Saturday, January 31, 2009

Linking errors

At work I am porting some software from Linux to VxWorks. The code has already been ported to VxWorks once, but that was several years ago with a different compiler and IDE. The code base has also evolved since that time, so there is code rot. The process has been slower than I would have liked, but it is coming along.

A problem I initially had was that the project would compile in the WindRiver Workbench IDE without any errors, but then it would not find things it was expecting for linking when I downloaded it to the PPC board. For the majority of the errors I could tell by the name what I needed to include in the module, but for one I was stymied.

That is, I was stymied until I remembered readelf -s. That command prints out the symbol table of the compiled code. I used the PPC version of this command on my module and the x86 version on the original linux port compiled with debug flags. Combined, that gave me the file name of the offending function call.

Still no posts

Unfortunately, saying that I was going to start posting again didn't actually get me posting again. I will not make any more rash statements like that. I will post when I post.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Regardless of your political affiliation and what you think of President Obama, I hope you appreciate the significance of this moment. I'm sure I don't fully.

It is a wonderful thing to be an American. It is a time of hope and intense expectation.

Looks like Obama has moved into That was quick!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mac antivirus software

I am not a Mac user. For a while this was a "religious" choice ("Stupid smug Mac users who can't do anything without their stupid GUIs") but since the end of my time at BYU it has mostly just been a financial choice. However, my wife and I have inherited several used Macs during the course of our marriage. She keeps the best and then passes the rest to starving students we know. Having a Mac in the home has required me learning a few things about Macs (like using SAMBA to connect to my windows machine).

Unfortunately, a lot of my software solutions do not translate well to the Mac. There isn't as large a freeware community for the Mac, although it has gotten better recently. I can leverage the Unix side with open source stuff, but that sort-of defeats the whole "it just works" thing. If you are looking for useful Mac software, here is a good list of free stuff, although it is old (search for the products, as the links take you elsewhere in the internet archive).

Oh, yeah. The title of this post is "Mac antivirus software." I guess I better talk about that. My wife mentioned that she thought her Mac must have a virus since it has been running slower lately. I am not entirely convinced. If it was a PC then I would come to that conclusion, but she doesn't seem likely to have fallen for a trojan and that is about all that is available for a Mac, right? Anyway, I did look to see if there were any free anti-virus software available for Macs, since we can't get free licenses from my school anymore. Turns out, there are two popular ones:

  • - Since I have never had a Mac, I have never used this software and cannot say much about it

  • - This one is based on the same code base as ClamWin, which I have used for my laptop

    Of course, there are some others you can find through Googling (funny how that works). One thing you can also find by Googling is the discussion about whether Mac anti-virus software helps or hurts, since the software itself may introduce vulnerabilities and/or systems slowdowns. Interesting.
  • Monday, January 12, 2009


    I tend to never have time to listen to my podcasts. Hopefully, after my family is finished recovering from our colds, I plan to start exercising again and then I can listen to my podcasts. That's an added motivation to get moving! Here are the podcasts I subscribe to right now:

    BlizzCast - The Official Blizzard Podcast

    The Economist - Audio content from The Economist magazine

    ESPN: PTI - Washington Post columnists Tony Kornheiser and Michael
    Wilbon face off on the day's hot topics

    General Conference Audio (MP3) Podcast of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - A single audio (MP3) podcast containing all of the messages of inspiration and guidance delivered at the most recent general conference by the First Presidency, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other General Authorities and general officers of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Each April and October the files in this podcast will be new.

    Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing - Quick and Dirty
    Tips for Better Writing

    Internet Safety Podcast - Family safety meets cyberspace

    Jumping Monkeys - Join Megan Morrone, mother of three toddlers, and Leo
    Laporte, father of two teens, as they talk about parenting in the
    digital age, featuring lots of helpful links and advice, plus interviews
    with other geek parents, web site designers, and bloggers

    NPR: Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! - NPR's weekly current events quiz.
    Have a laugh and test your news knowledge

    The Official Lost Podcast

    Software Engineering Radio - Information for Software Developers and

    Strong Bad Email -

    Tekzilla - Embrace digital technology. Join the Tekzilla crew and make your tech work better for you. Or you can go live in the woods with an axe. Every Saturday, Patrick Norton and Veronica Belmont deliver product reviews, computer help, tech tips on everything from iPods to camcorders, HD to the Internet, plus do it yourself projects.

    this Week in Tech - Your first podcast of the week is the last word in
    tech. Join Leo Laporte, Patrick Norton, Kevin Rose, John C. Dvorak, and
    other tech luminaries in a roundtable discussion of the latest trends in
    high tech. Winner of People's Choice Podcast and Best Technology Podcast
    in the 2005 People's Choice Podcast Awards. Released every Sunday at
    midnight Pacific.

    Walt Disney World Resort: Plugged In -

    That's it. Typically I get through TWIT and Wait Wait regularly, and the rest occasionally. Anything awesome I am missing out on?

    Saturday, January 10, 2009

    Family budget spreadsheet

    Most people know they should be keeping a budget but still don't. I fell into that category for a while, but my wife and I now use a Google spreadsheet to do our budget. We think it works great. We especially like it because the document is kept "in the cloud" instead of on one of our computers. I can edit it from the office or at home, and she can edit it from her Mac. I am providing a blank copy of the budget that you are free to view, download, copy, and modify.
  • Go here to just view the spreadsheet (no login required)
  • Go here to save yourself a copy to play with (login to Google Docs required)

  • This spreadsheet has evolved during our marriage. It originated as the budget spreadsheet from my personal finance class at BYU, but has been totally reworked along the way. Bryan Sudweeks, the instructor for that class, made the resources from the class publicly available. You can go to the root directory and look around, or look at lecture presentations, class readings, or teaching tools. The budget is a teaching tool. Dr. Sudweeks put together the resources in a more web-friendly format here.

    Some of you might be saying (as my dad once told me) that they already have fancy computer programs to do all this for you. This is true. I have played with Microsoft Money and always intend to learn GnuCash. However, the feature I like most about using a Google spreadsheet is that it is not tied to a single computer. Some of you might suggest a site like The Google spreadsheet still requires manual entry of information, and only contains entered notes and dollar amounts. No account numbers. I am not sure I trust Mint (or any other site) with all my account information. Maybe I should check it out anyway.

    Feel free to give me feedback on the budget spreadsheet, share other budgeting resources, or correct my understanding of the features available from existing software.

    Woa! No posts!

    No posts during the last few weeks. Yikes! Part of that was busyness during Christmastime, part of that was laziness, and part of it was getting my new computer set up. Now that Christmas is past and my computer is up and running, the only obstacle is my own laziness. Now trying to overcome that. I'm very optimistic!