Older blog entries for brybert (starting at number 9)

Heeeee. No quick response from my latest message to DARPA. Ohhh. This one may take a little while...we're gonna hafta think about this! :) Anyways..another all-nighter which means prolly another post laters. Learning about algorithms and Linux Kernels tonight. Considering hitting Unca Bill up for $$$ even though I won't be using his any of his OS's on my bots....he's a nice guy...he'll understand, right? Still have not figured how I'm going to hit the big boys here up for $$$. To do what I want to do...the price tag is a biggie...we'll looking at *least* $120,000 minimum. Ouchie. Still have no pricing info from Riegl (LIDAR) or Eaton (VORAD radar) and really bracing for the worst. I do have some *REALLY* fancy-smancy stuff quote from one Lidar manufacturer-$100K. Gosh dern...but can it make a good cupa joe? No..well....maybe next rev, huh? Good gravy..$100K?!?! Oh man...and no pretty glossy full color brochures about this to send me? Not gonna work...can't do it. Must have at least *two* pretty full color brochures telling me how I can't even imagine living another day without *this* product. Bad enough fancy Starfire(TM) GPS is $10K easy. Ouch. Well...one things for sure, folks. We're not going to see any LIDAR systems at your local Radio Shack(tm) or Home Depot(tm) anytime soon. Dern...$100K...it all comes back to the basic...do I *REALLY* have to have all this stuff and have to spend countless hours trying to get them to work together to get it across the finish line. I just can't see it. Oh... and the million dollar question...is all it going to take a nice nice *bump* in the road and this fancy stuff to go into permanent standdown mode? Blah. Maybe the ole "you'll help save lives" speech will work will unca Bill. No? Hmmm...dunno. Where's the Maytag(tm) man when ya need em? Oh wait. I've had a Maytag..and I never needed him...sooo...hmmm.

Sigh. Oh well. Another all-nighter. Simply could not get all I wanted done...soo...here I am. Got a email reply from Darpa...no..too early to register and "reserve" a team name. Awwww. I was thinkin..."team plaid". It's sooo me...I could come as a fat scotsman-"YOU ook ike a BAAABBBY!" <giggle> Nope. Not commercial enough...would not be prudent. I need professional. Since I'm poor, I'm gonna have to run the circuit with the empty hat extended. I never liked the people with the "Will work for Food" sign. Atlanta Police don't either..so that's out. Big companies based here in Atlanta, tho. United Parcel Service is here as well as Coca-cola and Georgia Pacific. Dunno. Anyways...plenty of time for that..first things first. I need coffee..soo...first stop should be Starbucks and Nestle re: Taster's Choice. See..when you *REALLY* get hooked on 'feine, you learn some things. First, if a buzz is what you really want from your first cup, make that first cup from Instant. Why? More 'feine. Why? Instant is made by the lower-grown coffee beans called Robusta. The higher-grown (and better tasting-more expensive) Arabica beans have less, it's just that simple. Plus..there are many times when I don't want to mess with my french presses and grinder..instant is fast and easy...and Taster's Choice new Gourmet flavor is wonderful. I also sometimes drink soda and tea just for alternative 'feine delivery methods and variety. As a general rule, I don't normally buy regular drip from Starbucks. First, french press is cheaper and better. Second, they have a habit of not having the Starbuck's flavors I really like that way...the Africa coffees are great..Suliwesi and Sidamo. Costa Rican rocks as do many of the blends...Verona, Gold Coast and Yukon. Honestly..if I get any more picker, I'll be roasting the beans meself. Yes..panhandling money for Starbuck's whole bean or to build robot vehicles is not a good option. Dern. I may even have to get a...gasp...job. Oh well. $2,000,000 carrot, peoples. Can I really pull this off? Yup. I really think so.

Oay! Yes..the last all-nighter for awhile...I guess. Downloaded tons of little helper aps..calculators... very small...some free...all look very helpful for different engineering functions, needs and conversions. Well...this is where the rubber meets the road, folks. Time to line up sponsers, build a prototype (or two),etc. Fun..fun..fun! Going to get started with linux...but not sure which distribution. Slackware usta be the geek choice for power and stability...so I'll have to see. I wonder if IBM has a fav...or one of their own by now.

24 May 2004 (updated 24 May 2004 at 00:46 UTC) »

Short post for right now...just happened to notice..General Dynamics is hiring. Hmmm...325 engineers in Michigan (BRRRRRRrrr). It seems to be for the Army's Future Combat Systems...sounds like fun! :) Get to spend other people's money..destory (test) things...hey...this could work. More laters.

