Brian Dunn — Technical Writer, Software Engineer, LaTeX Programmer, Image Processor
I’m a software engineer and technical writer with excellent skills in the art and science of document typesetting and in the field of embedded industrial controls programming. I provide services for companies making real-world products who wish to save time and resources by outsourcing the final design of their technical documentation and literature.
Documentation is an important part of programming, and unlike many other programmers I actually enjoy producing inline code documentation and external software test procedures, state diagrams, user-interface descriptions, and so on. I also want these documents to look great, since they’ll be seen by current users trying to learn how to use the product, as well as potential customers doing their research before deciding what to buy. Clarity, completeness, organization, visual appeal, and grammar — these are things which matter.
Products which I have programmed include industrial controllers for time and temperature, product conveyor motors and solenoids, various display and key interfaces, and industrial networking. These are used in applications such as large dust-control factory air filters, numerous grills and ovens, an automated coffee maker for the railroad industry, a medical UV-treatment light timer, and test equipment such as a pulse-width timer. Each of these has been coded to allow them to survive real-world environments, including power interruption, noise injection, faulty sensors and controls, and programming/memory corruption.
Product documentation (manuals and/or literature) which I have written, edited, or reformatted and typeset include applications such as CNC bearings, mounts, and control software, HVAC equipment, metal-working shear, metal-working lathes, vacuum-testing equipment, a parts washer, pumps, mixers, heat-transfer coils, test equipment, food-production equipment and conveyors, motor speed limiters, an automatic door closer, a fryer control, PLC controller and industrial computer installations, RFID hardware, and a camping trailer user’s manual.
Scientific white papers which I have typeset have been for industries such as vacuum testing, hardness testing, optics, robotic control, and HVAC ducts, heat-transfer, and heat-storage units. I have also re-typeset a book about mechanical gear design.
In the process of doing all the above, I have also improved or redesigned a variety of diagrams and illustrations — both as simple as converting a low-resolution scan into a proper line drawing, and as complicated as explaining the logic behind a concept.
Having run a portrait photography business on the side (ref: the above image), I am also able to apply image-processing skills to technical documentation, greatly improving customer-supplied photography and logos as needed. Additional skills include business management, marketing, and accounting principles.
Finally, still being a programmer, I have recently been expanding the LaTeX document-creation system to generate HTML code directly from a LaTeX document, allowing the creation of a high-quality print version accompanied by an accurate HTML version of the same document for publication on the Internet.
• Providing services in the area of technical writing and communications.
• Illinois-registered Limited Liability Company (LLC).
• Federal tax number (EIN) registered with the IRS.
• Fixed-price invoicing via 1099, based on units of output, billed according to a standard price schedule.
Education and Professional Memberships
• M.S. Computer Science — Illinois Institute of Technology
• B.S. Computer and Electrical Engineering — Purdue University
• Decades of programming experience, including assembly, C, and FORTH languages.
• Embedded industrial-controls software engineering:
– Microcontrollers — Assembly and C languages.
– A wide range of commercial products.
– Real-world survivability — adapting to power loss, electrostatic discharge, memory corruption, sensor malfunction, etc.
– Libraries of re-usable code.
– State-machine logic.
– Application programs, software test procedures, software design reviews.
• Advanced LaTeX document-creation system programming — More than a decade of experience:
– LaTeX to HTML Converter — the lwarp package — HTML generated directly by LaTeX.
– Algorithmically-generated LaTeX code:
* SQL database queries, automatically linked to related LaTeX documents.
* Automated assembly of modular directories of pieces of code and images into final document, converted to an HTML website.
– LaTeX to AsciiDoc converter, written entirely in LaTeX / TeX, allowing access to the DocBook tool chain, including XHTML and EPUB output.
• Complete FORTH compiler programming:
– Token and subroutine-threaded full FORTH compilers — written in themselves.
– Related development tools, including full editor.
– Multi-tasking / multi-user programming on 8-bit microprocessors.
• HTML / CSS
• AWK, CSH
• Linux systems administration.