Apr 30, 2006

Photos from MUP/MDP meeting in Atlanta

1. Soren was using Steve's Bluetooth control to have some fun with the small tribot. Just a side-note: The Bluetooth control also had PONG loaded on it... I'm not kidding. Apparently Soren and Paal are not very good at the game :) Mark (from California) and I could only watch as the head of the Mindstorms NXT division demonstrated his driving skills...



2. Bryan, Soren, and Paal... you can see Soren using the large wheel on the control. Depending on whether he was controlling Bryan's robot or Steve's robot, the wheel had a different effect. Soren was having so much fun with it, he wouldn't let go of it... (see picture #4).



3. Paal had his turn... at one point he had the small bot doing 360's... just spinning in place like crazy, but not going anywhere. It was fast and care had to be taken not to drive it off the table. Steve and Mark watched (Steve kept saying "you break it, you're buying me another...").



4. It was a good visit with Soren and Paal... they're good guys and really enjoyed themselves. It came as no surprise that these 2, working for a toy company, still laughed and had fun with the robots. They asked a lot of questions - and Paal told some funny stories. Apparently, many of these LEGO leaders refer to important decisions by giving them names based on the location they were when the decision was made. Bluetooth is referred to as the kitchen-in-California decision. Paal tells us that's where they were when Bluetooth was given the go-ahead.

5. Peter (from South Africa) was our unofficial spokesman for the FLL. He made sure that Soren and Paal heard his concerns and praises for both the RCX and NXT in the competitions. I enjoyed meeting him and hearing about his work with the students in South Africa.

Saturday's MUP/MDP meeting

Present were Soren, Paal, Steve, Bryan, Mark, Peter, and myself (see photo). What happens when you get Soren and Paal from LEGO in a room with a small group of MUP/MDPers? Well, we played with a couple of the robots, obviously... and some of what we talked about was confidential... but I can share with you a few things before Monday:

1. LEGO is VERY excited about the May 1st deadline...
2. Look for major changes/improvements and continual growth on the official website.
3. Soren is taller than he looks in photos.

I know... it's not much and there's no real detail... sorry. My hands are tied until Monday.
Seriously, though - Soren and Paal asked a LOT of questions... gave a LOT of information... and listened. There is no doubt in my mind that LEGO is very interested in the MDP feedback AND the customer feedback that is sure to come. The questions asked of the group were very detailed, with a lot of back-and-forth commentary - Soren told us "don't sugar-coat it" and we didn't... but overall, I think he and Paal are convinced that we are happy with the NXT and the direction LEGO is taking. More on that next week...

In a separate post, I'm going to upload some photos (with comments) from the meeting.

In the photo :

back row - left to right - Mark, Peter, Jim
front row - left to right - Paal, Soren, Steve, Bryan

Close-up of the Differential


Some of you asked for a closeup of the differential created by Steve H. Well, here you go...

(Photos of detailed parts are difficult... sorry if these aren't what you asked for, but they were the best I could get with the camera I was using.)

CORRECTION: These closeups are from a bot built by Bryan... the differential is slightly different from the one built by Steve. Sorry for the confusion. I didn't have access to the original differential on Steve's bot to photograph...


Apr 29, 2006

Monday - May 1 - Can't Stop the Signal

Maybe over the weekend, I'll be able to determine a more accurate time for when I'll be releasing the information I have prepared... there's just a LOT of information and I need to prepare it in a logical manner. I also need to verify some of the information I'll be releasing.

I've got images, URLs, blogs... and more images. I've decided to use Flickr and will post everything at once (or at least try...)

Everyone have a great weekend... see you on Monday.

Jim

FLL - Posting 9

This one's personal.

I enjoyed my time at FLL. Just when you think you've seen it all, a group will walk over with a RCX contraption that performs a challenge using a completely unique method. I can't wait to see what these kids can do with the NXT.

