After ‘Head music’, it’s diminishing returns

typed for your pleasure on 10 January 2014, at 8.54 pm

Sdtrk: ‘She’s in fashion’ by Suede

First post of 2014! Written in 2013. Cough.
Were your holidays good? Did you witness The Descent of the Shimmering Death Sphere just before midnight in New York city? I swear, the recent New Years’ Eve ball is just one redesign away from becoming Leviathan. Give ’em time.

Allow me to recount part of another one of my amusing dreams, whether you want to hear it or not: in this one, I was round at my parents’ house, sorting through great big piles of things I wanted to keep or get rid of, and joining me in this task were a younger, late-Sixties-era Hugh Hefner, and Crawley’s Favourite Gothic Son, Robert Smith. Also, my parents’ house had four storeys instead of two, because why the hell not?

HUGH (going through large plastic bag): Are these [tools] from an IKEA couch?
ME: Yep! God bless the Swedes.
ROBERT: ‘God bless Suede’??
ME: No no, god bless the… I think you’d thought I said that last time! No, Brett Anderson’s cool, but they’re not that good.
ROBERT: Especially now.
ME: O no. God, no.
ROBERT: *frowning, shaking head vigourously*

A music critic, even in my sleep

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typed for your pleasure on 18 December 2009, at 8.09 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Outta state’ by US girls

Hello! Whole lot of topics to cover this month, and that’s mainly cos I slacked off for two months! So make yourself a decently-sized sandwich, pour yourself a pint, and let us henceforth begin.

+ First off, for all of you fans of leggy Russian Synthetik babes, Anatomical Doll have created two new heads, now available for purchase. Say Здравствуйте! (hello!) to Elena and Natalia.

My kind of Red Army

What is Natalia staring at, you ask? What isn’t Natalia staring at?

Elena is a modified version of Victoria, their first head sculpt, and Natalia is brand-new. For me, Natalia has the slight edge, as I’m completely in love with her luscious glassy-eyed stare. Either way, they’re both delicious lasses, wouldn’t you agree?
Coincidentally enough, I dreamt the other night that someone had shipped me a Victoria-type Anatomical Doll, apparently new and still in her box. I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of the affair, so I called in Dexter — yes, he of the telly series — to give her a once-over before I got her out of her crate. ‘You and I both know we’re experts in our particular fields,‘ I said to him, ‘and I wanted to see if you could make sure she doesn’t have any contaminants or radioactive material before I keep her.’ So we proceeded to open the crate with a power screwdriver outside in my apartment’s parking lot, of all places. He’d brought his wife, who I wasn’t sure if she knew what I did, and she stood at a close, but safe, distance from the action. As Dexter opened the crate, I turned to her and said ‘No screaming! No screaming!’ Just as her eyes grew to the size of saucers, the ‘show’ cut to the opening credits of Dexter, which I thought was rather neat, but didn’t exactly tell me of the Victoria-type’s fate…

+ Next up, we have Lilica, yet another head out now from steady contenders 4woods, which is compatible with all of the body types that they sell. Damnit, people, how is anyone supposed to keep up with you??

‘Just to let you know, I had nothing to do with my ad copy’

‘She is a girl that is not beyond your reach but almost like a girl next door. She also makes you feel relaxed but has sexy daring appearance at the same time’, reads her ad copy, and I’m strangely compelled to agree with their assessment.
Not only that, 4woods are offering custom nail art for any model of silicone poppet that you wish to order: French nails, which would be a French manicure; Glitter nails, which are… glitter nails; and Colorful nails, which are great, should you wish to saddle your poor unfortunate Doll with a ridiculous candy kid look, thereby guaranteeing that she’ll never get a proper job, and she’ll probably end her days strung out on meth.

See? She already has a glazed look in her eyes from too many disco biscuits

Furthermore, they’ve got a new page flogging enticing lingerie, wigs, jewelry, boots, stands for extra heads, and suchlike in their Doll Accessories store, which is, quote, ‘Costumes and other accessories you must have to love your doll’. I love that — you must have them, otherwise loving your Doll will be patently impossible! Fact.

