Bleeding Edge

The best way to get involved, stay current and even push MyRobotLab development is to uh. . .get a little bloody.  Figuratively that is.

Most people (me included) tend to look for "stable" software releases.  It's "done."  Won't be changing for a while.  Things probably work best and will keep working.

Uh. . .with MyRobotLab, the only one of those that you can really depend on is "Won't be changing for a while."

But that's OK.  The Bleeding Edge is actually easier to deal with.  And if something doesn't work--Chances are you can poke GroG into taking a look at it.

Here are the details:

From the Download page.  Click the Bleeding Edge link.  Typically you'll see  LONG list of releases.  Unless you're troubleshooting or comparing versions, you'll probably want the newest one--all the way down at the bottom of the list.  Click that link.  On the next page you'll see a list of folders and files  Click the line that says "All Files in Zip"  Download, and unpack (unzip) into a folder.

Now you're about to run MyRobotLab for the first time.  If you're using windows, double clck the myrobotlab.bat file.  If you're running a version of Linux. . .from a terminal you can ./myrobotlab.sh.  But I usually just double click the myrobotlab.sh file and click the run button.  (I'm running Ubuntu 12.04)

The first thing you'll see is the MyRobotLab start page.  Click the "MRL###" tab.  The #### is a random identifier for that particular instance of MRL.  Basically, MRL is installed.  But it still needs a bit of work.

MyRobotLab is composed of a bunch of services from a number of open source software projects carefully worked into place by GroG.  You only have to install what you need, and frankly, not everything in the list of services actually works yet.  Some services depend on other services, and install them automatically when they're loaded for the first time.  Installing services on a given release should only have to be done once.

I usually bite the bullet and make my way through the list, installing all services one by one, and restarting MRL when instructed.  It takes a while.  If you know you're robot is never going to speak or hear your voice, you can avoid the speech related services.  Don't play Chess?  Don't install it.  Simbad doesn't quite work yet, so you can skip that.  Not using an Adafruit motor shield?  Then you don't need that service.  Following along with hairygael on Thingiverse and building your own InMoov?  Then you only have to do install the InMoov service and it will bring in everything else it needs.

SO, once you have the services you're going to use installed, you're basically finished.  Now it's time to plug things in and try some of the (mostly upcoming) tutorials.

Couple more things you should know however.  Choosing help in the MyRobotLab menu bar, and then selecting "about" will get you a couple of VERY IMPORTANT BUTTONS.

The first (after "OK") is "GroG, it "no-worky"! If you're working on your robot, and contrary to what you expect of whatever service you're using, your robot takes it upon itself to start killing all humans, or your motors don't spin, or your robot won't talk, or whatever--it's time to hit the "no-worky" button.  MyRobotLab will gather up the myrobotlab.log file and send it off to GroG for his prompt and careful attention.

The other button might save you some time.  By clicking the "I feel lucky,Give me the bleeding edge!" button, you'll get the latest versions of whatever has changed.  You won't have to reinstall all the services.  If it's a major upgrade of MyRobotLab--this might not work.

And there you have it.  Don't be afraid of the Bleeding Edge.  After all--Pioneers are the guys with the arrows in their backs--Right?