Monday, august 25th : english version now open
The title says it all. Oh, and i'm also wondering what use can be a "what's new" note in a weblog section anyway??
Wednesday, august 20th : weblog open!
But it's in French only for now! :)
This part will soon be functionnal
> > Saturday, september 10th 2005 - Reminder for self
For quite a few months now, i've been uninterested in most gadgets, toys and vintage electronics that i used to love until early 2005. Fine with me, as this would mean substantial savings on buying tons of useless stuff.
Well, we're just coming back from holidays, we've spent one great week in Greece, and it turns out one of my first reactions when turning on the computer and surfing around on my usual geek sites two days ago was "hey, i could buy this and this, gather a fun set of useless desk toys".
Can't say why holidays put me in this state of mind again... the thing is, this state of mind is still here today (although it's fading away a little, and there's some Freudian counter-power inside my head that's considering all this with a bit of despair)
So, well, the two stupid gadgets i had in mind were the Sega i-Dog, and the Chibiboto desk tamagotchi-like robot. I just won't provide links here since i still have to find the sites where i've located those (mostly the chibiboto, which is much harder to find than the iDog. Well, this is all just a reminder for myself, actually.
Also, i'm even considering buying new calculators for my pocket computers collection. And to say i was thinking i had grown up during this year, and went through all this...
Also, the idea of making photography got stronger. We did take a lot of pictures in Greece... And we still have our US vacations trip website to put together, and i'd also like to build a site for my own pictures. I do have photography in mind.
> > Tuesday, August 30th 2005 : weblog app ready!
It's been a long time since i've updated my site. One of the reasons was that i was building a small PHP tool to handle all HTML updating. There are many tools out there that i could have used to enable instant weblog features in my site, but i did want something very specific. Mostly, i didn't want to use a database, and i also wanted to keep my HTML pages and not spend time adapting my pages to a templating tool needs.
The first version of this small app is now ready, so hopefully i should be able to update my site more often. Using this application, i'll also gather all the updates from my different sections in my home page.
There's still lots to do on the PHP application, though. As of today, the main application is able to create new entries and edit existing entries. I've also developped basis for an online links manager, aiming both at gathering my bookmarks all in a single, online space, and at generating links pages automatically.
Then again, i'll have to improve HTML handling in the editing tool, add image management functions, work on an unified user interface...
Anyway, should this entry publish alright on the different topics i'll send it to, then it would be a great first step!
It will also be a good thing done before taking a week off on holiday! :)
[Edit] Well, turned out that there was some fixing needed. Work is done, beta testing is done, so now i think i have something stable enough! I'll focus on updating AND continue improving this application when i'm back from holidays.
Friday, october 1st, 2004 : going more regular, going MP3 powered, going geek again
Ok, the iPod is a tremendeous success all over the world. Ok the iPod owes a lot to it's design and user interface for this success. But what makes other MP3 players manufacturers think when then bring to the market yet-another iPod-inspired device with a new oh-so-clever user interface system?
Do they all imagine that people will calmly compare the newcomer to the original iPod, and consider the former as an acceptable alternate option to the original just because it has the trademark round design and the required weird control system?
Well i do wish all the best to those machines engaged in the iPod-like competition, but seriously, don't they all seem to claim "Hey, check it out, just like the iPod did, i'm introducing a totally new concept in MP3 players!.. Oh, did i mention the iPod? Anyway, i'm not pretending i'm one... Well yes, what's 'totally new' in my concept is completely inspired by the original iPod idea, actually. Ok then, you're right, i'm just a pale copy".
Toshiba and Creative are the two manufacturers that fall the most into this category. Check out the Toshiba Gigabeat F series and the Creative Zen touch, for example.
What do they have in common? The first answer is pretty obvious : "hey, their overall designs both look exactly like an iPo.. they both exactly look alike".
Second answer : hey, they both offer a totally innovative, genuine and trademark control system to match the appeal of the iPod wheel... Oh did i mention the iPod again?
