Twin Tweaks ...
NOW MYSHKIN CAN ATTACK
THOUGH THE METHODS OF
TRAINING MIGHT DIFFER ...
THE RESULTS ARE THE SAME!
We trained our German commands, but then
had to implement them in code. The VRbot GUI
has one last nifty feature: a generate code
function that will spit out a basic file that can be
modified to attach the desired movements to the
trained commands. All we had to do now was
implement the code.
Hooked on Phonics
Even though we recently polished up our
BASIC programming skills with the COSMOS
kinetic sculptures (Jan ‘ 10 issue), we were a bit
rusty with the Robonova syntax. Unfortunately,
implementing the generated code was one place
that the instructional video glossed over by simply
urging the user to modify the code according to
their needs. The PDF file and the code itself
provide some clues. The PDF manual directs the
user to certain lines of code, and the .bas file
includes some helpful comments. We were still
hoping for a bit more help, and we were delighted
to discover that there is a very helpful forum on
the VeeAR website. One of the threads on the
forum was about our very conundrum of
implementing the code generated by the GUI. The
thread provided sample code and detailed
instructions about where to include it. We felt like
we were home free – just a bit of copying and
pasting, and we would be ready for download!
Not quite. We fired up the RoboBASIC editor
and were distressed to find that our generated
basic file would not open. We tried starting a new
program file that we could just copy the code into,
and that was unavailing as well. We looked to the
Hitec website for answers, and we were somewhat
relieved to find a file proclaiming itself to be a
RoboBASIC fix for Windows Vista. We duly downloaded
the software and ran it, but RoboBASIC remained
obstinately closed for business. Taking another
look through the VeeAR forums, we saw several
recommendations to use the updated version of
76 SERVO 05.2010
RoboBASIC (version 2. 72). Another look at the
Hitec website revealed only links to download the
older 2. 5 version, which is the same release that
came on our original Robonova CD. Once again,
the VeeAR forums came to the rescue, and
directed us straight to the source – the RoboBASIC
website. The RoboBASIC website allowed us to
download the new version 2. 72, and we were
confident that this would solve all of our problems.
Not quite. The newer version still refused to
open our .bas file, or even to start a new one.
Thinking the problem was rooted in the computer
and not the software, we switched to a different
laptop, this one running Windows 7. We knew this
was a gamble, and it was one that didn’t pay off.
RoboBASIC persisted in its unusual behavior, and
we were afraid that Prince Myshkin might never
be appointed with his new name or vocabulary.
As a last ditch effort, we brought one of our
old laptops out of retirement to see if RoboBASIC
would get along better with trusty old Windows
XP. We held our breath as we opened our basic file,
and we were delighted to see that the window
burst open with many splendored lines of code.
We wouldn’t want to rule out the efficacy of
the Vista fix based on our experience alone, but
the moral of the story seems to be one of caution
when using technology of questionable
compatibility. If you don’t have an old operating
system on a computer with an RS-232 serial port,
be prepared with an adapter (we recommend
Keyspan) and a backup plan.
After finally outfitting Prince Myshkin with