PDA

View Full Version : Scribbler Robot question



Dave W
08-16-2005, 09:01 PM
I have on order 2 scribbler robots. I run a technology club for middle school students. Last year we bought 2 "What's a Microcontroller" kits with the homework board. The kids had a lot of fun with them, but have run out of things they can do unless we start building things. That's hard to do in the environment we have. So my plan is to use the scribblers to hold programming contests between two teams.

Okay, that's the background, now the problem. I just noticed that the scribbler requires a PC running 2000 or XP in order to program it. Why? Prior to getting the homework boards, the kids put together several PCs from old parts. Due to the size of the hard drives, memory, and microprocessor speed, they cannot run Win XP. One is even stuck with Win 95. We have used the PC running Win 98 to program the homework board. Why is XP required for the scribbler? Or is that just a requirement for the scribbler specific programming software? Can we still use the Basic Stamp software to program the scribbler? If so, why list 2000/XP as a requirement? If not, why not? I need help because, if I must have XP, I'm in trouble.

Dave W

Bruce Bates
08-16-2005, 10:17 PM
Dave -

I'm sure the experts will correct me if I'm wrong, but I suspect that Windows XP requirement is probably due to the pick-and-place GUI that's included with the Scribbler Robot. There should be no problem programming an embedded Stamp in the ordinary manner, with the PBASIC Stamp Editor.

I also have a feeling that the GUI software was a purchased item, and not something Parallax wrote in house, although I may be mistaken. Parallax itself has always been quite good about supporting back-level Windows operating systems (I run Win 98SE myself). I suppose it ought to be noted, not all of the Parallax Software which supports back-level opsys software, supports all of the newer Stamp platforms however.

Regards,

Bruce Bates

allanlane5
08-16-2005, 10:28 PM
From looking at the Scribbler, I got the impression that the stock Parallax BS2 IDE version 2.2 can easily be used to program it -- and I believe this runs on anything back to Win95.
Now, the special "graphical" interface may require win2K or XP -- but you don't have to use that.

Dave W
08-16-2005, 10:30 PM
Thanks, Bruce. I guess I'll have to keep my fingers crossed and see what works when I get the robots.

Dave W

Chris Savage
08-16-2005, 10:30 PM
Hello,

Version 2.2 of the BASIC Stamp Editor requires Windows 98 or higher. The GUI requires Windows XP. The Scribbler can be programmed without the GUI using the BASIC Stamp Editor. It is very similar to programming the BOE-Bot.

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
Chris Savage
Parallax Tech Support
csavage@parallax.com (mailto:csavage@parallax.com)

Dave W
08-16-2005, 10:36 PM
Thanks, Chris. That's the answer I was looking for. It might be worthwhile to put that statement in the system requirements for the Scribbler.

Dave W

Chris Savage
08-16-2005, 10:44 PM
Dave,

In your first post I got the impression you were aware that the Scribbler required Windows 2000/XP. In any event, there may be a point when the BASIC Stamp Editor software no longer supports Windows 98/NT. I will check in to your request.

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
Chris Savage
Parallax Tech Support
csavage@parallax.com (mailto:csavage@parallax.com)

Dave W
08-16-2005, 11:09 PM
Chris,

You misunderstood my last comment. I am aware that the scribbler requires Win XP. My concern was that I could not program it if all I had was Win 98. My suggestion was that you include the qualification in the system requirements for the scribbler that it can be programmed with the Win 98 OS. You just can't use the GUI software. I hope that you keep the old versions of the PBasic Stamp Editor so that one doesn't need XP to use your products. My reason is that the school will not buy computers for the club and we are stuck with older PCs that don't have the system resources to support XP. Also, these computers aren't on the network and registration of XP is a problem. The school would not buy the OS anyway unless they already have a site license for it. This is an after school activity for the kids and a chance for them to learn this stuff from a geek - me.