My last answer would be that they both offer a hey so-much-better-than-the-iPod (not mentionning the iPod, though) extra feature. Creative focuses on battery life, offering an "incredible" 24 hours playback time; whereas Toshiba offers a large color screen (which seems to me totally unappropriate on such a device, by the way).
Wow, how exciting is that. You'll have all you'd expect from an iPod, and even more. Wow. Except... you just won't have an iPod...
It's so obvious that they all try really hard to be "even better than" the iPod, that the message they are actually conveying is more "i'm almost as good as"...
So, well, that's the part where i'm thinking both manufacturers are going the wrong way. Not that i'm predicting a dark future to their products, actually. I'm not enough of a marketting person to dare say so anyway. I do hope they'll sell well. But i do think that this kind of marketting moves is just too obvious to actually significantly win marketshares out of iPod territory.
"iPod" has become a generic word for high-end MP3 players, and so it will remain until another company, which may just need to be armed with such a high-end image and marketting power as Apple has, releases something actually *new* just like the iPod was when it was released. It won't be enough to do "barely the same thing". How high-end does an obvious copy sound?
Do they expect their first customers to convince new buyers just by the visual impact of their machines? Won't people just appreciate the "copy" and chose to go with the original instead? Or even worse, won't people just *think* it's an iPod they've seen?
Analysing both Creative's and Toshiba's offers, i'd say Creative is the closest to the plain and obvious iPod copy. The design, color and added trademark features are clearly as close as the iPod as can be. Toshiba, on the other hand, presents the most pointless effort, in my opinion... A color screen?? What is that for? If the MP3 player is in my pocket, just playing music, what's the point of having it display a useless, battery-consuming color screen? And even while using the device, what's the point of having color icons when i just want to browse a file list? Next, the control system. "Plus-touch" control... Now, *that's* exiting. A 5 way touch pad piloting a contextual menu that might just become really awkward to use for one-hand quick control when the device is out of sight in a jacket pocket (which is how i use portable music devices 90% of the time).
I'd go with the Creative, if you'd ask me. But as noone asks, i actually prefer going with a Toshiba, but not an F-series one! It's a 20GB Gigabeat, the G22 from the earlier G series. It boasts a very slim red casing, a backlit B/B (Black on Blue!) display and a convenient-enough navigation system that's easy to operate out-of-sightly. I've won an auction on yahoo japan, and i'm waiting for the device to arrive within the coming weeks! I wanted 20GB, design and originality were important to me, so i'm perfectly happy to go with this one, and leave the iPod-like option apart.
Hail my first HDD MP3 player!
As the english section of my weblog is my geek side's voice, here's an important event in my geek life : last monday, after an over 5 years sleep, i've taken my old Sega Saturn out of it's shelf and switched it back on! I've begun a new game of Dragon Force! That game is soooo addictive! It's also very annoying, at times, mostly due to the slow and intricate menu system, partly due to a number of useless animations and features, but still, it's a pleasure going though the Legendra country, assaulting castles and recruiting generals!
Wednesday, august 11th, 2004 : Five months of news + it's now 2 days before holidays
My, it's been a very long time since i have not updated my blog... and there have been quite a few interesting events in my little life then.
I must confess that i update the french part on a more regular basis. Well, it's not exactly a day-to-day log, though, it's more of something like a whenever-i-feel-like-it log. Anyway... At least the english blog has been updated within the current year; i'm not just dropping notes every other year yet... "hey, it's 2004, wanted to say hi". "Oh hey, it's 2006 already, hello there".
So there have been quite a few interesting news in my little life, as i said. On the geek side, i'm now the proud owner of several domestic robots, namely a Sony AIBO, a Bandai BN-1, and a toyish Bandai Wonderborg. Three robots are enough for me to declare i've officially begun a real robots collections. I'm thus planning to open a dedicated page in my robots section!
Maybe i'll add those pages soon, actually, since i'll have one complete week off starting next eek-end. Apart from sleeping, i'm planning to "quietly" work on my website, and maybe turn a few ideas i've been having in mind for years into something more web-browsable.
