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Friday, January 21, 2011


Gooooood times around here :)

Our team started the season with a timeline [don't we always]. We wanted to have a working prototype by the end of Week 2 [tomorrow] and it actually looks like we are on schedule. This is fabulous and so on and so forth. 

The software sub-team [myself and our programming mentor, a splendid gal who graduated from the team in '06] is doing nicely. After a floundering experience yesterday when Lisa was sick and not able to attend the meeting, I rallied today and went on to write some passable code. I got a motor working with a joystick [to raise and lower our gripper/elevator system], and got the pneumatic cylinder gamepiece gripper hooked up to switches on the driver station, wrote a little function to adjust the sensitivity of that joystick for the motor [to allow for fine-tuned control of the elevator], and found information on the third joystick we need to buy. 

The classic sight of the day was the team captain [me] racing down the hall, mug in hand, to grab some more tea, check in on the t-shirt/Chairman's subteam, then return to the lab to work on the code whilst interfacing with the hardware team.

We also encountered some watchdog errors: the watchdog is a software critter which will shut off the robot if it does not get 'fed' with its little data packet every second or so....safty feature and it is REALLY annoying, but a useful debugging feature. We think the on-board camera may be giving us the problem. 

And now for a link:  from Quivering Daughters, here. I don't know anyone who does better than Hillary at both perfectly describing the grief that many QDs feel, and providing the remedy for that sorrow. 

Oookay, off to take another peek at the watchdog errors, then head to bed before the 9-hour day in the robotics lab tomorrow....ehehhe. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Week 1 of robotics!

Okay it looks like I never posted a follow-up to the Baylyblog discussion:  Tim Bayly's last direct comment to me included this:

Rather, it's that souls will die because men and women like you will lead them astray and their rebellion against God will lead to their souls being cast into Hell.

Strong words eh?

In other news, the 2011 FIRST Robotics kickoff was last Saturday and we have embarked on another season of frantic enthusiasm, late nights and troubleshooting. The game is unique and we have made good progress this week. At the beginning of the week we made what may be the best discovery of the season: there is a working coffee maker in the robotics lab. I have a perpetual pot of hot tea going during meetings: my motto is 'Powered by Chai'.

Programming has proved insanely fun. We are immensely fortunate to have a programming mentor this year, a team alumni who was interning at Intel this year, hehe. To quote her, after we successfully loaded some code:   Actually programming stuff is much more fun than just sitting here pondering: "Hmm....WindRiver.....did we install all the updates? ...Hmm.."

 I've been writing scholarship applications and trying to keep up with school. Finals week is coming up this week [Santiam] and next [CHS].....good times.

Time for a couple of blog shout-outs: here is a great post on Three in One Makes Five, about legalism [that much-used word which nevertheless never fails to elicit a response].

One of my favorite blogs: Coffee-stained Clarity, always lyrical or amusing prose.

Gypsa's blog Anything of Nothing: post about film-making.

Here is an all-time favorite post about the ever-expanding topic of 'gender roles' [how I hate the words]. I know this lady in real life and she is an inspiration. If I ever come round here twenty years from now saying I'm married and I am a horrible wife and not being who I need to be: slap me upside the keyboard and make me go read this again, 'kay?

And here is a very interesting new blog, with a striking quote:  Are we arrogant enough to believe that our interpretations of scripture and understanding of God is all correct and complete? If not, at what point does God label us as heretics rather than Christians?

As usual, I attempt to maintain the image of the eclectic free-thinking modern individual refraining from passing a judgement on anything, with a tinge of cryptic melancholy thrown in for good measure. 

Third Day has some rather epic music: I was just struck that their song Slow Down starts out with the exact same style of chord progression as Tom Petty's classic, Mary Jane's Last Dance. 

With a flourish and an insistence that you at once go forth and watch The Village and then listen to the soundtrack until you scream,
I sign off.