+ It seems that another new Doll manufacturer is stepping up to the silicone plate! This is always good news, of course, but this will particularly please iDollators who happen to live in the European Union. Behold: Dreamdoll Creation.

Swan finally levels up to Capo in ‘Mafia wars’

Soria gets her rubbery jubbelys out for the camera

Tania proves that not all the Dreamdoll creation models have short hair

The company will aim for selling four body types, all 5’8″, 101.5 lbs, with busts that range from 35 B to 35 E/F, at the heart-stopping, finance-destroying price of EUR €6,990.00, or roughly $10,200 USD. But can you truly put a price on love?

+ So have you noticed that Miim-chan (the Gynoid formerly known as HRP-4C) has been increasing her presence as of late? She’s everywhere these days! Back in September, she put in an appearance at the 2009 Robofes in Toyama, answering questions from the press in her own inimitable fashion.

[AIST] also brought along their famous HRP-2 Promet humanoid and compared them side by side, which really shows off the incredible advances made between late 2002 and 2009. At one point during the demonstration, the presenter asked HRP-4C, “How tall are you?” to which she replies, “158cm.” The presenter then asked, “How much do you weigh?” to which HRP-4C covered her mouth and only whispered the answer, garnering laughter from the crowd.
the rest of the article is here

Then in October, she was being automatically sexy at Tokyo’s Digital Content Expo 2009, displaying both her motion and acting skills.

O, mercy

Finally, her appearance at this year’s CEATAC JAPAN featured three performances of her singing, using Yamaha’s Vocaloid synthesiser software; in two of them, she was either cosplaying as Miku Hatsune or Megpoid, who would be two of the music programme’s mascots and virtual idol singers. If that wasn’t fab enough, Miim-chan was taking song requests through the use of an iPhone application. I suppose the iPhone has some use after all, then!

Although Miim sings along with the self-playing piano in a highly expressive manner at the demonstration, this humanoid robot can also move her entire body using approximately thirty integrated joints. In strictly technical terms, therefore, she is apparently already in possession of all she needs to move her hands and legs rhythmically in time with the music.
taken from this site

Sure, she’s no Sylvie Vartan, but as I always say in these cases, you have to crawl before you walk — just think of how scintillating her singing voice will be in a few short years! Nevertheless, an impressive showing from everyone’s favourite Gynoid (until the next favourite Gynoid is built)…
And wow, it turns out that she made the cover of the October issue of ROBOCON Magazine as well! This just proves that it’s Miim-chan’s world; we just live in it.

+ He’s probably gonna kill me for mentioning this in a public venue, but one of my ex-roommates, spotted here and there on ‘Shouting etc etc’ as zszsz, once tore through 30 +/- different jobs during the course of a single year. I think Kobalab‘s Android SAYA is coming up on his heels rather quickly. She’s been a receptionist in both Japan and Israel, as well as a schoolteacher. This time, her latest temp assignment would be a stint in Japan’s Takashimaya department store, which she did from 14 – 18 October. So how was that paycheque, babe?

‘Excuse me, Saya-san? Do you know Actroid-san? I’ve always wanted to meet her! I love her work, and… say, what’s with that frown?’

Although she responded appropriately most of the time, the cyber-receptionist occasionally seemed to misunderstand what people said. For example, one person complimented Saya by saying, “You are pretty,” but the robot flashed a look of disdain and responded with, “Are you crazy?”
the rest of the article is here

Sooo… probably not that good of a paycheque, then.

