The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

Snail blogging

Posted by Deliverator on April 23rd, 2005

Here is a brief addendum to yesterday’s entry. After posting the entry, a small group of us went up to the rotating restaurant and bar located on the 72nd story of the hotel to try and hear the Mose Davis Trio, an excellent Jazz trio that I have heard before. The view was great, but the band had just finished their set, so we went back downstairs to the lobby and went our seperate ways for the evening. I didn’t have anything too pressing to do, so I went to my room and picked up the new Canon digicam and headed back up top to get some pictures of the Atlanta skyline. When the doors of the elevator opened, I was greated by some great jazz music wafting through the air. The band had decided to do an encore. I hurridly snapped some shots from the observation level and then took the stairs (two at a time) up to the bar. I ordered a rather expensive “rum and coke” to nurse while listening to the band. I took a lot of pictures of the band. Because the floor rotates, I was able to stay at my seat and steady the camera. With the built in image stabalization I was able to do some pretty aggresively long manual exposures and capture a lot of detail, without washing out the shadows. I experimented with a lot of exposure settings. Whenever I would rotate out of site of the band, I would pick up my drink and walk to a new table just coming into view. In this way I was able to capture from a lot of unusual angels and with interesting lighting. The pictures came out wonderfully moody and I think a few might be print worthy, but will have to wait and see on a bigger monitor when I get home. I called Ryan and he and Tim came up. Unfortunately, the band decided to call it quits around 11pm, which didn’t give Ryan a chance to hearmuch of their music. We ended up hanging around the bar despite the canned (and poorly recorded)piano muzak that replaced the band. We stayed up much too late and the alarm clock came much too soon.

After setting up some students in various places in the stand with DV cams, I spent the morning taking pictures from the floor of the arena. I ended up using 3 sets of AA’s this morning alone and captured a couple hundred images (post culling of the most obviously bad ones). I found that shooting to flash cards and then transfering over to the 2.2 GB microdrive later seemed to work best to preserve batteries. The image stabalization when used with the microdrive really drains the batteries fast. I continued to leave the IS on all the time, as I found it difficult to anticipate when I would need it for zoomed in shots.

I am sad to say that we are not off to a strong start. We lost the first two qualifying matches. We got stuck with fair to poor partners both of these first two matches, while having to go up against teams with three strong robots. Our second match pitted us againts an alliance which included team 56, a definite crowd favorite and almost certainly to be in the playoffs. During qualifying matches, who you are partnered with is the luck of the draw and we were just unfortunate these times around. The third match I felt confident that we had won by about five points by my scoring. The team also felt that the opponents had commited a 10 point penalty by ramming us while in our loading zone. The judges ended up narrowly deciding for our opponents. I am still a little hot under the collar about this match. The game is really quite easy to score. Each tetra placed on top a goal is worth 3 points, each one under, a single point. The team with the highest placed tetra on a goal is said to be in control of a goal. Each row of goals you control is worth 10 points. You get a 10 point bonus if you get your whole team back behind the starting line by the end of the match. Subtract out any penalties and you have your final score. In at least half the matches (where I and people around me would independently tally the score) the score that we had mutually and independly arrived at would be different, sometimes by large ammounts from the judges scores. There was one match where one team had a score of 70, which was something like 20 points higher than what myself and other impartial observers tallied. There simply were not enough tetras and rows to account for the score.Anyways, we ended up winning the next two. This brings our overall season record to something like 17 wins, 3 losses and 2 washes. Whatever happens tomorrow with our remaining two qualifying matches, I am very proud of our record this year. I just hope a good alliance picks us as a partner for the competition, as we won’t have a high enough seed (even assuming we win the next two matches) to pick our own partners. Ryan and Tim stayed up late tonight to do some polishing of the code for autonomous mode. They will have about 2 hours in the morning to work on it prior to our first match. I think I will take that time to try and evangelize our team to other teams with which we would like to be partnered.

The qualifying matches were a bit of a sore spot with everyone today, but I tried to get beyond it and put it in perspective and have fun. I used some of the time in between matches to chat with some of the mentors from Carl Hayden HS. This is the school that recently beat MIT in the national ROV competition. There is a pretty big article about them in this month’s wired. Photocopies of the article have been floating around the pits all day.They had a lot of good advice to give and have agreed to have most of their team come over to our hotel tomorrow evening to talk with us about their experiences.

In the evening, we went to the Braves vs Phillies game at Turner stadium. We were able to get there easily using our MARTA passes. I am convinced that light rail can be very beneficial to a city, if done right. I just don’t ever see it being done right in Seattle. Turner stadium is the fourth major league park at which I have seen a game (HHH Metrodome, Kingdome and Safeco Field being the others) and I wasn’t too impressed with the park itself. The architecture is uninspired and very nuveau concrete jungle. Only two things were exceptional about the park. The first being the massive HD Jumbo-tron, which is by far the best I have seen anywhere. The second being the massive portions to most of the food available from the concessions. A”jumbo” dog is exactly what it sounds like, unlike the miniscule portions of gut-wrapped mystery meet you usually get at Safeco. I couldn’t resist ordering some of the delicious pizza that some of my “family” had been gorging themselves on. $5 even (isn’t 5 odd?) got me a little more than a 1/4 of a fresh,large pizza. It was delicious. Outside the food and giant screen TV (and what guy really asks for more than that?), the game itself was pretty good. The game was played pretty quickly, with a lot of hits and catches and very few batter vs pitcher duels.The Braves won 6 to 2, although Philly threatened a comeback in the top of the 9th.

Alright, it is 2:13 am here and for the 3rd straight day I have to get up in less than 4 hours, so I bid you all goodnight.