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Best Documentation of a Free Software Package

One oft overlooked artifact in software development is the documentation. An API that is not well documented is no API at all when time is of the essence. That's why I think it is important to discuss some of the tools I have used and their documentation.

AutoIt - I love how you simply press F1 within the AutoIt editor and boom, the reference to the particular syntax or function pops up in the help window. This help file is well written, self-contained, and chock full of examples that can be opened up in the editor right from the help, a fantastic symbiotic relationship. After installing AutoIt and giving it a try using their examples, I was able to create client/server scripts, GUI scripts, and window management scripts in no time. Overall, AutoIt is tops in this competition. A+

MySQL - At the bottom of each page of documentation that discusses a particular statement, users are able to post comments containing code snippets for that particular statement. This is great... MySQ…

10 #android apps I can't do without

After a couple of months with my #atrix, I have found some apps to be indispensable. Here they are:

Checklist - a great way to organize todo lists to track progress in getting get things done!

Evernote - to jot down my random yet important thoughts.

Tweetdeck - all in one social networking platform.

PowerAmp - a better music player.

Widget Locker - a faster way to get to my most commonly used apps.

Youtube - watching and uploading video.

Slashdot - latest nerdy headlines.

Gmail - primary email.

Yahoo Mail - spam email.

Kindle - to read a book on the go.

Angry Birds - waste time on occasion.

What are your favorite android apps?

posted from Bloggeroid

5 reasons why I don't like e-readers for programming

As a developer, I probably see things a lot differently than your average Kindle or Nook novel reader. I am much more concerned with the information supplied and rely less on the prose and more on the ability to allow a book to be reviewed by my colleagues. Recently, I bought a book (Advanced CORBA Programming in C++) and read it e-cover-to-e-cover on my smartphone. There were lots of positives which can really be summarized by the convenience in being able to pick up the novel anytime in the convenience of my handheld device. That said, here are 5 reasons why I don't think e-readers are ready for prime time for programming books.


They don't allow printing - E-reader companies may balk at the idea of trying to support network printer drivers because they feel that people will be likely to print out an entire book and make copies at will. I find this to be unreasonable, because I feel at most a programmer would want to print out a few code examples or beefy definitions at wor…

Matlab and MySQL

I had a lot of data in a MySQL database that I wanted to analyze. I had a copy of Matlab, so I figured the best way to look at this all would be to plot this data and use some GUI elements to go through various combinations. After some Googling, I found this database connector that seemed to do the trick. I downloaded the files, configured mex to use MSVC 2008, built the connector, then I was able to successfully connect over the network! I ran into two problems, though:The connector does not support fetching columns of type TIMESTAMP, andWith the magnitude of data (about 180k rows), access times were really slow.I was able to solve problem #1 by changing my columns to DATETIME, which was supported. I'm still trying to figure out problem #2. It may come down to importing all the data directly into Matlab.

C++ and its major Boost

C++ has some major shortcomings. The STL doesn't include a hash map using custom keys, its string to number converters make it hard to detect errors, and there just seem to be so many languages that are bundled with better standard libraries (look at Java and its support for Time/Date, atomic type conversion).

However, I am a huge fan of C++. I like the fact that there are unsigned types (unlike Java), type safety makes code less error prone (unlike python, ruby, and perl), it is polymorphic and inheritable (unlike C), its reference types provide speed, and it is ported more often to embedded platforms than any other language besides maybe C. So, how are these strengths leveraged by overcoming the obvious weaknesses?

Enter Boost. It has solutions for many of the shortcomings of C++ and some very useful utilities as well. In a recent development project, I used Boost as a supplement to C++ within the Windows environment because I wasn't sold on the .NET framework, and I wanted …

Android Platform Setup - somewhat circuitous, but still easy

It's been a while since I have had to seriously use Java in a development application, but now that I plan to develop apps on my Atrix, I'm going to have to get back into it.

I just installed my Android environment on my Windows 7 laptop. The instructions from the Android website were somewhat difficult to follow given the number of utilities required and the order in which they ought to be installed. To save time from having to piece together to components in the right order from the Android site, here's what I did:

1. Downloaded and installed JDK (Java SE) 6 update 24 64-bit.

2. Downloaded and installed the Android SDK (installer_r10-windows.exe) from the Android website.

3. Under the Android SDK Manager, selected SDK Platform Android 2.2 (since this is what my Atrix has) and downloaded/installed.

4. Downloaded and extracted Eclipse Classic v3.6.2 (eclipse-SDK-3.6.2-win32-x86_64.zip).

5. Started Eclipse Classic, went to Help -> Install new software, and just followed the …