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e - like everywhere

Everybody doing any kind of geometry, calculus or higher algebra will have stumbled over this number:

2.71828182845904523536028747135266249775724709369995...

More commonly it is known as e , Euler's number. You may wonder, where does this number come from and why is it so important? Well... If you are like me that is: waiting for simulations to finish, having 20 minutes of spare time on your hands, and having a tenacious drive to understand things. So come along as I explain two different ways that result explain where this beautiful number comes from.

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MATLAB® and Objects

Working with objects once a project becomes sufficiently complex makes it much easier to keep track of things. MATLAB® (a.k.a. MATrix LABoratory) is a nice product by a company called MathWorks that makes matrix manipulation incredibly easy. For us engineers and academics it is the standard goto, regardless if we need to rapid prototype some functionality or develop a complex and convoluted system. Only recently did I discover a whole hidden side of  MATLAB®: classes! And because I am an incredibly big fan of those beasts I decided to write a quick summary of how to use them.

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My trip to Germany and back

When I last drove to Munich and back, in order to visit my family and girlfriend, I decided to do something especially geeky: track my driving progress. The reason behind me tracking myself was two folded. For one I wanted to see if I could write a full app, front- and back-end to track myself across Europe, but mostly I wanted to keep my folks in the loop of where I am. Usually this was done by repetitively calling or, when having a break, posting or texting many to notify them of my progress. But this is neither live, precise, nor is it a pretty solution. Over a few posts (still to come) I will show you how I:

  • designed the iOS app (in Swift with MVC paradigm),
  • made a horribly insecure web server to track the (sometimes out of order) data, and
  • displayed the entire journey (in correct order) on a Google Map on my webpage.

But for now, here are the tracking results and me waffling about my journey.

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Fix to MicroPython's Memory Allocation Problem on ESP8266

I've been trying to write code that allows me to display text on my ST7735 display. The font module I found is around 4kB of source code that needs to be loaded by Python, compiled into byte code and executed by the Python Virtual Machine, or VM (for more details refers here). This process works somewhat like Java's VM approach, but on devices with limited memory, i.e. the ESP8266, can become troublesome. Loading, compiling and storing the byte code takes up precious memory, which may not always be allocatable; thus throwing an MemoryError: memory allocation failed, allocating XXX bytes.. In this little post I want to show you how you can pre-compile modules for the ESP8266, so you will avoid wasting space. And if that option is too cumbersome for you, I also present a little hack to increase the ESP's heap memory, but that's more of a bodge-job for lazy people: i.e. me :p

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