August 11, 2005

Ah, it's been a little while, but things have been busy around here. NI Week 2005 is coming up, which is pretty exciting. I haven't been to one yet, because I only got here last October. But I'm assured it's a good time. I'm excited to see what our customers are doing with the Control & Simulation products. Hopefully I'll get a chance to get some feedback on the documentation and what I can do for the next release to make it better or more effective.

NI Week 2005 has an entire summit devoted to Embedded Engineering & Control Design, which comprises the groups for which I write. That's taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday. I'm helping the developers staff three product demo booths, which show off the ways our products interact with one another and produce useable results. I'm a little nervous about talking directly to customers, since I haven't done that since my last job. But again, I'm looking at it as an opportunity to get to know our user-base better and perhaps help them out. I've seen a couple customer emails that reference the documentation on which I'm working, but since none of my major work has shipped out with a product yet, this will be the first time I can possibly incorporate suggestions into the writing itself. I want to spend as much time there as possible. We have presentations by Ford, Whirlpool, Quanser, and many other industry/academic notables. I think Quanser's presentation on haptics in LabVIEW will be really interesting.

This weekend I'll be in Dallas (technically, Irving and Grapevine) for the 10th annual QuakeCon. I mention this because Hall Martin posted recently about video game technology and I hope to see some new stuff there, like the DOOM Movie and Quake IV. Hall remarks that without games, the drive/demand for PCs wouldn't be as high as it is today, and I agree. Who needs an Athlon X2 to run Word? Gaming opened the way for technologies like virtual instrumentation to trickle down to consumers.

Although I hope to see some new stuff at QuakeCon, I realize that events like E3, GDC, and AGC are more business-oriented and would perhaps focus more on the technology. But I know QuakeCon will be as informative as it is fun. I'm really excited to hear John Carmack's keynote, even though I probably won't understand a word he's saying.

So with QuakeCon, NI Week, and an internal conference I'm helping to organize coming up in October, I'll be running around like crazy for the next month or two. Maybe I'll even have some spare time to write documentation :-)

I love how I'm supposed to review the error codes that ship with the software. Nothing is as frustrating as confusing error codes. The LV doc team makes a big effort to document every error code, give examples as to why the error might have occurred, and suggest possible solutions/workarounds. That sort of attention to detail can make a big difference.

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