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SharePoint Workflow Looping
Danny Budzinski

SharePoint Workflow Looping

On a recent project, I was given an interesting challenge by a customer using SharePoint. Basically the desire was to have a recursive "For loop" function in SharePoint using nothing but native tools (i.e. workflows). Googling the subject, I found very little helpful information, but I was able to come up with a workable solution of my own and thought it was worth blogging about. The desired scenario was to have a bunch of records in a list where a user could perform a process on al...

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Tips for CAN:  Dynamic Frame Definition with National Instruments NI-CAN
Darren Jones

Tips for CAN: Dynamic Frame Definition with National Instruments NI-CAN

Back in the stone age (i.e. NI-CAN 1.2), us LabVIEW 6 programmers had to write our own parsing routines for dynamically-specified data inside a CAN frame. At the driver layer, we were locked-in to only one layer of arbitration. An oft-overlooked but extremely powerful feature in contemporary versions of the NI-CAN drivers handle this automatically. Example: a BMS (battery managment system) for a hybrid automotive battery broadcasts status information. Status information will always be availab...

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DMC is a Windows Embedded Partner
Matt Puskala

DMC is a Windows Embedded Partner

We are happy to announce that DMC has become a Windows Embedded Partner. DMC has been an active partner with Microsoft, joining the Microsoft Partner Program in 2001 and acheiving Gold Partner status in 2007. Our Windows Embedded Partner status reflects our familiarity with Windows Embedded platforms, included Windows Embedded operating systems and the Microsoft .NET Micro Framework. Due to DMC's experience and expertise with the Microsoft Visual Studio .NET development environment, usin...

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Developing via Database Stored Procedures
Benjamin Zeinz

Developing via Database Stored Procedures

Database stored procedures (SPs) allow you to save custom SQL queries and invoke them programmatically. This is great for 2 reasons: The execution plan is pre-compiled, so the queries execute faster than ad-hoc SQL commands that cannot map out a plan until executed. The query logic does not reside on the invoking program. Most Database programmers give a cursory nod at 1, but never realize the specific benefits of 2; namely simplifying deployment. At DMC, the most common Database...

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David Simmons

Programming Standards

As a company specialized in selling engineering solutions, DMC spends a great deal of time developing software. We believe that there are great benefits to establishing programming standards, which, if used properly, improves the quality of code and decreases the time that it takes to bring new engineers onto a project. Benefits of standardization include making code: Modular & reusable Readable & understandable Easier to debug All of these features decrease our custome...

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Encryption Compatibility Between .NET Micro Framework and the Full .NET Framework
Tim Jager

Encryption Compatibility Between .NET Micro Framework and the Full .NET Framework

We are big fans of the .NET Micro Framework. For anyone who hasn't heard of it, it's a super light version of the .NET Framework that runs on resource-constrained devices embedded systems (read more of our thoughts on .Net Micro Framework). It's a great platform, however sometimes we do run into issues. The Micro Framework has lighter versions of some of the core functions built into the standard .NET Framework. The encryption functions built into the standard .NET platform are no...

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Customer Service Fundamentals Part IV - Managing Expectations
Frank Riordan

Customer Service Fundamentals Part IV - Managing Expectations

I have previously written about our first three Customer Service Fundamentals - the posts can be found here. Today I'm writing about our fourth customer service fundamental: Understand, Manage, and Where Possible, Exceed Expectations. I started writing this about a week ago and came up with a decent enough, though somewhat plain, and fairly predictable entry. Since I knew what I had written didn't fully capture the essence of how we truly go above & beyond for our customers,...

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TDMS Tools
Leon Grossman

TDMS Tools

Data managment in Test and Measurement applications is critical to the usability of the final product. It is no use to acquire data if you can't use it. Traditionally, we would write data out into some form of tab delimited text file. This works really well but has some significant drawbacks in larger file size and loss of precision. Enter TDMS, a file format created by National Instruments which provides the ability to write complex data formats to a single binary file readable by Micros...

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Using the JavaScript 'window.onbeforeunload' Event
Danny Budzinski

Using the JavaScript 'window.onbeforeunload' Event

SyntaxHighlighter.all(); When creating data entry forms in ASP .NET, the JavaScript onbeforeonload event can add a huge improvement to the end user experience. This nifty little event is fired before a page is unloaded (duh) and will keep users from navigating off of a page (and even from closing their browser) when they have unsaved changes on a data entry form. The onbeforeunload event behaves a bit oddly for an event. Basically in your event handler function, if you return anything, the e...

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.NET Commenting Macro
David Simmons

.NET Commenting Macro

At DMC, one of our core values is to "Share Information". Sharing information is critical while working with other engineers on many projects, including projects that use our Microsoft Visual Studio .NET skill set. One way we communicate with each other is by adding comments into source code when making changes - it creates a visual record that is useful in determining when and why a change was made. However, it can become tedious to manually enter comments with my initials and toda...

