The electric giraffe (aka 'Rave Raffe') is a shy, nocturnal creature of the Playa. It can sometimes be found roaming the streets of suburbia where it elicits awe amongst the spectators. Native of Southern California, the 'Raffe can sometimes be coaxed further afield for special occasions.
Enter now the world of the Electric Giraffe, and behold the beauty of its design, marvel at its engineering and revel in the presence of the World's first robotic giraffe.
Even though neither of these things are a problem (the CPU is plenty powerful enough, and the UI functions perfectly) I still wanted to make the changes because, well, I'm a bit of a perfectionist.
I decided that it was finally time to bite the bullet. I have split the frame generation off into its own thread so it can now be run on a separate core to the UI, keeping the UI nice and responsive. The difficulty here was ensuring everything is synchronised and thread-safe, but a sprinkling of critical sections here and there have got it covered.
Replacing the rendering engine is a much harder prospect. At the moment everything is written using Windows controls (they're owner drawn so that they have their own visual style, but they're still standard components.) I'm going to use OpenGL for the rendering, and scrap all the Windows controls. This means that I have to write from scratch all my own UI widgets like buttons, checkboxes, edit boxes, list views... the works. It's a huge task. I also have to do all my own message handling, creating the whole windowing framework, processing mouse and keyboard messages - everything.
I've been working on it for a few months now and it's starting to take shape. I have implemented the basic OpenGL rendering engine, texture loading and drawing. I've implemented a small number of the basic UI widgets: buttons, drop-down lists and scroll bars. There is still a long long way to go, but I'm getting there.
We managed to make it to Maker Faire 2012 and have a great time. I was almost destroyed on the road when my trailer became unhitched from the car, and what followed was a lot of crashing about and swaying until we got to the side of the road. A very close call for me indeed!
Once at Maker Faire, we were on the news again, and had lots of fun with all the people there, selling shirts and models and having a wonderful time.
But what really took me by suprise was when a representative from the Tech Museum of San Jose stopped by, and informed me that I was one of the top exhibits ever seen at the faire, and that I was being invited to be installed at the museum for a month long exhibit! Wow, what a wonderful compliment!
And with Maker Faire out of the way, my summer schedule is more busy than ever before! Here is where I will be.
Monday, May 28th at 10am. "Memorial day parade" in Kensington.
Saturday, June 2nd at 2pm. "Art Around Adams Ave." (An artwalk on the streets of Adams. Ave. Will be at the carwash since that gives me space to walk around!)
Saturday, June 16th at 8pm to midnight. "Feast of Hammer's Ball" at Queen Bees art and performances studio, a Steam Punk oriented event. http://www.queenbeessd.com/
Friday, June 22nd thru June 24th. "Elysium Festival" A Burning Man inspired event for the local San Diego Burner's crowd. This will be a MAJOR event and I strongly suggest you attend if you can! http://elysiumfestival.org/
Saturday June 30th to Wed. July 4th. "Del Mar Fair" See the giraffe at the famous Del Mar Fairgrounds. We'll be out in the carnival ride area in the horse race arena.
After that, we'll be taking a break and hoping to get ready for heading back up to San Jose for a stay at the Tech Museum. Wish me luck!
In 2009 my owner started house hunting, and has since landed a huge house, a massive garage, and lots of land out in the country for me to dwell in! The garage is so big that I can walk right in. No more sitting outside and hoping the weather won't get me wet or rusty! But with all these goings on he forgot about my need to talk to folks here in my Journal!
So, what has been happening with me? Here's some updates.
2009: We managed to do the Maker Faire once more, and as usual, had a total blast. I cannot say how much I love attending the Make Faire! Russell Pinnington, my programmer, came out from England once again to accompany Lindsay and myself to the faire.
I also entered the Ocean Beach Christmas Parade, the largest parade in all of San Diego, and had a lovely time showing off my new lights and paint job to everyone, plus I was dressed as Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer! With my new sound system blaring xmass music for everyone, we once again took the parade by storm, the crowd was overwhelmed and cheered very loudly as I walked down the same streets that Lindsay once roamed as a child. Afterwards we received a 1st Place, Best in Show award once again for best individual entry! This was the second 1st place award I got, the first one being 2007, when I was still all white and had not been given my major overhaul. So, I was now 2 for 2! Could I get 3 for 3?
2010: Lindsay was by now looking very hard for a his very first house to ever own on his own!
We once again attended the Maker Faire that year, and had a wonderful time, showing off more technology and advancements. I was able to now move my jaw to talk, and I had a new neck gimbal, that allowed me to look around in all 3 axis of movement! People were amazed as I actually looked at them as I spoke! Also, I was now able to auto-level my head, so that as my neck went up and down, I electronically knew where my head is, and can level it according to the neck attitude. As usual, a wonderful time was had by all, with Russell visiting once more to offer technical support and eat all of Lindsay's food. >.>
The Make Faire also introduced a new format to the room we were in. Lights out! We were able to show off all of our lights very nicely, while a band with a roaring Tesla coil took the stage and thrilled everyone with a particularly unique brand of rock and roll music!
Then I was asked to appear at the prestigious Del Mar Fair Grounds, where I was allowed to walk around in the children's area, letting kids pet me and be amazed at what appeared to be a carnival ride having escaped its moorings and was now running loose about the fairgrounds! I cannot say how fun that was for me and everyone I met!
By late 2010, Lindsay had finally managed to find a house to buy! Naturally I assumed he would take care of me, and indeed he did, finding a house with a huge garage and workshop, with which to build more exciting updates to add onto me, plus, some even LARGER robots that he is hinting at making!
2011: This has been a more quiet year for me, with Lindsay working hard to set up the house and the workshop with which to build new updates for myself and future robots he is planning. Already he has bought a TIG welder, and a computer controlled milling machine! From what I understand, I am to receive a fully articulated 7 segmented neck! When is not totally known, but we are hoping it will be ready for the 2012 Make Faire! Wish me luck!
In the meantime, we once again attended the Make Faire, just barely because of bad weather, but still had a wonderful time in the new dark room format that the Make Faire people have created, what I consider a brilliant move. It allows all of use really pretty "Night Time" oriented robots to show our stuff!
I have also been out to some school based robotic events, and very much enjoy attending those. Dave Masey has been instrumental in booking outdoor appearances for me, so its starting to look like I have an actual agent working on my behalf! Thank you Dave!
And last but not least, I once again entered the Ocean Beach Christmas Parade, partly because the town council called Lindsay and asked him to bring me! Lindsay had once again hoped to attend, and by the skin of our teeth, we just made the long journey from Ramona, and got into Ocean Beach just in time to attend! My run down the street was without incident, and an old high school friend of Lindsay's showed up to operate my new jaw and ability to look around with my head, and sing to the crowd! Thank you, Allen! So, walking and singing, we paraded down the streets of Ocean Beach, sending off 2011 with a very memorable appearance!
Shortly after, I was contacted by the parade council, and they have once again, voted me a 1st place award for best in show! That's 3 for 3! What a perfect way to end 2011, with so much more to look for in 2012. Dave Masey has already booked another appearance for me at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Feb. 2012. Thus, between appearances, and a new workshop Lindsay is creating to build new things for me, I have a lot to look forward to in the new year!
Wish me luck and I hope to see all of you again soon!
P.S. Lindsay will also be 12 in 2012, because he was born on leap year and only gets a birthday once every 4 years! Hope to see some of you at his party! :D