Using Wireless Sensor Networks In the Home

As energy conservation becomes more important in the following years homeowners will want to better utilize the amount of power that they use. Houses were and are still built under the assumption that power is a cheap commodity and homes can be quite wasteful in that regard. There is a broad range of information that a home wireless sensor network could collect to allow for better utilization of the energy.
Continue reading

Why Don’t Open Source Projects Take Improvements From Their Users?

Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror has an interesting post today about how WordPress can max out the CPU of a server ( In the article he discusses how WP is really slowed down by the fact that it generates every page dynamically each time they are accessed (which in hindsight makes sense). But by just adding a caching plug-in it can really improve performance. During the course of the article he gets into the fact that WP should just roll this functionality into the base install given the increased performance.

This isn’t the first time I have heard this about an open source project. Firefox could be picking the top 10 plug-ins and integrate them into the next version. That way there would be official support for the features people want.

I had problems earlier this year with TinyXML not exporting very small floating point numbers in scientific notation. After trolling the internet I found that someone had already submitted a patch for that same problem over a year ago. I’m not sure why the TinyXML patches aren’t being integrated but I wonder how many other people have had the same problem. It makes me feel bad because the community involvement is really what sets open source apart and some projects just don’t take advantage of that.

What is the Market For High Quality Code

I just started reading Daily WTF and it’s really scary. Occasionally, they publish an article about someone’s experience at some business that handles money (bank, market trader, etc) where they have some mission critical piece of software that barely functions. The current year is hard coded, there are individual tables for each fiscal year, and the problems go on and on. Often we have experience with software that doesn’t work properly or crashes constantly on a daily basis.

A lot of self taught programmers and “classically” trained (if such a thing exists in our field) that don’t know their goto’s from a hole in the ground. The question needs to be asked: How many of these kinds of people end up starting their own consulting or software development business? When a businesses needs to have some custom code written for their in-house order tracking/billing/”add extra feature here” software they pick the cheapest bid and get what they paid for. It’s too bad we don’t have some kind of website where normal businesses can review contract programmers before they are hired.

This does explain why my credit card information has been stolen THREE times over the last year…

Finally Caught Up

It’s odd finally being caught up with my school work. It seems like for the past 13 weeks I have been constantly working on some project or homework or had a test looming on the horizon. With the exception on my finals, one homework and a programming assignment I finally feel like there is nothing else I need to worry about. Thursday night, after I finished a project, was the most relaxed I have felt in a long time and I really felt the weight come off my shoulders. I’m going to take advantage of today and rest a bit before I start working on the three remaining chapters I have to read and the lab that needs to be done Tuesday.

I wish there could be more weekends like this during the semester but at least the end is in sight…

A Picture Box That Remebers It’s Path In C#

I started messing around with C# earlier and I thought that I would look at porting some of my code. It’s actually really easy to just start writing C# code after knowing a little bit of .NET and Java. From what I have seen so far it’s kind of like the bastard child between the two. I’m still picking up on the small changes but hopefully the book I ordered will fill in the gaps.
Continue reading