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Programming Madness National Championship
Danny Budzinski

Programming Madness National Championship

Welcome to the Programming Tournament National Championship! For the sake of drama, I was going to make a Tournament Highlights blog first, but I figured that everyone was probably so overly excited that putting off the decision any longer would be inhumane. For anyone coming to the party late, I have spent the last 6 months (or 3 half-lives of Antimony Sb-124) reviewing the positives and negatives of different programming languages that I’ve worked with, pitting them head to head in a NCA...

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NI Week 2012 Wrap Up - Customizing Windows Embedded
Danny Budzinski

NI Week 2012 Wrap Up - Customizing Windows Embedded

The days have certainly flown by, and, I’m sad to say, NI Week 2012 has run its course. The last day was shorter and leaner than the others, so, unfortunately, none of the sessions really stood out to me. I did learn a little more about TestStand and sat in on a session on Network Connection Managers that reaffirmed a lot of DMC’s decisions in developing the network messaging daemon that we use. I also got an interesting look from JKI at a Continuous Integration implem...

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NI Week 2012 - Data Acquisition Done Right - Happy .NET Day!
Danny Budzinski

NI Week 2012 - Data Acquisition Done Right - Happy .NET Day!

The third day of NI Week 2012 proved the age old adage that the third day of a conference is always the best. If you read my first NI Week post, you probably knew that this was coming, and even though there were only 2 sessions that really appealed to me today, both were focused on using NI with .NET. Anyone with a significant .NET background who has also worked with LabVIEW has probably stumbled on NI’s .NET tool, Measurement Studio. I know to some that NI providing .NET tools sounds k...

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NI Week 2012 - Robot Summit
Danny Budzinski

NI Week 2012 - Robot Summit

It’s already day 2 of NI Week 2012, and it feels like things are really moving fast. In the same way, I broke out my goals for NI Week, I’ve been trying to focus each of the 4 days more or less on a specific theme. In light of that, I took day 2 to treat myself to a predominately robot themed day, favoring a number of the sessions on this year's “Robotics and Autonomous Vehicles Summit.” It seems like maybe that little bird at NI reads my blog because the first thing ...

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NI Week 2012 - Actor Framework
Danny Budzinski

NI Week 2012 - Actor Framework

Well, NI Week turns 18 this year, so you’d figure it would be time to go out and buy a few lottery tickets and some Swisher Sweets (because nothing says grown-up like candy coated cigarettes.) Luckily, though, NI Week 2012 has shown that LabVIEW is neither a gamble nor an immature platform. I mentioned a few of my anticipated highlights yesterday, and today I was able to get a fast start out of the gate, attending a session on the Actor Framework in my very first hour.   Now, th...

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NI Week 2012 Quick Update
Danny Budzinski

NI Week 2012 Quick Update

I know it might be hard to believe given my LabVIEW Architect status and 5+ years’ experience, but I arrived in muggy-but-nice Austin, TX this afternoon for my very first NI Week. No matter what the weather has been like in Chicago this summer, and even if Ken thinks the rooms inside are too cold to bear, it is pretty intensely HOT. Despite the fact that my cab from the airport didn’t have A/C, I’m trying to keep a positive attitude and soak in as much of the experience as I ca...

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Programming Madness - Conference Finals
Danny Budzinski

Programming Madness - Conference Finals

Admittedly, this process has taken me longer than the average gestation period for a hamster, a kangaroo, and an otter all put together, but the recent popular movement for tournaments has given this blog fresh life and also helped confirm my strengths as a local and national trendsetter.   Now that we have reached the semi-finals, a lot has already been said about our remaining contenders, C#, Python, Java, and C++.  All of these languages are strong, object-oriented plat...

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Programming Madness - Last of the Quarter Finals
Danny Budzinski

Programming Madness - Last of the Quarter Finals

Man time sure does fly. It seems like it was only a few weeks ago that I started a programming language competition in perfect synchronization with that month’s college tournament. Now that we are almost into the 3rd month after March though, I can only claim laziness, busy-ness, or an extravagant penchant for prolonging suspense as excuses for dragging this series out so long. For my own sake, I think I’ll take the last option. Regardless, we have seen a lot of shattered dreams and ...

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Programming Madness - Diving into Round 2
Danny Budzinski

Programming Madness - Diving into Round 2

First off, I would like to start out this post by apologizing for using significantly more than my allotted month of time for this tournament. You might have noticed I subtly dropped the “March” piece from the title, but let’s be honest, intense, compiler-versus-compiler competition is entertaining no matter what time of year it is.  I could probably find a way to tie this in with the Stanley Cup playoffs, but there is no way I’m writing up 7 game series for each ...

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March Programming Madness: Round 1 - Part 2
Danny Budzinski

March Programming Madness: Round 1 - Part 2

Although I have admittedly not been keeping pace with the rate of elimination of the other big tournaments this month, I like to think that the delay between updates is building at least some semblance of suspense. Even if most of my coworkers think I have already crowned a champion, I have legitimately been analyzing and researching each matchup with an open mind. After the first half of round one, the field is still wide open, so without further delay, let’s jump into the next four games...