Remotely connected to my geek life, i've recently validated the night-classes year i've had in 2003-2004. That is, i'm now allowed to evolve to Japanese Level 2 classes (level up!); and i've passed the Network and Communication exams of my night classes IT engineer course (you gain a new ability!)!
Did i say "remotely connected" to my geek life? Come on, that's totally geek... Learning japanese is sooo much expected from "someone like me" who's into anime (a bit) game consoles (less and less day by day, tho), robots (a HUGE bit!) and so on. Oh, by the way, have i ever mentionned that i once thought about naming my weblog "the blog of someone like me"? Er, whatever...
The IT engineer course also sounds geek. It really does.
So, that's how my blog actually turns into a geek blog.
So the next geek-news in the line will be the visit of the very good Game On exhibition in Lille last Sunday. This exhibition is about video games and their history; and it's actually quite interesting and full of cool things. I've been able to see a PDP-1 (the computer dinosaur on which the first so called video game was developped...), and a "computer space" cabinet; as well as several 70's handhelds and games that were a pleasure to (re)discover. And guess what? My girlfriend was also interested! Wouldn't it be for the *heat*, we would have enjoyed a very good time there, sharing memories and browsing the history of games. Unfortunately, we really could not stand the heat, so we just took a quick tour quick, and i went away only after buying the official exhibition book to browse at home.
As i've already mentionned in the french part of this weblog, it usually takes a clear starter for me to get into writting a new entry. For this very entry, that's a thought that crossed my mind yesterday evenning as i was thinking about music and sharing it on P2P networks. I remembered that one of my first online CD order was for a Metallica album and an Offspring album.
What hit me yesterday was this : when Napster came out, Metallica and Offspring adopted two opposite behavior : Metallica was talking about sueing people who would pirate their songs, whereas Offspring were wearing Napster tee-shirts in their concerts and interviews.
I do not buy a lot of CDs, i've never done so. I do buy CDs from time to time, though, when i feel like it, and when i feel like the CD i'm gonna buy holds music that's here to stay. The fact that Offspring supported Napster did not make me feel like i'd stop buying their CDs and focus on pirating them.
Just had a thought that at the time when i bought those two CDs the online way, both bands were opposing on the idea they had about the online potential. Same difference. As of today, the present proves they were both right, somehow. It took long before the majors launched their online reactions, and the first shot actually came from Apple, but it becomes clearer for everyone now that online distribution *will be* part of the future.
Oh and this makes me think : i've also recently bought a new gadget watch to add to my collection! It's an MP3 player watch, the first of it's kind! Well, the idea of it is pretty cool... I enjoy the feeling of taking the watch, holding it in my hand and switch to MP3 mode. Amazing to hear music coming out an everyday object like a wristwatch! No disc turning in a player, no Hard Disc buzzing behind a fancy graphic display, no dedicated brick of plastic that shows nothing else than being a MP3 player... A watch, earphones, and music at the press of a button.
Using this device, i somehow feel, as i'm taking the item in my hand and pressing the "play" button, the watch will deliver musical emotion just as if it had a personnality of it's own and an history to share. Oh well, i know what you'll be thinking! :) But hey, remember you're reading the blog of someone like me...
So, in two days i'm on holidays. I'll take time to sleep, enjoy the sun, sleep, update my website maybe, sleep, enjoy the beach, sleep, enjoy friends who will be there, sleep, watch anime, sleep, play, sleep, and rest a bit. That's what the immediate future should bring me. The next future will then see me read this very weblog entry as a record from the past!
Monday, march 8th, 2004 : It's been four months... huh, who cares?
Isn't internet the greatest thing? During what should have been just another friday, i ended up making phone calls to Australia and New-York, both by the magic of this very site you're reading...
This is the kind of story that makes it clear to me why i've chosen english for my site! While most french visitors wonder why oh why i've chosen not to create my site in french, i rest assured that english was the best choice.
