Sunday, July 27, 2008

NI Week - LabVIEW-fest

NI Week is getting close and I'm excited. NI Week is a huge LabVIEW-fest, it's almost all about LabVIEW...LabVIEW presentations, demonstrations, and key-notes. I'm still excited about being at NI Week in spite of that. Luckily there are some LabWindows/CVI presentations and, at least last year, there was a CVI section in the NI display. I want to thank Wendy Logan for her work on the CVI stuff. Here's a link to some of the CVI events.

I'm not a huge LabVIEW fan, mainly because of the mouse use and Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. Recently I realized there were other reasons too. I read a book called "In the beginning was the command line" by Neal Stephenson. It talks some about the history of OSs and about controlling the computers. It made me start thinking about how I use computers...not at work but at home. At work, everything is setup for you, you use the OS, tools, etc that work wants you to use.

At home I use Linux (Ubuntu). I like it because if there is a problem, I can look into it, I can figure it out. I can look under the With LabVIEW, when one of the Vi's doesn't work, or seems to not work, you have to call NI and let them know and they fix it. It's out of my hands. Whatever is under the hood is proprietary, I'm told. You can't just open a Vi with a text editor or compile it from a command line. I can open a file for a C/C++ or Java program, enter it, compile it and run it. Very simple. LabVIEW introduces another layer of abstraction and I just can't see what's below the layer. I've written (in college) a simple C compiler so I understand it, I'm comfortable with it.

LabVIEW is the language of test, the language of the Future, and will be around a long time. You just can see what's under the hood.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

NI Week - Boondoggle?

It's about two weeks until NI-Week and I'm excited. However, some at work say it's just a boondoggle (Definition: Boondoggle - To do work of little or no practical value merely to keep or look busy. []). They say people go to Seminars just to get out of work, get paid, and goof off. I say that NI-Week (i.e. Seminar's) are what you make of it. You go to learn. You go to get a hangover. No boondoggle here.

Most of them had a chance to go themselves. However, since we're suppose to report on what we learn from NI-Week, most people chose didn't ask to go.

Last year I went and I learned a lot, not just about NI products, but about how other companies do things, equipment is out there, and what services are available. There was a lot of helpful seminar' on many different subjects.

One problem I had last year was I brought back a lot of good information, but then I was indirectly told to do my job like we've always do it. So is it really a boondoggle if you learn and not allowed to use what you learn? I say no.

At least this year I'll get to report on what I learn whether I get to use it or not.

I'm planning on learning:
- What are the future trends in Test Software Development?
- Trends in shrinking Test Set design.
This is where my learning experience starts, but once I get there my focus may change. I also want use the digital video camera to come up with some good man on the street views on these things.

My goal for this year is to go, learn, come back and teach anyone who will listen. Of course I want to network and have fun, too.

Everyone should go, learn, and have fun.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

NI-Week Seminars

Below are some links to view the NI-Week seminar's along with a message the Conference manager left me on their message board. You can use the links to see what seminar's will be availible.

Now you can start planning your learning experiance at NI-Week. I hope to everyone there!!


We are working hard to get the NIWeek Final Program onto so you can see all the great activity that will be happening at this year's event. It will be the largest NIWeek ever from a technical content perspective with over 240 sessions from which to select.

Until that PDF is available, here are the links that will allow you to see the content online, register if needed and start to build your personal NIWeek schedule.

If you are not registered for NIWeek and want to see the content that will be presented. Go here to View Sessions. This shows you the content but not the dates, times and locations of each session. Only registrants are able to see that information at the link below.

For registrants, you can now go here to Build a Schedule.

See you in 21 days!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Great Engineers

I've written blogs on how people are the most important tool and I've written on what test people need to know. But as I watch various engineers, not jsut test engineers, there are some who do better than the rest. And some who seem to have potential but can't quite have it all together. I was thinking about some of the characteristics of great engineers (Test or otherwise). Here's what I think.

Great Engineers...

...know what they are doing, they have a reason for doing what they do and they know why things are happening like they are.

...don't believe things "Just Happen" (corollary to the above) They don't feel comfortable with just using instrument, specific electronics, API's or algorithms. They need to know how they really work.

...understand their business and their customers. Great Engineers know what matters for their customers and their business. They can make trade offs that make the most business sense and for their customer.

...put customers and their team first. No task is below a great engineer and no customer is unimportant.

...have the highest integrity and ethics. They care about how they accomplish their tasks. Great engineers care about their team and their customers and keep integraty and ethics in all of their dealings.

...have excellent people skills and communications skills. Great Engineers work well with others, respect others, and communicate clearly and effectively.

...have a wide support network. Great Engineers have contacts and a network to support them and to allow the engineer to be far more effective and become a great engineer.

There are many other aspects like quality, focus, and design skills but I have to stop typing somewhere.

These soft skills differentiate the great engineers from good engineers. I know I have short coming in some of these area's but I also know I am always trying to improve and hopefully become a Great Engineer.

"Know me for who I am, Revere me for how I got here" - Qwezzen

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I'm going to NI Week!!

NIWeek 2008

The company I work for has decided to allow me to go to NI-Week. My boss said that anyone who goes will have to give a presentation on "What I learned at NI-Week". Apparently not many wanted to do that, but I'm more than willing to give a presentation to go to NI-Week.

I've also had some e-mail correspondence with a PR person from NI and she said I could check out a USB video camera to record my experience at NI-Week. It will a video for NI but I'm also going to put some of the video here, so I want to get some good footage. I'm looking for any interesting and unique aspects of NI-Week I can find; Or any interesting or unique people I can get on video.

I would also like to meet anyone who reads this and is at NI-Week for the video, too.

I want encourage everyone who is able to go to NI-Week, at least on the free Expo Pass. It's a great experience! Plus Austin is fun, the music on 6th street is great, and UT is there.