The BIGGEST complaint I heard from all the teams I watched was the difficulty in keeping their bots going in a straight line. One challenge required the bot to go almost 6 feet in a straight line and this was very frustrating to them. After many demo's of the NXT and the straight line the device could hold, they were in awe. With the NXT and straight-lines being an issue of the past, FLL will have to figure out new ways to frustrate the builders :)

There was a LOT of discussion about whether FLL would be fair with NXT and RCX bots participating next year. There aren't any answers yet, but I did hear some teams admit they weren't going to be able to move over to NXT for at least a few years. Other teams were ready to scrap their RCX and move completely to NXT. FLL has its hands full with figuring out how this can be resolved.

I got to meet Soren Lund. Very nice individual - and VERY positive and proud of the NXT. He gave me his business card, so I have his phone number now... (don't worry, Soren, I won't abuse the privilege - international rates are crazy.) There is a gathering tomorrow of the MDP and I have some questions for him... if you have some, let me know. I'll do my best to pin him down for a few Q&A minutes.

All in all, it was a great time. LEGO is definitely behind the product, and the kids (and adults) were surprised and impressed with the new components, motors, and sensors.

FLL - Posting 8


Some more images to share:

1. Bryan Bonahoom created this vehicle that was also controlled by Steve's remote control device (see yesterday's post). This vehicle had the same functionality (forward, backward, left, right) and the grey-handled control was given control of the front fork-lift which would raise and lower in the front.


2. Bryan with his fork-lift vehicle. Bryan and Steve were great with the kids and adults, showing off their creations and answering questions (many over and over again).






3. I have no idea what the conversation was about, but the photo was funny. During one demonstration, Steve had the 3 AlphaRex devices you see here dancing together... he used Bluetooth to have one AR "teach" the other 2 - they would "observe" the first AR for a few dance moves and then would do it themselves... fun to watch.



4. This device was one of Steve's creations, used to try and solve one of the FLL challenges. You can see that he's used the red ball as the front wheel.





5. Steve was controlling the device with his iPaq. He wrote an original program that allowed him to control it via Bluetooth. From this program, he could move it backwards and forwards, control the speed (low to high) and left/right direction. He also had the ability to control the 3rd motor's function. He could use either the touchscreen on the device OR the small swivel-control at the lower bottom of the device...

FLL - Posting 7

Well, not everything went as planned. Interviews will happen tomorrow - the LEGO crew was just too busy today, with meetings and PR duties. I did manage to gather some photos and will post them with commentary, but I was unable to scan in much of the very NICE marketing material due to a failed scanner... will try again tonight or tomorrow.

In this posting, I wish to include 2 photos of the Denmark teams that were present at the FLL competition. The photo on left is the Billund team. The team on the right is from Nordborg, Denmark. Thanks to Tomas for supplying that info.

If you have never volunteered for FLL, I highly recommend it - it was extremely fun to watch and talk with the kids about their designs.

Apr 28, 2006

FLL - Friday

Once again, I'll be at the FLL International competition today... I'll do my best to get things uploaded late this afternoon/evening.

Jim

URGENT clarification

I have received word that the earlier news about the LEGO NXT software moving to OPEN SOURCE and the quote attributed to Soren Lund are incorrect. An official announcement is expected very soon regarding this issue and to clear up the confusion. Stay tuned...

FLL - Posting 6


Some random stuff:

1. More pictures tomorrow...
2. Will conduct some interviews tomorrow...
3. Scans of some of the marketing material will be posted (from LEGO and LEGO Education)

4. Thanks to Steve Hassenplug's mom - she snagged me a NXT t-shirt. Very cool lady.
5. I took some photos of Bryan Bonahoom's NXT creation, but for some reason they came out fuzzy... only this one came out. Sorry, Bryan. (His creation was done to perform the FLL challenges that the RCX creations are doing in the competition.)
6. Met up with Kristie with Lego Education... got a look at Robolab 2.9... VERY cool. Will see if I can get some screenshots, but no promises.

