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Here are a few events that you should don't want to miss this Tuesday at NI Week 2009!

Be sure to check back for a recap of the day and blog about your experiences on the first day of NI Week! See you on the expo floor, at the developers lunch and during the sessions!


8:30 - 10:00 AM

Ballrom G

Dr. James Truchard, who has served as CEO of National Instruments for 33 years, coinvented NI LabVIEW graphical programming software. He also pioneered the graphical system design approach, helping engineers and scientists solve difficult problems by providing tools that take advantage of real-time, high-performance computing and field- programmable gate array (FPGA)-based signal processing. Join Dr. Truchard as he discusses how graphical systemdesign will continue to take advantage of the latest advances in multicore and heterogeneouscomputing to meet complex challenges, from big physics to green engineering, as well aslower design costs.

LabWindows/CVI Developers Lunch

12:00 PM

Tables: 6 - 8

Chat with LabWindows/CVI developers and other users. Provide feedback for feature suggestions, discuss your applications and get advice from CVI developers and other users!

HALT/HASS Automated Test with the NI LabWindows™/CVI Real-Time Module

CD Failure Test

1:30 PM

Expo Floor Test Section

Be sure to catch the demo and watch as we run a failure test of a CD by controlling a LabWindows/CVI Real-Time application on a PXI embedded controller from an ASP.NET and Measurement Studio web page. We will be ramping the motor speed to spin the CD above 25,000 RPM and attempt to shatter it. You don't want to miss this failure test!

Certified LabWindows/CVI Developer Exam

1:00 PM – 5:00 PM


Become a Certified LabWindows/CVI Developer by taking the Certified LabWindows/CVI Developer Exam during NI Week.

Porting a Legacy Control System to PXI with LabWindows/CVI Real-Time

4:45 PM

Room 13A/B

Learn about a factory control system that was ported from a Multibus II architecture to the PXI platform. Discover the economic benefit of the conversion, why engineers chose PXI and LabWindows/CVI Real-Time, how they ported the ANSI C software, key lessons learned, and the performance characteristics of the final system.

NI Community Block Diagram Party

5:00- 7:30 PM

Exhibition Hall

Enjoy food, drinks, music, and good company at the third annual NI Community Block Diagram Party! Exchange best practices with fellow engineers and scientists from a range of industries and companies, and meet with leaders in design, control, and test to discuss the latest technical innovations. Also visit with more than 100 exhibitors to see the newest tools, applications, and solutions using NI products.

- Adri Kruger

LabWindows/CVI Product Manager



NI Week 2009 is only days away! I hope that you will be joining us for the great NI Week Events and have your calendars marked with all the LabWindows/CVI sessions, certifications, and demos. You can see a full list of the LabWindows/CVI sessions in the NI Week 2009 LabWindows/CVI Events blog post and can get all the NI Week informaiton on the NI Week 2009 home page.

The HALT/HASS Automated Test with the NI LabWindows™/CVI Real-Time Module demo is back! You may have seen this demo if you joined us for a previous NI Week Conference, and have heard it referred to as the familiar with the infromal name of the LabWindows™/CVI CD shattering demo.

We have made major improvements to the demo and we are excited to show it off. The demo uses LabWindows™/CVI Real Time on a PXI embedded controller to control a motor that performs lifetime testing of a CD by spinning it and measuring the speed of the disc. There are two control modes: spin up and down through cycles, and spin until failure.  You can interact with the motor control and analyze measurement displays using the LabWindows™/CVI Real Time module, an ASP.NET web page with Measurement Studio web controls, network variables and TDMS data files.

Be sure to mark your calendar for one of the scheduled CD failure tests so that you can witnees a CD being shattered!



LabWindows/CVI Events

Tuesday August 4, 2009

Porting a Legacy Control System to PXI with LabWindows/CVI Real-Time

Time: 4:45 PM

Abstract: Learn about a factory control system that was ported from a Multibus II architecture to the PXI platform. Discover the economic benefit of the conversion, why engineers chose PXI and LabWindows/CVI Real-Time, how they ported the ANSI C software, key lessons learned, and the performance characteristics of the final system.

LabWindows/CVI Developers Lunch

Time: 12:00 PM

Abstract: Chat with LabWindows/CVI developers and other users

Certified LabWindows/CVI Developer Exam

Time: 1:00 PM – 5:00PM

Abstract: Become a Certified LabWindows/CVI Developer by taking the Certified LabWindows/CVI Developer Exam during NI Week.

