Sunday, December 30, 2007

Steal This Film 2

I don't normally link things I find on the internet, nor do I normally link to a torrent off site. However after watching this particular film I felt compelled to ask you people to steal it.

It's a documentary of sorts on the current state of information it's really nothing new, but I will say it's a good summary for what undoubtedly you and I have had to live through for the last few years seeing how we are the "napster" generation.

The video claims that we are the soldiers at the front lines of a new war, quite frankly, after watching it I think you'd agree with them as well.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Final exams

Well would you look at that it's final exams already, crazy time of year where everything is upside down and it's a last chance to either make things work or hard code them to work.

I haven't been updating this blog this year as often as I like but I'll be doing some backlog of updates over the Christmas break, mainly to do an update on my newest project a TF2 level. Might turn into a semi tutorial while I'm at it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's alive

Today I managed to get things going with the compilation and had the robot running around the lab with existing code. Also did some modifications to the code base in order to use FPS style controls.

What's a bit strange is that this robot actually has worse straight line driving than our thesis bot at the moment. So I'm preparing to perform several upgrades to the robot base driving code in order to match the thesis bot driving as it should preform better since every component is much more accurate and faster on this robot.

One thing that stands out is that MvM choose to use a full PID controller where in our thesis project we eventually dropped the PID in favor of just plain PI due to the negative effect of the D component.

At startup currently the robot violently oscillates before it's able to find some sort of steady state, I'm pretty sure this is because he doesn't bother removing the D component on first run this would cause the robot to cacluate d(off center) / dt where dt = 0, whick would create a violent oscillation as we briefly get infinity.

To confirm the problem I'll be turning off the D component and checking the behaviour of the system. If I get more stable behaviour I'll try and fake dt for the initial run giving it some effectively high value such as 100 to minimize the effect of the D component when calculated at the beginning. This should be easier and preform better than some branching code where we don't use dt at the initial run.

Our thesis bot was smart enough to self calibrate, this was done by running the motors for a set distance until steady state was reached in our PI controller. The accumulator for the I component was then exported to the system for later use thus when the robot is run the next time it would start closer to steady state. This is because we know that if motor A is less powerful than motor B it's quite likely that that doesn't change between runs in that motor A will always be more powerful than motor B by close to the same amount. If we see that last time we needed to send less power to the motor A and more the B in order for them to match speed and we record what this power difference is, than we could use it again and chances are we get pretty close to perfect movement again.

There was a more advanced version of self calibration to implement on our thesis bot but eventually gave up because the bot was too limiting. Even though we know the robot motors were off by certain power levels the recorded values are for the system when it's "at speed". While the robot is accelerating these power levels might not be accurate. A more advanced system I might try is to take readings at different speeds and derive a linear or polynomial approximation for the power curve required to seed the system while it ramps up, the disadvantage here is the system will be "floating" as each interpolating point will change during the run as each new power level is achieved. Unfortunately the only way to determine the ramp up power difference is to run tests and premodel the system rather than dynamically build a model inside the system itself.

Essentially what we are trying to do with advanced calibration is to scale Ki component of the PID controller proportional to the system speed so that Ki is small when the system is running slow and Ki is large when the system is running at higher speeds, or in other words Ki will try and effect the system proportional to the speed it's at. I have a theory this might be pointless but I'll need to model it to find out if that's so, as I builds fast when the wheels are spinning fast and I builds up slow when the wheels are spinning slow anyways. This side effect might end up being the same as if I scaled Ki.

The final method is to take our advanced telemetry engine (which was also unimplementable) where we calculate the error based on error = dy/dt where dy/dt represents the deviation from center. This is a strange approach but we actually work with physical distances rather than ticks, I'm still unsure how different this will be from our original ticks model since essentially in the ticks model I do close to the same thing except I measure if one wheel spun more than the other. Not how far I'm from the centreline this last method will be implemented ifjavascript:void(0)
Publish Post I can prove that it'll provide substantially better results than the current method.

Ok that's enough thoughts for today.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The following picture requires no caption

Taken on: 9/16/2007 @ McMaster University (Mills)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Online and on time

One thing I like about being with a DSL service is if they say your line will be up at a certain time, most of the time it will.

After debating with the Installer today about the questionable nature of the wiring in this apartment we are finally online and kicking with bell DSL.

What's more amazing was that the activation cost for the dry loop was only $1.22 That's right I saw on my invoice I was deducted $10 promo, $6 rebate, and a few other misc savings for being an existing member. That's just awesome.

