So, a few new milestones in the RoboNUC project. Nothing major, just small steps.  A video walkthrough of the current user interface which includes Color object tracking, Navigation planning, LIDAR with basic SLAM landmark identification and Regulated/Encoded motors.

Now back to SLAM study (or more likely the new Civilization game).

Fool me twice …

What do you do when a vendor sells you something for $99, then 5 days later releases bug fixes for $349?

How stupid am I to fall for it twice from the same vendor?

XCeed did this with the WPF data grid many years ago. I fell for it then. I cussed, got rid of their crap and swore I’d never use them again.

Then I forgot.  Along comes a $99 special for WPF extended tookit plus. Bam same thing.  The property grid which is the only control I want, is working ok, but it is $.12 better than the totally free ones (yet I paid $99).  But I made the mistake of using their dual value slider as well. Buggy POS. I went to find bug fixes, and bam – new version only $349.

How does open source projects get to this point anyhow? Isn’t selling open source bug fixes against everything open source stands for to begin with?  Well anyhow, I’ll never buy from XCeed again (I said that before).


It took some work, but finally;

What I blamed on Comcast turned out to be an unresponsive wireless router. 2 cold start later I finally had it working.  Edimax WiFi with their drivers would Blue Screen Windows (and looked like they were made by 3rd graders anyhow), so I uninstalled them and went with the Windows built in drivers, that only supported low speed.

I got an Asus AC wireless USB3 dongle that cost almost as much as the cable modem. It seems like this is about as good as it is going to get, assuming it stays up*.


*Update:  Btw, it does not, stay up that is. The ASUS AC-66U router is a constant reboot and hope wireless router.  Read the 1 star reviews on Amazon.  They all say the same thing.  So I went to order something else. Apparently they are all failures as well.  Nice state of technology :|

ROboNUC progress

I had a real good day yesterday, and the few days leading up to it. Studying  the youtube SLAM lecture is progressing and is enjoyable. I am identifying landmarks in scan points now, and understand how and why :) But I decided to go back and try to clean up the RpLIDAR data some and was pleasantly surprised with the results.


I also made a huge discovery on why I have been having problems with the regulated motors for so long. It turns out the speed controller had some settings I was not aware of, as they were not in the user guide I was reading, but showed up on a ‘summary’ sheet. I flipped a few switches and things started to make sense finally. Of course I am in the middle of a physical move now, and can not really finish up that part of the code until I get settled in the new place, but I now have hope I may reach a resolution. By the way, I discovered this with a new Saleae logic analyser :)

With those two items working, intelligent autonomous is just around the corner I hope.

R.I.P. Microsoft Robotics

The program was terminated at Microsoft as of today.  It hadn’t really done anything in years other than research papers, and most of the original incubator code was incubated, so it’s no real loss, other than a company that  used to have vision no longer does, that part is sad.

Youtube SLAM lecture

After a long search I found what I hope is a good SLAM lecture online;

I went through the steps to setup python, as it is used in the lecture, and it took quite a while resolving all the dependencies on my Windows 8.1 system. Of course when I got near the finish I discovered a resource that would have made the entire process go fast and easy, so I am posting directions here for anyone who is also interested in viewing the lecture and doing the exercises.

Setting up python for youtube slam lectures

Download and install python 2.7.x select the 32 bit version, not 64 bit.

Download course material. We do this now so that we can use it to test the proper installation of additional components. Youtube notes points to


Grab unit A and unzip to your desktop.

If we run slam_02_a_filter_motor_question.py we will see errors we need to work through.

Browse to


Get and run  the installs for matplotlib, six, numpy, python-dateutil, pyparsing, pytz

Use the 2.7  32 bit versions of each.

Now if we run exercise 02_a we should get an error that x is undefined, and this is correct. This a homework assignment. But this indicates we made it through all the python requirements to get here.

Good luck with the lecture!

Final Robots 101 Deck

These are the slides I will use in the upcoming meetup;


Hope to see you there!

Building your first Robot

Sunday, Sep 21, 2014, 2:00 PM

Harbor Steps North East Residential Tower, Connect Room
1301 1st Ave Seattle, WA

12 Droid Masters Attending

Across the street from SAM, around the corner from Harley-Davidson.Dial door code #565

Check out this Meetup →

I’m in the cloud now, baby

Seems like lyrics for a new song.

I’m moving, and will be losing the most awesome internet ever from CondoInternet.  I had a nice 1Gig pipe and ran my own web sites.

But atlas, new place will have Comcast (I’m scared), but they are negotiating with CondoInternet. I put in the best recommendation I could.

In the meantime, Hello Azure. I tried Amazon for a bit, too much hassle. I’m hoping the Azure pricing stays reasonable.

The first hit will be slow. It should be ok after that.

Robotics, hahaha