Snow Storm

There was a severe winter storm warning in effect for most of the day. In total, 8" fell, to the best of my knowledge. It was rather refreshing, as I've not enjoyed a lasting quantity of snow for a many years.

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HanDBase: DB Popup to Tie Fields

After I bought my iPod, I hoped to find an iOS version of a Palm OS database I used. However, no iOS version existed at the time, so I bought two database programs: iData, which I had used for years on my Macs and with my Palm handhelds, and HanDBase, which has been around for a long time. HanDBase offers many different field types, so I tend to use it more, as in the case below.

Currently a student, I work irregularly as a tutor. I use HanDBase to keep track of who, for whom, where, and whatnot. When tax time comes around, I need to know my mileage in traveling to and from tutoring sessions. My dilemma was how to tie an easily recalled text field, like "Home<->Ivy Tech NMC" to the less-easily-recalled mileage. Thanks to the HanDBase forum, I was directed to a quite useful DB Popup tutorial.

What I did was create a second database, "Tutor_Distance," with four fields and enough records to contain all the locations where I might tutor. I filled the database with destinations and distances confirmed with Google Maps. Here are the second database's fields:

  1. Depart: text field with, for me, mnemonically friendly items
  2. From-To: float field of distances, which I've set to just one decimal
  3. Return: text field for where I leave from
  4. To-From: float field, just like the one above

In my main database file, I set the "Departure" and "Miles To" fields to DB Popups; I did the same with the "Return" and "Miles From" fields. For each DB Popup field, I chose the second database then the corresponding field, for which various settings exist; for example, how many characters from the linked field can be brought in. Then I specified two groups, which are identified in the DB Popup field: 1, for the two fields for going to; 2, the two for coming back.

I have some displays ("Views" in HanDBase parlance) to tweak, but now things are working quite well. If I need a new location, I just add it to the second database, "Tutor_Distance," and it instantly becomes an option for the main database.

The following screenshots might help illustrate what I did and how.

When I choose my "Departure" or "Return" fields in the main database, this is the window I get showing options from the database linked in the DB Popup field property. I set the linked database's text fields to display at 50% each, since I no longer need to see the actual distances.

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This is what a DB Popup field property looks like:

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Tutoring 2012

Tonight was surely my last round of tutoring for 2012. I've had great students and wish them all success on their tests. I look forward to continuing with a few and meeting new students as well.

Japanese Tutor

Earlier this year I taught an introductory Japanese course to a group of home school students. One was a sharp 14-year-old girl who enrolled in first term freshman Japanese at IUPUI; she completed the term with a solid A. That made me quite happy

Fall 2012 Term Ends

This morning was my final exam in the C programming course for electrical engineers. We started with 7; only 3 completed the course; only I submitted the final project: basic BMP editor that opens a BMP and offers to create negative, blueshift, redshift, greenshift, and variable intensity versions that are written to file.

Earlier I finished physics and circuits.

I earned As in all three classes, so I am pretty happy; I am also very ready to enjoy some time off.

Up/Down Timer Circuit Video

Here's a short movie of the timer circuit that I designed in Altera® Quartus 9.1 Web Edition. I downloaded it to the Altera USB Blaster FPGA (with a Cyclone II chip) to demonstrate it for my class. The video was shot with my iPod, so it is not very smooth.

It took me some time to edit and format the video: I had never before used iMovie or uploaded anything to YouTube. The current guidelines YouTube provides for exporting content from iMovie are clear.

It took too long for the initial iMovie-export QuickTime version to load, so I chucked it.

Timer Circuit

The other day I completed the final project circuit for Digital Fundamentals, EECT112. This is my first real electronics course, so it has been difficult; most of the other students have had other courses before.

When presented with a choice for the final project, I chose to make a time with seven-segment LED display. Originally I thought to have just a three-bit input that would count down, which would require that I learn better how to perform subtraction with circuits. In the end, I used counter ICs, since I began to run out of time for the initially quite complex task I had set for myself.

My timer has an SR flip-flop to reset the counter; the two counter ICs (for two four-bit BCD input) output a high to signal that the maximum up- or down-count has been reached. I used that to reset the flip-flop so the counter would not loop. There are LEDs that signal whether the timer counts up or down and whether it is currently counting.

When one holds down the push button, throwing the switches causes the seven-segment LEDs to show changes. Releasing the button starts the timer.

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The hardest part of the project was the clock. I tried to use the FPGA's 50MHz clock and divide it down by 50 million, that introduced too much propagation delay. An external clock--an oscilloscope, actually--was my savior.

This was a neat project, but I wish I could have done it in VHDL, since using the schematic capture of Quartus can be problematic.