source during live broadcast).  the trick, is the "stable"
reference for the interferometer.  we used an active spring (a "super
spring") that electronically simulated a spring about a km long.  it
used many springs, a mass, and a voice coil and sensors and a carefully
tuned servo system (it took days to tune as we cared about very low
frequencies, which take a long time to test for!).  the super spring was
so sensitive that it went completely nuts when there was an earthquake
anywhere in the world (we subscribed to a reporting service for
earthquakes so we knew why it acted up sometimes).  it measures the
acceleration of the mass.  

we used a vacuum of about 10e-6 Torr (or better, it got better over time
of course) and still tracked the falling mass with a cart that
surrounded it and optically centered itself around the falling mass to
reduce the effect of the air that was left, or a much higher vacuum
would have been needed (a similar technique is often used with
satellites).  it was indeed sensitive.  sensitive enough to detect being
raised 1/8", sensitive enough to be very disturbed if there was a floor
above it with people moving! (yes, their gravitational pull on the mass
was actually significant!).  

the better ones we sold also had a barometer.  it was calculated that to
have any better sensitivity you would need to know the air pressure at
about 100 altitudes above the instrument, it was at the limit of the
technologies involved.  we used a locked laser, and on the better ones
an iodine locked laser that our company developed (i got to do a lot of
the electronics testing on that, and learn how to align the external
mirrors of the laser), which was worth about $10K alone and no one had
made an "automatic" laser of this type before, before they were very
hard to operate.  

the whole unit packed up into about 6 large transit cases.  they were
successfully hauled in off road trucks to remote locations and worked.
to get the desired accuracy it was usually necessary to watch about 100
drops, it was possible to move and setup and get about readings from
about 2 sites per day with a small crew.  tidal forces were also
calculated and subtracted, you had to know you location and approximate
altitude.  the super spring was essential, a typical location not too
close to primary roads had about 10X too much vibration otherwise,
without heavy truck traffic and on a concrete foundation.

it was great work, and i got to be involved in all aspects of it,
including the critical vacuum electronics.

as far as teflon holding a charge internally, i'm sure that's possible.
fortunately all we needed was a single op amp amplifier for the optical
sensor that was used to keep the falling mass centered in it's cart (and
help launch it and have "soft" landings towards the bottom of the
apparatus).  the flexible cable that went to the cart did have a
conductive coating on it to bleed off any static that was developed when
it was flexed (i made those as well).

i suspect the problem isn't just that teflon can hold a charge inside
the board, any good board material should be capable of that.  i suspect
there may be a mechanism where teflon boards can generate this charge
through flexing or handling or processing of other sorts.  it may be
triboelectric (or other materials used with the teflon) when combined
with the other materials used in those boards.

i'll have to look that up, i'd like to know what the magnitude of these
charges is and any data on what causes the charge to develop in the
first place.  i know microwave gear is frightfully sensitive to all
kinds of things, even light (it's my understanding that if you adjust a
microwave circuit and then close the box that it will drift in the
darkness for a while as it's influenced by light exposure.  light
exposure could be implicated in creating charge in teflon boards, there
may be a photo ionization effect.

Dave VanHorn wrote:
{Quote hidden}

--
President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Secretary of
Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld,
and Attorney General John D. Ashcroft have committed violations and
subversions of the Constitution
of the United States of America.  <http://www.VoteToImpeach.org>  They should
be charged with high treason
and as leaders deserve the highest penalty.  If there is no rule of law
there can be no civilization.
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2004\10\17@192100 by hilip Stortz

picon face
simple, it's not banged around, and you have the "super spring" as an
extra stable reference.  the main company closed (frankly, the owner was
apparently doing some insurance fraud, and the company was never
intended to be as successful as it became, we were making money and he
shut it down!  lots of resentment all around), i did work for the spin
off for a time but my health got bad.  they were working on an
instrument to measure the gravity gradient (more sensitive to things
close to the surface, and potentially not needing a super spring and
more tolerant of vibration) but i don't know how far they got.  the spin
off has since been sold to a geo-tech company and only the chief
scientist and one ee are still with them as far as i know.  Tim Niebaur
is the name to search for if you are interested, the original company
was "Axis instruments", the spin off was "micro-g solutions".  at one
time the original company had a little over 20 employees, including 3
machinist, 3 M.E's etc.

