Robotics Education

A Blog for my independent study in robotics education. I will post frequently, as all work I write here will be handed in and graded.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

This Past Week

Up until now, for the past two hours or so, I've been working on a neat little thing: up above is my agenda from Google Calendar. It doesn't look like much, but I had to weather the CSS code in the blog's template and figure out what elements were formatted to do what...which meant I had to learn CSS from scratch, and is why it took me so long to accomplish that. I also spent some time last week looking around the web for help on CSS and PHP (probably three hours total there).

Anyway, this is really convenient, so that people who need to know what my schedule is like can see it easily without having to sign in to Google or waste time waiting for the entire AJAX calendar to load up.

This past Monday (two days ago) I had another meeting with Prof Sklar for an hour, and she enlightened me further to the greatness of PHP. Actually it's pretty simple; since I understand programming in general, it's just a matter of learning the syntax and "ideology" of PHP. I also spent about three to four hours reading the pamphlet that she gave me last week, though that didn't really help as much as I thought it would, since the author takes the insane route of assuming that the reader already knows CGI but needs to have the notion of a string explained.

Also, at the meeting, Prof Sklar informed me of what I needed to do to prepare for tomorrow, which today I followed up on. Earlier this morning I called up Danielle and left a voicemail to let her know the Kevin and I are coming, and also sent an email to Caitlin to the same effect, asking if there was any further information that we might need (Caitlin directed us to go to a particular room).

I also spent some time going over the instructions for building the robots, and I also saved the PDF files onto my flash drive.

And last Thursday Kevin and I built five robots for tomorrow's workshop. Actually, he built the robots, while I spent the time sorting all of the pieces, as it was becoming increasingly difficult to work from a pile of unsorted multifarious Lego blocks. No wonder computer scientists spend all their time talking about sorting. In fact, I even implemented an algorithm to sort them: first separating pieces by color, then by size, then by shape. I chose those three groups because they ascend in that order by number of instances (there were only three colors, but many different sizes and even more shapes) and by functional complexity (determining shape is a much more process intensive task than determining color). The whole foray took about three hours.

As far as the data entry goes…well it goes slow. I spent about five hours over three nights this past week working on it, but I’ve gotten only the table structure and three surveys done. It’s really difficult to read people’s handwriting…I'm going to try to get them all done this weekend.

And that’s that. More after the first workshop--which is tomorrow.


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