Would i have been able to get contacts from the USA, Brazil, Australia, most countries across Europe, and Russia if my website was only in french?
Even if those contacts are most of the time quite short and quite geek-centered, sometimes i end-up actually meeting a years-old e-mail pal in San Francisco, planning a visit to a married-to-be brazilian couple in Italy (still need a date for this, Marcelo ;) ) or calling New York or Australia for personal business. Quite exciting to pick up the phone and hear "nice to hear you" from across the world, from people with whom i had just exchanged a few e-mails a few days ago.
Quite fascinating, too, to imagine that this is the exact kind of thing i was actually somehow expecting to happen someday, when creating my site! I was definitely expecting to share my interests, provide help and find things i had no chance to find.
Call this a message in a bottle... Well, this works!
Driving through Arizona last October, we stopped at an indian craft market in the desert, and we chatted a bit with a joung Navajo seller. He gave us his business card, and on the last line he pointed the "International Smoke Signal". International it is... Smoke signal? Huh, change the fire to a computer and the blanket to an e-mail software and you'll get the point!
Wednesday, november 5th, 2003 : It's been one month and a half
Huh i've been silent for a long time on the english side of my blog...
Okay i've taken 3 weeks offs and we've visited western USA. Great holidays!!! So we are now back in Paris, and i've had an approximately 2 weeks time when i did not feel like updating my weblog at all.
Somehow i just didn't want to talk about the trip here, so well, as i had nothing else in mind but that trip, i just left my weblog apart for a while.
Now, i feel like real life took it's place back, and i do have a few topics ready to take theirs in the blog.
Well, not totally unrelated to the trip is that when i was in San Francisco, i've bought a Lego Radio controlled car! Now that's a fun toy! It's the Lego Racer Hot Flame model, and as far as i know, this model can be exclusively found in the Radio Shack stores. Here it is on the Radio Shack Canada website (in Canadian french). I was very excited about bringing it back home and building it; but hey, when i've actually openned the box and started to put the first parts together, i soon found out that some of the parts were missing...
AAaarg, i felt sooo sad realizing that i was stuck there with my missing parts preventing me from building the thing. And of course, the seller was 9000km away. Not like i could get back there and complain. So, well, i've explored the great Lego website and found a way to contact them for that exact purpose : inquiring about missing parts.
And well, i had the idea of providing the address where i stayed in San Francisco, a friend's place actually. Bingo! Just a few weeks later, my friend received a letter from Lego, with a set of parts that should cover my needs.
However, just a few days after sending my requests (yup, my requestS, as i've also sent one to Lego France!), i found out that i could order order a small bag of parts that would include most of the parts i was looking for. I've ordered the bag on october 24th, and i've received them last monday, so i was back on the track building the car.
And then, problem again, there was yet another missing part i didn't notice at first... So, before learning my friend in SF got the parts from Lego, i sent a second order for the missing part yesterday.
So well, at first i believed i would have no reply from Lego (just feeling quite impatient at the time!) so, so i've chosen the option to fix the problem myself, as fast as i could.
Then i received replies from Lego (yup, replIES, from France and US! :) ) and i must say i *love* Lego! Even if i had to wait a little for the missing parts to arrive, i love the way the provide customer service. As i also love their products since i was a child, i really enjoy seeing how serious and efficient they are now that they are on the internet.
So well i'm still waiting for those Lego parts to get to me, then, hopefully, i'll be able to complete the car, test it, make pictures of it, and bring together a whole new "Fun Radio Controlled Toys" in my site! :)
Now, talking about toys, there's a weird new breed of products in Japan : the "Tv games". Basically, they're just game consoles with a single integrated them and all the electronic parts integrated into the controllers. I've found announcement for 4 of them on LikSang's site.
And, well, i've noticed there's an old-school shoot'em'up among them, here it is.
As LikSang is a very good site, they've included tech information about those product at the end of the first page i link to.
