Tel Aviv – robotics competition Part 4 Competition

The competition is here!

Each round is only about two and half minutes, each robot has to scoop up a variety of coloured inflatables and place them on a peg, its a bit like basketball I guess.

The specification of each robot is roughly the same so the size of the chassis, and has a vertical section with some kind of arm, the movement can be with bicycle chain, wire pulleys or hydraulics.

An unusual part of the competition, is each robot has an extra mini-robot, looking like a rollerskate, this gets launched from an extra extending arm, put onto the these poles where it has to climb up and press the top activating a switch making a green light come on, for a massive bonus in points.   As you can expect this is a very difficult task to do in a short space of time, as well as implement into the design of the robot.

My job here was simply as a marshal to gather the shapes and put them on the side in between each game.  There are teams come out after each tournament to load their robot onto a trolley and take back to the pit.  These things look like giant bagels!   The glasses are necessary in case pieces break off a robot, theres a lot of sharp metal bits in the inner workings there.

A lot of the judges have some engineering background, some of the Israelis work for famous names in IT such as Google and Hewlett Packard.  It was good to chat about humorous connections to Futurama (looks like Tel Aviv at the beginning credits of this show!) and I-Robot as well 🙂

The winners!

This was absolutely superb event to be part of, and as Christian and an IT person to participate in this event, I think its humbling that the Lord God gives some of us Christian volunteers extra ways to serve him in doing different and exciting challenges.  I hope this event continues on to help young people with curiosity for technology in a sporting team event and helps this country’s reputation as a place fertile in highly skilled engineers and problem solvers.

Part 1: Setting up at the arena
Part 2: Meet the robots
Part 3: Robot inner workings
Part 4: Competition

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Windows 7 90 day trial activation FAIL

I played with some of the beta versions of Windows 7 back in 2009 when I worked in a hospital, and I also got the RC-1 version, I suppose I am late as a full on Windows 7 adopter, I am quite a satisfied user of XP and it hasn’t really showed that much sign of aging despite being around 10 years,mainly because when I am using a computer for personal use, I just want to chat to people, get news, listen to music or buy something online and not have to maintenance like at work.   I didn’t bother with Vista because of its poor performance and stability.

But this week I have decided to be daring and put Windows 7 trial version on my work PC and on my personal laptop.

This trial version is offered to IT managers to test it out for 90 days.  It requires no licence code, just install it and you are done, however you have to activate it.

So far, everything is been running, drivers were no trouble at all.   There is a bit confusion in control panel, finding things, like joining a domain, setting up file sharing and other things seem a bit alien.   The new control panel is like being in a kitchen at a party at a friend’s house, everything is not where you expect it to be, and you open 6 or 7 drawers to find a can opener or something. 🙂

Microsoft has a poor track record for the activation and anti-piracy methods on Windows, you have to jump through too many hoops in the past.   7 seems to be no exception, my relatively blissful new operating system experience has just come to halt.  So why won’t this activate properly on my 2006 model Toshiba laptop?   A brief Google search seems like a weird hardware compatibility problem with certain BIOSes on some PCs.

For instance with XP, try installing Windows Media Player 11 on a normal XP computer with no connection to internet.  I like to set up computers with as many patches and security software before I give it a live connection to the internet, so it doesn’t become a sitting duck for viruses and nasties.  In the case on WMP11 it accuses me of having an illegally licenced copy of Windows.   Its a how-the-heck-did-they-not-spot-that-one bug.   Install it again with a network cable attached you are fine.

Now as this Win7 90 day trial doesn’t have a licence key, I am assuming that I can put it in multiple computers?   Within 90 days I am planning to buy it for myself, and have a new Win7 roll out in progress at work.  So Microsoft, please, please put some proper thought into anti-piracy methods that don’t fail on legitimate users at the wrong time, you will just continuously stop people being early adopters at your software.

Otherwise Windows is stable, quick and very pleasant to use, and will be the next big success for Microsoft, probably with a life span of 10+ years like XP was.

I understand there should be copy protection systems should in place, but its should not be some maddening frustrating that the chances are the user will turn to a dark corner of the internet looking for a way to cheat the system.