+ Which, of course, leads to news about Hiroshi Ishiguro’s pride and joy, the Actroid series. One of the models, Sara-chan, who was originally at the Aichi World Expo in 2005, was at the Kokoro booth at this year’s iREX at Tokyo Big Sight, demonstrating her company’s latest development:

Would she provide autographs upon request? Hmm

The Human-Type Head Basic assembly kit, which is dedicated for school education. You will be able to assemble it and your feelings will be the finishing touch. Thanks to this kit, students will be able to learn that a combination of simple mechanisms can produce complicated expressions. Thanks to the Pneumatic equipment, they will have the chance to learn how to use an air cylinder, or to study “link mechanism” (a mechanism to convert the linear movement of cylinders into the rotation movement such as open/close of the jaw) by assembling the real kit.
the rest of the article is here

I can’t remember where I’d read it, but the kit is supposed to be reasonably-priced as well.
!!! *suddenly grabbing you by the lapels* Do you realise what this means?? If you were to combine that Human-type Head kit with, say, one of the Dolls pictured above, then…

Sex robots: The rise of the pleasure machines
by Geoff Shearer | | September 21, 2009 11:00pm

HOLLYWOOD was right, robots are going to take over the world.

But we might as well lie back and think of the invasion because it’s going to be pleasurable, says a leading robot scientist.

Ever since Gort clomped down those alien stairs in The Day The Earth Stood Still in 1951, cinemas have been overrun by robots – sometimes cute, but mostly evil and mostly intent on taking over the world. […] But if you listen to US robotics scientist Professor Rodney Brooks, robots of the future are more likely to be dominatrix than dominating. […] Australian-born Prof Brooks, former head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, said it was inevitable, and there was precedent, that such technology would be used for sexual purposes.

“Every technology that we’ve had, there has been a sexual driver of it,” said the professor, a founder and former chief technical officer of lucrative US company iRobot, which produces commercial robots.

“I mean, that’s certainly true of photographs in the 19th century; and home video players were really driven by sex; and of course the web has been a major source of sex.

“Yeah, there will be (sexbots) but it is not specific to robots per se.”
the rest of the article is here

It’s like they say — the military-industrial complex produces technology, which then trickles down into the consumer market, and the sex industry makes it popular. During the course of our careers of being interviewed, filmed, and the like, Shi-chan and I have always been trying to steer common opinion away from the idea that artificial companions are strictly for sexual purposes, but sex is an interest-raising topic, as nearly everyone enjoys it, or is at the very least, curious about it. If people’s interest in sex drives them to fund research and development for Synthetiks, then so much the better…
As an aside, according to Pink Tentacle, Android SAYA had a booth at iREX as well! You have to wonder if she was soliciting potential employers, the poor dear.

+ In this, the first decade of the twenty-first century, it’s good to see that the concept of artificial human companions is on a lot of people’s minds — from scientists who are trying to make the idea into reality, and from insightful filmmakers who depict how a society with such creations in it might be. Milkman Films‘ ‘Android Love’ gives us a glimpse of the latter.

Although I do have to point out that I’m sure Rick Deckard will want his necktie back, and the white room at the end of the Stargate in ‘2001: a space odyssey’ is now missing its floor…


Sogo & Seibu to sell robots custom-made to look like their buyers | Saturday 12th December, 06:43 AM JST

TOKYO — Department store chain operator Sogo & Seibu Co said Friday it will offer two robots made to look like the people who buy them as a special sales event for the new year. The look-alike robots, which will be produced by robot maker Kokoro Co, will sell for 20.1 million yen each, Sogo & Seibu said.

The robots are made of silicone and can move the upper half of their body as they are in a sitting position. Sogo & Seibu will accept orders at most of its 28 outlets for two days from Jan. 2, and for three days from New Year’s Day at the others. If there are three or more orders, buyers will be chosen by lot. Humanoid robots, made by Kokoro, were used at the Aichi Expo in 2005 in Aichi Prefecture to help direct people to specific locations and events.