So basically, those products are based on an integrated 8 bit chips that can be considered as a game console in a chip. I like the idea of that and i also like the fact that it's bringin' a slightly different kind of products in the video games business.
As a matter of fact, integrated game systems in the shape of a controller are not *that* new, since lots of asian manufacturers have produced pirate consoles (mostly based on Nintendo Entertainement Systems or Sega Master Systems devices) in this disguise. Atari also recently re-issued several Atari 2600 games in an integrated pack the shape of an original 2600 joystick.
Ok, one more thing today : i've seen in this french site the first picture of what could be the future Sony handheld console, the PSP. Well, i'm looking forward to knowing what the actual design will be and to see the machine on the shelves, but i must say that i'm not excited at all by this first picture. Remember it's not an official picture, so maybe the final product will have nothing to do with this design. But still, after Sony's announcement stating that the product will be "the walkman of the 21st century" and that it would compete head-to-head with MP3 players, portable game systems and whatsoever...well i find this design to be pretty dull. But hey, i also totally dislike the original Playstation and PS2 designs too, so, well i think it's just about me.
Thursday, september 25th, 2003 : My english weblog is definitely turning geek...
A few days ago, i got news from a friend that a new gaming handheld sporting Palm OS was about to be launched on the market.
At the time, i remember telling him that i was highly doubful concerning the possible success of such a device.
The way i saw it was that a brand new company came up with the brilliant idea of packaging a classic PalmOS PDA into a gameboy-like casing, so that they would market it as a portable game system with hundreds of games already available.
That way, i pictured the "hundreds of available games" as the 1001 different versions of Space Invaders existing for PalmOS.
On the other hand, i also envisionned the machine as having the potential of making the handheld consoles world grow up a little. Gameboy is basically for kids. Apart from the Gameboy, there's... nothing else available really. So the more mature audience that wants to play on the go actually uses PDAs to do so. So, making that audience the target of a new gaming machine could lead to a growth of a grown-up handheld games market, which is an interesting idea to me.
I came across a link and a video today, and i totally changed my mind, as i discovered more about the machine.
Ok now here's what's goind on the handheld market : on the *major* hand, Nintendo created the handheld market with the Gameboy. It's still the undisputed leader with the current GameBoyAdvance version (not to mention the *excellent* GameBoyAdvance LT). On the other hand, well, there's *no* other hand if you think about portable game devices. Think about handheld *games*, and you'll include the PDAs in the competition. Different market, different audience, different pricetags, and game accessibility that is nothing to be compared to actual game consoles.
Now, a new and somehow unexpected competitor is about to chase on the same ground : the N-Gage from Nokia. Later on, Nintendo and Nokia will have to face the threat of the videogames giant Sony, which will introduce it's PSP -basically a portable device 10 times as powerful as a Playsation 1- system in fourth quarter 2004.
Meanwhile, coming from the world of the business handhelds, the Zodiac from Tapwave is about to enter the arena.
Let's make it clear : the handheld devices have already grown up. What i've saw in the video and on the website is more than convincing. If Nokia has positionned it's N-Gage device as a communicating game machine -which is quite understandable, as the machine heritates from Nokia's know-how in the cellphone business-, i was expecting the Zodiac to be marketted as an enhanced PDA, since it is based on PalmOS. Forget about that. It's marketted as a game console to begin with. And the killer detail -to me- is this : coming from the Palm OS world, the Zodiac uses a sensitive screen and a stylus... Just consider what the mouse-based computer games have brought to the video games world, and compare what the PC games market look like, compared to the Playstation games, and you'll get the idea.
Now i'm a bit concerned about two points : the lineup and the pricetag. The lineup features 2 versions : 32Meg RAM and 128Meg RAM. I must say i don't know what the RAM will be used for, but it has anything to do with running the games, then i think it's not a good idea to offer 2 versions, since most games will certainly be designed to run on the 32M version, and the 128Meg games will be rarer... Maybe they've thought about that, tho, and maybe i'm totally wrong expecting such a problem.
