Category Archives: software

GPS and Y2K Deja Vu

I have been working since May 2018 as a contractor for various companies on resolving specific issues – I am a troubleshooter. This role has provided me with a number of interesting challenges. One of my recent challenges is dealing with the GPS Week Number Rollover (WNRO) issue that will occur on 7-April-2019, which involves a 10-bit counter that has been counting weeks since 21-August-1999, which is when the counter was last 0.  A 10-bit counter can only count to 1023 and then it will rollover to 0 on the next count. This issue shares many similarities with the Y2K problem. Continue reading

Posted in Electronics, software | 1 Comment

Audie Murphy's Rifle and the Power of Databases

When I was a boy, I read the memoir To Hell and Back by Audie Murphy and was very impressed with his accomplishments as an infantry soldier during WW2 (Figure 1). It is a very American tale – a dirt poor teenager from family with a dead mother and missing father accomplishes amazing feats through sheer determination and force of will. He later starred in a movie version of his book that is well worth watching. I should mention that the book tells a better tale than the movie. Continue reading

Posted in Military History, software | 10 Comments

A Little Beer Data

I gave a seminar last week on the use of Python with Pandas using Jupyter notebooks. When I give a seminar, I always have a worked example to illustrate the points that I am trying to make. This attendance at this seminar had a number of young men in it, so I decided to focus on a topic near and dear to their hearts – beer. I was amazed at the amount of beer knowledge showed by some individuals in the audience. Clearly, beer is a major part of their lives. I myself know NOTHING about beer, so I had to educate myself. The data provide interesting to analyze, and I will probably be augmenting my seminar with additional data over time. Continue reading

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The Tyranny of the Spreadsheet Cell

I had a conversation the other day with an engineer to whom I was expressing my frustrations with using Excel to process large data sets of complex numbers. She also has processed large data sets with Excel and commented that she found the processing painful. I told her about how I was using Excel to work with my data sets, but my techniques all seemed contrived and overly complex. While you can use Excel to work with these data sets, it is a bit like trying to use a Swiss Army knife as a screwdriver. Yes, it can turn a screw but there are much better ways! Continue reading

Posted in software | 8 Comments

State GDPs Relative to National GDPs

I am amazed at all the different lists on the Wikipedia. Today, I came across a list of all the US state GDPs and a map (Figure 1) that shows how the state GDPs compare to the GDPs of various nations. I have to admit that I think this is a very interesting chart. Continue reading

Posted in software | 2 Comments

Electricity Generation Percentage from Coal By State

I drive a short distance (7 km) to work everyday. On my drive, I often have to wait at a railroad crossing for a coal-train train to pass (typical example in Figure 1). I have never thought much how much my state depends on coal until I saw an interview with a Missouri senator who was talking about her state's dependence on coal for electrical power generation. I am currently teaching myself how to use the Power Query add-in for Excel, and I thought that generating a graphic of coal dependence by state would be a good Power Query/Visio exercise. Continue reading

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Linking Data to a Visio Drawing

I enjoy collecting and occasionally creating pins for my Pinterest collection. There was one pin that I saw (Figure 1) that I thought would be a good exercise to use when I conduct training classes in Visio and Excel. This post will use a simple Excel table of planetary orbit data to drive the creation of similar graphic in Visio. I will make one change to the information contained in Figure 1 – I will add Pluto because I still like to think of it as a planet. I will also remove the black background because I find black a bit harsh for a background color. Continue reading

Posted in Astronomy, software | Comments Off on Linking Data to a Visio Drawing

I Must Be Old, All the Bugs Sound Familiar ...

I was reading an article this morning about a bug discovered in Boeing's 787 software that will occur after 248 days of continuous operation. The moment I read "248 days", I let out a sigh – I have seen that number before. Continue reading

Posted in software | 2 Comments

Prime Number Magnitudes

I am responsible for some of the authentication features in our products and these features use prime numbers. People often have basic questions on prime numbers, such as:

What happens if I choose the same prime number as someone else?
Are there enough prime numbers? Continue reading

Posted in General Mathematics, software | Comments Off on Prime Number Magnitudes

Making IP Addresses Sortable By Number

Quote of the Day Abolition was a pipe dream in 1835 – it was reality 25 year later. — Tom Rick, defense analyst, quoting his historian wife about how fast things can change in the US. My oldest son called … Continue reading

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