Nov 18, 2006

Dynamic Block Updated released!!

LEGO and NI have added something to the support pages - a patch that allows you to add in new NXT-G blocks seamlessly into the environment. Take a look here:

Mindstorms support


Note that with the ability to add blocks in, you really need new blocks to add... so they have provided those as well: miniblocks (more streamlined versions of the "stock" blocks... more on that in another post) as well as the legacy blocks that work with the older RCX system sensors and motors (these were already released in the educational version of NXT-G, but now you can add them to the retail version, free of charge).

Addendum: Ah, I misunderstood - check out a just-now-appearing post under 13 Nov on this blog, for more details on the memory-saving abilities of the miniblocks, etc. I wrote it then, but didn't want to post it until the release was availible... and now it shows up there. Here's a link back:

Introducing the Miniblocks


--
Brian Davis

17 comments:

Tony Naggs said...

Hi Brian

N(e)XT time you will know to copy the draft posting into a new one before publishing it. :-)

ttfn,
Tony N

Tony said...

Cool, now if only they'd release a Universal Binary for intel macs... :(

Tony said...

I spoke too soon... after I imported the Legacy Blocks and went to re-open NXT-G, it now crashes every time it starts on my MacBookPro. :(

Brian Davis said...

Tony, if possible try a clean install:

1) Save your programs by pulling out the profile you have them all in (if you have any custom sounds or image files, you'll need to pul those from the correct folders in the application to put back later).

1.5) Save a copy of that profile. This, after all, is where all your hard work is! Protect, backup,... you know the drill :-).

2) Delete the application folder, as well as the documents folder that used to hold your profile.

3) Go to your hard drive icon (*not* just your user folder), and drill down to library/receipts/. Throw away anything with "Mindstorms" in it.

4) Reinstall the SW. Download the patch for the clicking brick syndrome, and reinstall that. Now install the dynamic block patch, and finally run NXT-G.

5) Make a dummy program and save it, to establish a default profile (once you've done this, you should be able to just toss that new default profile and replace it with your old one; I've had no trouble on this previously).

6) If everything is working, *with a program sheet open in the environment*, go up to the "Tools" menu and try to import some blocks.

Now, if all that worked (whew!), try starting up the environment again, and seeing if the miniblocks appear. I've not gone through this yet with the downloads from LEGO, but I've gone through the above sequence many times with beta testing.

--
Brian Davis (hoping I got all that correct)

Spirou said...

And they have forgotten a move block feature. Not even a uninstall block was implemented. Now i have to move the files by hand. Grumpf

Tony said...

Brian, that solved my problem. I really have no idea what was causing it, but after reinstalling it seems to be working fine. Thanks.

Brian Davis said...

Tony, I'm glad that fixed it; as I mentioned, I've had to do it more than occassionally, and it's usually a good idea when in doubt.

Spirou, I agree a function to move blocks between pallets, or at least uninstall them, is something that would be nice... but how long did you want to wait with *no* ability to import blocks at all? Personally, i'm glad the patch has been released instead of waiting for a "better" one. That said, I'll try to post an "uninstall" a block script soon too.

--
Brian Davis

Jim Kelly said...

I agree with Brian... I'm just glad to have the added ability. I was able to import the Compass Sensor beta block and get it working... I'd rather have it now than wait for additional functions to be added for removal/editing.

Jim

Andy said...

Hi Jim!
Hoe did you get the Compass Sensor beta block? I do not have the Compass Sensor (yet) and I can`t find any place to download it at HiTechnic. I do not have the NXT yet, but my grandma is coming the 20th december and then i get on Educational version with software and one rescorce set an the retail version of the NXT set(s).

Jim Kelly said...

I beta-tested the Compass Sensor for HiTechnic and was able to get the new block to test it, too... it's now out yet, but keep checking HiTechic's website... I'm sure they'll be posting it soon.

Jim

Andy said...

Thanks!

Tony Naggs said...

I am not clear what is required to write my own sensor blocks, and to share them.

(Presuming I make my own sensors, and want to access them in NXT-G.)

Does anyone know?


Thanks,
Tony

Brian Davis said...

Yes. what's needed (and is coming) is the public release of NI's LabVIEW Toolkit for the NXT. With it, you can program the inner workings of your own blocks to import into NXT-G. It's just not yet publicly released. And yes, when it is, i'll loudly mention it on the blog - it's nice, if trickier than NXT-G to use.

--
Brian Davis

Tony Naggs said...

Hi Brain

Thanks for the clarification. I do not recall seeing this stated before. (I was wondering if I had to purchase LabView or something.)

Trickier I can probably cope with. A steep learning curve for some of the youngsters who want to experiment though.

I fear that installing the Dynamic Block update, and the Mini & Legacy blocks will be tricky for some people. (Especially on Windows 2000, which does not have built-in zip file handling.)

I am glad to say that the updates installed without problem for me. It does need some care in reading the instructions though.

I have the retail & Educational versions on different PCs. Did anybody try installing the update on a PC with both versions?


Ttfn,
Tony N

Steve said...

You DO need to own LabView to use the Toolkit.

Tony Naggs said...

Hmmm, not good news.

I presume the "Base" version of LabView would be sufficient. I can think of other things to spend US$1200 on that are more essential, more fun, more productive or all three.


- Tony N

Brian Davis said...

On the flip side, NI realizes this too - at $1200 a pop, there's not a whole gaggle of basement hobbyist types who will be lining up. I'm not sure what solution will crop up, but it's at least not an unknown problem.

--
Brian Davis

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