Dave VanHorn wrote:
{Quote hidden}

-------

--
President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Secretary of
Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld,
and Attorney General John D. Ashcroft have committed violations and
subversions of the Constitution
of the United States of America.  <http://www.VoteToImpeach.org>  They should
be charged with high treason
and as leaders deserve the highest penalty.  If there is no rule of law
there can be no civilization.
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2004\10\17@194127 by hilip Stortz

picon face
these were absolute gravimeters, as opposed to the smaller relative
gravimeters which typically use a mass on a glass spring, the deflection
of the spring is measured (we used these as well for sanity checks early
on).  the ones we built, when in their travel cases filled up a mini-van
completely.  they were intended to be set up on dry ground, preferably
on a concrete foundation.  they needed line power to operate.  they
could be moved from site to site, but it took time.  once setup, it took
an hour or two to get a reading usually, and setup took a couple of
hours as well.  if an earthquake was happening any where in the world,
you couldn't use it until things settled down.  

they were $250,000 for the most basic unit, up to over $400,000 or more
completely outfitted as we often sold them to the Japanese (2 different
agencies in japan, one interested in earthquakes and one interested in
geothermal), most of them were exported which also made it interesting.
i'm sure they got the size down considerably and are more portable now.  

we wanted to come up with one that could work in a helicopter for survey
use, i don't know if that was ever accomplished or not, as well as
wanting to make one that measured the local gravity gradient which is
more sensitive to near surface characteristics.  they can be used to
find underground water, oil, and minerals to an extent as well as to
determine if the ocean is rising or the land is sinking, and to monitor
the stability of underground formations (the salt domes for nuclear
storage use several relative gravimeters and a more expensive gravimeter
based on super conductors, they may or may not have one of ours by now).


as our system used a calibrated laser to measure displacement, and an
atomic clock to measure time they essential didn't require any
calibration, hence the term "absolute" gravimeter as opposed to the mass
and spring systems which are only relative and should be calibrated
against an absolute instrument.

no doubt if the original company had been continued i'd be well off by
now, oh well.  the job market in boulder colorado is savage, i was
almost hired by a laser company but they found someone who "practically
had his Ph.D. in lasers", they said they'd hire me next if i was still
around.  i also got hired to maintain the line at an electronics
assembly company, walked in to start work and every one was leaving,
they didn't get the contract and nearly every one was laid off,
including me who hadn't worked a minute for them.

if any one needs a genius with erratic help in casper wyoming, i'm
definitely available.  i also have a patent idea i've been thinking
about for a decade i need financing for, it's easily worth billions (a
really, really good way to make ozone, cheaply, reliably, and it's
scalable), but i need to do some actual hard materials science for a
couple of years to find the key, and that takes money (though not so
much).  if any one wants to know more, i'll have to find a suitable
non-disclosure non-use agreement, every one technical who've i've talked
to thinks it's brilliant, none of my friends have the funds however, and
at present i could only work about half time due to health (and i could
still do it in a couple of years!).  my potential is being savagely
wasted.  of course i've had other great ideas.  now if i can find
something simple to make to make money, that's the key!

"Peter L. Peres" wrote:
------
> In my experience the gravimeter is mounted on a gyro stabilised and damped
> platform good enough that it won't spill a glass full of water in a force
------

--
President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Secretary of
Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld,
and Attorney General John D. Ashcroft have committed violations and
subversions of the Constitution
of the United States of America.  <http://www.VoteToImpeach.org>  They should
be charged with high treason
and as leaders deserve the highest penalty.  If there is no rule of law
there can be no civilization.
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2004\10\17@194851 by hilip Stortz

picon face
that should be health, not "help" obviously.  i guess i should have
proof read it before i posted it.

Philip Stortz wrote:
-----
> if any one needs a genius with erratic help in casper wyoming, i'm
> definitely available.  i also have a patent idea i've been thinking
-----

--
President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Secretary of
Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld,
and Attorney General John D. Ashcroft have committed violations and
subversions of the Constitution
of the United States of America.  <http://www.VoteToImpeach.org>  They should
be charged with high treason
and as leaders deserve the highest penalty.  If there is no rule of law
there can be no civilization.
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2004\10\17@202811 by Peter L. Peres

picon face

On Sun, 17 Oct 2004, Dave VanHorn wrote:

>> station and records diurnal changes. When the two records are fed to the
>> computer it can figure out what the moon & tide did and remove the fast
>> noise from the movement of the instrument.
>
> Ok, I thought it might be something like this. WAY oversampled
> I saw a seismic observatory in Hawaii, that was able to see waves breaking on
> the shore (<1' waves) a couple miles away.

