Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Website Page: Members

Just in time for the New Year's Eve celebrations, the Southwest Robotics website is getting a new page: a list of members. I've been developing it live on the server for a couple days, and I think it's ready for primetime. I added the link to the sidebar navigation a couple minutes ago.

There are some effects that only show up in standards-compliant browsers (sorry IE6 folks, Microsoft left you out on :hover), but the list should look pretty much the same in any CSS-capable browser, work fine with stylesheets and JavaScript turned off, and even looks OK in Lynx for Windows (a command-line text-only browser). I don't have a mobile browser available for testing, so I can only speculate on the functionality, but the Lynx test indicates mobiles should work pretty well.

So, hope all you members can spend some time brushing up on each others' names before we really get in gear, and start matching the names to the faces. Unfortunately there are a few photos that aren't yet available (the page checks for photo existence automatically -- neat, huh?); but I (actually Mark) sent out emails to those with missing photos, asking for files I can put up. Hopefully all the empty slots will be filled (even though that would mean nobody seeing my handiwork on the "No Picture" graphic) by kickoff time.

I'm planning a couple improvements to the page, but they're not really blog-worthy; just back-end additions to make the page more easily indexable by search engines, mostly.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Announcement and Stuff

Hey, I'm here to announce that I am a new author. My name is Sam. I'll do as much blogging as I can about things that have to do with the robot in real life. So, here it goes.

If you read Hans's blog, you would know that we have built a robot over the summer. It's not for competition, but for practice. Because we have 24 new members, and only 6 veterans, we decided that it would be good to make a robot to practise techniques on. Every sub-group uses it, so it gets a good work-out. We have used it at our school's open-houses, presenting to possible team sponsors, and at the MN Splash event this past weekend. It's still a work in progress, but that's the way it goes.

I am the captain of the electronics sub-group. Right now, our jobs are to make sure that all of the terminals are correctly made, and to make the wiring more efficient. We're also working on making a circuit that charges the back-up battery while the robot is running. The back-up battery is a small battery in the middle of the electronics board. It is mainly a safety measure; if something happens to the main power supply, the back-up battery will kick in and make sure that the robot doesn't go berserk and kill everything, including itself. Because it is in the middle of the electronics board, it is hard to take out and charge, so we are making a circuit that will charge it off of the main battery. We have the resistors and capacitors and all that stuff, we just have to put it all together.

Well, I have to go, homework's calling.