*shaking fist at Internets*

typed for your pleasure on 11 May 2006, at 9.50 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Choking on air’ by The ladybug transistor

YouTube and the current trend of using Shockwave-based video is both a boon and a curse. On the one hand, when you want to display a video, you don’t have to go through as much malarkey to do so — just upload the bastard to YouTube/Google video or wherever, pop a link on your site, and Bob’s your uncle. On the other hand, a lot of sites are doing away with providing downloadable video entirely, in favour of… well, uploading the bastard to YouTube/Google video or wherever. What about those of us who’d rather download the actual .avi or .mpg or what have you? Hm?
So this is my current problem: I’ve found a video of EveR-1 on Akihabara News, but of course, it’s in that damnable Shockwave format. I’ve got the link to the homepage of KITECH, EveR-1’s manufacturers, but everything’s in Korean. Crucial note: I know zero Korean. Do you see my problem? Do you?

[03.15.18 PM] safetinspector: Which would win in a fight? EveR-1 or Actroid-chan?
[03.16.28 PM] Leahtype23: Hrrm.. I’d have to go with EveR-1.. her arms are a little stiff. She probably has a good karate chop.
Unless we’re talking tickle fight, in which case, my money’s on Actroid-chan.

Next week: thrill to me bitching about sites that have Flash video image galleries, instead of proper downloadable .jpgs. 4woods, I’m looking in your direction

Technorati tags: EveR-1, Gynoid

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typed for your pleasure on 9 May 2006, at 5.25 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Defenestration’ by NON

Now, if you’ll all have a glance at the lefthand sidebar, down below the ‘Previous blab’ and above the ‘This was the Future’ archive drop-down menu, you’ll note a stunning new menu. The ‘Doll / Synthetik / iDollator news’ drop-down menu allows swift and unfettered access to all* of the posts I’ve made concerning RealDolls, A.I.Dolls, Actroid-chan, etc etc. This would be another one for the ‘Why the hell did it take me so long to do this??’ file, obviously.
Truth be told, it’s a short-term solution. When I get round to making The Big Jump To WordPress, that sort of post categorisation will be a snap, but for now, I kinda wanted a quicker way to get to those sorts of posts. So my OCD tendencies are your gain! Or, ah, something

‘My, he sure does go on and on about that Actroid girl’

*’all’, meaning ‘most’. I’m sure there’s a post or two that I’ve overlooked. I’ll get round to a more intensive search eventually

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typed for your pleasure on 4 May 2006, at 3.08 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Paul cries’ by Think about life

I know, I know, I’m early. I’ll tell you, I was originally going to wait until the 17th of this month to start posting again, but I got bored. Doesn’t that sound crazy?
But the other reason was that I found a couple of things rather relevant to my interests, such as EveR-1, Korea’s answer to Actroid-chan:

EveR-1, a combination of Eve and robot, looks just like a Korean female in her early 20s including her shape that is benchmarked against the nation’s model. [..]“For now, EveR-1 can be employed as a guide robot at museums and department stores or as an educational model to read books to children,” Baeg said.

“But we are looking further ahead _ we are working on upgrading the android with the aim of making it move its legs by the end of this year. It will be able to sit down and stand up by then,” he expects.
the complete article is here

EveR-1 — apparently pronounced like ‘Beaver One’ — is looking rather tasty. And they’re planning on making her legs move as well? Naturally, my question is — how sexy will her feet look? Naturally, I’m on the lookout for additional pics and videos, so keep an eye peeled (sounds painful).
And y’know, if I see someone write ‘silicon’ for ‘silicone’ or vice versa, I’m gonna spit. Silicone with an E is squishy (think boobs); silicon without the E is hard (think circuit boards). Honestly, people — pay attention.

Also, the May 2006 issue of Scientific American sports a new article concerning Actroid-chan. You heard it here first! Well, second. Well, you heard about the article here first. Stop arguing with me, and read the bloody thing.

One key strategy in Ishiguro’s approach is to model robots on real people. He began research four years ago with his then four-year-old daughter, casting a rudimentary android from her body, but its few actuator mechanisms resulted in jerky, unnatural motion. With Tokyo-based robotics maker Kokoro Company, Ishiguro built Repliee also by “copying” a real person–NHK TV newscaster Ayako Fujii–with shape-memory silicone rubber and plaster molds. Polyurethane and a five-millimeter-thick silicone skin, soft and specially colored, cover a metal skeleton. Given clothing, a wig and lipstick, it is a near mirror image of Fujii.
the rest of the article is here

See, I was completely unaware that Actroid-chan was based off an Organik lass! Well, I never.
For those of you further intrigued — which is all of you, right? — I’ve got a couple of pertinent videos uploaded on my YouTube page, one of which is Ishiguro-san himself going on at length about what he hopes to achieve with the Repliee projects.

