Capn's Blog

Monday, February 04, 2008

Linux Conference 2008

Well, the conference is over. Heard some really amazing talks, caught up with friends, and got some great ideas. Probably the best talk I saw was Doug Chapman's talk about a robot he built to go through a maze and find a burning candle. When it found a candle, the robot would blow it out (and the audience would clap and cheer). As well as some interesting ideas for building the robot, I really like the approach he took to the software which controls it.

I heard a talk earlier that day where another guy showed a movie of a walking 6-legged robot he'd built. The walking looked so unnatural and "forced". It looked to me as if he had one main program that was telling each leg what to do. And the robot seemed to be doing a really bad job of coping with unexpected situations. It would only work well if the environment around it didn't have any challenges. Watching his movie frustrated me so much that I wrote down some notes on what I thought was wrong with his approach, and how I'd do it if I was making one.

To my surprise, Doug Chapman's robot is very much along the lines of what I'd written down! I spoke to him and found out some more about his ideas for software for robots, and what references he used. It's definitely given me
many ideas for how I can write software in the future, especially software which has to interface to the real world.

I started putting insulation into the roofspace tonight. It's a very difficult job because the roof is almost flat where the insulation needs to go, and so moving around in the space between the ceiling and roof is extremely difficult. Night time is best because then it's cooler. On a hot day, the roof space can get to 60C, which is very unpleasant to work in.

I haven't started studying Chinese yet. As I mentioned earlier, I'm leaving Australia on the 24th. That means there's now less than three weeks to go! I have to start studying soon.



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