Dave W

Chris Savage
08-16-2005, 11:12 PM
Dave,

I understand your question and am waiting for information on it. As for Windows XP, you will find very soon that most software will require Windows 2000/XP or higher. As for problems registering XP without a network, you're in luck. I owned a computer shop for many years, and I can tell you from experience that Windows XP provides a toll-free # that you can call to do the registration and activation over the phone. =)


▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
Chris Savage
Parallax Tech Support
csavage@parallax.com (mailto:csavage@parallax.com)


Post Edited (Chris Savage (Parallax)) : 8/16/2005 3:37:40 PM GMT

Chris Savage
08-16-2005, 11:46 PM
Dave,

It's pretty much as I said earlier. Support for Windows 98 continues to dwindle. Soon there will be no support for it. To that end, the BASIC Stamp Editor at some point will no longer support Windows 98, and then the requirements will be justified.

Your post here isn't a problem, however it is recommended that in the future, Scribbler-Specific support posts be posted in the Scribbler Forums at http://forums.scribblerrobot.com where everyone there can benefit from the answers. That is also the main support site, and we're now making sure plenty of people are available for answering questions daily there. Not to mention we are adding more Scribbler Resources all the time.

Take care!

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
Chris Savage
Parallax Tech Support
csavage@parallax.com (mailto:csavage@parallax.com)

Yanroy
08-16-2005, 11:49 PM
I find it hard to beleive that a sell-professed geek doesn't have access to a winxp box. I have half a dozen laying around, most of which I found in the trash and quickly brought back to life. Try what I do: if you have a semi-large technical college nearby, go dumpster diving... you'll come up with some top of the line computers that just need a new ram chip or somesuch... get a couple and create a frankenputer.

Ryan Clarke
08-17-2005, 12:09 AM
Dave W,

One thing to consider- you can run the Scribbler GUI on a machine at home, other lab, etc, and look at the code that is generated by the GUI- That code could then be put into an editor on your "scribbler machine" that is in the classroom.

Just a thought.

Ryan

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
Ryan Clarke

Parallax Tech Support
rclarke@parallax.com (mailto:rclarke@parallax.com)

Dave W
08-17-2005, 12:48 AM
Okay, to wrap up this thread: Thanks to everyone for their help. Now the responses.

Yes, I am a self-professed geek and I do not have access to XP machines at the school. That's the problem. I have an XP notebook which I carry back and forth. I do let the kids use that, but it really makes me nervous. When I get home, I find that they've changed my network settings so that my ISP won't work and my screen is absolutely smeared with fingerprints. I finally put a password on my account and created a non-administrative account for the kids. Even so, some of them have figured out how to write files to hard drive. I didn't think that an XP plain user account could do that. The computers which the kids use were thrown together from old parts which I and the school had lying around. One of them is an old PS2 IBM which won't even run 98, but the kids had fun getting it to work. They use it mostly to play old DOS games.

As far as using my home machine to generate the software and then taking it to the school, that would defeat the purpose of the robots. I plan activities such as programming the robots to find their way out of a maze or following a complex line on the floor. The kids would be split into 2 teams and the members would work together to develop the software using the PBasic Stamp Editor. Then each robot would be put into the maze or on the course and the one which completed the course quickest would be declared the winner. What that means is that the kids will use the "home brew" computers to develop and debug their own software. I hope I'm not expecting too much, but from last year's experience, I think the kids (6th to 8th graders) can handle it.

Finally, I posted this here because I thought that, since the scribblers haven't shipped yet, few people would be lurking on that forum. Since the robots are expected to ship next week, I'll post any future questions and comments on that forum. I also hope to get more ideas for challenges to keep the kids interested for the entire school year. Wish me luck and Thanks to Parallax for such great products to use for this purpose.

Dave W

Chris Savage
08-17-2005, 01:04 AM
Dave,

On your computer problems I can certainly sympathize. If your system supports a BIOS password you can lock the machine out from being booted at all without you there. As for limited accounts on Windows XP, they don't prevent writing and creating files, unfortunately. They prevent users from editing other users documents, and from changing other users account settings, and from installing certain applications and drivers.

As for your post, as I said, it's not unwelcome. We just want to try to keep the Scribbler support where people would expect to see it. Nobody is upset. =) You're still going to get answers. Take care!

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
Chris Savage
Parallax Tech Support
csavage@parallax.com (mailto:csavage@parallax.com)