Older blog entries for reenoo (starting at number 21)

4 Oct 2007 (updated 4 Oct 2007 at 20:57 UTC) »

And so it has begun

I've kept this very low profile for a long time as it wasn't clear whether things would work out as planned until the very last minute. But now it's official as I'm here now: I will be studying at Cardiff University for the next two semesters as part of the Erasmus Programme.
30 Aug 2007 (updated 30 Aug 2007 at 18:27 UTC) »

New toys for the RoboCup community

I noticed today that the Four-Legged-League has been renamed to Standard Platform League and will be using a new humanoid robot at future competitions. There isn't a whole lot information available about the Aldebaran Nao but it definitely makes me wish I was starting with my 2 year project now (rather than being almost finished) so I could join the local team.

Why is a standard humanoid platform so exciting? If you've ever worked with robotics hardware and prototypes in particular, you'll know only too well that you rarely get to do the stuff you want to. There's always one hardware component or another that fails on you, not to speak of the usual pain of (systematically) incorrect sensor readings. A standard platform makes sure that everyone has the same starting point and (ideally) allows people to concentrate on algorithmic work rather than developing and fixing hardware.

GNU Octave

I've recently been doing algorithm prototyping in GNU Octave. Although not fully compatible with Matlab, it usually interprets code written for Matlab correctly. Some functionality (specialized functions) is missing but usually slightly different but equally capable replacements are available.

I must say I'm impressed with how quickly you can develop mathematical algorithms in Matlab/Octave. Basically, you're all done at about the same time you'd start debugging your matrix library in any other language. It's definitely an approach people in computer science in general and robotics in particular should use more often.

Octave uses gnuplot for plotting but hides the gory gnuplot details from you which is really pleasant. On the other hand, if you're used to computer algebra systems such as Maple or GNU Maxima it feels a bit odd to plot a set of points rather than a (symbolic description) of a function. Considering the internal representation of a function in Matlab/Octave it does however make sense the way it's implemented.

Now on to the next algorithm on the list of algorithms to evaluate...

19 Jul 2007 (updated 19 Jul 2007 at 21:57 UTC) »

Not dead

I don't know how many people read this or how many care, but I'm in fact very much alive. I'm in the process of finishing off the second last assigment for this semester (apart from a to-be-written report for my 2 year project and the usual exams). The weird thing is it's actually the last regular semester for me, afterwards I'll just have to write my thesis.

What else have I been up to? I've accepted a job at the robotics lab for the next couple of months, where I'll be doing some interesting probabilistic robotics and vision stuff, apart from (real) embedded development. Real as in not just another PC crammed into a cubic inch which is a more adequate description for most consumer devices that people like to label embedded.

Speaking of which... I stopped reading mail on my personal account (the one that receives mail from mailing lists and anything open source related) months ago. I haven't decided whether to get back into the loop yet. Given the fact that my schedule for the next months won't leave much spare time it's at least not going to happen very soon.

Of course there's also a good side to this break, in fall it will hopefully be clear whether a bunch of other projects will be able to deliver what they promise or not. Once that's out of the way it will be a lot easier to evaluate the purposefulness of my involvement in Familiar and related projects.

PS: All courses and the final presentation of our 2 year project went well. So, yeah, life is good :)

4 Jun 2007 (updated 13 Jun 2007 at 22:23 UTC) »
Assignment of the beast

I noticed this while including stuff by line numbers (using lstinputlisting from the excellent listings package) in a LaTeX document. Should I be worried now?

$ wc -l kernel/bs2_syscalls2.c
666 kernel/bs2_syscalls2.c

Update: After a cleanup the code is now a bit shorter.

17 May 2007 (updated 17 May 2007 at 17:36 UTC) »

Minimo 0.2

I've finally got around to updating our Minimo recipe (plus patches) for Minimo 0.2. The resulting package is available from the Familiar unstable feed.

12 May 2007 (updated 12 May 2007 at 21:48 UTC) »


There's lots of good stuff happening at Handhelds.org just not always as visibly as it could be. We're serious about fixing that and the latest article on the front page is another step in that direction. More to come...


This morning, my spontaneous response to a guy complaining about the first rainy day after weeks of sunshine and temperatures >25C was: "The day will come when you'll be very happy about every single raindrop."

A true but scary thought.

Nassler & Schneider

I saw Nassler & Schneider in concert on Thursday. It was just amazing. Two classical/latin guitars, some percussion elements, mild use of synthesizer and live recording/playback effects, and a unique mix of classical, spanish, latin and jazz influences.

If you ever get the chance to see these two masters of the guitar in concert, don't hesitate to go!

Kernel hacking for fun and credit points

...is one of the things I'll be doing at university this semester (although I don't actually need the credit points). There are various other interesting courses, but I haven't made a final decision on which of them to take. Anyways. Good times :)

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