Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Launch Date Set For Run BASIC Hosting Service

The launch date for the world's second Run BASIC hosting service is officially set for Monday, January 18th 2010.

Details are available at

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Run BASIC Hosting Service

The first Run BASIC Hosting Service at shutdown a few months ago. This happened just before I realized that I needed a hosting service for my own applications. If it shutdown a month later, I may have become one of Jerry's last customers.

Personally, I don't want to rely on a server running in my home connected to the Internet through my Comcast cable modem. I know a lot of people do that and it's the cheapest way to go, but I did some testing and found that I have service interruptions almost every day. They are usually short and during the night, though. Plus, there are the occasional major outages both in cable service and power that usually happen during winter months or in bad weather. I live in Atlanta, so this doesn't happen often, but it's still often enough.

Last month, I purchased a subscription for my own VPS (Virtual Private Server) at VPSLand. I also started wondering if anyone else in the Run BASIC community would like to have a hosting service again. I posted this question on the forum and there was some interest, so I decided to throw my hat into the ring and start my own service for both myself and the Run BASIC community.

The service will launch in January, 2010. Yesterday, I brought a new website online that gives more details -- including pricing. It will be as affordable as the first hosting service with more features. My strategy is to start small, just as the Run BASIC community is still small and scale up as needed. The VPS -- instead of a dedicated server -- is the smartest starting point financially.

The new address for the service is

Friday, September 11, 2009

New Book Published

I published a new book titled Embedded Software Development with C. I am a co-author along with Dr. Kai Qian and Li Cao. The book is published by Springer.

It is a computer science textbook written primarily for CS and EE undergraduate students, but it is also a good introduction for working professionals interested in embedded software development. Hobbyists will also like the projects and step-by-step approach to the labs.

The book takes a software engineering approach to programming the venerable 8051 microcontroller using the C language.

The 8051 and C have been around for decades, so this book should have some long term value. It stands out from other 8051/C books because it covers Ethernet networking. Most 8051 books on the market don't make it past serial communications.

Writing this book took me back 20 years to my EET days. I haven't bread-boarded circuits since the late 80's. It was a lot of fun designing the labs and making them work.

The Ethernet chapter features an embedded web server project using an AJAX page for displaying data from the microcontroller. Pretty cool considering the resource constraints.

Monday, June 29, 2009

How to open the target folder of a Windows shortcut

Sometimes I need to open the target folder of a shortcut on my desktop.

In Windows Vista (and the upcoming Windows 7), you just right click on the shortcut and select Open File Location. In Windows XP, however, you don't have this option.

In the past (and in haste), I would right click on the shortcut, select Properties and then copy and paste the already selected target field into Windows Explorer. This works, but it takes extra steps to accomplish the task. There's an easier way:

  1. Right click on the shortcut.
  2. Select Properties.
  3. Click the Find Target button. The shortcut's target folder (or containing folder) will open.

This method seems obvious, but is easy to miss if you're in a hurry.