Don't Fix It In Software presented at Defcon19 2011

by Katy Levinson,

Summary : At Defcon 17 when a speaker didn't show a bottle of vodka was offered to whoever gave an impromptu talk. Somebody went up and talked about his robot project. He mentioned that it didn't normally drive straight, and talked about all the software solutions he had tried to fix this. I was reasonably intoxicated and wound up shouting at him over the crowd that it did not drive straight because of his drive base design, and not his software. This led to questions, which eventually led to a rant about all of the dumb things people who are brilliant at in software do wrong in hardware, and then try to fix using more software. Sadly a scoundrel absconded with my vodka, but a goon took me aside, said the information was great, and told me to submit it as a full talk. Now I am.
This talk will cover material assuming the average audience member is a relatively intelligent coder with a high-school physics/math background and has seen linear algebra / calculus before. The intent is to navigate people new to robotics around many lessons my teams and I learned the "hard way," and to give them all the words to look up in wikipedia to help bridge the gap between amateur and novice professional robotics. It will not cover why your Arduino doesn't work when you plugged your USB tx into your RS232 tx.