Thursday August 6, 2009

What’s new in LabWindows/CVI Version 9.0 and Beyond

Time: 10:30 AM

Abstract: Explore the new features of LabWindows/CVI 9.0 and LabWindows/CVI Real-Time. Learn how you can detect memory leaks earlier, reduce compile times, and integrate the latest PXI, PXI Express, and PC hardware in your real-time applications. Also share your feature suggestions directly with the LabWindows/CVI developers.

Application Debugging Tools in LabWindows/CVI

Time: 1:00 PM

Abstract: Learn how LabWindows/CVI helps developers avoid, identify, and eliminate bugs. Get an overview of automatic run-time checking, the various debugging windows, and remote debugging. Plus, find out how the new resource tracker easily sniffs out pesky memory leaks, and get some pointers on how to deal with bugs in release binaries.

Using the C API for the LabVIEW FPGA Interface

Time:  1:00 PM

Abstract: This presentation will cover developing C based applications to communicate with the LabVIEW FPGA interface on both desktop and real-time systems. Learn tips on how to get started and architect your application.

Certified LabWindows/CVI Developer Exam

Time: 1:00 PM – 5:00PM

Abstract: Become a Certified LabWindows/CVI Developer by taking the Certified LabWindows/CVI Developer Exam during NI Week.



I hope you will be joining us for NIWeek 2009, the worldwide graphical system design conference, on August 4-6, in Austin, Texas. The LabWindows/CVI team is very eager to share new product features and gain insight into your applications and feature suggestions.

We have some great LabWindows/CVI sessions and demos lined up for NI Week 2009. If you are able to join us for NI Week 2009, be sure to add the following events to your calendar:

•    Lunch: LabWindows/CVI Users
•    Session: What’s new in LabWindows/CVI Version 9.0 and Beyond
•    Session: Application Debugging Tools in LabWindows/CVI
•    Session: Porting a Legacy Control System to PXI with LabWindows/CVI Real-Time
•    Session: Using the C API for the LabVIEW FPGA Interface
•    Demonstration: LabWindows/CVI Real-Time CD Shattering

Learn more about the NI Week LabWindows/CVI events, read session abstracts, and discover what makes the NI Week experience so unique by going to

Having trouble convincing others that NI Week is the place to be? Justify your visit to NI Week 2009 with the NI Week Justification Letter .

If you are not able to attend NI Week this year, you can still get involved in the LabWindows/CVI community by joining the LabWindows/CVI User-Group. You can post, share, learn, and connect with LabWindows/CVI users around the world, participate in discussion forums, subscribe to the quarterly newsletter and learn about future NI events.

We look forward to seeing you at NI Week 2009!

Adri Kruger
NI LabWindows/CVI Product Manager


You can view the LabWindows™/CVI Q2 Newsletter online!


The LabWindows™/CVI Q2 newsletter features advanced measurements topics ranging from an overview of RF modulation in C to design implementation techniques for  test systems with LabWindows/CVI and RF hardware.

Topics covered in this newsletter include:

  • A video tutorial for the NI Modulation Toolkit for LabWindows™/CVI

  • Advanced measurements whitepapers and totorials

  • Tips and Tricks for the ins-and-outs of Standard I/O

  • Downloads for LabWindows™/CVI 9.0.1 and the NI Modulation Toolkit for LabWindows™/CVI

  • Introducing Inside LabWindows™/CVI

Subscribe to the LabWindows™/CVI newsletter and receive a copy in your email box.

You can also view recent editions online in the LabWindows™/CVI Developer Newsletter Archive and submit feedback or suggest a topic for a future edition of the newsletter by clicking on the Suggest a Topic for the Next Edition via E-mail link.


Adri Kruger

LabWindows/CVI Product Manager


What a busy year 2009 is proving to be for LabWindows/CVI all around. From a new section in the LabWindows/CVI newsletter, new products, and even changes to the NI LabWindows/CVI team. Here’s a quick rundown on what’s been going on Inside CVI.

LabWindows/CVI Newsletter Update
The newsletter is designed to deliver the latest technical and product news to LabWindows/CVI developers. The challenge with the newsletter is that it’s a one-way communication: from us, to you. To augment this, we’re adding the new “Inside LabWindows/CVI” section. This new section appears at the top of every LabWindows/CVI newsletter and highlights what’s going on with the LabWindows/CVI inside NI and throughout the worldwide community. Even better – the new section resides in the LabWindows/CVI User Group online community. This brings me to the next update: the LabWindows/CVI User Group!