It's my birthday, so I'm off for dinner and a cake... more tomorrow.

Jim

ps. A few more photos below...

FLL - Posting 5


The vehicle that Steven built had a custom-made differential... since the NXT kit doesn't come with one, Steve improvised and built this one... here's a closeup pic of the differential:

FLL - Posting 4


My turn... I finally got to play the NXT Slot Machine. I pressed the button and got

1 Red 1 Blue 1 White

and I won! I pressed it again...

1 Blue 1 Blue 1 Blue

and I lost... Apparently the light sensor was messed up by the unusual lighting around the booth...

FLL - Posting 3

Steve Hassenplug and Bryan Bonahoom were both there, showing off some of their NXT creations and just talking with anyone who had questions. Below are some great photos:

1. Steve was all smiles, showing off his Connect-4 game and a 2-NXT-brick creation... keep reading.

2. This photo shows Steve's Bluetooth Controlled Vehicle.

3. Closeup of the Vehicle.

4. Closeup of the Bluetooth Control - the wheel controls the front-wheel movement (left/right) - and the right-side black handle controls forward/backward motion (the grey handle didn't do anything that I could see)

... more to post tonight...


FLL - Posting 2

LEGO had a booth set up to demo the NXT - they had a couple of large LCD flat monitors running continuously, showing snippets of the software on one and a looping video of the history of Mindstorms on the other. I tried to get a copy of the video, but I was told it was running off of a tape... so no luck there. Here are some photos:

1. This was a standing cutout of the AlphaRex, greeting visitors to the booth.

2. Another shot of the booth, with one of the LCD's showing a video history of Mindstorms.

3. A large fan-fold display - marketing material - for the NXT.

4. An NXT brochure - I'm going to scan all 4 sides tonight and post it tomorrow, all sides.

5. LEGO is having a drawing for a free NXT kit - the box was FULL of entries when I left today.

6. Last 2 photos for this posting show some kids enjoying the NXT - they LOVED it!

FLL Today - Posting 1

Well, today's FLL International tournament went off well. I'm going to break up my coverage into multiple posts. Tomorrow I'm going to try and do some interviews, but for now, I'm going to post a bunch of photos (with comment/descriptions) as separate postings... should have them all done within the next few hours.

Apr 27, 2006

FLL Today - Updates to Come

I'll be working at the FLL today and tomorrow... I'll try and update the blog in the evening with pics and news.

Jim

Wallpaper available

If you like to change your desktop background often (like me), the official site now has wallpaper you can download. Get them here (go to bottom of screen).

Preview are below:



The Official Website has a new tab...


Checking in on the official site today, I found a new tab - Products. There's a lot going on with this page, but I wanted to point out some things I like:

1. You can download NXT 'theme'-type icons.
2. Links to blogs are provided (including this one - THANKS, Lego!)
3. Graphics files for placing on your website can be downloaded.
4. Wallpaper files can be downloaded

Some of the graphics appear to be placeholders, so I'm certain this is a work-in-progress, but you can see where the official site is growing. The overall look and design of it is nice, too.

Plans for The NXT Step...

5 DAYS... and counting...

Starting May 1st, I'm going to be doing quite a few things:

1. Posting information from guest writers
2. Providing small writeups on specific components within the NXT software
3. Offering a "Take a photo of..." writeup - (you tell me what you want to see)
4. Reviewing other websites/blogs
5. ???

I'm looking for suggestions for other things you'd like to see on The NXT Step ... comments?

Apr 26, 2006

Slow news day...

I've used the fact that there seems to be another lull in the release of any new information to take some photos today of various Technic and NXT components. I'm trying to figure out how to release all these photos at once without overloading my blog with images...

I could use Flickr, but I think it'll be quicker for me to just copy and paste into a Word document rather than uploading a bunch of photos... then you can download and do what you want with the document.