>From what I understand the ocean wave motion causes a 6Hz period noise
that can be registered anywhere on earth (including in the central USA).
Look up "lehman seismometer build wave noise" on the web.

> All in all, a fun measurement problem.

Measuring anything to 1 part in 100 billion is not fun. It is extremely
hard work.

>> It is not very hard to make a diy 'instrument' using bowling balls,
>> fishing line and a couple of other household implements:
>
> This is the cavendish rig then?

Yes, more or less.

Peter
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2004\10\17@234304 by David Koski

flavicon
face
On Sun, 17 Oct 2004 17:09:17 -0600
Philip Stortz <.....madscientist.at.largespamRemoveMEearthlink.net> wrote:

<snip>

> President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney,
> Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, and Attorney General
> John D. Ashcroft have committed violations and subversions
> of the Constitution of the United States of America.
> <http://www.VoteToImpeach.org>  They should be charged with high
> treason and as leaders deserve the highest penalty.  If there
> is no rule of law there can be no civilization.

Isn't this political?

David
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2004\10\18@041600 by Jose Da Silva

flavicon
face
On Sunday 17 October 2004 12:26 pm, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
> > if (foo == 3) {
> >
> > would collect "foo" and subtract the #3 to test for zero
> >
> > if (3 == foo) {
> >
> > would collect 3, place it on the stack, then collect foo,
> > then subtract foo from stack value "3"
>
> stack??

...just thinking-out-loud that C is supposed to be cross-platform.  ;-)

C is usually analyzed from left to right.
If you wish to speak PIC, you could say a fictional compiler creates this....
if (foo == 3) {
       movfw        foo
       xorlw        3
       skpz
       goto        endif
       ;do "if" here

if (3 == foo) {
       movlw        3
       movwf        scratchpad_temp
       movfw        foo
       xorlw        scratchpad_temp
       skpz
       goto        endif
       ;do "if" here


> Some compilers might do that, but most C compilers for PICs I know will
> evaluate 3 == foo and foo == 3 the same way. Jal certainly does.

Yes, there are optimizing compilers, but if you want your code to be
transportable, you can't assume all compilers optimize to that degree.
I've had to optimize more than enough code, so "if (foo == 3) {" has become
second nature to me...
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2004\10\18@054837 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Yes, there are optimizing compilers, but if you want your code to be
> transportable, you can't assume all compilers optimize to that degree.
> I've had to optimize more than enough code, so "if (foo == 3)
> {" has become second nature to me...

You can't rely on the order of evalution, and you can't rely on either
(foo == 3) or (3 == foo) to generate code that is better than the other
construct. If you need to dive this deep you are essentially programming
specifically for the compiler at hand, and you might be better of either
using a better compiler, or using assmebler.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


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2004\10\18@082146 by Bob Ammerman

picon face
{Quote hidden}

Why wouldn't the compiler just generate:

movlw 3
xorwf  foo,w
skpz
goto endif


Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

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2004\10\18@091426 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
> I feel the proper way to prevent this and other "C" easy potential mistakes
> is to use a tool, a static code checker (i.e. lint).

Yes!

> I use the open source LCLint which is included with most Linux distro's and
> next week will be changing over to its successor SPLint
> http://www.splint.org/.

Thanks a lot! I didn't know there was an open source lint around. That'll
sure become a part of my C environment.

> Use a version control tool, my favorite is QVCS from Quma
> Software http://www.qumasoft.com/.

I use cvsnt (http://cvsnt.org/) with TortoiseCVS as GUI client. Free and
pretty good. Not perfect, though.