LabWindows/CVI User Group Online

Welcome to the LabWindows/CVI User Group! “Inside LabWindows/CVI” is actually a blog posting that resides in the NI community ecosystem. The NI community provides tons of Web 2.0 technologies allowing us to collaborate, share, and network with each other. Check out the bread crumb at the top of this page. Clicking on “LabWindows/CVI User Group” sends you to the main community page where after you join, you can create discussions, blogs, announcements, polls, and invite others. All you need to join is an NI community profile, so join today!


Product News
Also in this edition of the newsletter are some new product announcements for LabWindows/CVI including LabWindows/CVI 9.0.1 and a new webcast on building software-defined RF test systems using LabWindows/CVI. And in case you missed it in the Q1 newsletter, we recently put together some technical resources on integrating an NI FPGA into your next test system using LabWindows/CVI.

The NI Team
We’re very excited to announce all of these activities for LabWindows/CVI, and this brings me to the last update – my last post (as an NI employee) to the LabWindows/CVI community.

I’m embarking on new challenges and opportunities as I pursue graduate studies in Boston. It has been a pleasure working at such a great company as NI, and with such a wonderful, loyal user base including all of you. I’ll continue to keep a watchful eye on the community, so be sure to look for me posting as Wendyk. But have no fear, because I’m leaving you in very good hands.

Please welcome the newest addition to the LabWindows/CVI team, Adri Kruger! Adri is taking the reigns of LabWindows/CVI product marketing, and I couldn’t be more excited! She possesses the technical knowledge, passion for the product, and creative thinking to continue to grow the LabWindows/CVI user base. I hope you all get the opportunity to meet her at NIWeek 2009, August 4-6 in Austin! Adri joins us after supporting LabWindows/CVI in Applications Engineering, and joins Luis Gomes, Nick Beer, Jared Aho, and the rest of the LabWindows/CVI team at NI.

I would like to sincerely thank each of you for the experiences over the past three years, and I wish you all well in the future.

Wendy Logan
CVI Evangelist for Life


It's the season to be thankful. So in the spirit of the season I want to say what I'm thankful for.

First, of course, I'm want to thank God for all my blessings. Next, I want to thank my family. My Mom and Dad for giving me a good foundation and work ethic and encouraging me to go to collage in spite of their very limited education. I'm thankful for my kids for keeping me grounded through a bunch of tough years and for putting up with me and my warped sense of humor the rest of the time. And I'm even thankful for my hard driving have-to-be-right brother and sweet sister.

I'm Thankful for my really good friends who helped me get past my shyness, helping with my introversion, and helping me get through my tough years. They are fun to hang out with when I don't have a date. In other words, we always hang out.

I'm also thankful to National Instruments for making it easy to do my job. LabWindows CVI is a great tool for Test Engineers and makes it easy to develop code for test sets and for easy to use hardware. I'm also thankful for all the helpful people I've met and worked with there at NI like Joel, Wendy, Santiago, and Conan. I especially thankful for NI Week and the Wednesday night party they throw, maybe happy they do it than actually "thankful". And, yes, I'm even thankful for LabVIEW, it's a good language and most likely a piece of the future of software.

I'm also thankful to both of the Directors I work for, especially JT. They believe in me and know that I'll work hard to do a good job for both of them.

[Start Sarcastic Voice]
I'm also thankful for the boss who said I couldn't follow a process. Now that I've helped deveop our companies processes and reach CMMI level 5, you proved how well you know people. To the same boss who said I would never work in software at our company again. She was right, I'm not in the software group, I'm Test Engineering doing much more and fun software.

I'm thankful to Electrical Engineers. Since most of you guys don't think I can tell the difference between a resistor and an FPGA, you make it very easy to impress you. Especially, to they lead EE guys who couldn't find the problem between the IMU and GPU on LOSAT. You made it easy for "Just a software guy" to find the 25ns glitch that was reseting the IMU with just a schematic and an OScope.

I'm also thankful to the boss who believes that software is just a passing fad. You make everyone else seem so much smarter.

I'm also thankful to the place I work. [insert almost any sarcastic comment from Dilbert and it applies. I'm pretty sure he works where I work]

[End Sarcastic Voice]

The reality of it is I have a lot to be thankful for and I know that I am truly blessed.

Thank you

Originally posted by JA Varnell at


Since I work a lot with different instruments and don't have the luxury of completely learning the ins-and-out of one product, I rely on a companies help functions to get my job done.

