Tech Insider					   Technology and Trends


			   USENET Archives

Xref: lugnet.com lugnet.announce:368 lugnet.dear-lego:501 lugnet.general:
9741 lugnet.robotics:7995
Newsgroups: lugnet.general,lugnet.dear-lego,lugnet.robotics,lugnet.announce
Path: lugnet.com!lugnet
From: lehman@javanet.com (Todd Lehman)
X-Real-Life-Name: Todd Lehman
Subject: Three Cheers
Followup-To: lugnet.dear-lego
X-Newsreader: Forte Free Agent 1.11/32.235
Organization: Fibblesnork Software, Boston, MA, USA
Message-ID: <3824fc42.589902@lugnet.com>
X-Nntp-Posting-Host: bos-us328.javanet.com
Date: Sun, 7 Nov 1999 05:43:15 GMT
Lines: 113

[Crossposted to lugnet.general, lugnet.dear-lego, lugnet.robotics, and
lugnet.announce; followups to lugnet.dear-lego]


All,

This is a rally for everyone to give a round of applause to the LEGO Group
for its unprecedented overture this past week.  Several very important and
wonderful things have just happened!

+ Direct participation in LUGNET newsgroups by a LEGO manager
+ Recognition of the existence of an adult LEGO Users Group (NELUG)
+ Recognition of a third-party software system (NQC)
+ Recognition of the adult robotics-hacker/hobbyist subcommunity

I encourage anyone who is excited by this news to post a message to the
<http://www.lugnet.com/dear-lego/ "Dear-LEGO" newsgroup>, thanking LEGO for
taking its first official steps into the larger online world.

The tide is turning...gradually.  It may take many more months or even
years, but over time, as relations strengthen, more and more LEGO employees
may be allowed to participate in this symbiosis.  Let's be sure to let LEGO
know that we think this is a Good Thing.  As they say in the movies, this
could be the beginning of a wonderful relationship.

Curious about details?  Read on!


1. Direct participation by a LEGO manager
-----------------------------------------

On Monday, Russell Stoll (manager and administrator at LEGO MINDSTORMS)
posted a <http://www.lugnet.com/robotics/?n=7837 tentative list of invention
categories> to <http://www.lugnet.com/robotics/ lugnet.robotics> for
community feedback.

Michael Gasperi, Ralph Hempel, and other adult hobbyists had met Russell and
a few other LEGO employees at <http://www.media.mit.edu/mindfest/ MindFest™>
last month and sensed a very genuine interest among the LEGO employees for
what goes on in the online robotics community.


2. Recognition of the existence of an adult LEGO Users Group
------------------------------------------------------------

Also last Monday, the official LEGO MINDSTORMS website put up a
<http://www.legomindstorms.com/home/events/mindfest/mindfest_images.html
page of photos> from <http://www.media.mit.edu/mindfest/ MindFest™>,
one of which was identified as being a creation by a "New England LEGO Users
Group" member.  (Today the page says simply "NELUG", presumably for brevity,
since three of the photos are now labeled "NELUG".)

Although the MINDSTORMS page contains no link to the <http://www.nelug.org/
NELUG website>, even casual recognition like this represents a major
milestone for the whole community.  More importantly, however, when Eric
Joslin <http://www.lugnet.com/robotics/events/?n=86 pointed out> that one
photo's caption neglected to mention the creator's name, Russell saw Eric's
message and promptly <http://www.lugnet.com/robotics/events/?n=87 posted a
reply> asking for Henry's last name, then subsequently followed through with
his promise to update the caption.


3. Recognition of a third-party software system
-----------------------------------------------

On Thursday, Russell <http://www.lugnet.com/robotics/?n=7919 posted again>,
noting that the official MINDSTORMS site now allows NQC program uploads
without having to change the filename suffix.  Russell also noted that a new
function would be added soon to the site's search engine to let people find
NQC programs uploaded by other people.

(NQC is a popular free third-party tool for programming LEGO robots.  For
more information, see <http://www.lugnet.com/?p=cool-145 Cool LEGO Site of
the Week #145>.)


4. Recognition of the adult robotics-hacker/hobbyist subcommunity
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Finally, in what is perhaps the most startling revelation to date, the LEGO
Group has published <http://www.legomindstorms.com/products/rds/hackers.asp
"Scout Internals">, a prelude of "info for hackers" (e.g., serious adult
LEGO robotics hobbyists) who want to get the most out of the new Scout
programmable brick.

"Our goal in releasing the Scout SDK," the page says, "is to continue to
stimulate experimentation and invention within the MINDSTORMS community.
Or in other words, let you play with the same toys we get to play with."

The LEGO Company will also release a Scout SDK (Software Developers Kit) on
November 18, 1999, which will include system and programming documentation,
an application for programming the Scout brick in "LEGO assembler," a
library of sample programs demonstrating key Scout functions, and an alpha
version of LEGO's new communications driver called "Ghost" (which will
replace Spirit.OCX for future products).

The webpage states that the Scout SDK will be free for commercial use, but
that LEGO will not provide technical support.  However, the MINDSTORMS
development team is looking for feedback from those who try the SDK and will
use the feedback to finalize the design for the next update of the RCX's
firmware.

This is an extraordinarily precious gift to the community, given both the
history and the state of the art in RCX & Scout programming.

The Scout Internals page also mentions an upcoming new "Visible Light Link
(VLL)" protocol for heterogeneous brick-to-brick communication and even
mentions a specialized fiber-optic element under development for next year's
assortment.

Woo woooooo!

--Todd

			   USENET Archives


The materials and information included in this website may only be used
for purposes such as criticism, review, private study, scholarship, or 
research.


Electronic mail:			      WorldWideWeb:
   tech-insider@outlook.com		         http://tech-insider.org/