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March Programming Madness - Let the Nerdament Begin
Danny Budzinski

March Programming Madness - Let the Nerdament Begin

With the first few rounds of the tournament in the books, I figured it was time to dive into the first round of our programming language tournament (or Nerdament as I like to call it.) For a rundown of the competitors, you can check out the opening bracket or you can also review some of the snubs. Once you are caught up, I hope that you are as excited for some fast-paced compiler vs. IDE action as I am. Our first matchup features the highly favored C# .Net taking on lowly, old-timey conferenc...

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March Programming Madness - The Snubs
Danny Budzinski

March Programming Madness - The Snubs

With the first few games of the NCAA tourney coming up fast, I wanted to address some of the hard feelings from the creation of the tournament field. If you missed the selection round, you can review the picks and the seedings here. Note that despite the rabble rousing that the seedings caused, the committee does not address seeding issues. Occasionally teams will be bumped up or down a seed or two in order to accommodate regional sites and avoid regular season rematches. I mean, who wants to se...

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March Programming Madness - The Bracket
Danny Budzinski

March Programming Madness - The Bracket

With the final few plays of the super bowl still fresh in mind, we enter March on the verge of another of the greatest events in sports, the March Madness of Programming Languages. This epic, world-renowned event (not to be confused with the similarly named athletic event) pits some of best programming languages head to head. At DMC, we pride ourselves in being fluent in many, many software languages from LabVIEW and .Net to PLC’s and microcontrollers. A team of engineers came...

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Danny Budzinski

DMC Kinect Demo News and Updates

As many of you may know, we used last week’s Oktoberfest party as an unofficial house warming party for our new office space. In addition to having a great turnout despite uncooperative weather, the Kinect Demo team from FedEx Day 2010 put in some extra hours to get our new display case setup to welcome guests. If you haven’t seen the display case, an early video is available here, and a detailed case study can be found in our case study section. In the new office, we were able to...

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Robot Dancing - Teaching Robots to Heal
Danny Budzinski

Robot Dancing - Teaching Robots to Heal

When, besides in children’s cartoons (and my Christmas blogs), do you ever get to see robots dancing? At the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry! This past week I had another opportunity to check out cutting edge robotics at the museum. This event was showcasing Aldebaran Robotics’ Nao (pronounced “Now”) Robot, a top notch humanoid robot companion. Not only is this robot the star of the international Robocup Challenge, it also is used in research around the w...

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Robots vs. Humans Soccer - Teaching Robots to Learn
Danny Budzinski

Robots vs. Humans Soccer - Teaching Robots to Learn

Anyone who has frequented my blog entries knows that I am one of the biggest robot-enthusiasts at DMC. That's why I was so excited to get a chance to attend a lecture at the Museum of Science and Industry given recently by Dr. Minoru Asada, a top researcher in modern robotics and one of the driving forces behind Robocup, and Mr. Ken Nagasaka, of Panasonic Factory Solutions of America. Aside from getting to see human vs. robot soccer, presented by Dr. Asada, both presentations were great a...

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LabVIEW DAQmx Assistant VIs
Danny Budzinski

LabVIEW DAQmx Assistant VIs

Ever wish you could replicate the NI Measurement and Automation Explorer interfaces in LabVIEW code? You can! Download DMC DAQmx Assistant Tools For years I have been looking for a good implementation of NI MAX that I could encapsulate and throw into my LabVIEW apps so that customers can edit measurement channels, scaling, calibration, etc. from inside of my application instead of having to explain to them what NI MAX is, how to use it, what not to modify, etc. Unfortunately there hasn&...

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Creating a Modular LabVIEW Application (Part 3 of 3): Creating Universal Control
Danny Budzinski

Creating a Modular LabVIEW Application (Part 3 of 3): Creating Universal Control

This is the final entry in a 3 part series for creating modular, scalable LabVIEW programs. Feel free to visit the first two entries, “Creating a Modular LabVIEW Application (Part 1 of 3): Creating an Expandable Data Format” and “Creating a Modular LabVIEW Application (Part 2 of 3): Eliminating VI Dependencies”. This final part will focus on the need for a universal control and communication scheme between VI’s that control test devices and sample data and some m...

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Introducing LabVIEW Object Oriented Programming to your Toolbox
Danny Budzinski

Introducing LabVIEW Object Oriented Programming to your Toolbox

The concept of LabVIEW Object Oriented Programming (LVOOP) has been around for a number of years now, but has consistently been one of those areas that seemed to have to high of a learning curve to justify learning “just because”. Luckily, in a recent project I managed to get the green light for implementing an object oriented (OO) solution. For me the biggest appeal for OO programming in LabVIEW was the increase in organization, manageability, and code-reuse that it offers. The i...

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Creating a Modular LabVIEW Application (Part 2 of 3): Eliminating VI Dependencies
Danny Budzinski

Creating a Modular LabVIEW Application (Part 2 of 3): Eliminating VI Dependencies

This is the second part of a 3 part series on creating modular, scalable LabVIEW applications. If you haven’t, feel free to read the first section, “Creating a Modular LabVIEW Application (Part 1 of 3): Creating an Expandable Data Format”. This part of the series will focus on avoiding data dependency between different devices and VI’s. Obviously there are going to be some cases where it is unavoidable, but for the most part, you want to strive to make any 1 piece of y...

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