Bell surprises you with charges you don't have to pay where cogeco would just surprise you with incidental charges.

So the total cost of activation so far is $20 for buying the modem and $1.22 for the install.

Currently the line rates are 3008bps down 800bps up. Pretty awesome all things considered. I did need to make an extra run to the local shop to exchange the initial modem which was defective, I guess that's a crap shoot anyways.

9-5 for internet?

The installers at bell and cogeco are strange creatures, they ask for a 9-5 window when installing a phone line or initially connecting a cable. This is installing a phone line even if your room has jacks (weird).

I mean normally if you have phone jacks they just connect you at the CO box and your loop is established. I'm assuming they want to come by and perform an initial line sync test.

Anyways after I get a sync, I intend on doing some speed measurements and provided I can approach the speeds achieved from the same ISP in Toronto and my download rates from speed test servers stay above 1Mbps I believe we'd be all set with this internet.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The move

Well the move has started, I've already moved some big items to the place I will be calling home for the next 2 years.

Tomorrow is phase 2 of the move which in my schedule is the final phase, so far the conditions look promising I'm stuck with another engineering grad student that should mean that the house will not become a super freaky drunk party house at some god awful weekday (or so I hope now).

I won't have home based internet until the 5th so you can expect a black out period will I suffer from internet withdrawal? Maybe.

But a day or two down in Hamilton will at least have the plus side effect of forcing me to unpack and I couldn't complain about that.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Search for a good ISP

Well so things are settled I'll be moving back to Hamilton within 2 weeks.
The internet situation still needs to be resolved however.
Here's a comparison of the 2 providers I'm looking at:

(The table is below there's some formatting glitch causing it to jump I'm to lazy to fix it now)

Monthly Charge$47.95$29.99
Rental fees(covered) $0$7
Totals (per month with install)$52.12$38.66
Annual Cost$625.44$463.92

Obviously we can see that DSL is a lot cheaper than Cogeco unfortunately cogeco comes with TV you'd be paying $13.46 / month for TV or $161.52 for the year just for standard cable!

My stance is ditch the cable cause DSL is much more reliable anyways but we'll see if I have trouble convincing the others.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Apartment Hunt

The places are pretty much the same in terms of space that is available at each the only things I find different are the configuration of the rooms location of the apartments and price. I'm listing the full price which will be shared between 2 people so just divide the price by 2 to get a rough idea of what it would cost.

Place 1:
Price: $ 770/month
Included in cost: Heat, Water, 1 Parking spot
Not included: Hydro, Phone, Internet

Advantages: Closest location to campus, Good landlord, Hardwood floors, Freshly painted and ready, Fair price, Best room configuration.

Disadvantages: Most expensive by $20/person.


Main living room and kitchen

smaller bedroom

larger bedroom + hallway


Place 2:
Price: $ 720/month
Included in cost: Heat, Water
Not included: Hydro, Phone, Internet, Parking, Room painting

Advantages: not as close as location 1 but still close, Hardwood floors.
Disadvantages: Internet extra, parking extra, landlord bitchy according to ethel (she was bitchy when I visited too), Place will not be ready until Sept 15 only can get it earlier if you take it as is without the repairs cleaning or repainting required.



Place 3:
Price: $ 700/month
Included in cost: Heat, Water, 1 parking
Not included: Hydro, Phone, Internet

Advantages: Aside from being the cheapest none.

Disadvantages: Far from campus (farther than camelot towers) and bus comes rarely at this location. The distance would surely make it inconvinent it is at the border of what I would consider too far from campus to make sense. The facility is the most run down of the 3 the hallways to your appartment look much worse than the other 2.



Saturday, July 07, 2007

Blade CP Do it yourself Canopy

Alright as with all things this one starts when I was really bored.

I decided that it was about time that someone make it easy to print and make your own canopy for RC helicopters.

So below is the instructions on how you can make your own Blade CP or any other 300 sized helicopter canopy out of paper! Finally you don't have to pay expensive prices when you crash with your OEM canopy, even better is you get to give your helicopter a cool look without being an expert air-brusher.

Give it a shot it's practically free!

  • Front template
  • Back template (fold lines optional)
  • Scissors
  • Packing tape or normal scotch glossy tape
  • RC helicopter to customize the position of the mounting holes.

