Well, I seem to be the announcement boy recently :)
I'm happy to announce the beta release of NI Podcasts, including one from yours truly! We're still in the early stages here, experimenting around with what might be interesting to folks, so please shoot us an email (email@example.com) with your thoughts and ideas. I've actually been involved in this effort for a while, so I'd love to hear from you.
I'm happy to announce that we (as in National Instruments) have set up a new Community Site for code samples and examples. I'm going to try migrating my examples over there, but I'd love to see everyone give this site a try.
Note that the site itself is still in Beta, but that doesn't mean you'll need to resubmit once it's "released" - everything you do there should be maintained over the beta to release transition.
As I've mentioned in the past, one of the charities I work with is the Texas Hearing and Service Dogs. One of our recipients has written a letter to the AKC to nominate her service dog for the AKC Award of Excellence. However, I think she describes quite well why these dogs are so important.
And remember, THSD takes all of its dogs from shelters and rescue groups - these are dogs thrown away by other people.
Refnums in LabVIEW are not a new thing - they represent some external resource that must be tracked and released when you're finished with it. The most common example is the file refnum, created whenever you open a file.
For those programming .NET in LabVIEW, refnums are your constant companion. We convert what .NET data types we can into native types, but there are simply too many types in .NET that have no correlation. So, you get refnums.
But, just like files, you need to be sure to close the refnum when your done with it, or you'll get a memory leak. Let's take a look at when you do and don't need to close a .NET refnum.
Friday night, my wife and I attended a fascinating lecture at the University of Texas. Professor Harry Swinney, who runs the Center for Non-linear Dynamics at UT, gave a talk about the emergence of order out of chaos.
The theory is fascinating, and you may have seen some examples of this before (at a minimum, it attempts to explain how a zebra gets its stripes) such as fluid within a spinning cylinder. The fact is that in highly chaotic systems, such as a glass of liquid that is vibrated and/or heated, the turbulence that results - at just the right level of input energy - can turn from a blur of chaotic flows into a well defined pattern, such as stripes or grids.
The one example he showed that got the entire room gasping was a video of what happens to corn starch in such a scenario...I strongly recommend you watch this one (make sure you see the last part, right out of a horror movie *laugh*)! This is also a good version of the video, with an overview by the physicists.