Apr 25, 2006

Some images of NXT from Maker Faire 2006

Just some random images from the Make Faire 2006 this past weekend...
Go to Flickr.com and type in "Maker Faire" - over 5000 images uploaded... I wish I could have been there! Just a handful of NXT photos, but it's the same old stuff... Alpha, Spike, etc...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hackaday/133613353/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hackaday/133613352

http://www.flickr.com/photos/laurence/133274387/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nymo/133256557/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahkim/133274986/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/earthdog/134015458/

Apr 24, 2006

One more week...

7 DAYS... and counting...

1. I'm still trying to gather more website/blog listings for posting next week. I plan to post each one as a separate item. This way any comments provided can be made to the specific site/blog and hopefully avoid confusion as to which site/blog you might be commenting on...

2. Starting Thursday, April 27 (my Birthday!) I will be volunteering at the FLL International gathering here in Atlanta, Georgia USA. This will be all day Thursday, all day Friday, and part of Saturday. I will do my absolute best to take plenty of photos and upload them in the evening - I'll probably be too busy to do much real-time blogging during the day. But rest assured, by Saturday afternoon/evening, I should have plenty of stuff to share with you - LEGO is going to be there doing demos of NXT, Lego Education is also supposed to be there, and there will be plenty of MDP/MUP members present as well.

3. I'll have a chance (hopefully) to ask Soren Lund (pictured left) and the other LEGO employees some questions and maybe do an interview or 2... please let me know if you have any questions you'd like to me to add to my list. I can't promise I'll get to all of them, but I'll try!

This is going to be a busy, hectic week - FLL international, preparing for the May 1st information release, and an MDP/MUP meeting. I'm anxious to share what I can with you, so please hang in there just a little longer...

(ps. By the way, it appears Blogger has been having some trouble - I've had difficulty over Sunday and today uploading. I hate being so dependent on another company's servers, but for now I have to put up with it.)

Jim

Apr 23, 2006

3000 NXT units being sold PER WEEK?!!!

Reader Ed pointed me to this article - it mentions the software move to Open Source plus mentions that an estimated 3000 NXT units are currently being pre-ordered per week! That's great news for LEGO... if anyone can confirm this number, please let me know.

Apr 21, 2006

Some of the NXT marketing material


A new photo from Flickr here ... shows some of the marketing material used (I'm guessing) when demo'ing the NXT. Or it might be a notebook or folder... hard to tell.

Notice the green eyes on AlphaRex... must be the "new and improved" Ultrasonic sensor.

Maker Faire to also demo Mindstorms NXT

10 DAYS... and counting...

If anyone is going to the Maker Faire this weekend, please take plenty of pictures. The official blog, nxtbot.com, is supposed to be covering the event, but I'd love to have some pictures from my readers who attend the event to post here... as well as any comments from those of you who care to share...

Read the official announcement here.

From the announcement: "The faire is open on Saturday, April 22, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM for main exhibit areas. There are special evening events on Saturday evening from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The faire is open on Sunday, April 23, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The San Mateo County Expo Center is located at 2495 S. Delaware in San Mateo, California. Admission prices range from $5–$35. For more information call (650) 574-3247 or visit makezine.com/faire"

What do you want to see?

Keeping in mind that there may still be some limits to what I can share on and after May 1st, I'd like to ask you - what can I share with you on May 1st?

I'll be honest - the FAQ list on the MDP forum just doesn't seem to be getting responses. I obviously can answer some of the questions, but many of the technical ones are still waiting for a response... maybe in the next 10 days the FAQ will start to get some attention.

That said, I've got a digital camera and a substantial amount of Flash memory... what do you want to see?

Jim

NXT Software News

(Thanks go to L.D. for letting me know about this one...)

Check out Gizmodo article here that describes the potential change to Open Source for the NXT Software.

Apr 20, 2006

Blog Stats for Month of April


11 DAYS... and counting...

I want to thank all my readers for your emails and comments. I am now exceeding over 3000 visits per month... 27% of those are from new visitors. Take a look at the picture - hopefully you'll see your location represented on the map.

