My name is Nick Buchholz, I work for the National Optical Astronomy Observatory as a software engineer. Most of my work involves the code used to control the detectors that take our data and getting that data to a disk or data handling system.
I until the last year almost all the coding I did was in 'C' really low-level hardware
bit twiddling used to set DACs and read ADCs to set and check the control voltages for the detector. The remainder has been TCL/TK that we used for the engineering interface to the controller hardware.
In the last 18 months we have been developing a new detector controller an a set of code for it that allows greater automation in the configuration, setup and running of the
control software. Most of this code is in python and Tkinter. I really like Python's flexibility and ease of development, However, as a bit twiddler, I hate not being able to get to the underlying binary representation of objects. My current problem is figuring out how to write floats as their 32bit IEEE representation into a set of EEPROMs in our hardware. I may be forced to write a wrapper around a 'C' routine to do the write. Eccch!