High school robotics Compeition

So yesterday I ended up at helping judge a high school robotics competition organized by the local robotics group, but lets rewind a bit.

In september, my friend Daruvin contacted me. He in conjunction with Penguin Robotics was helping to put together workshops to help the high school students learn to program for the robotic systems.

The penguins were past world competitors and had a lot of experience, but they wanted more people to help out the large number of attendees, plus would love people with industry experience to share stories and such.

As I love to mentor and build up people, especially kids, I very quickly signed up. Even got work to sponsor.

Last month due to traveling I wasn’t able to get involved, but when the tournament rolled around and again I was asked if I was up for helping judging I promptly signed up.

We had about 8 people, so that easily allowed us to have pairs. We had 3 groups of 2 setup at tables so the various clubs could come and get reviewed and judged. Some were really amazing and had been doing this for a long while. Others were just starting out and it was a bit better to give them feed back instead of worrying about judges.
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The other judges were outside watching the games, and watched how the various students/drivers performed.

We all kinda rotated at both sections.

During the afternoon, the teams were no longer random, but instead they got to make alliances and go through playoffs to see who would be allowed to goto the next level. We took this opportunity to get together as judges and compare all of our notes.

Once we were able to compare notes and pick winners for each categories, we were able to go watch the finals.

The finals were absolutely tense. I saw one teacher get so excited she was jumping around. It turned out this was the first year her school got to compete or something. She’s been fundraising a while to get it started. Turns out one of her groups won. She nearly collapsed and was in tears. It was so awesome to watch.

Finally everything was announce. Top winners in playoffs. Top driver in skill challenge, top autonomous robots in skill changes, all 5 judges awards. Some teams played off winning as it was nothing, but you could tell all of theme were excited about winning. I didn’t see any poor losers at all. Even the final game of the playoff you could see the losers thinking about how to improve to next time.

Last bits were the most impressive to me. Everyone of course ran off to clean up the tables and robots of their owns, but as soon as that was over, many kids from many different schools, not just the hosts, came back and helped clean up the event stuff. I mean sometimes it was ridiculous that we had 5 kids doing the simplest tasks, but they were all having fun and things were getting done.

I stuck around till the very end, helped with cleanup wherever I could. I had so much fun. I’ll admit the finals and the cleanup were more fun to me than the actual judging, but i enjoyed all of it and would do it again.

I’m so looking forward to next weekend when I’m getting involved with the second workshop Penguin Robotics is putting together. This time they’ll actually have the game field, and two groups going, one for novice and one for advanced. I’m hoping some of my teacher friends can get more involved as well.

I know this is super scattered, but i’m still excited and just thinking of everything, but I learned that a school would need about $1000 to get the basic kit together to field a team. Of course they would still need workspace and teachers/mentors and everything but I figure that’s something more individuals/companies could donate to schools to help them get started. I know I’m going to look into it. Too bad I haven’t kept in touch with my high school at all, it would have been cool to see them there. I think my shop teacher has long since retired too.

Grounded

Groundedpromophotolutalicatheatre-768x768.jpgOnly a week later. I’m getting way better at this.

Last weekend my friend Joanna Gaskell stared in this fringe festival play called Grounded. Other than knowing it was about a female fighter pilot, I went in not knowing anything else about it. I’ve been finding the more I do it, the more I enjoy the entire experience. This would also be my first experience with anything fringe festival related.

So a friend and I got tickets for opening night, arrive at this tiny little theater. Once I got inside, realized its was this tiny little theatre and had a moment of panic. What did I get myself into. Buuuut, right from the opening sequence, all the way to the end, it was such an amazing experience. It turns out she was in was in this (mostly) one woman dramatic play. I’ve never seen anything like this before. I had worked on big productions as a teen, but this was just a simple set, one and a half costumes, and Joanna.

I was constantly surprised how emotional I felt throughout the performance. Joanna really nailed everything. She starts off describing her emotional state as a pilot, flying through the sky, being a god in the sky, to meeting someone awesome, having a kid, all the way to the roller coaster ride that was being turned into a drone pilot.

I don’t really want to say much more, other than I laughed at parts, felt uncomfortable at parts, even cried at parts. Was such an amazing ride.

There’s a few more shows this upcoming weekend. I highly recommend grabbing tickets.

