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  Burning the Feed-Leeches  
Posted 2005-06-03 by Tony Walsh
RSS feeds allow subscribers to get an up-to-date, bare-bones version of your topical web page--it's a bit like having free summaries of newspapers from around the world dropped on your doorstep every day. Since anyone can become a subscriber, your feed might be altered or excerpted without your express permission. Usually this sort of thing is perpetrated by lazy bloggers who post your entries verbatim (this has happened to me numerous times), or web robots that scoop the feed, inject advertising, and then publish it to a third-party subscription service or weblog.

Keep the leeches away by making your feed unpalatable. suggets a solution for WordPress bloggers, but anyone who can alter their own RSS templates can easily beef up the "security" of their feed by adding copyright notices or terms of use in the summary or body of their published feed entries. Why allow someone else to profit off of your hard work?
  Flashforward Lineup Announced  
Posted 2005-05-10 by Tony Walsh
The Flashforward conference, which runs July 6-8 in NYC, has announced its program and speakers. The Flash conference will offer 22 technical seminars spanning such standard topics as animation, programming, usability, and... robotics. Robotics?
  Nemomatic Artbots  
Posted 2005-04-28 by Tony Walsh
California's Nemo Gould crafts kinetic robot sculptures from recycled materials, blending together the sensibilities of 1950s sci-fi, tribal art, the creepy drawings of Tim Burton, the surrealism of Joan Miró and the whimsy of Dr. Seuss. Gould's video page features Quicktime movies of many of the robot sculptures in action. If only they were the size of skyscrapers, then my robot army would be complete.
  Secret Creatures  
Posted 2005-04-26 by Tony Walsh
American genius Daniel Davis is not only the chief creator of the extensive Agyris fantasy world and the animaster behind the online cartoon KLANG, but is also the architect and artist of Secret Creatures. Davis' bold, stylized, and colourful Creatures are documented in detail, revealing such features as the Retrobot's licorice missiles and the Crusty Golem's potential for destroying enemy bicycles.
  RoPot Invasion  
Posted 2005-02-13 by Tony Walsh
Toronto-based artist/adventurer Andrew Duff has unleashed a RoPot army. This terrifying blend of robot, clay and yoga has escaped the confines of firey kilns, only to be stretched and twisted into relaxing poses for your viewing pleasure. Nine of Duff's creations are currently available for inspection and rotation.

I've got a RoPot on my windowsill, but you can't see it because I'm not inviting you over.
  MechAssault’s Hot Robot Action  
Posted 2005-02-08 by Tony Walsh
MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf has been out for a few weeks now, and not only features most of what you're used to in a MechWarrior-themed game (giant robots), but also the ability to hump your enemies' legs. No, really. You can jump on like a randy little bulldog and prod until you've achieved penetration by nudging the controller in the right sequence. At this point, the enemy robot falls under your command. The game also features awful cut-scenes and abysmal dialog.

Strangely, there's a new Xbox bundle for sale, which comes with MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf, a 2-month Xbox Live trial, and a mail-in offer for a free Xbox Live Communicator headset. The Xbox is not a menacing gunmetal gray, nor does it feature any other cliche robot bells and whistles. The whole enchilada goes for $229.99 CAD, which is nearly double the cost of an iPod shuffle.
  Kawada Robot:  If Looks Could Kill  
Posted 2005-02-03 by Tony Walsh
Sure, Toyota makes nice little bubble-shaped robots. But who needs that when you've got this 4-foot-tall monster? [link:taluagel] Forget those overrated wheelchairs--the Kawada Industries Humanoid Robot "Promet" can assemble panels, walk on rough terrain, and stand up from a face-down position. If only the Promet was as fast as it was stylish. The unit is currently on standby to protect Tokyo in case of a snail stampede or tar-spill.
  Military Robots Await Eager Gamers  
Posted 2005-01-22 by Tony Walsh
The Associated Press reports (via Yahoo! News) that the U.S. Army has upgraded their Talon robots into "SWORDS," remote-controlled death-machines. Eighteen of the deadly-accurate, machine-gunning robots will reportedly be shipped to Iraq this spring, and are controlled using two joysticks, a handful of buttons, and a video screen. AP reports that the cumbersome control-rig may be replaced with something more akin to a game controller, complete with virtual-reality goggles. The Army's official video game now features Talon robots. I'm sure SWORD units will be next up--gotta get those potential human controllers ready.

Ender's Game? Spiders? Yup. I'm all for roboticizing the world's armies. Once we replace human soldiers with robots, we can decide wars solely on the videogame skills of the countries involved: Why clash with physical force if you can demonstrate superior hand-eye coordination on the virtual battlefield?
  Backyard Robot Enthusiasts  
Posted 2004-12-22 by Tony Walsh
Last year, some guy made his kids a huge backyard battlemech. This year, some crazy Alaskan is going further, building a giant steel exoskeleton on his backyard, and hopes to test it by demolishing cars next year. The robot exoskeleton, which has cost $15,000US so far, "...can exert about 3,500 pounds per square inch, or more than enough to set his ton and a half creation in motion..."

All we need now is for the maker of this mechanoid to be struck by lightning while wearing the suit, thereby fusing its raw power with its creator's intellect. But will this new super-being use his powers for good or evil? The world trembles in anticipation.
  Casshern Stuns  
Posted 2004-12-16 by Tony Walsh
I didn't think it would be possible to duplicate the look and feel of an anime movie with live action footage, despite a nice try by the Wachowski brothers. The Casshern movie trailer changed all that. Based on a 30-year old anime series, Casshern was released this year in Japan, and I would buy the DVD in a second if it made its way to Canada, subtitled or not.

Casshern is set in a clunky retro-future world where the lights are dimming for humankind after ages of war and strife. A scientist comes up with a way to save humanity, but of course his work backfires... and apparently some muzzled teenage cyber-hero with a sword ends up squaring off against endless robot hordes. Hard to tell. I don't speak Japanese. The film, says the director, is loosely based on Shakespeare's Hamlet. I was thinking more Astroboy. Go watch the Casshern trailer on the official site.

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