Oh fer cute!

Friday fun for you:

The researchers stationed a 2-foot-tall robot called QRIO (pronounced “curio”), and developed by Sony, in a classroom of a dozen toddlers aged between 18 months and two years.

QRIO stayed in the middle of the room using its sensors to avoid bumping the kids or the walls. It was initially programmed to giggle when the kids touched its head, to occasionally sit down, and to lie down when its batteries died. A human operator could also make the robot turn its gaze towards a child or wave as they went away. “We expected that after a few hours, the magic was going to fade,” Movellan says. “That’s what has been found with earlier robots.” But, in fact, the kids warmed to the robot over several weeks, eventually interacting with QRIO in much the same way they did with other toddlers.

Eventually, the children seemed to care about the robot’s well being. They helped it up when it fell, and played “care-taking” games with it – most commonly, when QRIO’s batteries ran out of juice and it lay down, a toddler would come up and cover it with a blanket and say “night, night”.

Go on, admit it, that’s cute, right?

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Tech Nursery Rhyme

A friend who has a young child in pre-school in Silicon Valley sent me this rhyme they learned recently:

99 little bugs in the code,
99 bugs in the code,
fix one bug, compile it again,
101 little bugs in the code.

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Freecom 500GB External Drive

How about that for a snappy title? I bought one of these as part of the planned upgrade to our existing ad hoc Tivo-like device. The drive seems excellent on first use:

  • it’s fanless, so the only sound is the disk revolving
  • the case is metal, so it dissipates heat well (in sustained use it gets warm, but not nearly as hot as the underside of my MacBook when it’s working hard
  • the power adapter is pretty small, perhaps because of the lack of fan
  • it’s cheaper to get this 500GBs than to upgrade a Mac Mini’s internal drive by 80GB
  • it has silvery good looks, thereby increasing my attractiveness to women

Now all that remains is a Mac Mini to complete the setup. Leopard is released in less than 8 hours, and my wife doesn’t seem to think I’ll last long before heading to the local store. She may be right.

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Shift Happens

Interesting video on stats and trends for you:

Treat with caution, though – the claim that a week’s worth of the NYT contains more info than the average person in earlier centuries would come across in their entire life is obviously bogus; information takes many different forms, so a year’s worth of farming lore, family history and story-telling would easily outreach the Times.

(HT: Neatorama)

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