State Fair and a Mondrian Exhibit

Wow, October is almost gone and I haven’t posted any news yet. October is the month of the Texas State Fair and we spent a day there this year as usual. Rather than brave the crowds on the weekend, we took a day off from work and went on a Wednesday. Otherwise, last year’s account pretty much sums it up. We also took some time out to go to the Modrian exhibit at the Kimbell. The only other stop for this exhibit will be in Paris but it’s well worth going out of your way for if you get the chance.

Work on the GCC Linux to MCORE cross-compiler is coming along ever so slowly. I’ve been blowing too much time playing with my new DMOZ editor privileges, perhaps. Work on the mod_virgule codebase merge is behind too but I hope to start working on that again in November. Posting Robot news and working on the DPRG site have been taking up a lot of my time too. And on top of all that there’s the usual paying work that eats up most of my time.

But I’m still here, still alive, and still hacking.

News from a Slow Month

Not much news to post lately. I’m just staying too busy with work I guess. A lot of my spare time is still getting sucked up doing work on the DPRG website. I’ve been writing a pile of Perl code to automate a lot of the administration functions of the site. I’ve made some progress on my MCORE project. I’ve successfully built a GCC Linux to MCORE cross compiler thanks to a handy bash script by Brian LaPonsey of Motorola. (the scripts recommended in the CrossGCC FAQ are so out of date, they no longer work with any current version of the tool chain). I should have time to put together a little test code for the New Micros MCORE board soon.

Meanwhile, I’ve managed to become an ODP editor. I was trying to get NCC listed under one of the website design categories and not having much luck because there was no editor for the category. So I volunteered and now get to blow a little more of my time maintaining the prestigous Computers: Internet: Web Design and Development: Designers: Full Service: N category on DMOZ.

DPRG Website gets a New Look

I’ve been busy the last couple of weeks helping with a major renovation of the DPRG website. Susan created some new graphics and we came up with a nice, simple layout. We’re using 100% XHTML 1.0 and CSS for the new site. So far it works great in both Mozilla and IE. Opera is a bit flaky when it comes to rendering W3C standard CSS but it’s maybe 90% there. The hard part is just the sheer number of pages and images. There is around 150MB of content on the site and it’s still very much a work in progress.

All the work on the DPRG website has sucked me back into the hardware side of robotics. I’ve got two new toys to play with. I went by New Micros, Inc. last week and picked up an IsoPod development kit and an MCORE board. The IsoPod is an based on a Motorola DSP5680x DSP that provides 40MIPS of processing power
and a ton of I/O on a tiny little board. To fully utilize it requires the use of IsoMax, a new FSM-based realtime programming language that New Micros developed. Since I’m a diehard C programmer, I also picked up the MCORE. With a 16bit Motorola MMC2107 M*CORE processer
running at 33MHz, it’s not nearly as powerful as the IsoPod but gives me the advantage of working in a familiar language. Well, I should say it will give
me that advantage once I prod GCC into compiling code for it. New Micros only provides Forth for the MCORE. But GCC 3.2 supports MCORE as a target, so
I’m trying to get a Linux-to-MCORE cross-compiler working. Should be interesting. Motorol created a Windows-to-MCORE cross compiler using a much older version of GCC, so I know it should be possible. And both New Micros and Motorola have offered technical assistance. I’ll provide more details on it as I progress.

Susan has a new claim to fame. She has for a while maintained what is probably the best online discography of Robert Shaw’s work to be found. As it turns out, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus seems to agree. Their discography Link now points to Susan’s page. I think this means she now maintains the official Robert Shaw Discography.