The other issue is the pricetag : USD 299 for the 32Meg version and USD 399 for the 128Meg. Thing of the device as a PDA, and you'll think it's an OK price. Think of it as a Gameboy (even a very-high-end gameboy) and you'll think differently. Now, that price has to be compared to the N-Gage price (which i'm not totally aware of as i write this); and also, i'll be curious to see if the future Sony PlayStation Portable will start with such a pricetag. I do feel so.
This weblog has now officially won it's Geek medal! I'll try and talk about giant robots next time, just to avoid turning this log into yet-another PDA tribune! :)
Tuesday, september 9th, 2003 : Why i don't use a PDA anymore...
Huh, well, the english version of my blog is slowly turning into a geek log.
When i've decided to create this blog, it was unclear whether i should open it in french or in english. I finally chose both. But whereas the french part is growing a tone of it's own, i actually feel like i use the english part to express my dark side; my geek side, that is!
Maybe that's because i do not feel comfortable enough with the language? Maybe it's because i'm being impressed by what i see in other blogs in english language; and i prefer not running on the same lane??
Anyway, here is a geek topic again! It's no news that i've been interested in PDAs and pocket computers for a long time; interested enough to gather a collection of them (see previous link! :) ). The news is that i realized a few months ago that i'm not actually seriously interested in them any longer.
My own way as a PDA user was this : when i was in college, i used my pocket computer as a data-bank, a game-boy, an expense-manager... all this with home-made BASIC programs.
For education purpose, the machine was always with me, the batteries lasted for months really, and the device was enough to deal with all the majors "organisationnal" issues in my life.
Next i used data bank watches for a few years, as i mostly needed to carry along my friends' phone numbers with me.
Ok now... A few years later, i've finally decided to officially stop using my Windows CE PDA, and to say the truth, i was feeling free when taking it out of my bag.
Primarly, the reasons why i decided to abandon the device were numerous :
- the battery consumption is a *real* issue : i could'nt forget the machine in my bag for more than 3 days without having to restore a complete backup and learning that the backup battery should be changed!!
- the user-interface sucks : imagine it's not possible to close an application without using the configuration panel or a third party software...
- the PC-synchronisation is a joke : i only sync'ed my bookmarks and i got "unresolved items" almost all the times. I even ended up loosing my PC bookmarks once...
- the memory backup utility was a joke as well, it kept freezing for no reason and almost never worked properly,
- gaming on the device was not a serious option : games were either really poor, or required too much memory, or were not available for my processor, or were too expensive...
- mostly, i had no use for it... I used my cellphone to store my contacts, and all of the reasons i bought a PDA for appeared to be pointless in real-life, due to the PDA design (those reasons were : sketching, websurfing on the go, video-games, and convenient notetaking.
I'm aware that many of those problems would be solved if i used a more recent device. Bluetooth, for instance, could allow for actually usable websurfing without having to align the PDA to a cellphone IR interface. Batteries also last significantly higher. But then again, this means spending lots of money on new equipment, just to get back again with at least 50% of my initial problems still unsolved.
Now, what do i expect from a PDA? Why do i feel they're *not* what they pretend to be, and why do i feel there's a dream behind the PDA craze that is far from being fulfilled by today's machines?
I'll speak for myself : i want my PDA to be somekind of a dreambox. I want it to store my notes, my thoughts, maybe my pictures, but then *lots* of them. I want it to accept data input the way i want, i want it to be actually flexible and turn into what i want it to be (my BASIC pocket computer was the best example of this).
I bought an Apple Newton for my collection. This machines is stuffed with excellent ideas. In fact, this machine *created* the PDA concept, and i think there are good reasons to that.
On the Newton, data input is mostly achieved via the "Note" application. Would you have an idea that you'd want to keep a trace of? Switch the Newton on, create a new note if needed, and sketch or draw whatever you have in mind.
The Newton is supposed to recognize your handwritting... The bad news is : well, it doesn't actually recognize your writting the way it should. If my PDA claims it recognizes my writting, i want it to do so!
