Sunday, November 12, 2006

Belated Blogging

Well several weeks have passed since my last post. I can't believe that a lazy guy (me) can be so busy. We're working on getting ready for the Holiday Market, I've been stamping out earrings in the hydraulic press for the last few weeks, now I need to punch little holes for the ear wires, and do the finishing. My business keeps on going and I seem to spend a lot of time answering emailed questions in the morning. My 3D modelling work is on a short hiatus, the last few weeks I spent modelling the mechanism to a clicker type ballpoint pen (why? I can't tell you). Do you know how that mechanism works? I do, now.

Henry at the Davis Family Farm pumpkin patch, trying to pick a good pumpkin.

Henry jumping off of the hay castle.

Max amazes himself in front of the corn maze.

Felice, Henry, Max, Nebiy, Yodit and Adam all had a good time.

Max before bedtime.

Henry emphatically drills some holes

Henry shepherds the Alpha Rex robot.

Henry mocks the Alpha Rex.

The Lego NXT robot system is a lot of fun. It's not really intended for (almost) 4 year olds but that's not to say we don't have fun building them together. It's a good way to learn numbers ("I need a beam with 7 holes, Henry") and it might teach patience. Programming will have to wait for Henry to learn to read and write.

If you are thinking of buying it for Christmas, I would say to go for it, but it definitely requires adult input. We've built two of the 4 robots that have instructions, and I have learned how to use the Labview derived software.

The Good:
Pretty good instructions, programming is fairly easy, great group of users and lots of online sources. Technics lego construction is hybrid of regular Lego and Erector set-like construction. Lots of parts come with the kit (but having more Technic parts makes it more fun). You can build fairly complex robots that do cool things. Using the software will guarantee your child can get a job doing electro-mechanical engineering.

The Bad:
Cables are too stiff and too long (there are now aftermarket cables), leading to a messy robot. All but the first robot only have instructions in the software interface, so you have to build it near your (WinXP) computer. The "coolest" robot, the "Alpha Rex", really just shuffles along like the victim of a stroke, and isn't nearly as useful as the basic "Tribot" that you build first.

Overall it is probably one of the coolest toys ever.

In other news, my homepage got hacked on Monday, or rather the earthlink server did. I had it back up immediately (no word from Earthlink though...a customer clued me in) but I did disappear from Google for a few days which gave me several ulcers. I'm back to the same position in searches again, so I guess everything is fine. Darn kids.

Finally, our old friends Stefano and Kathleen now have a webpage up for their espresso machine repair business. If I had an espresso machine (I don't, I use a french press) I'd definitely trust them to take care of it.

More pictures taken by Henry to appear soon...and some more pictures of my new lathe, which is fully in place and able to make chips.

1 comment:

Rob Tsou said...

I wondered what had happened to your site. I was out there looking for something and all I got was that hacked page. Glad you caught it so quickly.