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Showing posts from February, 2012

Remapping Zoom on the Microsoft Natural Keyboard 4000 - Mac OS X

The Microsoft Natural Keyboard 4000 is pretty great, but the "Zoom" slider in the middle never seemed very useful to me - how often do I need to zoom in or out? I scroll much more often than I need to zoom, so it would be nice to remap to scroll instead.   Although Microsoft's control panel lets you remap the special function keys, it doesn't let you change the Zoom slider function. Luckily for Windows users there's a fairly simple xml file that you can edit to change the mapping (and there are plenty of explanations: SuperUser , Josh Highland , Joel Bennett , etc). Unfortunately, the "commands.xml" config file doesn't exist on Mac OS X. Instead, there's a binary file for the configuration, which makes it tough to modify: /Users/YOUR_NAME/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.keyboard.pref After a bit of reverse-engineering, I was able to remap the Zoom slider to the UP and DOWN keys (sadly, using the SCROLL mapping doesn't auto-repeat

Running 6.270 Robotics Competition

This past January I organized and ran MIT's 26th annual 6.270 Autonomous Lego Robotics Competition . Basically groups of 2 or 3 students are given a box with Lego, a microcontroller, motors, and sensors, and they have just 3 weeks to put together and program a fully autonomous robot to compete in a game. Here's the first part of the final competition video: MIT Tech TV Part 2 is on MIT TechTV This year's game was about capturing territories and gathering resources, on a hexagonal playing field: The organizing team with the playing field Robots had to spin a gearbox to capture a territory: Then they could collect ping pong balls by pulling a lever: And then dump them on their half of the center: One of the robots actually shot the ping pong balls into the center: But the really cool part is that 6.270 is entirely student-run - the organizing team that I led had about 8 core members that took care of everything from ordering Lego, motors, and electronic