It should be shockingly obvious, but the robot wouldn’t be a replica of me, of course. Isn’t that right, Sidore? *sly wink to camera*

So there you have it! That’s literally three months’ worth of news in one post! And all told, it still doesn’t cover everything.
Guess that means you’ll be seeking more news about lovely rubber-skinned Synthetik women in January, eh? More than likely!

ta very much to Pat! for the ‘Sex robots’ link

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typed for your pleasure on 8 January 2009, at 2.22 am

Sdtrk: ‘(Keep feeling) Fascination’ by the Human League

Barely relevant: I recently dreamt that I was back at my old highschool for some reason or other, and I was trying to find the auditorium where the arts & theatre classes were usually held. Unfortunately, since the last time I wandered down those corridors, they’d shuffled a couple of rooms around the campus. So I found myself running down the halls, pinwheeling my arms, frantically searching for the arts department.
Let that be a lesson to you.

While I was doing that, alert reader Kat spotted this in the news:

If there’s a male in a dress, it must be Kids in the Hall

Actor robots take Japanese stage
BBC News | Published: 2008/11/26 11:26:22 GMT

First there were dancing robots, then house-sitting robots and now a new breed of acting robots is making its big debut on the Japanese stage.

The play, which had its premiere at Osaka University, is one of Japan’s first robot-human theatre productions.

The machines were specially programmed to speak lines with human actors and move around the stage with them.

Playwright Oriza Hirata says the work raises questions about the relationship between humanity and technology.
the rest of the article is here

There’s actually video excerpts from the play on Robot Watch (under some pictures, you’ll see characters that read ‘動画’; you’ll want to click on the characters).
It should go without saying that I’m looking forward to a day when Androids and Gynoids will be utilised as actors. In fact, I think there’d be a lovely irony in having a bunch of Synthetiks play in a stage production of Karel Čapek’s ‘Rossum’s Universal Robots‘ — only have them play all the non-robot roles, and have the Organik cast members portray the robots…

O, and twenty Cool Points will be immediately shipped, in a refrigerated container, to the person who can tell me where this post’s title comes from. If you need another hint, you’ll just have to listen carefully to the radio in the next vehicle you carjack

Technorati tags: robots, Wakamaru, Robot Watch, Karel Čapek, Rossum’s Universal Robots

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A quick one before we go

typed for your pleasure on 28 December 2008, at 6.27 pm

Sdtrk: something from the ‘Space channel 5 Part 2 “Uki uki” Non-stop Megamix’ soundtrack

Heh; dreamt last night that a company had assembled a very lifelike and rather convincing Sarah Palin Gynoid. The technicians were stretching her silicone face onto her skull, and she had that glassy-eyed look that we all remember so well, and I was like, ‘yep, she looks just like the original’. My hope would be that the Gynoid version would be working for good, not evil, much like a reverse version of ‘Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla’.

This will undoubtedly be the last post on ‘Shouting etc etc’ *crowd cheers* until 2009 *crowd boos*, so I have to play to type and mention something about Synthetiks. As previously mentioned, Kokoro Co. Ltd. were finally prepping their latest Gynoid, Actroid DER3, for her debut; which, strangely enough, was in Thailand.

From that video, you can see that her body and facial movements are even more fluid than her predecessors — there’s probably more servos inside of her — but the one thing that really stood out is that she can actually move one of her legs now. When she’s singing that awful T-pop song and dancing towards the latter half of the footage, she’s shimmying a bit, as unlike her older sisters, she’s not bolted to the floor through both legs, which is obviously an improvement. One down, one to go!
There’s also a video you can grab from Kokoro’s site; the editing’s a bit rubbish, but it’s still worth viewing.

So when are we going to see all the mechanical progeny of Prof.Ishiguro gathered together? Simroid, Geminoid, the live-action Holon, Ando-san, all of the Actroids that were at the 2005 Aichi World Expo… even Repliee R1, the Gynoid version of Prof.Ishiguro’s daughter that, despite my dislike for the adjective ‘creepy’ in the context of artificial humans, even I have to concede that point towards her. But yeah, get them all together in one room, and I can’t conceive of a better opportunity for a family portrait…

And finally, I nearly forgot to add I got a wee mention and a link in a pro-RealDoll article on the site ‘Open Your Heart To The Love‘. I’m referred to as ‘the leading authority’ on Synthetik companions. Flattery will get you everywhere. 🙂

Until then, Sidore and I wish you a Happy 2009, and we’ll see you lot next year! Which is later this week. Nevertheless!

