Sunday, December 17, 2006

Firmware Updating Adventures

However lovely the Mindstorms NXT is, there is one truly annoying detail about firmware updates. They're erratic. The NXT software is also naggingly slow on some hardware.

I tried to upgrade the firmware to 1.04 today, using my Powerbook. It didn't work at all. The NXT would just quietly click along all the time. Nothing helped, not even booting the notebook, removing and re-inserting the NXT batteries, performing hard resets... nothing.

Guess what. When I took the NXT to the office with me (yup, sometimes I'm working on Sundays) and performed the firmware upgrade from a Windows box, it worked first time I tried. While I'm relieved that the NXT now runs the most recent firmware, I'm still a little upset that upgrading it from a Mac seems to be impossible (at least in my case).

Next, I had run the NXT software on a Windows box for the first time today, and I must say, I was pleased with its performance. Compiling and downloading an NXT program to the brick was done in just some very few seconds, whereas compiling and downloading the same program from a Mac takes significantly longer (definitely more than 10 seconds in case of a simple "play a sound" demo program).

I wonder what implementation approach was chosen to get the software running on the Mac. Do they run it in an emulator? ;-) Honestly, why does the compiler have to be so slow, even for trivial programs? I simply cannot understand this.

Well, these are two things for Lego to think about. They sure don't make me like the NXT any less. ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment