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Posts from the ‘Programming’ Category

OAuth2 and LabVIEW — The Evolution of an Example

This is part one of a three four nine part blog post where I describe how to use OAuth2 (and PKCE) with LabVIEW. OAuth2 is used to authenticate with web services such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, and almost every major cloud-based service today.

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I own a slightly faulty beverage refrigerator. What makes it slightly faulty is that it sometimes wants to be a beverage freezer—it starts cooling, and doesn’t stop. It only does this rarely, and is otherwise a nice enough refrigerator that fits conveniently in a spot in our laundry room, so I’m hesitant to replace it. Instead, being the engineer I am, I decided to address the issue with more technology!

I purchased a Wireless Sensor Tag and a Wemo Mini Smart Plug to solve the problem.  The Wemo Wifi plug controls power to the refrigerator.  The Wireless Tag monitors temperature and humidity in the fridge. I use an IFTTT recipe to turn on the power when the temperature is too high, and turn off the power when the temperature is too low.  I ask it to keep the temperature within a four Fahrenheit degree temperature range.  On average, it is on for one hour, off for four hours, and then repeats.

It works surprisingly well. I set the Wireless Tag to send its data to the cloud every five minutes. I can view temperature and humidity graphs over the last several months and know it’s working. IFTTT is imperfect as a control system, but has worked out more reliably than expected. It’s only missed the too-high/too-low alarm twice in the few months since I’ve had this setup, and I work around this by having the alarm continue to trigger every fifteen minutes until the temperature is back in range.

All in, I’ve spent about $90 to avoid buying a new, inexpensive refrigerator—but it was way more fun to do it this way!

I can’t help but wonder about using LabVIEW to replace IFTTT as the controller, or to use LabVIEW to analyze my months of temperature and humidity data—and that’s where this journey begins…

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Humility and Better Programming, Six Years Later

Here’s everything you need to know about my software development philosophy:

“The competent programmer is fully aware of the strictly limited size of his own skull; therefore he approaches the programming task in full humility, and among other things he avoids clever tricks like the plague.”

– Edsger W. Dijkstra, The Humble Programmer, ACM Turing Lecture 1972

Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

Six years ago, I wrote a series of articles about being a humble programmer, based on the ideas of some really smart people, like Dr. Dijkstra. The articles have gotten a lot of views and positive comments, and I think they’re still relevant reading today.

I wrote them back when I worked at National Instruments. I had a blog called (I saved all that content. It’s now at, and the old hostname redirects there.) My colleague, Nancy, and I wrote several articles about our world of helping people develop better software.

We both find that helping developers be more successful is fun and rewarding. That’s why I created Stravaro.

Anyway, back to the old blog series–there’s almost nothing I would change if I were writing it today. It feels just as relevant as when I wrote it. Even though the articles were written with the LabVIEW developer in mind, I believe it’s a philosophy that should be followed regardless of programming language. When I worked at athenahealth, I gave a presentation on the same theme at an internal technical conference.

If you haven’t read the series, I invite you to do so now. Do any of you have a similar philosophy that’s worked well? Or a radically different one? Leave a reply below to share your thoughts.

“Every person that you meet knows something you don’t; learn from them.”

– H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.” 

– Winston Churchill

Excited for GDevCon #2–But I won’t be there!

Almost a year ago, I was in Cambridge, England, presenting at the very first GDevCon—a graphical developer conference.  I am so grateful for that experience. My topic was “My Continuously Evolving Practice of Software Engineering”.

GDevCon #2 is coming up on August 20-22 in Birmingham, England, and I’m very disappointed I’ll be missing it this year.  Instead, I’ll be on a trip I booked months ago, watching opera in Santa Fe, New Mexico,

My friends at GDevCon have once again lined up a fabulous agenda with wonderful presenters.  For those who are going, I declare my jealousy and hope you have a wonderful time.  I look forward to watching the videos afterwards, and hopefully will see you in person next year.