These all-nighters haffta cease...I'm getting to old for this! I have a couple more conclusions to share that may or may not help others with this...your milage may vary. Well, at least I'm sure now to get a thank you card from Starbucks (tm) and Nescafe for all the coffee I have consumed in the last few weeks with all this. First, remember that you heard it here first, folks. I think I have happened upon a geek-only disease. If you're not smart, worry not. If you are very smart...please...get help. It starts simply enough. The person(s) in question get a idea. Mind you-it's a bad one....extremely bad. Suddenly...their life takes a turn for the worse. Maybe it was bad before....but much lower depths are very probable unless you get help quick for this. It drains your and others very lifeforce away..and thosands of dollars of your money, if you have any...and other's money as well. The person inquestion ends up broke...friendless...depressed..and maybe even homeless as a result. It has many names. I've heard it referred to as a "case of the stupids". A certain entry into this Darpa contest has this disease, I believe, and there is no cure. It is contaguous, sadly....I'm thinking about notifying the CDC..but I don't want to start a panic. One thing is certain...it's effects are felt by many. I shudder at the sight of this..ummm..."device"...and my brain goes into uncontrollable spasms of pain and agony. I've thought about emailing this fella...but...see...that's the problem. This disease blinds the person(s) to any opinions that go against what they think or believe...sorta like a brain washed or "programmed" person. Everybody else is wrong and you are right about this...and work on this hopeless project continues. Please people...everybody has bad ideas. I had a few in the last couple of years...but..since I knew about this disease...these bad ideas consumed little time and resources...and died a quick death. Watch for the warning signs...lack of time for anything else than "the project". Sleeplessness...very rapid mood swings. Sudden desire for "Red Bull" or "Mountain Dew" in the super econonmy 55- gallon drum uber-size. Sudden desire to build a castle with very bad lighting and acquire a "assistant" which must have have a hunchback (don't ask me-it's in the rules) and tons of lab equipment. It can only be stopped with help. Please get help...please...for the sanity of the engineering community in general. Please. Let the madness stop. This has been a paid announcment for the new GAMSSS (Geeks Against Mad Scientist Syndrome Society). Donations are always welcomed. :)

Last night's session was the most productive to date. I found a thread on Darpa's Board that answers many of our questions about why there may have not been a winner for this contest. I recommend *everyone* to read this thread..this is completely new information that is nowhere else. In fact, I made a copy of the entire thread in case it disappears. This is really very enlightening stuff!


click on discussion boards>click all the agreements>

Go to Forums>Position Lcation-GPS

The thread is called "Why did everyone fail?"

OH...paydirt. Ain't the web great?


Hi! Geez. Des is becoming a regular thing with me...this all- nighers are very productive but...this ain't no way to make a livin. Anyways...re-read William "Red" Whittaker's racelog thing...and I've got to admit something. These people are good...*really really* good. Mr. Whittaker even found some humor about the wreck that happened 10 days before the race that I believe cost them the race...or at least contributed heavily to what happened. I'd still like to know more about what happened there on Daggett Ridge...more details..what was Sandstorm "thinking"? I've been putting a tremendous amount of time coming up the "best" design for everything...but the primary CPU is my greatest concern. I'm not sure how much has been written about this...but...it seems to me if we are going to design machines that make decisions, we'd better have a way of back-tracking those decisions build in..like a log. "At 10:23 I made the decision to increase speed 10%" will not be enough by itself without a "why" along with it. It is clear from what I've read they did what they could after the wreck to fix everything...but it just was not possible. Why? Sadly, I firmly believe they never thought this could or would happen. I'm sure they know what happened..but..they may never tell us. $3Million dollars worth of hardware and software...incredible. Maybe we'll get lucky and after they know the truth...they'll share it with us. Anyways..truly one of the most advanced robots built to date.

Pulled another all-nighter researching and thinking about the problems I'll encounter with this contest project. Sadly, I found out how much some of these gadgets cost! Starfire is *not* cheap...about $10K with a year subscript. Gee..I sure hope John Deere likes sponsoring people! :) Rethought the logistics of having two vechicle entries...prolly better off with one fully-tested, well- thought out vechicle. I found out those cool John Deere Gator vechicle's max speed is about 25MPH...perhaps a special engine/trany? I'd really like to have more speed than that..just to be on the safe side. I've started designing prototype1...a small basic robo vechicle to jump start software design and see what I'm up against with all this. I think good ultrasonics are going to be key. I discovered a company called Sonin...these little distance measuring critters rock. They're cheap...~$50...and unlike many of the other ultras, they have a range of 60 feet. Not sure how easy it'll be to interface with the microcontrollers..but time will tell. I can't wait to get one of these. Oh..yay! My first cert! The system still won't let me pst the article from yesterday...perhaps two people have to give me a cert. Anyways...more laters. I'm pulling another all-nighter and that will be all for awhile..quite literally. Decided to see if I could get a laugh out of Darpa by submitting a pre-app team name request reservation.

As I said in the rant, the key to winning the race will not be who has more or better toys or what-not. No. The answer is this: Less everything. Fewer bells and whistles both in hardware and software...and better, simpler software that does the job it needs to do..and do that job well...day after day...week after week...year after year...everytime you turn it on. Not only good sensors..but a well-thought out system to protect them when need be and constantly test them. I think a completely redundant main CPU would be a very good thing...one that could be designed with a fall-over feature.

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