I liked it so much I’m actually going to check out another fringe show. Look at me. Two whole fringe shows in one year.

Talk on Testing – Code and Coffee YVR

One of my personal goals for this year is to start getting more comfortable sharing knowledge and talking infront of large crowds. As such, I volunteered to give a quick talk on testing, as its always been something I love doing, and ion the new job I thought it would be pretty appropriate.

This is my second Code and Coffee talk ever, and I can see I’m still pretty nervious giving the talk, but I think other than a few technical glitches (which were thankfully edited out) it went really well.

I have so much fun doing them. I love the fact that people come up to you afterwards and walk to talk about topics.

Totally open for more ideas on what to talk about. So far I’ve done Vagrant and now Testing in general. I’d love more suggestions.

I keep losing this tweet

I use the favorites/love feature on twitter to come back to things later.

Is one of my all time favourite tweets.

I have noticed when I directly go there through the website, it does not actually remember my initial tweet (Was very happy when I pasted it to wordpress it did give context).

With the deadpool movie now out to top off all the other marvel movie stuff, I’m sure these kinds of thoughts won’t leave my head any time soon.

Feb 1st, 2014 – An unique milestone

This will be one of my rare non tech posts on this blog (I think).

As of today, Feb 1st, 2014, It has been now 10 years since my last relationship ended with the infamous words “You can still date me if you want”.

I’ve brought it up with friends, mostly because it’s a weird kind of rare milestone. Most people then ask how I feel about it. It’s taken a while to figure out what to say. I only recently realized it was almost 10 years (sometime in December maybe). I was talking to a friend about school and came across some old albums and realized when things last ended. I feel like being single has not really been a big deal in my life.

Now some people have gone along the lines “have you tried dating?” or “Are you ready now?”. I think that just highlights people don’t really understand. I’ve never avoided it. I even tried online dating several times. Online dating really isn’t for (someone like) me. It puts a lot of pressure on the first encounter. I’m well aware that many meet people from online dating sites and go on to stay friends, but I don’t think that’s the norm. I know when I tried I always tried to made it clear that I was happy enough even just to make new friends but I’m also aware of how many horrible people that frequent on those sites. After meeting and/or chatting with people, I realized it’s not the venue for me. I like getting to know people instead of instantly the comfortable way.

So how do I feel about being single for so long? Overall I don’t think I regret it. Sure there are times when that’s not true, but they pass pretty quickly. It’s usually the moments when you realize you are the only person in a room that hasn’t paired up with someone. I would say none of the people I hang out with regularly has ever held that against me, but it does come up from time to time.

So is my status ever going to change? Who knows. I’m really happy where the path of life has taken me so far. I have some amazing friends. Met some amazing people. I love my job. I’m going to continue to go out, do things, meet new people if I can, and who knows, one day I might find that someone special, but I would never want to force it. It’s not who I am.

(Lets hope this comes across as positive as I wanted)

Telemarketers

Nothing is better to me than screwing up telemarketers.

Today’s guy was all friendly and loose.

“We do 1010 numbers for long distance”
“Oh, we don’t make long distance calls”
“oh.. none at all?”
“nope”
“How about traveling?”
“hrm, nope”
“okay then…..*searching* I guess i can’t help you with
your long distance needs”
“okay, sorry, bye.”

Utter crap

Went to futureshop (yea, i know, first mistake) to grab a new mouse (’cause mine suddenly started to die today) and Children of Dune to complete our dune night next week.

Well, I did find a decent mouse, not the one or kind I wanted, but a good enough one, thier stock was half missing. But when i went looking for the dvd, not only could I find nobody to help me because like half of them were standing in front of a tv watching some game (suspect olympics, didn’t check), and the one i eventually found was pretty rude.

me: Do you have children of dune?
her: I’m not really sure
me: *points at the screen* says you do
her: Its often wrong
her: *as she checks her computer* its more often than wrong

her: Its not even listed at all
me: .. Does that mean its not carried at all? nowhere?
her: its not here and not really at other stores

Okay, not quite rude, but not very helpful.

Next went up to HMV, checked his computer, saw one, looked around, looked some more, checked places, checked his computer again, asked if i wanted him to phone other stores, etc.. Turns out even thier other store (downstairs) couldn’t find the one they had in thier computer either, but they at least tried.

Ended up grabbing the last 2 boxes of futurama. So its not all bad.