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Reliable alternate for slow or unreliable DNS
Ken Brey

Reliable alternate for slow or unreliable DNS

My ISP at home, WOW, has started filtering DNS lookups and redirecting unresolvable names to their own search site. I found a lengthy discussion of this issue here. Basically, if you misspell something, a Yahoo search results, and they must be getting some money from Yahoo for the ads that you might click. WOW considers this a "feature". The trouble that this causes is other local resources are never searched for in a workgroup because everything resolves as a valid internet name. ...

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Frank Riordan

Engineers + Improv = Creative Messaging

Every three of four months (or so - depending on everyone's schedule) DMC has an all-day off site company meeting to review progress, plan ahead and to try to discuss topics that will improve things both for us and for our customers. Last week we met and the learning focus was on engaging with clients and delivering the DMC "message." Because we work with such a variety of technologies, processes and industries, it becomes quite challenging to deliver a message that is meaningfu...

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DMC Remodeling
Danny Budzinski

DMC Remodeling

Anyone who has ever visited the DMC office probably has made a trip into the friendly 'DMC Annex'. The 'Annex' (which is not really an annex at all, but rather a sub-office in need of a name due to its friendly welcoming attitude) is home to 3 of our top engineers, Nick Shea, Kristie Simon, and, of course, myself. The 'Annex' is a tight knit group, together now for 2+ years, comprising 3/4 of the DMC soccer team, and representing a good portion of the non-computer engi...

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LabVIEW TDMS Write-Close Issue
Brent Hoerman

LabVIEW TDMS Write-Close Issue

I discovered an interesting issue with the LabVIEW 8.6 TDMS Write / Close routine I want to share and document for anyone else unlucky enough to encounter it. In defense of LabVIEW, this issue is only encountered if the programmer uses the TDMS Write and Close out of order (yes, I admit to this). However, in my defense, the error produced by such a 'boneheaded' programming mistake should not abruptly crash your system. Background: I was stress testing a large automated testing soft...

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Ken Brey

Backup at DMC goes full circle

In the beginning, all of the important files at DMC fit onto a single 100MB iomega ZIP disk. Since 1996 we have grown to a 25 person company and gone from 0 servers to 6. We used BackupExec for a couple years but then switched to Dantz Retrospect for it's superior ability to redundant incremental backup sets. Dantz Retrospect became EMC Retrospect in a merger, and now (over a year ago actually) EMC has bought iomega. So now Retrospect can be found on the iomega web site.

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"Team DMC" competes in 2009 Chicago Bastille Day 5K
Frank Riordan

"Team DMC" competes in 2009 Chicago Bastille Day 5K

For at least 9 years (maybe even 10) DMC has been entering a contingency of runners in the annual Bastille Day Race in Chicago's West Loop. This year we get to crown the newest member of our team as the fastest member of our team. Jesse Batsche, who joined us in January, unseated Jody Koplo as the "World's Fastest Engineer who works at DMC" The race times and per mile pace are as follows: DMC 2009 Chicago Bastille Day 5K Results   Runner ...

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Ken Brey

NASA sees the advantages of Structured Light for 3D vision

Recent press releases by NASA show how the agency is realizing the advantages of using Structured Light for 3D vision. A recent NASA Invention of the Year was a hand-held, battery-operated scanner that they use to create surface maps of shuttle tile damage. The same high-speed 3D scanner technology can also be used for longer range 3D measurements. NASA is investigating using this method for Rover Navigation and in-flight shuttle inspection with a system mounted on the robotic arm. DMC ...

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.NET Micro Framework and the GHI Embedded Master
Dan Freve

.NET Micro Framework and the GHI Embedded Master

Recently I've had the opportunity to do some embedded development using the .NET Micro Framework platform. The .NET Micro Framework is a light-weight version of the full .NET framework that can be ported to run on a variety of processors, including the ARM and Blackfin architectures. Using the .NET Framework, developers can implement their solutions in C#. While developing an embedded program in a managed language may sound foreign to most engineers, the obvious benefits are rapid develop...

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Using FBVEL Gain for PID Servo motion tuning Acroloop
Ken Brey

Using FBVEL Gain for PID Servo motion tuning Acroloop

I have been using Acroloop 9000 controllers to control a number of machines where one axis is a high-speed rotary motor that drives a mechanical cam-driven process. During operation of the machine, the motor accelerates from a stop to a constant high speed, and then back to a stop. The mechanical cam performs dozens of cycles during the process while the motor is at a constant speed. The difficulty in tuning this process is that the motor experiences changing loads and inertias as the mechani...

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Danny Budzinski

Trick for Adding an Entire Excel Workbook to Microsoft OneNote

Recently I was using OneNote to compile a lot of test data from Excel and ran into a problem. My data was in a number of different worksheets and when I dragged and dropped the Excel file as a printout into OneNote, I only got 1 of the sheets, not all of the many sheets of data. I didn't want to keep inserting the sheets 1 by 1 so I looked into it and I figured out how to get the whole workbook into OneNote in 1 fell swoop: Open the Excel workbook you want to import as a printout...

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