Not too shabby, Ishiguro-san! Now get back to work. You’re up against the Koreans now, mate

Technorati tags: Actroid, Repliee, EveR-1, Gynoid, Hiroshi Ishiguro

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typed for your pleasure on 10 April 2006, at 8.02 pm

Sdtrk: the main theme from ‘Get Carter’ by Roy Budd

Y’know how the first podcast series of The Ricky Gervais Show had ‘Monkey News’ as a regular feature? Well, lately, ‘Shouting etc etc’ has turned into ‘Synthetiks News’. I mean, moreso than usual.

Soon he’ll be in two places at once
February 1, 2006

Students of Hiroshi Ishiguro will struggle to tell their teacher from his robotic doppelganger, writes Deborah Smith.

TRAVELLING long distances to meetings and conferences will soon be a thing of the past for Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, the creator of the world’s most human-like robot – a female named Repliee Q2. Ishiguro, of Osaka University, is close to finishing an even more advanced robot – a male, this time – that will be a physical replica of himself.

“I will not need to come here again,” he told a conference in Sydney earlier this week. “I will send my android instead.”

The busy Japanese scientist expects his $500,000 lookalike will prove most valuable for avoiding the regular trips to see his research students at the ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories in Kyoto, an hour’s drive away from his Osaka office.

Its lifelike presence will keep his researchers on their toes during teleconferences, he hopes. “If they feel my authority with my android there, it will be good,” he told the Herald.

Hollywood’s robotic creations usually have hard, metallic shells. But people prefer human-like machines with soft skin, Ishiguro says. “They don’t like to spend time with a robot-like robot.”
the rest of the article is here

This is exactly the sort of thing Andy Warhol was attempting to do. Even back during the Sixties, long before the concept of an Android double had crossed his mind, he had Factory hanger-on Alan Midgette do the lecture circuit thing dressed as Andy — black rollneck jumper, some talc liberally sprinkled in his hair, black shades, the lot. But this is even better. We have the technology.

So will the Android Ishiguro-san be allowed to eventually head new robotics projects? That would be very… meta. But entirely appropriate!

Technorati tags: Actroid, Repliee, Gynoid, Andy Warhol

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Robot South Korea*

typed for your pleasure on 4 April 2006, at 2.35 pm

Sdtrk: ‘A bargain at twice the price’ by Vitesse

I have to agree with Ryan here — South Korea’s lookin’ rather good right about now. Well, in a couple of years, anyway.

In a Wired South Korea, Robots Will Feel Right at Home
Published: April 2, 2006

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea, the world’s most wired country, is rushing to turn what sounds like science fiction into everyday life. The government, which succeeded in getting broadband Internet into 72 percent of all households in the last half decade, has marshaled an army of scientists and business leaders to make robots full members of society.

By 2007, networked robots that, say, relay messages to parents, teach children English and sing and dance for them when they are bored, are scheduled to enter mass production. Outside the home, they are expected to guide customers at post offices or patrol public areas, searching for intruders and transmitting images to monitoring centers.

If all goes according to plan, robots will be in every South Korean household between 2015 and 2020. That is the prediction, at least, of the Ministry of Information and Communication, which has grouped more than 30 companies, as well as 1,000 scientists from universities and research institutes, under its wing. Some want to move even faster.

“My personal goal is to put a robot in every home by 2010,” said Oh Sang Rok, manager of the ministry’s intelligent service robot project.

(the rest of the article is here. Since the article’s on the money-grubbing New York Times, you’ll have to log in to see the whole article; in which case, you can either use my login — hope_u_like_it, password 123456 — or get round to bugmenot.com and use another one)

It’s almost as if South Korea has said, ‘You know, the simple fact that North Korea’s government even exists is spewing poison into the very earth’s atmosphere, and by doing what we’re doing, we’re trying to put Right what they’re putting Wrong.’
Good job, South Korea, and keep it up! If we can’t have Actroids immediately, we’ll settle for Android SAYA

*I was originally going to title this one ‘Robot Seoul’, after the Add N to (X) track ‘Robot New York’, but no-one would get it, and instead believe that I was just making a horrible pun

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typed for your pleasure on 1 April 2006, at 10.39 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Psychedelic underground’ by Nurse with wound

Mostly print-related, but yes, there is news!.. Anu of Image Emailed me today, stating that the issue with the story will see print next week, so for those of you who live, or can otherwise just bicycle over to Finland, go grab a copy. He says that he’ll send a translated version rather soon, as my knowledge of Suomi is shockingly limited.
I’m debating whether or not I should sit on it and post it on Sidore-chan’s site when it’s back up, or to post it here.. hrmm..

Also, there’s apparently an article about an iDollator colleague in the latest Sacramento News and Review, which can be found right here. Quite ace!
In that vein, I really need to be more up on reporting about Synthetik-related articles that have to do with people who aren’t myself or the Missus. Like, did you see the one related to fellow sexy iDollator Wanda? It’s appeared in an English publication called Metro UK, and the online version would be here. My personal opinion? It’s a bit judgemental, but my friend Wanda is in print, so there’s some good that’s come of it..

