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Archive for February, 2012

Free Range VHDL

Free Range VHDL, by Brian Mealy and Fabrizio Tappero, is the latest in a long line of books written about VHDL. What makes this a unique offering is its simplicity as an introductory text, and the fact that it is absolutely free. The book is offered under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Unported License, and can be downloaded in PDF and LaTeX format from the Free Range Factory website.

The book is far from a complete reference on VHDL, missing coverage of several important topics. These omissions are actually the basis for its strength. As anyone trying to learn a new language can attest, there is a fine line between introducing basic concepts and overloading the reader with unneccesary information. If you want to learn VHDL, this book may not be the final word, but can most certainly serve as the first.

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I came across a really neat web demo of a mathematics equation hand-writing recognition tool called Web Equation. It can be used to recognize a hand-written mathematical expression (using your computer mouse or track-pad), and then convert it to the corresponding LaTeX or MathML code fragment. A few moments after the user has ‘drawn’ the formula, the code-fragment appears in a small box and can then be copy-and-pasted into your document editor.

When creating technical documents using the LaTeX document markup language, mathematical equations can get complicated enough to require frequent visits to the corresponding reference manuals. This tool is apparently written using JavaScript and simplifies the process of creating equations through an intuitive interface and a simple cut-and-paste operation.

It does pretty well with my track-pad written Discrete Fourier Transform:

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