Better now : i want it to recognize my handwritting, but i do *not* want it to turn my handwritten doodles into clean formatted text. I *like* my handwritten doodles! :) I have a visual memory and i prefer browsing my notes the way i wrote them rather than browsing cleaned-up notes that all look the same.
I want the PDA to remember what i wrote, on the other hand! So it's ok if it "reads" what i write. That way, i can make it perform keyword searches, and make it find all the notes where i've left ideas about my weblog, for instance.
The modern PDAs pretend to be what they cannot actually be all at the same time... A MP3 player? Ok but you should have lots of memory cards to store your MP3s in, if you want to carry along anything more than just MP3s. And don't expect more than 3 hours continous play with the backlit screen on (and don't if it's of any use to keep the screen on while listenning to music, you can't just turn in off and have the MP3s playing).
A digital camera? Ok but then again, you'll have to choose whether you want to store MP3s or digital images on the device. And don't expect high picture quality either, yet.
A notepad, agenda, telephone directory? That's the basics, and the PDAs are good at that, but remember you'll have to keep it close to a power source; and, well, data input is still uncomfortable.
A game system? No problem if you agree that replacing a game won't be exactly as simple as changing a cartridge in a GameBoy.
So, well... for now, i use a MP3 player, a digital camera, a cellphone, a gameboy (several of them, actually!) and i *know* my dream machine will not be available in stores before years...
What would my dream machine look like? Put half the storage capacity and half the power of a modern desktop computer into a Sony Clié sized device, make the screen sharper and larger, add a user interface that has still to be invented; put an easy to use programming language in the built-in package; ensure there's a joypad somewhere; and ensure the battery will last for months on one charge at normal use; and you'll have an idea! :)
Wednesday, august 27th, 2003 : Robots! ^_^
Ok well... it didn't take long before i dedicated a complete weblog entry to robots! I'm fond of robots...
So well, looking for japanese weblogs, i first found this site from Japan, a weblog with a geek touch! "Robot battlers" was the title of a cool entry linking to 7 amazing video sequences : humanoid robots engaged in "martial art" combats!
Ok, well... I see comments coming : if robots represent the state-of-the-art in advanced technology, how sad it is to immediately put it to battle use. The comment is right in one way, but let's put it this way : Artificial intelligence is nothing new. State of the art in "intelligent" computing is somehow represented by Deep Blue, Deeper Blue, and all of their russian chess champions beating digital fellows.
What makes humanoid robots different is not only a matter of artificial intelligence, but mostly a matter of physical intercation with the outside world...
Developping a humanoid robot just to play chess would be totally inaccurate. Also inaccurate would be to demonstrate a high-tech humanoid robot by sitting it on a chair and making it play chess.
That's why sports (and in that case, combat sports) are interesting. Not only do they demonstrate in an impressive way the physical abilities of the contestants, but they also require strong adaptation to the outside world, by reacting to opponents' behaviors.
Robots contests are not that new. One of most famous and of the most ambitious one is the Robocup. The sport is soccer, and the goal (Haha!) is to have a robot team that could beat the human world champion team by 2050!
I hate soccer, and to be honest, i can hardly stand it even if robots are playing...
Now the contest i've discovered today is RoboOne. Found a link to a press release, didn't look for more info on the net yet.
Anyway, i was impressed by the videos; not exactly because robots are now able to wrestle in an arena, but instead just by seing them evolve. We're now in the 21st century, and there are people out there that take it very seriously that we're entering the robot age...
Monday, august 25th, 2003 : is it just me or do i only talk about memories here?
Well, going to the town hall administrative offices, i met a brass band on the way. People wearing military uniforms, a small crowd around, and military vehicules from WW-II exposed in the square in front in the building.
So it's not just me, it's actually memories chasing me wherever i go... This time, it was WW-II memories. Not like i actually could have memories from that period, but hey, you see the picture!