Gerhard
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2004\10\18@101039 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 08:19 AM 10/18/2004 -0400, you wrote:


>Why wouldn't the compiler just generate:
>
>movlw 3
>xorwf  foo,w
>skpz
>goto endif

Hitech C emits

MOVF foo, W
XORLW 0x3
BTFSS 0x3, 0x2

Whether you write (foo == 3) or (3 == foo)

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
RemoveMEspeffspamspamBeGoneinterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com




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2004\10\18@124957 by M. Adam Davis

flavicon
face
Dave VanHorn wrote:

> That's what was bothering me.
> How do you measure gravity, in a portable instrument, when it's being
> bumped and banged around?

Use a slower sampling period.  If you measure (integrate) the instrument
over 10 seconds/minutes/hours/days you can pretty much zero out all the
effects of movement that have smaller periods (1/2 the sampling rate or
integration period, per nyquist).  Of course you're trading off update rate.

-Adam

>
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2004\10\18@131532 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face
At 11:49 AM 10/18/2004, M. Adam Davis wrote:

>Dave VanHorn wrote:
>
>>That's what was bothering me.
>>How do you measure gravity, in a portable instrument, when it's being
>>bumped and banged around?
>
>Use a slower sampling period.  If you measure (integrate) the instrument
>over 10 seconds/minutes/hours/days you can pretty much zero out all the
>effects of movement that have smaller periods (1/2 the sampling rate or
>integration period, per nyquist).  Of course you're trading off update rate.

That, and some fun tricks to clean up what the sensor sees, is what I
expected.

I like "fun" sensor problems. They make my head hurt sometimes, but always
satisfying in the end to come up with an inexpensive and effective solution
to the problem.


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2004\10\19@025702 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

On Oct 18, 2004, at 2:46 AM, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

> You can't rely on the order of evalution, and you can't rely on either
> (foo == 3) or (3 == foo) to generate code that is better than the other
> construct. If you need to dive this deep you are essentially
> programming
> specifically for the compiler at hand, and you might be better of
> either
> using a better compiler, or using assmebler.

Yes, exactly.  We have a rule here that before one goes out of their
way to "optimize" their code at the C source level (use of "inline",
funny code ordering, etc), they have to look at the actual object code
being produced and check that it's actually faster...

And Peter L. Peres wrote elsewhen:
>
>> It's just not ENGLISH.  Mathematicians will consider
>> an equality statement fully reversable; "foo = 3" is precisely
>> identical to "3 = foo"; one of the foundations of algebra, sort of.
>
> Does this have anything to do with mathematicians ranting about C being
> 'wrong' and the 'right' way being the Pascal syntax of foo := 3 ?

Yep.  Although the "rant" I heard was usually about BASIC, which goes
C one worse and uses "=" for both assignment AND equality testing.  And
they really hated the original "let A = A+1", since it has a resemblance
to mathematical language...

BillW

____________________________________________

2004\10\19@054226 by Jose Da Silva

flavicon
face
On Monday 18 October 2004 11:57 pm, William Chops Westfield wrote:
> On Oct 18, 2004, at 2:46 AM, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
> > You can't rely on the order of evalution, and you can't rely on either
> > (foo == 3) or (3 == foo) to generate code that is better than the other
> > construct. If you need to dive this deep you are essentially
> > programming
> > specifically for the compiler at hand, and you might be better of
> > either
> > using a better compiler, or using assmebler.
>
> Yes, exactly.  We have a rule here that before one goes out of their
> way to "optimize" their code at the C source level (use of "inline",
> funny code ordering, etc), they have to look at the actual object code
> being produced and check that it's actually faster...

In my case, there was only 1 compiler choice, which was for a device driver,
so it needed to be fast to minimize time within the driver. information was
passed around in DWORD dx:ax fashion by a 16bit compiler.
It is something I noticed generated by the compiler considering there isn't
enough registers but plenty of stack, so sometimes you would see stupid
stuff like take a value, put it in stack location bp+temp, then pull it off
bp+temp to do work.
Most of the code got tossed-out anyway, and replaced with asm.

