Finally back from Shaastra ’08 – the only ISO certified techfest in the entire world. The experience was good, but, well, we didn’t win the competition we’d prepared for.
And that was mostly because of the bad arrangements made by the coordinators (in my opinion). In an image processing event, you expect uniform lighting, no sunlight, crisp colors, and black (or some other uniform color) surrounding the area to be processed. The arena at IITM had none of these.
Plus, some rules that were mentioned on the website were simply ignored. One of them being that the arena will have a boundary wall that will prevent the bot from going out of the arena. We had assumed this would be the case, but a day before the event we get to know there will be no wall. Another rule violated was that the wires coming out of the bot must be at a height of 50cm. The IITM team didn’t put it as their image processing wasn’t happening quite well with that. So they didn’t put it. And hence the rule was ignored. Or atleast so it seemed to us. Even we had problems with image processing with the 50cm tower, but we figured out a way to overcome it.
To top it all, we got just 15 minutes of callibration time. This is simply too less. At Quark each team could go whenever they wished a day before the event and have a trial run on the arena, any number of times. And during the actual event, all we got was 13 minutes (yes, thirteen) for two runs. Four minutes to setup, the next four for the actual run, then one minute to reset the bot’s position, and another four for the second run. This simply makes the two runs useless. You can’t really do some change to code in one minute when someone is constantly telling you 2 minutes remaining.
And it was an ISO-certified event.
Rant over. Now onto the journey part. Lots of learning/education/fun/etc happened during the trip.
The first and foremost being, CCD – A lot can happen over coffee. Strange things happen.
Second comes IITM. DC there isn’t good. Its boring. We had DC on for 2 days, and the main chat on 3 hubs had a total of 5 new lines. We got some things not on our DC, enjoy! The internet, however, is great. 30kbps speed. Each user has a username/password so the admins can keep a track of the amount downloaded by each user. The mess there was also great. Great breakfasts, lunches and dinners. And some ovens of the sides to heat your bread/whatever. Also, you get to see deer. Live. Roaming around the campus throughout the day. If you go out of the hostel and return, you’ll definitely see a few deer crossing the road!
The old hostels there are good. Huge open space in the middle, with a huge field, volleyball/badminton/etc courts and a small “park”. The new hostels are bad. They look like apartments, seven storeyed, with 4 elevators. Only two of those work though. They are all closed, with no source of freshair. Very bad ventilation.
Also a lot learned about image processing. You probably won’t be interested in that, so I’ll leave it out. It was a fun trip overall! Hoping for more in the future!