What's New - November 2003
Nov 24, 2003: We're off to play with grandkids for a week. For you Americans, don't eat too much turkey this week, For others, don't eat too much of anything else! I'll catch up on the e-mails and post my new Signal Generator program when we get back next week.
November 19, 2003: Bouncing Ball was one of our early postings, over three years ago. It is primarily a programming exercise to animate a dropped ball with varying degrees of "bounciness" (i.e. Coefficient of Elasticity). Viewer Gerrit de Blaauw from the Netherlands recently found a fix for a bug that kept the ball from bouncing forever when the Coefficient was equal to 1. I posted a version of his fix today along with a few other minor enhancements.
November 16, 2003:
Last week I took my laptop to a 8th grade Science class where I do some tutoring. They were studying waves and had fun making sounds and watching the resulting waveforms. It did prompt me to start a "Signal Generator " project which I hope to get posted in the next week or so. Today's offering is Simple Oscilloscope, Version 2 . The original version posted a year or so ago has been the most popular download from DFF. The program captures sound card inputs and displays them in oscilloscope fashion on the PC monitor. Version 2 adds a "Trigger" level control to produce more stable waveform displays. Each scan across the screen can begin when the signal goes above (or below) a specified level. I also added a "Single Frame Capture" button which uses the Trigger level to simplify capturing images of transient signal events.
November 13, 2003: Viewer Alexandre wrote asking about text-to-speech applications in Delphi. I had idly wondered about it myself so checked it out. Here's my Text-To-Speech page with information about what you need and a couple of sample Delphi programs that will read to you, or create a sound file from a text file. Don't imagine that your reading days are over though - listening to robots talk can be frustrating, even if they are named Mary or Freddy or Mike.
November 10, 2003: I hope everyone got to enjoy the Lunar eclipse Saturday night. Don Rowlett pointed out a small bug in Astronomy Demo yesterday. When using the "Planets" option from the "Actions" menu item, Saturn was omitted so all of the more distant planets got renamed and moved one orbit closer to the sun. It's fixed today. I also noticed that Pluto's orbital data is not available - the required parameters osculate (change over time) and accurate calculations for any date require data published for that year. I didn't do that. Perhaps I should have just omitted Pluto, but as it is the message to that effect is just awkwardly presented.
November 5, 2003: The upcoming total Lunar eclipse on the 8th (or 9th, depending on where you live) finally prompted me to fix a few bugs and post the Astronomy Demo program written a couple of years ago. This is a large program that may tell you more than you want to know about planetary events (and in more time and coordinate systems than you care to learn). But if you want the details of the upcoming Lunar eclipse, or the sunrise time when deer season opens next week, or where Mars is located in the sky right now - you may find this program useful. As usual, friends down under can tell me what eastern events appear in the west, or daytime events appear at night, etc., and I'll fix things right up.
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