And there’s a new Synthetik-related manga available in English — well, it’s a manhwa, actually, as it’s by a Korean bloke named Youjung Lee. ‘0/6‘ is the title, and it’s published by Netcomics. So far, nothing can top Mitsukazu Mihara’s ‘DOLL‘ series as far as Synthetik-related manga for me, but I’m finding ‘0/6’ to be only okay; the art is passable, the story seems to be off to a slow start, the main character is a bit of a nebbish, and the Gynoid seems to be a wee bit overpowered, but I’m hoping that the story begins ramping up soon, as indicated by events in the last couple of pages in the first volume. We shall see!

Err, and that’s the lot for now! Have an obligatory picture of Actroid DER-chan for your trouble

Awww, somebody wants a hug!

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typed for your pleasure on 16 February 2006, at 11.01 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Jumpin’ Jap crash’ by m1dy

Right, now cup your hands tightly. I SAID CUP THEM!!
*pours links into your cupped hands*

+ People these days with better cameras than mine are all about that crazy tilt-shift photography. That’s where you take a picture of a landscape from some distance away, but you fiddle with the settings, so that parts are focussed, and other parts aren’t, thereby resulting in a photo that looks like a highly detailed micro-miniature. Select from two links — here, or here. It’s quite fab, I’m sure you’ll agree

+ Longtime readers of this blog (both of you) may recall the wee article I wrote last year about my seething hatred for Garfield. Well, through the miracle of Modern Science, *coughPhotoshopcough* the strip featuring America’s favourite overweight marketing juggernaut and his delusional, physically repulsive owner has actually been transformed into something funny! As a poster on the forum I spotted this on stated: ‘It’s a given that Garfield has a base quality level of zero. Therefore, any change made (random or otherwise), cannot do anything BUT improve the strip. Entirely true!

+ I’ve never read any of Philip K. Dick’s novels, which would explain why this doesn’t get its own posting here on ‘Shouting to hear the echoes: All Gynoids, All The Time’, but apparently, the Philip K. Dick Android has gone missing. If it was Actroid-chan or the Warhol Android, all eyes would be on me, but I’m not a suspect this time. Perhaps he’s out hunting Replicants? Ahhh, Irony

+ Last episode of the first, err, season of ‘The Ricky Gervais Show‘ podcasts will be aired on 20 Feb. Hope you’ve heard the previous 11 episodes, otherwise you’ve missed most of the Humour Train! WOO WOO There it goes without you! You better start running, squire!

+ ‘Mobile suit Gundam: Climax UC‘ would be Bandai’s latest offering in the long line of PS2 Gundam-based videogames. I’m particularly frothy about it, as it’s ALL UNIVERSAL CENTURY-BASED BATTLES, BABY. Recreate fights from familiar chestnuts such as Original Gundam and Char’s counterattack, as well as Gundam ZZ and The 08th MS Team; plus, there’s a create-your-own-character-and-determine-where-they-will-pledge-their-allegiance mode that looks quite engaging. Bandai, if you do nothing else for me ever, you will export this game to the States. When that glorious day arrives, you will be witness to Climax DC

+ I’ve swapped out Penda/Monti’s links in the sidebar to reflect her new URL and site: MontiLee Stormer.com. Don’t worry, you can access the Diner through it, but this is her new ‘professional’ corner of teh Intarwub

+ I have no idea what to make of this. None whatsoever. Do you?

+ Remember my post on North Korea’s Ryugyong Hotel, a.k.a, The Soul Accumulator of Malkunofath? Well, if you think that’s bad as it is, keep in mind it’s rather representative of the general Nork mindset – monomaniacally focussed and shockingly obsolete. Here, then, are the tour diaries of one bloke and a couple of fellow tourists as they experience all that North Korea has to offer. Meaning, all that the government has selected to be experienced, that is

+ And speaking of outmoded thinking, whilst validating a passel of bookmarks this eve, I find that the crazy feminazi shits o’er at Pandagon.com no longer have that lengthy anti-iDollator post of streaming invective up on their site. You remember; the one that was written shortly after Meghan’s article appeared in Salon.com, claiming that since not only do I have a RealDoll, but I say that I have a relationship with ‘it’, that obviously I’m a filthy misogynistic tool of the patriarchy that eats kittens for breakfast? I have to say, Shi-chan and I are almost offended. We brought you over five hundred responses to your mentally crippled post, and obscurity is the way you pay us back??
Huh. It just goes to show that you really can’t please some people
EDIT (05 June 2008): The Pandagon, err, ‘people’, have deleted the above-linked post for reasons unknown. Thankfully it’s archived on the Internet Wayback Machine, so you can view the baseless vitriol here

thanx to Penda and Zip Gun for some of the links

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