Time off from class has been nice, but I’m getting restless and am excited to start up again soon.  I had a long list of things I was going to do over break to “prepare” for spring semester, but I wound up working mostly on my sandwich line following robot.  I would have had the thing built by now except that the kit I bought that is supposed to include everything you need actually only includes about half the supplies.  Ok, it’s enough to solely build the robot, but does not have the parts or breadboard to prototype the circuitry and does not include the shrink wrap tubing or connectors or switches to finish the soldering and building as nicely as demonstrated in the book.  The accompanying book, by the way, is really excellent at walking through the logistics of electronics and beginners circuits if you are not an electrical guru.  I found the 300+ pages a quick and very informative (and entertaining) read.  So right now I’m waiting for an order of parts to finish off the soldering and assembly nicely, and then will just need to put the body together.  The kiddies were very interested in the light sensor switching mechanism used to control this robot so I am eager to see their reaction when the bot is in action.  It’s never too early for electronics and robotics!

I’ve been slowly working my way through Ubuntu, which replaced the Windows 7 system that came on my laptop and was really irritating me.  The actual appearance of the desktop itself would not load properly sometimes (wish I had taken a picture) so that it looked like bright lines outlined every image, box and word.  And I would get hijacked by updates that would start automatically and take 10-20min to finish loading and installing.  I also had issues with programs that were supposed to be Windows compatible, but then would generate .exe errors from the Windows manager.  Enough of all that.  No more issues with appearance and updates.  But I won’t know if the file issues are gone until class starts again and I can load the robotics software I was having troubles with previously.

Finally, I started “The Buddha in the Robot: A Robot Engineer’s Thoughts on Science and Religion” by Masahiro Mori.  I’m really only into the first two chapters or so, but it’s a really interesting mix of personal experience and discovery in robotics and philosophy.  Very cool.  I feel enlightened just carrying it around!  Maybe I should change my working name to Petunia.  Ha!