The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

Mr. Postman, how many stamps do you put on a robot?

Posted by Deliverator on February 20th, 2005

Spent most of the day over at Bellevue HS working on the robot. Bellevue’s robotics club, has been sharing some of their space with us and we have been sharing some of our equipment (particularly the parts of the playfield that we have constructed). It has been a mutually beneficial arrangement. We spent the bulk of the day working on autonomous modes. If we had another week, I am confident we could get our desired autonomous mode working. Namely, visually acquiring the location of field elements and using that information to run one of 16 driving programs in order to place a tetra on the center goal. All the pieces of code are there, we just don’t have enough time to plot out and test all the routes. Instead, we have fallen back on our “Plan B.” Plan B is to use dead reckoning to grab a tetra off one of the autonomous loading stations and place it on the near, inside goal and then return to near the loading station for the beginning of user-controlled mode. By the end of the day, we were doing this with pretty fair regularity. We will have to tweak our code a bit to accomodate for slight differences betweeen our practice field and the field at the Pacific Northwest Regional (like carpet type, slight differences in measured distances, etc.), but I am pretty confident we will be able to do this about 75% of the time. Based on what I have heard on the boards and what I saw from other teams at our practice meet that we held yesterday, probably less than 10% of all teams will have a viable autonomous mode. I really wish that FIRST would give teams a little more time. 6 weeks is just too little time to be reinventing the wheel every year. Anyways, bitter recrimintion aside, it has been a WILD ride these last six weeks and I am pleased to say that Tyr is now safely ensconsed in a very large shipping crate awaiting pickup. Portland here we come!

After getting back from robotics, I had just enough time to wash my car before the sunset. I didn’t feel like using a shammy to dry it, so raced up 405 to air-dry it. Along the way, I stopped at a Dairy Queen that I saw the other day while going to a client’s house. They had a “Free Wifi with purchase” posted on their big letterboard, so I couldn’t resist checking it out. I ordered a sundae and received a card with an access number on it when I asked about the Wifi. Their access point, provided by Netopia, uses a captive portal system that redirects all traffic to a login page until you agree to their terms and input the code. It seems pretty effective for what it does and DQ isn’t stingy with the time. Each card grants the user a day’s access. I only had my Jornada to put the Wifi through its paces, but it seemed quite quick and didn’t seem to be limiting to many ports. If you lived near the DQ, you could skip DSL/Cable and just buy yourself a Dilly Bar every day! At 60 cents or so, this would be a rather cheap way to get broadband :)