(foo == 3) is perhaps too simple an example, and 2 people have already
pointed out how efficient Jal and hiTech are at optimizing if (foo == 3), so
I suppose the equivalent PIC would be to throw something more complicated
and see if they still rebound okay or if they begin to buckle.
(by buckle, I'm thinking that the designer optimized for common stuff, but
the less likely stuff is going to be less likely optimized)

I don't have either compiler to try these, but something more and more
complicated to try could be:

if (foo >= 258)
if (258 <= foo)
if (foo++ > -300)
if (-300 < foo++)
if (foo++ < ++bar)
if (++bar > foo++)

if (foo[bar++] > 3) <-might be nice on a chip with pre/post inc pointers such
as 6809 but probably comes out horrible on PIC.
____________________________________________

2004\10\19@055629 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face
Jose Da Silva wrote :

> if (foo[bar++] > 3) <-might be nice on a chip with pre/post
> inc pointers such as 6809 but probably comes out
> horrible on PIC.

Are not POSTDECn, POSTINCn and PREINCn
(in this regard) "pre/post inc pointers" ??

Jan-Erik.
____________________________________________

2004\10\19@133643 by dr. Imre Bartfai

flavicon
face
Clever and correct.
However, if you are measuring on the earth, 1m distance would yield a
difference in the 14th decimal place...

Imre

On Sun, 17 Oct 2004, Herbert Graf wrote:

{Quote hidden}

____________________________________________

2004\10\19@140201 by Herbert Graf

flavicon
face
On Tue, 2004-10-19 at 13:56, dr. Imre Bartfai wrote:
> Clever and correct.
> However, if you are measuring on the earth, 1m distance would yield a
> difference in the 14th decimal place...

Very true, but then I never did say it was easy! :) AFAIK it HAS been
done though, not sure of what distances were involved though. TTYL

-----------------------------
Herbert's PIC Stuff:
http://repatch.dyndns.org:8383/pic_stuff/

____________________________________________

2004\10\19@164207 by Jose Da Silva

flavicon
face
On Tuesday 19 October 2004 02:56 am, Jan-Erik Soderholm wrote:
> Jose Da Silva wrote :
> > if (foo[bar++] > 3) <-might be nice on a chip with pre/post
> > inc pointers such as 6809 but probably comes out
> > horrible on PIC.

My mistake.
I've got my processors mixed up... I was thinking you could auto inc/dec the
X Y U or S indexes on the 6809  :-(    It has offsets, but not auto inc/dec.

Okay... another processor may come out nice.... avr has it.  :-)
       ld        rn,Z+

> Are not POSTDECn, POSTINCn and PREINCn
> (in this regard) "pre/post inc pointers" ??

Not sure what you are asking?
____________________________________________

2004\10\20@002502 by Robert James Kaes

flavicon
face
On Tue, 19 Oct 2004, Jose Da Silva wrote:
> On Tuesday 19 October 2004 02:56 am, Jan-Erik Soderholm wrote:
> > Jose Da Silva wrote :
> > > if (foo[bar++] > 3) <-might be nice on a chip with pre/post
> > > inc pointers such as 6809 but probably comes out
> > > horrible on PIC.
>
> My mistake.
> I've got my processors mixed up... I was thinking you could auto inc/dec the
> X Y U or S indexes on the 6809  :-(    It has offsets, but not auto inc/dec.

Actually the 6809 _does_ have auto increment/decrement.  It has both
auto-increment by one or by two, and auto-decrement by one or two.

For example:

       LDA        ,X+
       LDB        ,Y++
       LDA        ,-X
       LDB        ,--Y

(I did have to crack open by copy of "TRS-80 Color Computer Assembly
Language Programming" by William Barden, Jr. to remind myself of the
indexed addressing mode.)
       -- Robert

--
Robert James Kaes
WormBytes Consulting and Contracting
http://www.wormbytes.ca/
____________________________________________

2004\10\20@031733 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face
Jose Da Silva wrote :

> Jan-Erik wrote :
> > Are not POSTDECn, POSTINCn and PREINCn
> > (in this regard) "pre/post inc pointers" ??
>
> Not sure what you are asking?

Well, earlier you wrote :

> if (foo[bar++] > 3) <-might be nice on a chip with pre/post
> inc pointers such as 6809 but probably comes out
> horrible on PIC.

I was just asking why that whould "come out horrible
on a PIC".

Jan-Erik.

____________________________________________

2004\10\20@104520 by Peter L. Peres

picon face

On Tue, 19 Oct 2004, Herbert Graf wrote:

> On Tue, 2004-10-19 at 13:56, dr. Imre Bartfai wrote:
>> Clever and correct.
>> However, if you are measuring on the earth, 1m distance would yield a
>> difference in the 14th decimal place...
>
> Very true, but then I never did say it was easy! :) AFAIK it HAS been
> done though, not sure of what distances were involved though. TTYL

You mean the experiment using the Moessbauer effect. It was a few meters
(tens at most).