Lately I've been integrating some Agilent RF equipment into a test set. I now have a much better appreciation of NI help. I've always felt like NI has some of the best technical help around, examples, and documentation but I've come to appreciate it even more.

I'm trying to use TestStand to control an automated test on an RF Signal Generator, RF Power Meter, and an RF Switch, all from Agilent but having trouble. Agilent really is trying to help but still have a really long way to go to get close to NI help. When I had problems I entered a couple of on-line help requests but received no responses. I had to call the local sales rep to get the e-mail of a tech rep. I have been e-mailing him and he has been helpful in a limited way. I did get the manual web sequence to control the RF Switch, but for automated tests, that doesn't mater.

The RF signal generator was easy because I've used it before and figured out it's quirks. The examples for the RF Power meter had nothing to do with actually reading power, hmmm. When I made calls to the driver functions, they came back with error messages that gave no hint at what was needed. The funcion panel help gave no hint at what the parameters were looking for. I wound up using some low level SCPI commands in combination with the driver functions. I couldn't get it to work with all SCPI or all driver functions.

As for the RF Switch, the examples seem to include calls to driver functions for many different switch types. For my RF switch, the driver functions generate a lot of "Not supported" error messages. But it was very hard to figure out what is supported or what calls I could make. Also, once I loaded the Agilent IO Drivers (which are required for the system to even see their switch) the Pickering switches disappeared from the PXI chassis, at least from a logical standpoint. I still haven't figured that one out.

It's been a week and a half trying to get the RF interconnections to work. I think I'm close but compared to the NI instruments, it's taken way to long.

Using Agilent instruments has given me more of an appreciation for how good NI help, discussion boards, phone help, and e-mail help really are. I especially want to thank Joel Garner, NI Sales Engineer extraordinaire, for his help.

Originally posted by JA Varnell at


I've found that the Test Engineering group is misunderstood, at least where I work. Most of the engineering groups have an identity. The Electrical Engineering group builds the hardware, the Mechanical Engineers builds the moving parts, Software Engineers write the software to control the hardware, and the Systems Engineers glue it all together.

It seems what Test Engineering does is a mystery to the other groups. We are called in late in projects because Project Managers don't know why they need us until they realize they need to make more than one widget (or whatever it is they're making). Then they realize their widget (or whatever it is they're building) was designed in a way that makes it incredibly hard to test.

It's too late but that's when they figure out they needed us to begin with.

We're trying to educate the programs on what we can do for them. We can do is:
- We do hardware and we do software.
- We develop systems (Test Systems)
- We can help them design their widget so it can be tested.
- We can make their tests automatic and repeatable.
- We can help with developmental testing
- We can make sure the widget is built correctly
- We can test your system in the field or on the production line

...Bottom line is we can help.

Originally posted by JA Varnell at


And LabVIEW Drools. It had to be said.

I finally got away from doing documentation and processes for a day, so I was able to do some fun stuff...Technical work. I'm currently working on a Test Station Self Test. Some parts of the Self Test are done in LabVIEW, partially because others did those parts with LabVIEW, partially because I broke down and wrote some LabVIEW code.

Well, I'm updating all the LabVIEW code to fit it into TestStand for the Self Test. It's frustrating, hard to find the vi's I need and it does things for me...I'm not sure what...that I don't think I want it to. For example, I opened one of the vi's to see the picture on one of the DAQmx self test vi it contained (in order to find it's equivalent for NI Sync) with out changing a thing. When I closed the vi, with no changes, it asked me if I wanted to save. I didn't change anything! What was different where it needed to change?

As I was working in LabVIEW, it took quite a while to update the code, but I was learning. I was figuring out what the microscopic pictures were on the vi's, although I still have no idea why they chose the pictures they did for some of them. Things were moving along smoothly with only a low constant pain in my wrist. I was finally done with the LabVIEW part.

Then I needed to develop some CVI instrument wrappers. And BAM! They were done! The text based code just flowed from my finger tips. I plugged it into TestStand and BAM BAM! It worked...first try! And I wasn't even entirely sure how the RF Signal Generator worked. Compared to the struggle I had getting the LabVIEW stuff out, it was a breeze. It was like night and day! It was slicker than deer guts on a door knob! (A good old southern saying)

All I could say was CVI Rules! and LabVIEW drools!