Maker Faire to demo Microsoft software to control Mindstorms

Thanks go to Tony for this news...

Apparently, Microsoft and its free Visual Studio Express application have been used to create an interface able to control Mindstorms bots:

"At this weekend's Maker Faire, Microsoft Corp. will display how a variety of innovative companies are using its now-free Visual Studio® 2005 Express editions to bring the power of code to the growing community of 18 million recreational and hobbyist developers...

Working in conjunction with LEGO, Microsoft created an application that enables the robotics community to use Visual Studio Express to program their LEGO MINDSTORMS robots to do specific commands, such as maneuvering around obstacles, and control them from their computer keyboard or mouse."

Read the complete news item here.

Dear LEGO, ...

Dear LEGO,

So, you want to "... do for robotics what iPod did for music?" Well, I have some ideas. And they come directly from my enjoyment of my iPod. Here they are:

1. iPod comes in different versions (Mini, Nano, Shuffle, etc.), all with different pricing levels. Maybe the NXT could benefit from different kit sizes and pricing. Not everyone can afford the basic retail kit, but the NXT-Mini has a nice ring, doesn't it? And I'd love a black Intelligent Brick.

2. iPod has THOUSANDS of 3rd-party add-ons available (headphones, external speakers, cases, etc). Encourage 3rd-party developers to offer more add-ons than the previous RIS kit. Do this by offering to promote and sell them on the official site (see #4 below).

3. Apple seems to never stop re-inventing the iPod. Keep NXT moving forward by offering new sensors, new motors, and other new components.

4. iPod has an official discussion forum. NXT needs its own website with forums, support, and community, separate from the LEGO 'brick' community.

5. iPod, via iTunes, offers occasional free downloads of music. Consider offering an occasional free PDF file with directions for building a new bot and its corresponding .rbt file.

6. Apple markets the iPod very heavily. The NXT needs some advertising of its own. Word-of-mouth will work, but consider some well-placed advertisements in some appropriate magazines and television markets.

7. Apple gives away computers to schools. Find science teachers and put some NXT kits in their hands.

8. There's a monthly magazine dedicated JUST to iPod! How about a quarterly magazine for the NXT? You've got the MUP/MDP community as immediate contributors. I look forward to getting my WIRED magazine every month... I'd feel the same way about NXT Quarterly.

9. iPod always sells out for Christmas and people get upset. You've got 3-4 months between the release of NXT and Christmas. Make sure you can meet the demand. (Oh, and FREE SHIPPING is always a nice idea for Christmas orders.)

10. Your best sales tool is the existing customer base. Take care of us, and we'll take care of you. Never be afraid to ask us what we think. And thanks, in advance, for a great and fun time.


Jim

Apr 19, 2006

Some thoughts and comments...

12 DAYS... and counting...

1. I've been playing around with LDraw/MLCAD - you can probably guess why. It's probably a good time for you to download, install, and begin to experiment with them if you aren't already doing so...

2. VEX has been bought by Innovation First... great news for the robotics community. LEGO might want to take a look at VexLabs and the way they present the 'extras' and add-ons in one easy-to-navigate site. Legoshop.com is great, but it's a bit crowded and can be difficult to navigate. I'd like to see a NXTshop.com just for NXT parts and supplies. Comments?

3. If any of my readers have pre-ordered the NXT kit and are not blogging themselves (or don't have a website to post info), I'd like to ask some of you if you'd be interested in writing up your initial thoughts on the kit (when it arrives) and posting your comments here as a guest writer. Maybe include 1 or 2 photos, too. Let me know if you would like to contribute.

4. I've figured out my first purchase for my NXT kit come August... it will be the Education Resource Kit... 671 extra pieces - connectors, wheels, gears, beams, etc. If you're only buying one NXT kit, trust me - this will be worth the extra US$60.