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typed for your pleasure on 30 August 2008, at 11.20 am

Sdtrk: ‘Silver sands’ by Stereolab

Sometimes when I oversleep, my subconscious tends to get all crazy. Of course, I mean moreso than usual.
I’ve just awakened after having a dream that Franz Ferdinand‘s Alex Kapranos was half-jokingly teaching me how to box. Now Franz Ferdinand’s music is pretty fab, but somehow I don’t really picture Alex being the next Sonny Liston. So he’s probably at about the level of boxing skill I could muster, frankly

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typed for your pleasure on 20 March 2008, at 11.48 am

Sdtrk: ‘He is everywhere nowhere’ by Current93

JUST SO YOU KNOW: Quite a few people — perhaps even you — have been wanting to post a comment, and finding that either the comments have been turned off, or the reply function is simply no longer there. Heh, you’ll love this: lately, ‘Shouting etc etc’ has been getting hit by some bizarre virus that does two things — it not only deactivates the ability for people to post comments or make pings for some posts, but it also throws a shitload of spam links into the bottom of each post. Now this is going to sound like the ravings of a lunatic, but the links are coded so that they’re invisible. No, seriously. If you view these infected posts via a cellphone browser (like I did), you’ll see lines and lines of spam links. It’s the strangest damn thing.
Originally, I thought it was due to the Technorati tags I was using, as the first time this occurred, it was in February’s ‘Any Doll-related news etc’ post, so I got rid of the tags, but the comments would still shut off and those spam links would come back.

What it boils down to is that I undoubtedly need to upgrade WordPress, which I intend on doing soon, otherwise the homicides will begin. In the interim, if you don’t see the reply function for a post, seriously — reply in another post, and I’ll just transfer the bastard to where it’s supposed to be.
We here at Deafening silence Plus thank you for your patience and patronage! No, seriously.

So recently I dreamt that Shi-chan and I were driving round the suburbs — it looked a bit like the Grosse pointe area, but you know how it is with dreams mutating things that actually exist in your mind into totally new things — and some chunky bloke with a paper bag over his head stepped in front of our car at a stop sign, and handed me an index card. He then took his paper bag off, revealing his shaven-head and his broad smile, and stepped away as I drove off. Sidore read the card: there was a paragraph at the top, stating the message was from a college fraternity, and that they apparently liked our work. (??) They went on to explain that if we were to go to the URL provided below, we’d see some guy in Texas that looked exactly like me. ‘Huh,’ I remarked.

The dream then cut to footage of this bloke. The video quality was similar to that weird video black & white that you get with closed-circuit television, but a little sharper, and it even had a running timecode in the upper right corner. Unlike a CCTV camera, though, it wasn’t fixed in one position. It centred on this bloke that could’ve been my identical twin — his facial features were the exact same as mine, but his ponytail was around two feet long, and he was wearing a hoodie, which is something I’d never do. He was seated in the front row of a college classroom, a couple of columns toward the centre. At one point during the course of the footage, he pulled a toothbrush out of his bag, applied some toothpaste to it, and proceeded to brush his teeth right there in the middle of class. No-one seemed to notice, except the girl behind him, who tapped him on the shoulder and said something chastising. Or at least, I assume it was something chastising, as the video didn’t have sound. He stopped to listen to her, then kept on brushing.

