Monthly Archives: August 2009

Your robot overload shows you his new hand.

A few blogs are passing around videos of the Ishikawa Komuro Lab’s high-speed robot hand performing impressive acts of dexterity and skillful manipulation.  However, the video being passed around is slight on details.  Meanwhile, their video presentation at ICRA 2009 (which took place in May in Kobe, Japan) has an informative narration and demonstrates additional capabilities.  I have included this video below, which shows the manipulator dribbling a ping-pong ball, spinning a pen, throwing a ball, tying knots, grasping a grain of rice with tweezers, and tossing / re-grasping a cellphone!

This article can help you.

If you’re like most homeowners, you’re afraid that many repairs around your home are too difficult to tackle. So, when your furnace explodes, you call in a so-called professional to fix it.

The “professional” arrives in a truck with lettering on the sides and deposits a large quantity of tools and two assistants who spend the better part of the week in your basement whacking objects at random with heavy wrenches, after which the “professional” returns and gives you a bill for slightly more money than it would cost you to run a successful campaign for the U.S. Senate.

And that’s why you’ve decided to start doing things yourself. You figure, “If those guys can fix my furnace, then so can I. How difficult can it be?”

Very difficult. In fact, most home projects are impossible, which is why you should do them yourself. There is no point in paying other people to screw things up when you can easily screw them up yourself for far less money.

— Dave Barry, “The Taming of the Screw”

Next day…

I’ve been working between my new ideapad and the Thinkpad tablet… both are pretty good machines.  I have been skeptical of both as I’ve really enjoyed my Macbook Pro.  And I must say for some reason I don’t like Microsoft products.  It’s a pain to say that because I don’t like to think I’m a software biggot.  The right tool for the right job, right?  Maybe it’s the way MS tries to do everything for you – like when I plug in a memory stick – ‘what do you want to do with this? – play in Media Player?”  Leave me alone!

So I’m trying the Thinkpad Tablet with all the MS stuff they wan to throw at me:  bing, IE8 with hyper-local-search-blog-passport-image-social-photo-movie-center-sidebart-alert-program-improvement-explorer-media-digital-update-player-enhancement-Live.  Why does the Windows Media Player describe itself as a “digital media” player… I’d like to see someone try to play a record/8-Track/casset tape with it.  There are three icons that use the word “center” as part of their title.  It’s a bit much.  But I digress.

I’m installing Ubuntu on my Lenovo ideapad.  Dual boot of course.  It’s not that Windows XP is all that bad – I use it on my home/office workstation – it’s just that I think Compiz Effects are pretty cool… yes, I’m serious.  Why not?  Admit it – it’s sexy.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4Fbk52Mk1w  (and that’s an old video)

Ok, more to come…

writing this from my Lenore $20 Tablet!

Well so much for my first attempt at entering text with the pen-on-the-screen schenaegans of the Lenovo Thinkpad X200 Tablet.  Then again, I’ve only been using the thing for about 10 minutes and I have to say I’m pretty impressed.  I feel like this is something I’ve been waiting to arrive for a very long time.  Touch screen intefaces are great (have you seen the iPhone? ha!)  Anyway – back to it here.  Just thought I’d make the first post with the new toy.

Who knew suing the customer wasn’t worth it after all?

“Since music sales peaked in 1999, the value of those sales, after adjusting for inflation, has dropped by more than half. At that rate, the industry could be decimated before Madonna’s 60th birthday. … 13- to 17-year-olds acquired 19 percent less music in 2008 than they did in 2007. CD sales among these teenagers were down 26 percent and digital purchases were down 13 percent. … [T]he percentage of 14- to 18-year-olds who regularly share files dropped by nearly a third from December 2007 to January 2009. On the other hand, two-thirds of those teens now listen to streaming music ‘regularly’ and nearly a third listen to it every day.”

http://slashdot.org/story/09/08/02/2139211/The-Music-Industrys-Crisis-Writ-Large