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Home > Cypress Developer Community > Blogs > Dave's Corner: The Dave Van Ess Blog


Dave's Corner: The Dave Van Ess Blog
Jan 27, 2012

I have been engineering for a long time now and I am still surprised how parochial software engineers can be.  I define it has a focus on immediate concerns at the exclusion of wider contexts.  I find software engineers are the first to propose and insist on a spec but also first to ignore it when they don t agree with the one someone else developed.  In short, it is an attitude that everything would be great if everyone did it my way.  

 When I first got to Cypress the tools team insisted that that all variables in Cypress developed code should use the Hungarian format.  Variables are written CamelCase with a small character in front to designate the type of variable it is.  (iCat is an integer and wCat is an unsigned integer.)  Some people got nuts and had multiple descriptors. So  papsCat was a pointer to an array of pointers to structures.  I thought it was kinda dumb, I mean the words of a modern language have different meanings from their position.  You don t have to have sentences like this.

 

sTom vSlugged oTed.

  (sTom is the subject, vSlugged is the verb , and oTed is the object.)

 

But I am a team player and if they say we use Hungarian style, I use Hungarian style.  Now that we have a different group of tool developers that decided we need a new spec and now Hungarian style is forbidden.  What was mandatory is now forbidden.

 

I suggested that why we didn t just let the programmer use whatever style they liked.  They said then the code would not be consistent which meant we would have inconsistent code which meant code not look consistent.  My response was quote from Emerson.

 

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

 

In 16th century England when they had a Catholic Queen, they filled the prisons with Protestants.  When they had a Protestant Queen they fill the prisons with Catholics.  All in the name of a consistent religious policy.

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Jan 16, 2012

I just received notice that I have been granted a patent.  I was notified by the Patent Awards company of Warsaw Indiana.  The patent was issued on January 10th and I received the letter on the 15th.  I have gotten patents while employed at three different companies and old P.A. has always been the first to notify me.  Three cheers for the profit motive.  They only make money when people get patents and want a plaque.  They sent me a very nice letter and suggested I may want to commemorate this experience with a plaque.  I remember how excited I was getting the first and now I couldn t say how many I have without checking the Patent office.  Some people display their patents on their office walls.  I never cared to do that as I am intimidating enough in person.  I gave one plaque to my son, one to my daughter and I am saving a couple for the grandkids whenever they come along.  A couple of the plaques were mounted on very nice pieces of black American walnut.  Not anymore!  They are now commemorative brassy plates.  Instead of giving me another plaque I wish the company would give me about eight board feet of French Oak.  I ll make my own plaque!

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Jan 13, 2012

I got a kindle for Christmas and I must say the future doesn t look good for the store front bookstore.  I used to buy most books either at Amazon or at Half Prices Books.  I used bookstores only when I needed a book immediately.  This would mostly be at airports.  Well now instead getting up and walking across the isle to the airport shop, I can purchase a book via wireless while keeping my seat or while waiting in line to get on the plane.   Borders closed recently and frankly I don t think it looks good for those that are left.  I think they will have to go into the instant printing business and significantly reduce their inventory.  Of course there will be niche markets for unique groups.

 I was walking around the humble side of a nameless city and I saw a sign that said Radical Vegan Women s Alliance Bookstore and Café .  I decided with a name like that I just had to go in.  As I go in the audio level drops to almost nothing.  I go to a table and wait for service a loooong time.  Realizing that I am staying until served; finally a most unfriendly waitress comes over and plops down a menu and says WHAT DO YA WANT!  I look over the menu and order a veggie burger served on portabella mushrooms.  I then ask if I could get that with cheese.  She glares at me and says.  THIS IS A VEGAN RESTAURANT AND YOU CANT GET CHEESE!  I apologized and asked if instead I could get bacon.  At that point she invoked her right to refuse me service and demanded I leave.  I didn t even get to ask if they had this month s Popular Mechanics.

You have to admit you will never get this kind of fun with Amazon.

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Jan 04, 2012

Of course it stands for read Read The Fricken Manual .  Here at Cypress. when you hire on you get a set of initials.  Originally two letters, they quickly became three letters and recently they went to four letters.  Originally your initials were assigned to you on a like it or lump it basis.     (I am so happy that I am no Alam Samuel Smith).  Now with four letters you are allowed to request a particular combination.  (So you only have to be DORK if you want to.)  If I could choose my initials it would be RTFM

What is it about people s unwillingness to attempt to figure out things for themselves?  And it isn t any better with non technical people.  I have a web site with tools to design scroll sawn bowls and baskets (www.scrollmania.com ).  I had a user e-mail with such basic questions it was apparent he had not read the tutorials.  I suggested he read the first one but to no avail.  So he asked every question that the tutorial answered, pretty much in the order the tutorial answered them.  And I m not getting paid for this! (Go ahead and read the first Polydraw tutorial and give me your feedback.)  But pleas read it first!

 On the up side, I had a manager call me to ask why was his engineer couldn t get his application going and wanted to know wat was wrong with the part.  I told him I thought the application was well discussed in the app note but the Engineer would not completely read it.  I sent this manager the app note and asked him to read it.  He called me back to say that after reading it, it became clear how to fix the project and they had it going by the end of the day.  He also said he made the Engineer copy the complete apps note by hand.  He said he wanted to make sure he read every word.

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