Then the dream cut to Shi-chan and I watching the video (on YouTube, naturally). For some reason, the room we were in was dark, and the monitor illuminated our faces. ‘I don’t know what to make of that,’ Sidore commented.
Dopplegängers! Honestly, you just can’t get away from them…

Happy Vernal Equinox, people! I’m hoping for a short Summer, but a long Spring. And an even longer Autumn

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Sdtrk: ‘Half day closing’ by Portishead

Thankfully, I had the rare presence of mind to get my arse out of bed last night/early this morning and type out the dream I’d had! I present it here, for your edification, dissection, and analysis…

+ + + + + + + + + + + + +

Jeff (aka Zip Gun), Sidore and I are freelance Angel* exterminators. We’re on call in an ivy-covered Roman-styled courtyard, hunting down one that looks a bit like Shamshel. Although the sky is a dark orange lined with purple clouds, it’s been drizzling steadily. The third ‘member’ of our group, a human-sized version of JA’ (pronounced Jet Alone Prime**), has managed to corner our quarry, and I’m firing at the Angel from behind a wrecked car. My weapon is some sort of linear rifle that looks more like a tactical shotgun. The thing about it is that its laser sight, instead of creating a tiny red dot, it paints a 4 inch wide orange smudge on the target that resembles a crayon scribble. One would suppose it’s not a stealth weapon, then…
So I’m pumping shot after shot into it, but I can’t seem to penetrate its AT field. I order JA’ to keep it at bay while I return, and I run off to get Shi-chan. She’s sporting waist-length black hair, and is dressed like a miko***. She’s at the far end of the courtyard; as I’m running towards her, I’m yelling ‘Shi-chan! You need to be backup! Come on!’ I don’t even stop as I throw my backpack to her, and I make a high-speed U-turn back toward the Angel. ‘Grab the gun from the bottom inside and hurry!’

We run back, where JA’ has the Angel under control, after a fashion, by pinning down one of its tentacles with a knee and its hammer — we can tell it’s the main tentacle, as it ends in an enormous red-on-red eye the size of a basketball. I rush up to it, and commence shooting the eye again. At this point, Jeff shows up as well, firing at the eye too, as Sidore, lagging behind a few feet, appears. As Jeff and I are shooting, the tentacle starts whipping around; I yell to her to start firing. However, the backpack I threw her has multiple pockets, making it difficult to find the pistol inside. ‘Which flap? There’s too many bloody flaps!’ ‘Down the back!’ She finally finds the Seburo****, and fires at the eye.
After several more minutes of shooting, Jeff believes us to be in danger — most Angels explode when mortally wounded — and he shouts, ‘We have to pull back, it’s gonna blow!’ The three of us do a runner just as it flips JA’ off its main tentacle. We scramble behind another wrecked car a couple of yards away, but it doesn’t explode. Instead it stands to its full height — about ten feet — and whips its tentacles around in a frenzy, bisecting pillars and generally demolishing everything in its path. ‘If only I’d just stabbed it in the eye with a sword; that probably would’ve done it,’ I muse aloud. ‘I’m going to try it; cover me.’ Sidore takes aim at the Angel with the linear gun, a crayon smudge appearing on its body. Just then, a black cat with white mittens shows up in the courtyard a couple of feet near the Angel, and we recognise it as Jeff’s cat Cooper. Jeff becomes distressed, as either the Angel will attack his cat, or we run the risk of accidentally shooting him.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + +

Aaand at that point, my alarm clock unfortunately woke me up, so that’s the lot. I find that a lot of my dreams are unfinished or unresolved, which leads me to the conclusion that I’m just not sleeping enough. As a character in a Kids in the Hall sketch once remarked, ‘If I don’t get my twenty-three and a half hours’ sleep every night, I get pretty cranky.’

Also, sorry for the copious Wiki links. Nice as Wikipedia is, my mates and I refer to the site as ‘Truth by Consensus’, as any old tosser can go in and maliciously change entries, thereby presenting lies as truth if the errors go unchecked. As of late, I’ve been seriously scaling back any Wikipedia links, but in the case of this post, well, I’m just bloody lazy. Mea culpa!

*For the uninitiated, those would be the Angels from the anime series Evangelion
**a mecha from the PS2 Evangelion game
***a Japanese shrine maiden at Shinto temples
****a machine pistol, created by manga-ka Masamune Shirow

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