As a matter of fact, this also reminded me of yet another memory from my police departement service (Gee, will those ever stop coming back and haunt my log?). Anyway, the link is : WW-II military vehicules. I was guarding a pair of those in front of Paris city hall, one day, and it was an occasion for meeting lots of veterans, talk to lots of people, including a NYPD officer.
Reading my blog, i think people could think my life is basically about city halls and police memories. Just a coincidence, really... Take my word for it : geeks stuffs are bound to happen here soon! Maybe even as soon as today, too...
Anyway, there was a ceremony taking place, in memory of WW-II victims and in memory of the liberation of Paris. I've heard the official say that a few americain veterans were there... Thanks guys. I cannot actually say how much i feel grateful to all of those who fought for peace and freedom at that time.
This got me into thinking about the diplomatic situation between the USA and France. And this got me into thinking back about what happenned "before". Before standing in front of the US and say "no" to an Irak invasion, France had been liberated by the US troops. And before that? France helped the budding USA fight for their own freedom and indepedance. And before that? Keep going back again, and you'll always find political, economical reasons that led to wars, counter-attacks, invasions and liberations.
Nothing new under the sun. Just a few lines to honor the memory of those who died in my country for it's liberation. Whatever the reasons behind the war policy, lives were lost. And all around the world, it's always the same in different places all over again.
Totally unrelated with the previous lines (be sure it is!), but have i mentionned that geek stuffs could make their appearance anytime? Ok here they are now!! :)
Tested emulators for the GP 32 portable game system today.
Hm yeah, i do feel that this part is totally out of topic...
Anyway, emulation on the GP-32 AMAZING!
Just think i can have my Atari ST *and* my Nec TurboGrafx systems both in a gameboy sized device at the same time!
I found both emulators there, but the site seems to be down sometimes...
I'd like to add a GP-32 page to my site someday. I'd like to make a "to do list" back office feature on my site someday. End of transmission.
Wednesday, august 20th, 2003 : the beginning, and yet memories already...
I've been litteraly assaulted by blogs, lately! Not really assaulted, since maybe 3 blogs are not enough for a decent assault, but still, they hit me all at the same time. First, there's the long-known (by me!) and excellent work of Georgy Kishtoo on Dina Arobi, to which i've recently discovered an offspring : If I told you what I eat, would you know who I am ?.
Next, there was a french log, it's author sent me just a page about a specific topic, and i went further and discovered what he had to say in his site...
Finally, there was the discovery of Alteka's seika, that proved me, if needed, that it was possible to run a site that was both weblog-based AND giant-robot based. Not to mention the great content!
Anyway, this was not enough for me to jump into my very own weblog adventure. I was still wondering whether i should write it in english or in french; and i was also wondering what i could write in it, in the first place...
So the next step to the creation of my blog took one more event. Amazingly, as i visited japanime stores today, i had just found a book that i discovered yesterday on Alteka's Seika. So, thinking about how real-life and the web could mix sometimes, i was sitting in front of Paris' City Hall, eating my sandwich while tourists were buzzing all over the place, and a memory hit me. I remembered a day when i was serving my national service in the Paris Police Departement, when my team was called for an overdose case in the garden in front of Notre Dame de Paris.
When we arrived there, first aid services were already in the place. The victim was nowhere to be seen, as she had hidden herself behind a small bush to have her fix. She was a young girl and she wanted to have her tranquillity to get high in this place full of tourists. I guess she got higher than expected. She never got back to the ground... She was dead when we arrived; hidden from the thousands of tourists there that paid no attention to the rescue teams while visiting one of the most famous monument in the world.
For her, that place was the end of the road. That was the place where my path crossed hers, too, just at the time when her life line suddenly stopped.
So, well, sitting in front of the City Hall, wondering what the blog of someone like me would look like, i had an answer just when this memory came back. That would be my starting point... I'm still alive, that's what i'll say!
Not exactly the usual "Dear Diary" beginning, but "Dear Diary" was exactly *not* what i wanted to do... :)
And i'll leave the geek's stuff for another day!