Peter
____________________________________________

2004\10\20@134451 by hilip Stortz

picon face
of course, it's also a sig file, and i inquired about what was allowed
first.  i believe this is all right.  if the list moderator has problems
with it, i will be happy to change it.  otherwise any complaints (in
general about any "misconduct on the list) should be sent off list
directly to the moderator and the persons whom you feel has acted
inappropriately.  fyi, i welcome all intelligent comments (i.e. those
not simply calling me a moron, or accusing me of sedition, which is of
course inaccurate in the extreme, since impeachment is in fact a
function of government).

David Koski wrote:
{Quote hidden}

--
President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Secretary of
Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld,
and Attorney General John D. Ashcroft have committed violations and
subversions of the Constitution
of the United States of America.  <http://www.VoteToImpeach.org>  They should
be charged with high treason
and as leaders deserve the highest penalty.  If there is no rule of law
there can be no civilization.


____________________________________________

2004\10\20@153705 by Jose Da Silva

flavicon
face
On Tuesday 19 October 2004 09:24 pm, Robert James Kaes wrote:
> Actually the 6809 _does_ have auto increment/decrement.  It has both
> auto-increment by one or by two, and auto-decrement by one or two.
>
> For example:
>        LDA        ,X+
>        LDB        ,Y++
>        LDA        ,-X
>        LDB        ,--Y
>
> (I did have to crack open by copy of "TRS-80 Color Computer Assembly
> Language Programming" by William Barden, Jr. to remind myself of the
> indexed addressing mode.)
>        -- Robert

That's what I thought at first, but then to verify, I cracked open another
book, "The MC6809 Cookbook", did a quick look, didn't find it, therefore
ended-up with foot-n-mouth error.  :-(
Should have opened that book first, or looked "harder" in the 1st.  :-/
____________________________________________

2004\10\20@165912 by Jose Da Silva

flavicon
face
On Wednesday 20 October 2004 12:17 am, Jan-Erik Soderholm wrote:
> Well, earlier you wrote :
> > if (foo[bar++] > 3) <-might be nice on a chip with pre/post
> > inc pointers such as 6809 but probably comes out
> > horrible on PIC.
>
> I was just asking why that whould "come out horrible
> on a PIC".

I was thinking of a certain x86 processor doing far pointers using 16bit
commands when I said that, and therefore expected to see a fair bit of
register swaps using dx,ax,ds and more.
I was also thinking about some rather large embedded programs which produced
about 8k of code and did a lot of Freg swapping....
example routineX uses F10,F11,F12 as temp, but routineY also uses F10,F11, so
a couple routines call both routineX and routineY, therefore you got a fair
bit of swapping in/out of F10,F11 due to the conflicting routines (problem
due to not being able to hold values on a stack).

(just guessing steps required since got no compiler to verify)
       movfw        bar
       incf                bar,f
       addwf        foo,w
       movwf        IND0
       etc...
which is reasonable...

Basically, call that statement I made earlier, a mistake on my part.
I shouldn't apply large ideas to a PIC since it's going to deal with tiny
tables & re-use some registers within a limited prog + mem space anyways.

BTW, since you're hanging on that statement ready to pound it into the
ground, I'm guessing you looked at it and got a ready reply...
....so what did your compiler produce?
____________________________________________

2004\10\21@032147 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face
Jose Da Silva wrote :

> > I was just asking why that whould "come out horrible
> > on a PIC".
>
> I was thinking of a certain x86 processor...

Sorry, I just read "PIC" and thought you ment that.

> Basically, call that statement I made earlier, a mistake on my part.
> I shouldn't apply large ideas to a PIC...

Part of my point (not perfectly clear, yes :-) ) was that the term "PIC"
is a bit to generic. It's big differences between the PIC16-line and
the PIC18-line when it comes to "table handling" and "indexed addressing".

> BTW, since you're hanging on that statement ready to pound it
> into the ground,...

You're probably right... :-) :-)
Let's go on.

[EOT]

Regards,
Jan-Erik.
____________________________________________

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