Template Front Side:

Template Back Side:

I had alot of trouble writing written instructions so this how to video should do the trick I apologize for some shuddering but I didn't practice how to fold it before hand so half of it was trying to remember how to do the folds.

And the results? Well alot of people thought that it would look amaturish or look very cheap but in actual reality I think it looks pretty nice. Unfortunately I ran out of colour so the colour one will have to wait until my printer gets more ink.

Here's a result of what it looks like after with it applied to the Blade CP.

The body you see on the blade cp is also made out of paper through clever folding, if you guys are interrested I could make a guide for that as well but be warned it requires reasonably larger amount of tinkering to get right and alot of cutting and pasting.

Don't forget to post comments and links to your own killer canopies!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Waiting for parts

I'm still waiting for parts on my Blade CP helicopter mainly the 4 in 1 electronics have gone bad. I've been waiting for word for over a week now, approaching the 2nd week. Starting to think it might've been worth it just to order it in, however the idea in teh beginning is that I wanted to test it to make sure it was the box that was bad otherwise I'd be throwing away another $80 for no reason.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Bored + doodle =

Monday, May 21, 2007

Blade CP Gunship!

Creativity inspired by a holiday

I was inspired today by a cheap roman candle, after working out the technical details, I mounted it to my heli-frame via suspension to cushion the effect of the firing.

Here's the before flight pictures if it survives I'll have after flight pictures.

And here's a video of the result I'm glad to say that everything was a success the rubber bands did help to absorb the shock and the helicopter held straight and steady during the launch.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Visit to Old Fort York

A little known fact (at least to my mom) that old fort York was the start of Toronto after being here for so long I thought it was fitting that I'd pay it a visit.

(aren't you glad these don't work anymore?)
The Hunt for the First Tim Hortons!

Here we are as we set off for the first Tim Hortons apparently Brad is a Friday, and Jen is a Saturday.

Me and Jen at the start.

Me and Brad at the start.

Signs of arrival.

Jenny arrives at the first Tim Hortons.

FanFan arrives at the first Tim Hortons.

Brad arrives at the first Tim Hortons.

Even the doors state the first Tim Hortons!

I believe Jenny is frantically trying to explain how it started to rain cats and dogs!

And it seems I'm inclined to agree.

So until next time Happy Touristing!
A quick look back at the final days of undergrad

This was what my table always looks like in the midst of studying, it's alot cleaner now.

And no your not imagining it. It does in fact say "remainder of the damages"

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Final meeting of Team 5

It has finally come to and end the final meeting of team five has taken place here are the pictures of team 5 being awarded 1st prize.

IBM judges presenting Team 5 with the 1st prize award. From left to right: David Muir, Ethel Macasias, FanFan Huang, Nadine, Kiruthiga Sinnarajah, Mike Darmitz, Alan Sia, Hussian.

Team5 with the 1st place plaque and the award envelopes. From left to right: Kiruthiga Sannarajah, Alan Sia, FanFan Huang, Mike Darmitz, Ethel Macasias

The Team5 goodbye party, Here's Ethel and Mike rocking out to some tunes.

Final graduating shot everyone showing off their rings.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Countdown Begins

And so the countdown begins every exam is one less exam to write, ever day is one last day to study, and everyone inches every so slightly closer to the 24th, a day we'd all be finished.

There's a lot of things I could complain about for one why I had exams on essentially the last day of every exam period every year is beyond me, but for the most part I like many others realize that this one will truly be the final lap.

Good luck everyone on all your exams, and make it count!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

What to study?

Interesting deliema here two courses I equally care little about on the 1 side you have economics (bore), and on the other side you have ethics (equally bore).

Don't know which one I should allocate more time to and I don't think in 2 days round robin would be a good approach. So out comes the random number generator..... and..... Econ it is.
Front page news!

It's always sweet when you make front page news!

Not bad seeing how I also had previous mentions too.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Big number multiplication

Lost your calculator? Need to do some big number multiplication?

Deep exam study mode

Well it looks like I'm in deep exam study mode exams have finally swung around and I'm heavily in study mode now.

Current courses on my table are 4O 4F and 4B

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Mortal Kipling!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Cake v Beta 1

Cake method recipie 1.1
Revision 2

Release candidate: NO

Next Revision Modifications: Might try and make it more fluffy.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Thesis Never Ends

Finally it's life after thesis or so we thought here's what happens when thesis runs a little too long (as usual).

Mortal Kipling!