21 Sep 2003 rudybrian   » (Master)

I started work on Zaza's web-based map and start position selector yesterday, er... make that two days ago ;) The basic idea is that when a user selects Phase IV mode from the control CGI, a list of possible maps to run on pops up on the left-hand side of the control interface where the process monitors usually are. Selecting one brings up a list of possible start positions/headings for the specified map with thumbnails and descriptions of each. Selecting one of these passes the parameters to poslib, and the startup sequence begins. Meanwhile, the left-hand frameset returns to the process monitor CGIs. This should be simply enought for the average operator to handle. A really old screenshot of the control interface is here (Jeesh, I need to update that...)

To simplify building all of the support files for new maps, I am trying to use as many generic files and templates as possible. The localize.ini, and the map applet plugin HTML will be the same for all maps. The only down side to the latter is that a client browser might cache the map image from a previous run. I may work around this by modifying the map applet to query for the map when it initializes, but this will also require modifications to poslib, and the posServer CGI. There are a lot of options for generating the start position thumbnails in Perl, but the two I am currently considering are GD and PerlMagick. The latter looks to be the favored option, but some experimentation is required. This may also present a possible option for clients too old/slow to handle the map applet...

On another note, I pulled the Blue Cube out of mothballs this weekend. It's been a couple years since I did any real work on the Cube, and I was feeling rather guilty for letting it sit idle for this long. I decided to make a stand for the rear legs that would let me test the locomotion system software as needed without pulling the wheels off. There simply isn't enough room to grab the Cube if it goes AWOL in the lab. Since I last played with the motor software, I discovered some code written by Alan Killian for the PIC-SERVO for an article in Circuit Cellar. This should be pretty handy as my original code worked, but not very well.

After pulling off two of the quarter panels everything on the inside looked fine, save a few cobwebs. I put a voltmeter across the batteries and was dissapointed to see only a reading of 1.8V. It doesn't look good, but I plan to leave it on the charger a full 24 hours before making a diagnosis...

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