Geek check

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated the geeky list of robot links.  Since that time, a few more of come to my attention… here are just a few:

robots.net     Robot Room     Whitebox Robotics    BDMicro
Aibo             Robot Books    Lynx Motion              Robot Store

I realize a couple of these are repeats… I’m hoping that by saying the name “Whitebox Robotics” 3 times a day, they won’t turn into vaporware.  I’m a little concerned though.

Also, I want to buy my grandmother an Aibo since she is a little too up-there in years to keep a real dog.  I’ve seen a lot of information about research on the subject, but no one has published any findings.  If you can point me in the direction of robotic pets (specifically Aibo) and the elderly, I’d appreciate it.

Pal Mickey

I just got back from a pretty cool trip to Walt Disney World.  Considering the last time I went was the year BEFORE Epcot opened, there was quite a lot of new stuff to see there.

One of the coolest things, by far, was Pal Mickey.

Pal Mickey, in a nutshell, is a Teddy Ruxpin on steroids.  He runs $56 bucks at most of the official Disney gift./toy shops.  We picked ours up at World of Disney in Downtown Disney.  Rumor has it they used to be available for rent.  I don’t know if this is still the case though.

So, you switch him on, venture into one of the four Disney theme parks, and Mickey springs to life as you cross the threshold.  He’s packed with cute little stories, some corny, yet funny, jokes and a wealth of trivia about the parks.  Radio transmitters planted around the park inform Mickey of his location, and in some case pass along information such as short ride times at select attractions.

Mickey has a belt clip to make carrying easy.  He will vibrate (and giggle an “Oh Gosh”) when he has information to pass on.  There does seem to be a timer involved as well, as he doesn’t repeat information until a day or two later. (Information he passed at Epcot the night before didn’t get repeated the next day.)  He also warns you about 30 minutes before fireworks or character events so you can make your way there to get a good seat.  After the giggle, you have 15 seconds to press either of Mickey’s hands, or belly to get the information he has to pass on.  If you keep pressing within 15 seconds of the completion of the message, he will continue to repeat it. (Helpful with multiple kids, as he isn’t loud enough for more than two people to hear well over crowd noise.)  And while he won’t repeat a message automatically, he will pass on information again if you are within range of a sensor when you press his hands or belly.  If a  sensor isn’t available, he will make a joke or comment related to the last place he was aware of being (such as Adventure Land or Tomorrow Land.)

Mickey has rides he enjoys, and others that scare him.  In at least one instance, that I know of, he will actually talk to you during an attraction. (He pointed out a not-so-noticeable ghost in The Haunted Mansion.) However, most attraction comments are limited to the walk up and walk out.

As previously stated, Pal Mickey works at all 4 parks.  The coolest use of Pal Mickey occurs at Animal Kingdom, where on the Maharajah Jungle Trek he works as your tour guide, offering tips and trivia at the various stations along the way.

Mickey also has 3 built-in games that keep the kids entertained on the way to the park (and in this case, the 9 hour ride home.)

If you’re a geek, or a parent, Mickey is a great addition to the trip.

Beauty for the ages

I threw a classic in the VCR the other day so I could watch it with one of my kids.  The flick was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  Great movie.  I was admiring the quite beautiful Alison Doody, and decided to do a search to see what she’s been doing since Crusade.  As the link will show, not much.

Jump forward about 2 weeks, (and 10 years in her career, since her last movie).  I’m channel surfing and swing by the Hallmark Network, where the 2004 remake of King Solomon’s Mine is airing.  I briefly forgot that I had seen the title listed in her resume.  When Alison graced the screen all I can say is WOW.  Face it, there aren’t many women that get better looking with age (and kids), but holy cow did she age well.  I highly recommend the movie, if for no other reason than to see what I am talking about…. absolutely stunning.  (And the movie isn’t too bad.  Patrick Swayze has come a long way since Roadhouse.)

There is a downside though…. she refuses to do nude scenes.

Results!

Who says being a pain in the ass doesn’t pay off (By the way, if you’re not a dork, this will mean nothing to you.):

05/06/2004 (Lois)
Thank you for contacting Hasbro, Inc.

Our website never posted the sixth “Easter Egg”. The final one is one of the most obvious ones – if R2 is in a sad mode, when you activate the dance program, he does a sad version of the Cantina song. We will look to update our website with that information.

We want to assure you that we are dedicated to maintaining quality products and service. We hope you and your family will continue to enjoy our products for many years to come.

Again, thank you for contacting us.

Lois, you rock!

Lessons Learned

It was a big day yesterday.  My girlfriend taught me three things.

1.  Detective Olivia Benson is the product of a rape.  (Which explains her zealousness when it comes to rape cases.)

2.  When the sun comes through the clouds during a rainstorm it is referred to as “The devil beating his wife”.  I always thought that’s what BTE was saying in “Cry in the Sun”, but it didn’t make any sense to me.  Until now.

3.  In a plural possessive, the apostrophe comes after the “s”.  (I didn’t pay a lot of attention in high school.)

You’re never too old to learn something new.  The most I brought to the table was that Mariska Hargitay had posed nude.

Reminders

Just a quick update to remind you of some other stuff on the site. (We get some page hits from the search engines that don’t always land people where they want to be, so consider this a bit of a site map, if you will.)

What’s up with the memorial box for David Cosner?  Looking for info on the R2-D2 Interactive Droid?  Check out the review here, and Easter Egg info in the NAQWe were K9s once, and youngMy Dad: The Crazy Bike Riding DoctorJust because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.  Hate them all you want, but the Yankees are good for baseballAnd details on my new weekend job.

More robots

It’s probably too early to say this is really cool, but the pictures they have at White Box Robotics seem to hold a lot of promise.  From what I’ve managed to lift, they’re designed with the Via Epia series of motherboards in mind, with Evolution Robotics software running under Windows XP.  I have a few work related ideas for the HMV version, if I can talk the boss into it!  (Check out this quick blurb on ABCNews.com.)

For those of you looking for something a little more ready-made, check out the RoboSapien.  It’s $99.99 from Best Buy, and free shipping!

Happy Birthday to Me!

It’s the greatest birthday present ever!  I’m about 8 months older than my girlfriend.  Most of the year, she gets to announce that she is a year younger than I am.  So when she turned 36, about 2 weeks later I started thinking I was 37… which means tomorrow I’d be 38 years old.  That sucks.  Then she reminded me I was only 36, and I’m TURNING 37.  It was if someone gave me a box full of 366 days!  (And it happens on a leap year!  Double bonus.)  Sometimes I am amazed that I can walk and draw breath at the same time…

I’d like to point your attention to the N.A.Q. – Never Asked Questions.  It’s a little section I put together about a month ago consisting of answers to technical questions no one else seemed able to answer.  Would you believe it now draws more search engine referrals than the soft-core porn section?  Who says the Internet is all about dirty pictures?  (I was just as shocked as you….)

Also check out this nice little surprise…. I managed to get a review published on Bots and Bytes!  If you read the whole thing you’ll notice two things:

1.  It’s similar to the one I posted here (Now in the archive).
2.  You’re a NERD!