Originally posted by JA Varnell at


I was hanging out at the book store, as I tend to do since they have almost all that is needed in life; Coffee, lots of books to read, and free wifi. Some how, I accidentally wander out of the Computer book section, somehow missed the Science and Engineering section and wound up in the music book section. I browsed a book about Zappa for a while but stumbled a book call "Comfortably Numb: the inside story of Pink Floyd". It's a great book!

There were several points that seemed counter intuitive about teams until you realize that Pink Floyd produced many great albums (for the young people, an album is a vinyl disc that music was recorded on and played on a record player...with a needle) including The Dark side of the Moon, one of the best selling albums of all time.

First point, hiring people based on best team fit is over rated. Sometimes the band members were at each others throats. The point was they were all smart, all creative, and they had the drive to get the job done. They didn't let creative differences or personal difference get in the way of there goal.

Second point, some teams fall apart with dissension between team members, some teams refocus their experiences into creativity. Pink Floyd re-focused into writing great music while software teams can refocus into great software.

Third point, Creative people push themselves, and others, hard. Creative people will push themselves to bring their idea's to the forefront and sometimes will push others to get their idea's out there. They seem to push each other, sometimes in not so nice ways, to get people to complete there own ideas.

Fourth point, don't let technology overwhelm the ideas. This one may be a stretch but it has a good point. With Pink Floyd all the technology behind the shows sometimes got in the way of the music. Today, all the e-mail, IM, blogs, distract us from reaching the goal of developing our ideas.

Overall, the parts that I read were very enjoyable. I'm going to have to go back to the bookstore, hangout some more, and read the book. Or, hey, I could actually buy the book! We'll have to see.

Originally posted by JA Varnell at


-ism: Docturine; Theory; System of principles; Distinctive or Character trait.

I've noticed some traits of LabVIEW programmers and the word "LabVIEWism" came to mind. Sort of like Hinduism or materialism. It seems to be more than just a programming language, it's seems to be a way of life...programming life that is. Similar to Protestantism is to Protestants or Communism is to Communist. (No association with LabVIEW implied)

To me, it seems that LabVIEW is ingrained in the LabVIEWist being, it flows in their blood. You cut them and they bleed hemoglobin vi's. (I'm sure the icons are red)

LabVIEWism has a lot of followers that are dedicated to the LabVIEW way of programming, focused on converting us lowly CVI programmers. NI Week is a tribute to LabVIEWism, they inundate everyone with LabVIEW with only a token acknowledgment to CVI.

I don't bleed vi's, or dream graphical code. I still dream in C and preach the virtues the code editor and the power of the command line. LabVIEWism may take over our companies test group, but there will always be holdouts.

Originally posted by JA Varnell at


I have been making a concerted effort to use LabVIEW lately, trying to learn the "Graphical" way of programing. Due to Carpel Tunnel Syndrome I use my left hand to mouse a lot. I've tried the, so called, "Keyboard" shortcuts ("Keyboard" as defined by NI), but since they still involve the mouse, they aren't as helpful as I need them to be.

But continuing to work with the pain, my left hand is just not as dexterous as my right. It's hard to hit the small wire Connections. It's annoying trying to figure out which vi to use for what functions.

Some of the features that would be VERY helpful to get us LabVIEW handicapped people working in LabVIEW is:
- a zoom feature. I could make a vi bigger and actually hit the terminal.
- Or have it where, when I miss hitting a terminal, I can use tab or shift tab to move the connection from the current terminal to the next or previous terminal.
- Have LabVIEW be able to select the end of a wire and then drag it around using the arrow keys instead of the mouse.
- Have the pallet navigable with the arrow and tab keys. Make it where you can select the pallet, then with the arrow and tab keys move about in the pallets to the vi you want. From there, be able to select it and drag and drop with the arrow keys.

Have the LabVIEW developers ever heard about Test Driven Development (TDD) or automated Builds? Here's some more features.
- For automatic builds, have VI's able to be Compiled (or whatever happens to them) from the command line and verified none of them are broken (with the broken arrow for the run button)
- For Test Driven Development, have an automated test frame work. Frame works similar to the NUnit test development suite.

One more suggestion...have a cheaper copy for use by anyone. MS have copies of things like Visual Studio C++ for $100 or so at computer stores.

It's still easier to think in C (LabWindows CVI) than it is in LabView and until I can develop LabVIEW as I can develop C code, I'm sure I'll still be using CVI. But I will always keep trying to learn new stuff.

Now as soon as NI comes up comes up with telepathic programming interface, I'll be there!

Originally posted by JA Varnell at