Three reasons the dream of a robot companion isn't over

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Three reasons the dream of a robot companion isn't over

David Lee reports from the Innorobo 2012 conference and comes up with 'Is the dream of having a robot companion over?'Apparently it is, because:

1) A five year old girl is mildly frightened by a robot and so this is one of the industries biggest hurdles: 'What will it take for Kibo to be Emi's friend, rather than the subject of her nightmares?'

Sure, it's initially frightening, but leave the robot with her for an hour and you won't get the thing back without an epic meltdown. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of children rather than industry threatening hurdle.

2) '...the industry should perhaps look to recreate simpler, smaller tasks.'

Says the guy that makes the Roomba, a vacuum cleaner. No self interest involved there.

3) 'That kind of notion for a service robot we think is completely wrong.'

Says the guy that makes the RoboThespian, a next generation Teddy Ruxpin. No self interest involved there. 

So general purpose robots are not happening, because a girl was initially nervous and two companies focused on special purpose robotics would rather talk about their niches. Thanks for wasting my time on this BBC.

I'm wasting more time writing about it for two reasons.

The Internet is killing headlines (something I agree with Paul Carr on). BBC news is egregiously awful, both for overwrought link bait and for using warn too much. The dream of a robot companion will never be over.

More importantly, think about every news story that either covered an event or an industry you're deeply familiar with and you'll realize that it's wrong, usually seriously so. What are the chances that it's only those stories that flawed in this way?  

Photo Credit: AV8PIX Christopher Ebdon

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Fixing dropped wireless connection for Linksys E4200

Updated on Thursday, April 29, 2021

Fixing dropped wireless connection for Linksys E4200

I've been going quietly mad trying to fix a constant dropped connection issue with our Linksys E4200 router. There's lots of advice around tweaking  the MTUs, upgrading firmware and disabling UPnP (a good idea anyway) but none of this helped at all. The connection just continually dropped, eventually came back, dropped again, ad nauseam.

The fix was to change the 5GHz and 2.4GHz networks to use different network names (SSIDs).  I then connected to the 2.4GHz flavor and the connection is now solid.

I guess the problem was that by sharing the SSID devices would keep switching between the networks whenever they got the chance to connect to the juicy 5GHz flavor. The 5GHz network is flakier (higher frequencies having less range) and so the constant dropouts.

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Reviews and Links for February 2012

Updated on Friday, May 22, 2020

The Snowman by Jo Nesbø

4/5

Very good, enjoying the entire Harry Hole series. Wishing for translations of the first two now!

 

The Devil's Star by Jo Nesbø

3/5

Slightly weaker than the others in the series I've read so far but still knocked it back quickly.

 

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø

4/5

Best so far on my quest to read through Nesbo...

 

Nemesis by Jo Nesbø

4/5

On a Jo Nesbo binge...

 

The Leopard by Jo Nesbø

4/5

Compelling crime thriller, rather worryingly one of series featuring Harry Hole so I'm going to have to go back to the beginning and read all of them.

 

Links

Catfood.Shapefile 1.51: http://t.co/BKtkx9Zq (ESRI Shapefile Parser, fixed release binary issue).

4 of 5 stars to The Snowman by Jo Nesbø http://t.co/IrvdrDBf

Breaking Good: how to synthesize Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) From N-Methylamphetamine (crystal meth): http://t.co/fviYaj5P

ITHCWY: Catfood.Shapefile 1.50: I've just released a small update to my C# Shapefile library on Codeplex. Catfood… http://t.co/lXoGoBsY

4 of 5 stars to The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø http://t.co/PqrOQnQL

Epic #Bernal Panorama: http://t.co/zVqZYosG - via @bernalwood

Neal Stephenson on getting big stuff done http://t.co/6PHS1VD1 #todo @myEN

Stop Colbert: http://t.co/kBtSC7NV via @NancyPelosi

Wolfram|Alpha Pro: http://t.co/G88eWq6Y #tools @myEN

A History of the Sky for One Year: http://t.co/UKMjosCK (very cool)

+1: A U.S. appeals court rules Prop. 8 unconstitutional: http://t.co/TZgdKU9k #fb

