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 Post subject: TopoR, a PCB Autorouter
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 9:41 am 
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I regularly visit BetaNews and recently discovered TopoR:

Quote:
TopoR is a fast and Comprehensive Topological PCB Autorouter. It routes PCBs with free-angle technology and make arc-like traces. The result is far superior to any shape-based auto-router or even time-consuming manual routing. Specctra DSN/SES interface is supported to exchange data with PCB CAD packages.


HERE is the BetaNews page for TopoR.

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 Post subject: Re: Computer Software for Makers (Especially: Unique and Free!)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:27 pm 
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Here's a recipe for a lightweight free (as in beer) C++ software development system for heavyweight tasks on Windows. Download the latest Windows Platform SDK (OK, it's enormous, but bear with me). Get the SCons Python-based software construction utility, and a compatible version of Python - I think SCons still likes Python 2.5 best. Download any free libraries you need - for me that's the OpenCV computer vision library. The harder part that will repay you many times over is to map out the paths to all the libraries and include files you need and put them into a nicely commented SCons sample script. Now, by cutting and pasting, you can derive new projects from old ones, and get things done faster than with Visual Studio. You also have Python available for writing automation scripts.

Top it all off with the Notepad++ text editor, IrfanView for quick looks at images, and of course Firefox for looking at reference material and Googling Windows error messages. OK, sometimes you'll miss the Visual Studio inderactive debugger, but that's life in the free lane.

If you're writing GUI apps, however, go immediately to http://www.qtsoftware.com/ and get the free Nokia/Trolltech Qt4.5 framework.


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 Post subject: Re: Computer Software for Makers [Fireworks for the 4th of July]
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:14 pm 
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Some of the best screensavers I've seen are from Really Slick Screensavers, running on OpenGL.

One of the author's screen savers is a high quality simulation of fireworks, complete with smoke trails, city lights, moon light, and reflections on clouds! Simply awesome.

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 Post subject: Free Vector Clocks for Windows
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:21 pm 
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Well, this isn't specifically maker-related, except that the software producer also provides a utility for designing your own clocks, but I came across Vector Clocks today, and these clocks are great!

The clocks can be resized as a vector, skewed with 2D controls, and even made transparent, on top, with the "click through" property so anything showning behind the clock image can be clicked!

They are gadget clocks for Windows which run independently from the Windows sidebar (which I never use).

Click the following image to get to the vector clocks page:
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 Post subject: Re: Computer Software for Makers (Especially: Unique and Fre
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:01 pm 
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Two excellent video and image editing, well sets of utilities, is maybe the best way to describe them. If you want a drag and drop GUI, they aren't that, though various front ends exist. If you need to batch process images or video or especially turn images into movie frames or vice versa, these are fantastic tools. Windows would not be the prefererred format for FFMPEG, I haven't been able to get it to run recently, but Mac or Linux is fine.

Imagemagick:
http://www.imagemagick.org/script/index.php

FFMPEG
http://www.ffmpeg.org/

and to comment on Mike's shout out for Gnuplot, I had a project recently that Excel just couldn't plot or char adequately. I must say that Gnuplot has a bit of a learning curve, but it's pretty amazing and presenting data. I went with bar graphs with a center 0 axis and a heat map based on unrelated data off to the side. Turned out quite well and didn't take too long to figure out. I then dumped a bunch of the charts as png and then created a quick movie clip with FFMPEG, which like Imagemagick is free.

Suggestion:
These should get collected into the new / recreated Wiki by category, (and keep who suggested them too) so we have them as an easily accessible resource, and know who has some experience with them.

Pete


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 Post subject: Re: Computer Software for Makers (Especially: Unique and Fre
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:01 pm 
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..... pete said some stuff, and then had an inspired thought.....

otto_pjm wrote:

Suggestion:
These should get collected into the new / recreated Wiki by category, (and keep who suggested them too) so we have them as an easily accessible resource, and know who has some experience with them.

Pete


So some "just do it" type of folks have started Wiki pages for:

audio and video
document and image
cad tools

You too can share in the magical experience of making the Wiki more useful, if you contributed to this thread, move your stuff into or create a Wiki page for that kind of stuff, If you just want to help, grab any of the suggestions for tools from here and move them to the correct (and that's highly subjective and open to interpretation) location in the Wiki.

Never Wi Kied before, don't worry it's easy, there's a WYSIWYG editor and everything.
Don't have a login, well you should, I believe we have the forum to Wiki Single Sign On magic bits in place, if you have a problem, or questions ping me, and I'll see what I can do.

Pete


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 Post subject: Re: Computer Software for Makers (Especially: Unique and Fre
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:05 pm 
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otto_pjm wrote:
..... pete said some stuff, and then had an inspired thought.....

otto_pjm wrote:

Suggestion:
These should get collected into the new / recreated Wiki by category, (and keep who suggested them too) so we have them as an easily accessible resource, and know who has some experience with them.

Pete


So some "just do it" type of folks have started Wiki pages for:

audio and video
document and image
cad tools

You too can share in the magical experience of making the Wiki more useful, if you contributed to this thread, move your stuff into or create a Wiki page for that kind of stuff, If you just want to help, grab any of the suggestions for tools from here and move them to the correct (and that's highly subjective and open to interpretation) location in the Wiki.

Never Wi Kied before, don't worry it's easy, there's a WYSIWYG editor and everything.
Don't have a login, well you should, I believe we have the forum to Wiki Single Sign On magic bits in place, if you have a problem, or questions ping me, and I'll see what I can do.

Pete



Hey Pete n all,

I guess I just hashed out some of those pages as I was getting to know of them. I think you're right that it'd be good to include post-people's names as go-to folks for the knowledge. As I was starting the pages, I started thinking the following:

"There are a million of these pages and why is this one good compared to going to wikipedia for their list?"
- answer would lie in the tribal sharing of "the best\favorite" tools that local folks have become users of or contributors to.
- this is a great way of capturing longer term knowledge from the group's forum into a more long term set of information the group can use
- it's an easy way for many people to contribute
- the wikipedia version is a very long list.

Thanks for your sharing of those other tools. I haven't used them yet, but for sure I will go back to those "endorsed locally" pieces of software when it comes time to doing a job!

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 Post subject: Re: Computer Software for Makers (Especially: Unique and Fre
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:54 pm 
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Auchtung,

I definitely think the value is in not only info on good tools, but who knows how to use them, and being able to find that person and have them show you stuff. The Wiki is nice in that if you look at the revisions, it shows you who posted / edited the part you are interested in, so that mostly takes care of noting who added what. At least I think what will work.

Pete


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