Jun 22, 2006

Things are quiet...

Well, with the MDP program over, we're back to limited sources of information. Things are slow right now with the LEGO Education blog, but I imagine that they're fairly busy with the upcoming release of the product. The official Mindstorms website has had some nice updates lately, and I continue to watch it for any new items, but my guess is that they're also working like crazy in preparation for the product release.

My hands are tied until tomorrow, but please check back on Thursday for a link that I think you'll all really enjoy. I was asked not to reveal anything until tomorrow, but I can tell you that some people have been working on a great website that I'm anxious to share with you...

Brian, Matthias, and I are in negotiations to start back on our Jousting project. I'm hesitant to move forward too fast, though, as something is in the works on the official website that may lend itself to the Jousting project's completion.

I've just completed the 3rd (of 5) bots for my book and have crossed the halfway point... the book's completion is in sight. I'm enjoying writing it, and a few test readers (age 10-14) have provided some nice feedback and like the format. I can breathe a little better...

I'm preparing to test the NXT software on Vista... I've managed to get beta 2 and a new PC (by the way, Windows Vista requires a HUGE amount of memory and hard drive space - you've been warned). More on that as I have time to test...

All in all, I'm still having fun with my NXT system... I apologize for not posting any more designs, but most of my work is for the book and I can't post info on them yet. I may try and play around this weekend with something new, just for the blog.

12 comments:

William L. Chamberlin said...

Here is a link to a neat page on a certain website. . .

This page gives an inventory of all the parts that are included in the NXT retail set, including parts quantities and photographs of most of the parts!

On this website, you can also find scans of instruction manuals from Lego sets dating way back to the 1950's!

Here is the link:

http://www.peeron.com/inv/sets/8527-1

William

Jim Kelly said...

For that list, you can thank Philo, fellow MDPer and NXT-hacker extraordinare.

He has his own site:

http://philohome.com/

Check out his NXT articles, too

http://philohome.com/nxt.htm

byronczimmer said...

8 4265b MdStone Technic Bush 1/2 Type II (Pic)

Is that really true? The picture shoes that that's the bushing with the little teeth on it on one edge, versus the smooth edged ones that are very prevalent in today's sets.

-=-
I'm also happy to see:
1 x403 Black Technic Gear 36 Tooth Double Bevel (Pic)
I have precious few 'Goliath Gears', so that'll be nice to have.

-=-
Anyone know what the differences are between "Technic Beams" or "Technic Liftarms" ?
4 41239 LtStone Technic Beam 13 (Pic)
11 32278 LtStone Technic Liftarm 1 x 15 Straight (Pic)
I always thought that beams had studs and liftarms didn't, but that's disproven with the 13 and 15 length items (again, as pictured).

-=-
1 44809 MdStone Technic Pin Joiner Perpendicular Bent (Pic)
Only one of these. Sad, looks like a neat piece, though not sure precisely what I'd use it for yet...

-=-
4 55976 Black Tyre 56 x 26 Balloon
Those look like NEW tires -- they aren't listed as a part of any other set. True?

Jim Kelly said...

Matthias,

I was looking at your pictures again from vacation... what is that you're wearing?

Have you ever seen a movie called "Spies Like Us"? There's a scene where Chevy Chase and Dan Ackroyd are wearing these fur jackets that is hilarious...

http://ultrawarp.com/chevy/spieslikeus/furs.jpg

Jim

Anonymous said...

Those of us that were not selected for the MDP were offered an opportunity to purchase a retail NXT kit that would start shipping on July 1st, a full month before other pre-orders would start to be filled.

I haven't heard anything more about this. Does anyone know if Lego is still on track to start shipping in 10 days?

The suspense is killing me!

Dennis

Mitchell said...

Hello

In Robocup Junior, something that I am quite fond of (having come second in Australia a few years back), there has always been a problem with redownloading of programs on the RCX. Unless you tape up the IR port your program will be replaced by another, from any IR tower that happens to be pointing in the direction. With bluetooth, this will be even worse, because your robot doesn't even have to be pointing at the sender. Are there ways to block communication from and to your NXT robot?

I can't wait for the release. I am quite desperate to become part of the NXT community.

Mitchell

Matthias Paul Scholz said...

Jim,

> what is that you're wearing?

> Have you ever seen a movie called "Spies Like Us"?

Yes, it's (the) one of Chevy's movies that I really like...

It's in fact a pullover made of (sheep) fur (and very warm, I may assure you).
It decidedly yields some looks - and I definitely will not wear it when rambling in some ice bear hunting area...;-)

Matthias

byronczimmer said...

As with any bluetooth device, it is best to establish the initial connection 'in private', so that only the source (your PC) and receiver (your NXT) can read each other.

Then, in public, you only accept communication from known entities and you're golden. 0% interference. 100% secure.

Brian Davis said...

To expand on the BT issue, you end up tagging each
NXT with a name. When you want to connect to an NXT, you have to select it by name, and only then establish a link. BT does not "broadcast", but in effect targets named devices. This means you can have several teams downloading to their robots, at the same time, at the same place, with no overlap or confusion. Furthermore the inital pairing of two BT devices has to take place with manual entry on *both* of them, so you can't accidentally or malicously connect to another teams NXT at an event.

As byronczimmer said, 0% interference, 100%* secure.

*footnote: until somebody comes along and hacks it, but I'm pretty sure within the NXT-G / standard FW environment, it will remain 100% secure.

--
Brian Davis

Jim Kelly said...

To change the name of your NXT brick, visit this link - I show you in one of the figures where you make this change:

http://www.gorobotics.net/The-News/Special-Reports/What%27s-NXT%3A-About-the-NXT-Brick%27s-Firmware/

Jim

Brian Davis said...

On the parts issues...

...yes, the 1/2 bushings are smooth, not the old style with teeth... on "beams" vs. "liftarms", I think the difference in names is a historical accident. These are the same part, but with different lengths... the "pin joiner perpendicular" is kinda fun, but I don't have a great "you need this piece" application for it as yet... and yes, the tires are new (& symmertric, although the pattern within the hub isn't).

--
Brian Davis

Jim Kelly said...

It would have to be done by someone who knows all the intricate names and nicknames, but it would be great to have a visual catalog somewhere that has the parts' name, number, nicknames, and a picture - for those of us (including me) that make up our names for many of the little thingamajigs...

Jim

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