Happy Birthday Asimo!
GeekSpeak Podcast for 2010-11-06
The right to forget, voting update, LimeWire gone, and much more week in geek news with Miles, Ben, Al and Lyle.
You know how you’re watching those hidden camera or funny home video shows and someone gets hurt real bad, and you’re laughing at them and pitying them simultaneously? That’s how we felt when we saw Asimo fall down a set of stairs during a demo. It’s ugly, man. Aismo turns its head and falls back, seized up like a clenched fist as sparks fly — and yet it keeps on chattering away to the audience as robo-medics rush to the scene. One day we’re going to pay for this. Video after the break.
Honda is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its ASIMO, the world’s most advanced humanoid robot, on Sunday October 31.
To mark this special occasion, Honda has launched a dedicated website at http://world.honda.com/ASIMO hosting films and photographs detailing ASIMO’s evolution over the past 10 years. A “Run with Asimo” smartphone and iphone app has also been produced to allow users to interact with a virtual version of the robot on their phone.
The file-sharing world came under a bit of a shock last week when LimeWire effectively shut down. While the move should have come as no surprise to anyone, LimeWire has lost several lawsuits and was ordered to shut down previously, the story proved quite popular.
The fact that millions of users suddenly found themselves unable to download their favorite music might have contributed to the popularity of the story, but it also helped a bunch of peer-2-peer applications get discovered.
Several P2P applications, alternatives to LimeWire to a degree, saw a big boost in downloads, according to the TorrentFreak blog which covers the file-sharing and P2P world.
Apparently, all the app makers reported a growth in the number of downloads, but only a few would go on record and confirm this.
MP3Rocket, for example, says it saw an increase in the number of people downloading the application. MP3Rocket is a Gnutella client, just like LimeWire was, but it says that it will transform itself strictly into a YouTube video to MP3 converter.
Adobe has announced a tool that will ‘shift gracefully’ from HTML5 to Flash, when the former’s <video> tag is not supported.
Many, including Apple’s Steve Jobs, view the rise of HTML5 as the beginning of the end for Flash, but Adobe is keen to downplay this.
To that end, Adobe have announced a tool that it says will help out with the ‘limited browser support’ for the HTML5 <video> tag.
Using breath-analysis software and mouth-movement observations, engineers in Japan have taught a robot how to sing. The divabot, an HRP-4 with a creepily realistic tilting head, blinks and opens her mouth as she croons, even mimicking the facial expressions of the human singer.
Researchers used a real singer as a model, recording her every move as she sang.
Using breath-analysis software and mouth-movement observations, engineers in Japan have taught a robot how to sing.
Imported from Japan the USB Robot Owl blinks his eyes and turns his head from side to side in a quizzical manner… almost to say “I’m damn cute and I know it”. Plug him into any handy USB port and he can perch on top of your laptop with the included clip, or set him on top of his comfortable stump. Push the button on the back to choose from three owlish moods; Active, Mellow, or Sleeping.
“Yes, Google has sued the US Department of the Interior because its Request for Quotation regarding a messaging solution demanded the use of Microsoft software.”
“Users could sue websites for invading their privacy and would have a right to be ‘forgotten’ online, under new proposals from the European Union. It has drafted potential legislation that would include new, unprecedented privacy rights for citizens sharing personal data.”
“The point that $62,500 per song is excessively high seems to be something that everyone can agree on, but what actually is fair seems to be a big point of contention.”
NSILMike points us to an amusing bit of news concerning a recent ruling in the Texas Supreme Court, where the court cited Star Trek’s Spock (though, it’s mostly hidden in a footnote):
If Discovery doesn’t fly at the end of November, “the next window of opportunity is February, which is when STS-134 is scheduled to happen,” said NASA spokesperson Joshua Buck.
The shuttle Endeavour is currently due to conduct STS-134, the final planned shuttle mission before the fleet is retired. If Discovery’s launch rolls to February, Endeavour’s flight would be pushed back, possibly to June.
This new Spiderman-style suit may not win astronauts a spot in the fashion hall of fame, but it could help keep their bones intact during long spaceflights. Described in a new paper, prototype tests of the Gravity Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit, being developed by a research team at MIT’s Man-Vehicle Laboratory, show that the suit simulates the effects of gravity on the human body, which could solve one of the biggest obstacles to future human space travel.
The proposal defeated soundly Tuesday night would have established a commission to track extraterrestrials. It also would have allowed residents to post their observations on Denver’s city Web page and report sightings.
Early results show Denver residents voted 106-thousand to 20-thousand against the proposal.
From Listener Randolph
“Hi Geeks, I love your show!!! Thank you for making it available on podcast.
However, you are mistaken about DSL download times of HD shows from
iTunes. As I am sure you know, download speed is inversely proportional to
distance from the CO. DSL guarentees about 400 KBit service or they will
not provide it. I am grandfathered in, very early adopter of DSL, or I
would not be able to get DSL. I rented my house for awhile & when I moved
back in I was informed DSL service for my house was not available, too far
from the CO. I informed them I had DSL before and was aware of the distance
limitations so they let me have the service. About 3 years ago, I was
calling to disconnect my DSL & go with cable. They informed they had
re-done some wiring and would like to try my lines again. The service lady
said the lines were just short of the 900 Kbit capacity & could not
support their 900 KBit standards. I thanked her for her time & told her if
they could make 900 KBit I would stay with DSL. She checked whatever box
she needed to override & told me to try it. If the service was too spotty
or not to my satifaction, call back & they would disconnect me. I
consistently get 900 to 1.0/1.1 MBit download speeds.
Five to five and a half hours is typical for an HD show @ approximately
300 MBit download speed. If the caller is at the bleeding edge of DSL
service, 5 hours is very typical and that is what it used to take me to
get Heroes when I would miss the episode due to weather, Dish Network.
Otherwise, there is most certainly nothing wrong with the caller’s
connection, computer or the internet, it is just the limitations of DSL."