Mentoring Future Engineers

Photo by Rich Roussel

I am privileged to say that over the last four years, I mentored a group of high school students wanting to experience STEM in a hands on way. The mission: create a robot in six weeks. The challenge: complete on time, under budget, and with a team who may not know one another. Sound familiar? (more…)

A C++ Class Factory for JUCE

The Problem

So, I’m working on a side project (as one does), and reach the point in development where I need to be able to take a tree of objects that all share a common base class and persist them to and from disk.

I prefer using plain text files to binary (for a bunch of different reasons, most of them enumerated in the original The Pragmatic Programmer book), so the problem really boils down to:

At runtime, I need to be able to convert a string containing the name of a class into a pointer to an object of the corresponding C++ class.

If you do like I did, and go to the shelf to see what the old Gang of Four Design Patterns book has to say on the matter, maybe you’d have been underwhelmed, too. (more…)

Teaching Your Computer To See The Easy Way

Eyeball

You’re curious about how SnapChat can apply those stamps, you want to create an autonomous controller for your USB controlled Nerf missile launcher, or maybe you have an actual business need. Here is a simple formula to get started with OpenCV so that you can achieve your Computer Vision dreams. Cinder provides a great creative computing framework with a simple pattern of update and draw cycles. It already has support for OpenGL rendering, and it can easily support OpenCV.

(more…)

The State of Async/Await

synchronization picture

A long time ago, asynchronous programming was an exotic practice.  Not many people were doing it, and their code was punctuated with things like assembly language and processor interrupts.  Less anciently, preemptive multitasking OS’s made asynchronous programming more accessible, albeit often still with arcane and unnatural boilerplate, not to mention hazards of sharing mutable data.

Today asynchronous programming is mainstream — more than that, it’s a firm expectation of polished software for desktop, mobile, and web.  The tools for asynchronous programming have gotten better, even as far as adding syntactic sugar, which

async/await

certainly is. (more…)

An RPC Framework for JUCE

JUCE image

Recently, I’ve been working on a project for a long-time client who came to us with a request that we haven’t seen in a while–we were tasked with taking their existing application written in C++ using the JUCE application framework into two separate applications:

  • A Windows Service Application that will start itself automatically at boot time to continually be processing streams of audio and network data using their proprietary hardware
  • A GUI application that connects to the service app doing the processing for monitoring and control.

Since the application was already cleanly written using the Model/View/Controller architecture, what I really wanted to have was a Remote Procedure Call layer that would let me chop the existing Controller object into two pieces:

  • an API half that is called by the UI code exactly as it’s already being called
  • an “engine”/server half that actually houses the logic to perform the work of the application.

…that would be connected together over some sort of an interprocess link, most likely sockets. (more…)