RunWatch Daisy Chain Feature

Added Daisy Chain feature to cRunWatch code profiler.

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GRAPHEX : The Raven’s Point Graph Explorer.

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A GUI for the boost graph library.

– Add named vertices.

– Specify pinned, fixed location for vertices

– Add edges connecting vertices

– Arrange vertices in a circle

– Arrange vertices according to their connections.  This uses a modified implementation of the Kamada & Kawai algorithm that can handle pinned vertices and disconnected graphs.

– Arrange vertices manually by dragging with mouse

– Color vertices so no two connected vertices have same color

Complete Feature List

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Simodbus

An open source MODBUS Master/Slave simulator

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Features

1. A windows desktop application

2. Coded in C++ using .NET

3. Option to simulate a master or a slave.

4. Option to use ASCII or RTU mode

5. Able to configure serial port number and speed.

6. All slaves are assumed to be on the same port

7. Able to send a read query to a specified station and register block.  Values returned will be decoded and displayed.

8. Able to configure station numbers and register numbers that the slave will simulate.

9. Able to send a write query to a specified station and register with a specified value.

10. Display log of all communications sent and received

Here is the Github repository

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Real Time graphing

Techniques for displaying real time graphs of data that update at 100Hz.

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Speaker to Robots

Raven’s Point builds applications that speak to robots.

Larry Niven’s science fiction stories feature a character named Chmee who is the alien ambassador to Earth.  His title, when translated into English, is Speaker-To-Animals.

The formal term for this is SCADA , meaning supervisory control and data acquisition. A PC is connected to another device, interpreting the data that the device transmits and issuing appropriate commands to the device. The connection is usually USB, but can be ethernet or RS232. The fun part is the weird and wonderful devices that must be communicated with: video camera, GPS, thermostat, a tiny remote controlled submarine. Each device speaks its very own language, usually called a protocol. These languages are incredibly stilted, more like Latin than Italian, so the application code must translate the communication into a graceful GUI that the human operator can use comfortably to control and monitor the device – hence Speaker-To-Robots.

Real time data from movement sensor integrated and displayed

Real time data from movement sensor integrated and displayed

  • PowerHeater.  This application controls and records wind turbine blade production.  The strength of the composite materials used depends critically on a precise temperature profile imposed during a curing process lasting several days.  Hundreds of heaters, coolers, thermostats and temperature gauges are placed across the surface of the turbine blade, every one individually monitored, controlled and recorded by PowerHeater using the Modbus protocol.
  • eCrew.  A modern sailboat has instruments measuring depth, wind speed and direction, and compass bearing.  Occasionally these readings are of vital importance, but usually the captain must watch wind and waves, sails and other sailboats, not the instruments.   eCrew monitors all the instruments using the NMEA protocol, warning when a critical situation arises.
  • VisControl.  The chair of a state senate chamber recognizes one of the senators. When the senator begins to speak, one of three cameras has already swung into position and is webcasting the perfect image. VisControl stores over 50 preset positions for each camera, automatically selecting and moving the cameras into position whenever the speaker changes, using the VISCA protocol over RS232.
  • Proteus.  A tiny submersible on the end of a long cable threads its way through a pipe and into a huge concrete oil storage container under the North Sea.  Once in position, sonar scans the interior looking for damage and silt build up.  Proteus controls and records the sonar, calculating a real time three dimensional picture.   Proprietary protocol over boosted RS232.
  • SLReader.  A wireless detector is used to identify isotopes.  SLReader configures, monitors, and downloads data from the device using the ZigBee protocol.
  • RTLink.  Connect the different instruments ( seven models from three manufacturers ) used to measure the optical properties of a patient’s eyes and eyeglasses, each with its own protocol, to a database server so the ophthalmic doctor can keep everything straight, helping to ensure that all the measurements are connected to the correct patients.  Here are more details on this project.
  • GrindOMeter. Application controlling feed cycle of crankshaft grinding machine. A Solartron Orbit 3 digital gage measures the crankshaft diameter in real time with micron precision during grinding. The grinder is controlled with an ACCESS relay output device.
  • RFID Reader Client.  Application to read and write data to RFID tags via the LLRP ( Low Level Reader protocol ) to the Motorola FX9500 RFID reader Ethernet port.
  • LSD ( LED & Switch Driver ).  Application to control LED status lights and monitor switch settings using DLP232PC.
  • PS510. Configure an audio-visual switch over RS232 using the AMX/AutoPatch standard protocol.

Open Source Tools

  • Simodbus.  A Modbus master / slave simulatior.  Read more …
  • HIDExplorer. List details of installed Human Interface Devices ( HIDs ). Read More …
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Pipeline Pig

A small device squeezes through a hundred kilometers of oil pipeline that twists and turns beneath the sea.

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When the ‘pig’ returns it has recorded data about every centimeter, which Raven’s Point software will analyze and display in three dimensions.

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I did this work for Pipelines2data in Aberdeen ( http://pipelines2data.com/ ) nearly three years ago. The software has been used a number of times since to plot pipelines, including some gas trunk lines in Texas.

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Into the Cloud

For nearly a decade now I have been developing high performance, elegant windows desktop applications.

In the meantime the rest of the world as been moving ‘into the cloud’. Such web applications were once sluggish and clunky, but the simplicity of no user installation, universal availability and instant upgrades of the entire user base trumped all other considerations.

A year ago I delivered my fist web application. Guitar informs the user when their guitar was built and by whom, if they type in the serial number.  It is hardly complex, and there is no need for any great performance, but the result is rather neat. Behind the scenes there is a SQLITE database to store all the information about guitars and their makers, a PYTHON script to decode the serial numbers and find the exact information in the database, the WEB2PY framework to generate the dynamic web pages and a LIGHTTPD web server to communicate with the user.

Since then I have delivered several such applications, the most recent is MEDAIM which estimates the effect of a planned media advertising buy.

The big issue that crops up with web applications is configuring and maintaining a server to host them.  It is not clear to me the best way to do this.

For desktop applications I can provide an installer which the client can distribute to the end users.  Almost everyone is familiar and comfortable with this.  Configuring and maintaining a server for a web application is quite intimidating to anyone who has not done this before, and is a cost that was often not considered when planning the project.

MEDAIM is hosted on http://www.fluxflex.com which is ‘free’, but installation and maintenance is a hassle.  I originally hosted it on my own server, which is far more convenient but it so very hard to compete with ‘free’.

Suggestions for making this go smoother would be most welcome!

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