5. While I don't anticipate needing any extra motors or sensors right now, I have to give LEGO credit for offering these extra parts at very reasonable prices. An extra motor is US$17 and a touch sensor is only US$15. If LEGO can expand its range of sensors and maybe some different motor options/shapes, the NXT is poised to take the lead for home robotics. (That's my opinion - but I do believe that cost and ease-of-use are huge factors in the success of a home robotics kit, and LEGO/NXT seems to be keeping that in mind. I'm speaking of US$, so please don't flame me about the non-US pricing... I have no control over that.)

Apr 16, 2006

The coming weeks...


15 DAYS... and counting...

Some random comments and thoughts:

1. May 1st is just around the corner. I'm still taking questions from my readers to submit to the MDP Frequently Asked Questions list (FAQ). The list is growing with your questions and others', but please don't hesitate to submit more. They can be complex or extremely simple (there are plenty of both in the current list). Add a comment here with your question(s) and I'll make sure it gets in there.

2. I currently know of 3 books being written for the NXT. I don't know details of the content (other than my own), but I can tell you that there is EXTREME interest in more books. After you get your hands on the NXT, if you've got a great idea and a solid book proposal, I encourage you to submit it. Book publishers that I am in contact with are still looking and have plans for more.

3. I've got a good list of MDP websites and blogs that will be published on May 1st. As new ones are found, please let me know so I can add them to my list of LINKS. The MDP forum will still be active, so I'll try my best to find more sites, pictures, videos, etc. to post for you.



4. April 27-29 is the FLL International competition. I'll be there, along with a handful of other MDP/MUPs. I'll have my digital camera and will take pictures. I've heard a 'rumor' that NXT will be demo'd - if so, I may have some pictures/videos to release BEFORE the May 1st date. Just a few days, but you'll get the advanced look here if I can manage.

5. I'm going to try and get some interviews in with any LEGO representatives that make an appearance and will post the Q&A's here. I may also be able to get some time to talk with other MDP/MUP members if they're willing to discuss the NXT.

Apr 14, 2006

FAQ being put together by MDP... get your questions in.

18 DAYS... and counting...

In an earlier post, I mentioned that a list of questions was going to be assembled and submitted to the MDP in preparation for the May 1st lifting of the 'communication embargo' (my term, not LEGO's)... well, a FAQ list has surfaced on the MDP forum and I am once again offering to post any questions you may have to that list...

I cannot promise that all questions will be answered... there may be some questions that do not have an answer just yet. For those of you who have posted questions via the comment tool, I have submitted those questions already. But feel free to post some new ones.

I'll let you know when and where the FAQ will be available as soon as that has been determined.

Please submit your questions via comments to this post. No emailed questions, please.

Jim

Apr 13, 2006

System Requirements for Education NXT posted...

The Education NXT blog has posted the system requirements for the Education NXT software (both the standard software and RoboLab) ... check it out here.

Apr 12, 2006

So quiet you can hear a pin drop...

19 DAYS... and counting...

I've emailed my various contacts (Lego, Education NXT blog, HiTechnic, etc.) with questions on news and/or updates... right now, it's a desert out there in terms of new information.

I'll keep checking my reference sites daily, but I think between today and May 1st, you shouldn't expect too much. So today, I'm going to actually "BLOG" - that is, voice some opinions on various things.

First...

I have received many emails asking if I have received any "secret information" that I won't release... the answer is no. I get my information from public websites (such as the Education NXT blog) or by emailing my contacts directly with questions (and a request in the email to allow me to post the response). If someone does reply with permission, I try to post the information as quickly as possible... in some instances (previous posts), I have broken up email responses and spread it out over a few days to keep my blog posts from being too long. But right now, I am not sitting on any un-released information (with the exception of my MDP participation which is a completely different subject).

Second...

One reader (who requested me to NOT post his/her identity) pointed out that LEGO needs to do a better job of updating its website. While I agree that the site doesn't seem to change that often, I do understand that LEGO is using the MDP to test and improve the product... this means information on the offical LEGO site may be extremely limited until the MDP program is over OR until LEGO decides to take the community page live...

