Rob's Recent Software Projects
Communications for Train Control System
I'm currently working on communications software for a radio network to
control the subway trains for a large American city. This is a huge project
that will ultimately involve 6,000 subway cars. The trains are in constant
communication with a central control computer.
Since radios don't work well in tunnels, this means the train must be
constantly finding the nearest radio and switching to it. The train sends a
signal every second asking whether it can move forward, and if it doesn't
receive confirmation within three seconds, it stops. To keep this whole
system going, everything has to be redundant so that if any one component
fails the network will continue working smoothly and the trains will keep
moving while maintenance workers repair the problem.
Automatic Code and Documentation Generation
I've also been developing tools to generate code and documentation
automatically. The automatically-generated code means more consistency and
less debugging. The automatic documentation, like any other I've seen, is
designed to help programmers understand each other's work, and also gives
technical writers a good starting point.
(awk, shell scripts)
Modem Interface Card for Service Providers
My last project was an 8-modem interface card for ISPs. It's being used by
an online service in the UK. The software is written primarily in embedded
C, with some assembler. It controls 8 PCMCIA modems and handles all the
data transfer between the modems and the data switch.
(Embedded C and assembler)
Unicorn Quest Typing Tutor (C++)
Unicorn Quest is a typing tutor game designed for an 8-year-old girl with one
hand. The game is designed to make learning typing fun by providing an
ongoing story (the quest for the missing unicorn) and incentives as each
lesson is completed.
The latest version of Unicorn Quest allows the
use of either hand, or both, and can be customized (on request) for any
combination of fingers.
I created the original software design and Ann
wrote the story. Together, and with the help of numerous people from all
over cyberspace, we created the original version. I now lead the Unicorn
Quest team worldwide as we are working on the next version which will add
support for different languages and more computers.
Automatic Mail Handlers (C on UNIX)
These are a set of programs which provide automatic handling of certain
types of e-mail. These provide automated forwarding of mail, automatic
replies to mail, and the filing of incoming messages. Since many of the
residents of Esmerel spend much of their time away from Esmerel, one of
these programs makes sure they still get their mail.
Tools (Awk, Batch, C and C++ on DOS)
I spend part of my time writing tools. These tend to be small,
special-purpose programs which answer some immediate need on some other
project. Some of these are available at Thelion's
Recently, I have started to collect the AWK scripts and Batch files into a
couple of books which I will leave on my
Read my book on awk.
Go back to the front gate.
Try some games.
Explore the oddities of our language.
Page maintained by Rob.