All posts by Peter Fitzgibbons

Lego Mindstorms NXT-G moving from 1.0 to 2.0 – TriBot : Part 1

I discovered after installing Lego Mindstorms 2.0 NXT-G software that no one on the interwebs has captured this information before.

The Lego Mindstorms NXT 1.0 building instructions are found at Mindstorms Support 8527 -TriBot

So, without further ado, here is the Programming Guide for the Lego Mindstorms 1.0 TriBot : Part 1 – Driving Base

Bell’s Palsy — the onset

I experienced the onset of Bell’s Palsy over the past two days.

I will blog this experience as time goes on. Here is the timeline of my onset, which as it happens is rather textbook.

Tue. 4/8

Metra commuter service business blocked me from my daily bike-train ride to work, so I chose to ride the bike all the way in, 14 mi. This was a cold, windy day, about 40F & 15mph N wind, for my due-N ride.

By bedtime Tue night I developed a ringing in my ear.

Wed. 4/16 11:00 pm

A “midnight snack” of strawberry icecream tasted awful. I commented to my wife that it tasted awful, like there was lard in it or something. This from the same tub of icecream I’ve been dipping tastes from for a week or more.

Thu. 4/17 5:00 am

Can’t easily clear the “blearyness” from my right eye. Didn’t think much of it, just was annoying.

Thu. 4/17 8:00 am

Begin drive to work. In the next 25 minutes, progression of paralysis began with both lips on right side, then moved to cheek, then inability to blink properly.   This was fast and scary.  Directly detoured to the local ER, who promptly diagnosed Bell’s Palsy.  Follow up appt w/ ENT for Tues.

Thu. 4/17 9:00 pm

Paula (dear wife) noted that my right-side paralysis was more pronounced than mid-morning.

Fri. 4/18 5:00 am

I’ve slept about 2 hours last night.  Standard-issue pirate-style eye patch is colossally uncomfortable.  I’m depending upon my brain getting used to this, as it did actually do it’s job and keep my eye from drying out.

Fri. 4/18 10:00 am

ENT  gives me a  surprise  follow-up call and asks to see me  “today”,  that he’ll  arrange his schedule for any time I can arrive.  WOW!   Turns out  he wants to document presence/absence of shingles-lesions in my ear or mouth (found none).  So, with no shingles, the already prescribed steroidal-anti-inflammatory and anti-viral are “all we can do for now”.

In the mean time, I’ve found that citrus still tastes good (I think I can taste bitter on the right), and for some reason… chocolate.   Many things still trip-out my tounge and  I end up tasting “paint”, or that metallic-I’m-so-scared taste.

More as time goes on.

FUD all over again… This time with Testing!

Well, Jamie Cansdale has been getting heat over time from M$ over TestDriven.Net, formerly NUnitAddin.

M$ turned up the heat over the last week, and seemingly put it to HIGH yesterday.

Ian Ringrose simplified the discussion :

“Is it safe for me as a developer without a large legal department to work with Microsoft technology? “

FransBouma says : “Nail on the head.”

Yes… Nail on the head.

Pros & Cons – Rails vs. .NET Study

I’m debating between moving my career in one of two ways :


Study ruby on rails, leave Microsoft development, move my career in a new direction. I feel immediate happiness in this endeavor.


  • Test-driven development “baked in” to the development software
  • Installation and environment setup is free. No extra computer is required.
  • Ruby language contains “best-practices” of multiple languages and is “modern”. Ruby applies “LOLA” (Law of least astonishment), which makes it easier to apply “best-practices” to written code.
  • Community is VERY robust. Meetings are regular. IRC and listservs have heavy message traffic
  • My current skills apply to Ruby/Rails, even when from a different language/framework (IE Microsoft)
  • Best practices of Ruby/Rails align with current software-development industry research on best way to structure project management, design software, and build maintainable large-scale web systems.
  • By writing code in a system that aligns with best practices, I feel like I’m doing “the right thing” when I’m writing software.


  • Job Market is “currently” limited.
  • I need time to develop the skills/experience to support current income
  • Achieving experience appears to be a catch-22


Study Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) / .NET 2.0. Give in to “the state”, admit that a governmentally structured certification machine also has a thriving job market. Join a Microsoft Consulting Firm full time and be a valuable contributor to their technologies.


  • Easy Job Market
  • I have valued skills (according to last job-seeking process)


  • Cost of Entry (Need new computer ($1000) + Software + Certification Testing $)
  • I don’t agree with Microsoft attitude toward developer community
  • I don’t agree with Microsoft attitude toward open-source / linux
  • Developer community is not robust (Few user group meetings in Chi, Forums/Elists don’t answer questions)
  • Microsoft web-development software (ASP.NET 2.0) does not support test-driven development
  • Microsoft development software is often confusing to read and confusing to use. Microsoft does not apply “LOLA” (Law of least astonishment).

Updated: 20 June 2007 12:35:00. This rounds out the pro/con list to more clearly present my perspective on what direction to take my career.