(That said, the Lego Education NXT blog does update regularly... so I'll thank them for that here.)

Third...

After May 1st, I may begin to invite some of my readers to help contribute to the site. If you are interested, let me know... I've already suggested this to a few of my readers, but I'd like to open it up for discussion.

Finally...

(I don't think I'll get in trouble with the MDP for this)

I've now been playing with the NXT for a month, and this thing is awesome. Building and programming with it is enjoyable and I really think people are going to be very happy with the redesign. This really is an improvement over RIS/RCX and LEGO (in my opinion) has definitely taken its robotics kit to a higher level.

Some updates on the Robotics Academy site...

20 DAYS... and counting...

There are some new images on the site... including some closeups of the brick on the "NXT Hardware" page. You'll also find a nice video on the "Sample Investigation" page.

Some issues, though: [I'm sure this site is 'under construction,' so most likely these will be fixed soon - Jim]

First off, it loads WAY TOO SLOOOOOOOOW.... almost 1 full minute to load the splash screen.

The "Product Navigation" screen also does not appear to be fully functional just yet... most of the buttons along the top (Construct, Contemplate, etc.) don't do anything. As for the video, it says to click "Start - Lego Mindstorms" and then shows the mouse doing so... but why not simply click the "Lego Mindstorms" shortcut icon on the desktop??

The second step says "If your class if using profile..." and should read "If your class is using profiles..."

What is the POP POP POP noise in the background when the video is showing the new program being named?

It says to "Click NEXT to continue on with this lesson" but the NEXT button does not work.

On the Helper page, none of the downloads are available (PDF or PowerPoint)

Apr 11, 2006

Mindstorms NXT books coming...


There are currently 3 book publishers (that I know of - there may be more) that are preparing to put books on the shelves for Mindstorms NXT. Are there any subjects you'd like to see covered? Do you have any favorite books that you think should be 'upgraded' to NXT? I will be happy to forward any comments you may like to share regarding technical books for Mindstorms NXT... and I'll let you know of any responses.

What NXT kit would be complete without it...

21 DAYS... and counting...

Take a close look at this image... specifically the compartment third from the left at top. Is that a new official NXT figure??? Or can it be found elsewhere? The orange color does seem to match the orange in the sensors.


Apr 10, 2006

LegoFactory making some changes

I was alerted to this by an announcement on BimP - it appears that LegoFactory is changing the way its software and purchasing works. The old software required you to use a limited number of 'palettes' to design your own creations. You could then order your custom creation BUT you had to buy the entire pallete (even if you only used 1 or 2 parts from a pallette). I did download the software a while back and played around with it, but I honestly never placed an order for any of my designs...

Now, according to BimP, LegoFactory is going to allow you to buy individual Lego pieces AND increase the number of palettes available (palettes were collection of similar parts like "Trucks", "Robots", etc.). No more buying an entire palette for a few pieces... buy ONLY what you need.

I have had a hard time finding out if Technic components will be included in any palettes. If anyone knows the answer, please let me know.

It would be great to be able to add to a NXT robot design by adding on custom pieces and providing shapes and colors. I'll try to find out more information and post it here.

Apr 8, 2006

More details on book

23 DAYS... and counting...



I've finalized some more details on the book I'm writing... it will have 20 chapters (and maybe Appendices) and cover the planning, building, and programming of 5 NXT devices. The book is geared toward those of ages 10 to 15. Final chapter is due mid-Sept 2006, so I'm hoping it will be on the shelves before the end of the year. Currently I have the first 2 chapters completed and have started the 3rd, so it's possible I might finish it early.

Apr 7, 2006

Where do you get your information?


Are there other sites you check for NXT information? I've got a collection of other NXT/robot blogs (right column) but I'm always looking for more. Besides the MDP list of websites and blogs that I'll publish on May 1st, maybe you're aware of others... if so, please let me know.

Jim
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