ITHCWY: Badge Driven Development: Microsoft has released Visual Studio Achievements, an extension that brings… http://t.co/5BOyNF03

ITHCWY: GGNRA Dog Management Plan Update: I love it when making some noise works. The NPS is pushing its dog… http://t.co/fzqaJWM2

Unicode Character 'PILE OF POO' (U+1F4A9): http://t.co/LkGffsvW

http://t.co/NA6TOdQk #todo @myEN

BBC News - Can the US Army embrace atheists? http://t.co/5ubkKT7r

Running an API at HUGE Scale - Webinar: http://t.co/tEnxdRBM #API

4 of 5 stars to The Leopard by Jo Nesbø http://t.co/tIIPs1M5

ITHCWY: Reviews and Links for January 2012: Damned by Chuck Palahniuk 3/5 Very much a vehicle for Palahniuk to rant… http://t.co/6kvApyf1

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Badge Driven Development

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Badge Driven Development

Microsoft has released Visual Studio Achievements, an extension that brings gamification to Visual Studio in the form of badges. The achievements are a mix that include feature discovery, best/worst practices, printing source code and swearing. 

Initially I wrote this off as a silly little feature. But it could be the start of a whole new development methodology religion that I'm going to call Badge Driven Development (BDD). 

It's related to Test Driven Development, but instead of writing unit tests first you start with creating a set of achievements. These should be a measurable mix of business goals, personal development, coding standards and random mayhem. Once you have measurable badges you can start writing code and build a leaderboard for teams and individuals. 

BDD has all the ascetic one-upmanship of TDD, and owes something to EDD as well. It's the Parkour of Agile. I should start a training business where you can become a certified Badge Driven Scrum Master.

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But does it get you in the HOV lane?

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

But does it get you in the HOV lane?

Interesting but highly disturbing alternative fuel source...

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Mission:Explore Food - Crowd Fund It!

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

My brother is part of the Geography Collective, the team that make the Mission:Explore site and books. The first book won the Hay Festival and National Trust Outdoor Book of the Year in 2011. 

The latest in the series, Mission:Explore Food, is being crowd funded at PleaseFund.us. There are a variety of levels to choose from, most of which will get you a copy of the book and your name in print. You can also get yourself included as an illustration (or surprise a friend). This is going to be a great book for kids and the young at heart. Check out the sample pages (PDF) and sign up as a backer today.

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Better Paperless

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

I've just spent several hours scanning and then shredding tedious statements, medical documents and other nasty paperwork. This is even after I've gone paperless with as many companies as possible. Very tedious, not to mention a monumental waste of time and money.

The companies that are paperless vary in what gets stored, for how long and in what format. And if I ever need some statement from years ago I may not even still have an account. I seem to change medical insurance at least twice a year at the moment. 

How about a common standard for pushing paperless whatevers out to a third party storage service? These could go directly to Evernote, SugarSync, etc and bypass the post-scan-shred cycle of doom. Just send a PDF, a date, a summary and maybe a service type. Make it easy (or mandatory) to opt in when signing up to each new bank account, health insurer, wireless carrier, etc. Make the world a slightly greener and slightly less boring place. 

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LEGO, now for Girls

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

LEGO.com Friends - LEGO for Girls

LEGO Friends is “The new LEGO theme – for girls!

So I guess the current sets not for girls include Alien Conquest, Architecture, Atlantis, Cars 2, City, Creator, Harry Potter, Hero Factory, Heroica, Kingdoms, Mindstorms, Ninjago, Pirates of the Caribbean, Pharaoh’s Quest, Prince of Persia, Racers, Spongebob Squarepants, Star Wars, Technic, Toy Story and World Racers.

I know they’ve tried this before, but still, how about LEGO Vikings: The new LEGO theme – for Danes!

Misogynistic plastic peddling marketing weasels.

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Section 8.2.3.2

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

Grape Plasma

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

Gill found these instructions for making plasma in a microwave by carefully cutting up a grape and then nuking it. I finally got around to trying it yesterday, and it’s awesome. Even better than microwaving a light bulb in a glass of water. Check it out:

Making plasma in a microwave!

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