Have you ever played the game “telephone”? It’s where you have a line of people and starting on one end someone whispers something into someone's ear. That message is then passed on to the next person and so on and so on. Once it reaches the final person, you may find out that the message was misinterpreted. “Big dog” may have changed to “bed bug”. This is one of the major problems that have plagued software design and something I see on a regular basis. Engineers receive requirements that were already passed down through other people, so the engineer is left to interpret them the best they can.
Another year has come and gone and many eventful happenings took place in the history of DISTek. We may look back at 2015 as a turning point due to the substantial changes we made in all aspects of our business. Those end-of-the-year cards you get in the mail always seem to be bragging a little too much, but that is just what I am going to do because I think the year DISTek had is worth bragging about.
Somehow I happened to fall into the last slot of the year for the DISTek blog. I am not complaining as it gave me a few more days to prepare. Obviously we still have a few more days left in the year (3.6% of the year as I write this), but by and large the business part of the year is grinding to a halt. As the Scrum gurus would tell us, we should have a retrospective from time to time, so here is mine for the year.
Bumper crops are great … except when they are not. In general, the corn belt had superb weather this growing season. That led to record yields at a nationwide level and that massive supply, amongst other factors, led to sharply reduced prices. Corn was over $8/bushel in 2012 and is now below $4/bushel. A similar story played out in wheat and soybeans as well. I know there are some relevant terms from my past economics classes like price elasticity of demand, but there are plenty of opinions on this topic and I will leave it to the reader to peruse those as desired.
Until about a month ago, all of my experience writing code had been with text-based languages like C and Java. I had mostly written code to command microcontrollers or for signal processing. C allowed me a very procedural view of how the microcontroller would execute the code. One line of code could tell the microcontroller to turn on an LED and the next could tell it to turn the LED off, and the microcontroller would always execute the first line first and the second line second. Then I started at DISTek and learned how to code in LabVIEW. LabVIEW is quite the departure from text-based languages. I would like to describe how LabVIEW compares to text-based languages and some of my experiences learning LabVIEW as a new software developer.