BBC News – Towel-folding robot created by US researchers

Towel-folding robot created by US researchers

US researchers have created a robot that can pick up a towel from a pile of laundry, fold and then stack it.

Pieter Abbeel, assistant professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, spoke to the BBC’s Evan Davies about the science behind his creation.

He was joined by Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield.

via BBC News – Towel-folding robot created by US researchers.

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Overdue…

I guess I am well overdue a rant or a rave or a moan or even a confession or something in the blog. I don’t have any poker stories to tell, because there has been no poker for me.

Umm okay, well I will take myself literally and write a bit of each of the above. Wow I don’t ever recall taking myself literally before.. hmm..


Pop-Ups Malware Spyware Adware Bastards!

Pop-Ups Malware Spyware Adware Bastards!

So a RANT then,

Goodness where to start? There are so many topics. What grind’d my gears today? I know what! I got some “malware” on my main PC. Those of you that know me, also know I protect my home systems quite tightly and it is rare for me to get any infections from the net, so I was a bit taken aback by this mornings revelation on my screens.

But, before I go on, can someone tell me who makes up the names for these things? We give them names like Malware and Adware and cookie tracking and well it doesn’t sound so bad.. What a crock! Where did I miss the bit where I was given a choice on what to install on MY pc? Where was the bit of paper I signed giving permission for some adcookie company to track my personal activities? When you boil it all down they are computer viruses!

Okay so they don’t give you Ebola or cancer just a slight cold or a flu maybe but they are still uninvited guests. Not just uninvited, but aggressive gate crashers, they are at best rude, impolite and invasive and at worst, malicious. I would also argue they are all illegal!

The time is overdue for the government to to take a stand and make this kind of thing illegal. I am sure if these spyware and adware and tracking cookies found a way to hijack the TV airwaves and started popping up on peoples TV screens, we would see some legal action pronto. So where or what is the difference?

I mean, I watch my News on-line, I read my news on-line. I watch shows and entertainment on-line. I tune into websites with my PC’s and sit here either passively being entertained or interactively being entertained. Where’s the difference? I get adverts on the various websites I visit, sometimes I have to watch the adverts. Yet that is my choice, but who the heck gets the uninvited right to monitor me and then to invade my very personal world by hijacking my browsers and popping up adverts on my PC? I am seriously considering lobbying my local MP (Member of Parliament) about this issue. If I do I will keep you updated and rant about it here.

I cleaned the offensive little fecker off the PC in about 2 minutes but man I was very put out, doncha know.


Click Image for details on IMDB

Click Image for details on IMDB

Swiftly on to a RAVE, erm.. let me think what got me excited this week? I watched a film called Secretary which I thought was brilliant, not just an unusual storyline but so well presented and so well acted, especially in the case of the main female character played by Maggie Gyllenhaal. I think she got put up for some silverware for this performance. She deserved to as well, she was excellent. I won’t go on about it here as you can click the link and read about it on the IMDB site.

If you want a copy to watch/download give me a nudge on Skype or in pm in the forum and I’ll hook you up.

The film is sexual in content but I wouldn’t say it is sexy as such. The sexiest thing for me was that cover on the dvd case in the picture on the left. So if you are stuck for a film to watch I’d recommend it for something a little different. Not one to watch with the children or in-laws, though I would recommend unchaining the little lady from the kitchen sink and making her watch it with you. You never know she may pick up some tips.


A Moan it is then! As a grumpy old man I could fill up your screens from here to the end page of the internet with my moans.

It is a weird fact that moaning becomes a pleasurable past-time as one gets older. In fact I don’t think I could get through a day without a bit of a moan about something. I need my moan fix and even better is when another grumpy old man joins in with me and we both sit there finding something to moan about and then running with it to some incredibly unlikely conclusion. It is like a graceful ballet of whining, no it is whining tennis! Where we bat the moan back and forth, with each return and volley the moan becomes more surreal and exaggerated, until in an unspoken agreement of satisfaction where we both know the subject or issue is all moaned out, we back off with maybe a grunt or a hurrumph of accomplishment.

My best friends

My best friends

Don’t ask me what the accomplishment was, it just feels like we did something that felt good and the very fact we both moaned about it to a crescendo of reserved (I am British) indignation somehow gave the whole thing a weight of credibility.

So now you are warned, for the next time I post.. the odds are the ‘moan section’ will probably be the lengthiest section also.


Oh dear a confession… I will confess I lost it this week, big time. My coolness that is, not my ‘it’ I never lost that, whatever you might be thinking “it” is, or was.

Usually I am so laid back about everything, it takes something special to spin me off my hammock of calm invulnerability. Well that something happened this week. I won’t bore you with the whole series of little mishaps that nibbled away at my shell of coolness, but suffice to say, you’d either have died laughing or fled in terror if you had been in my company when the “it” got “lost”.

To cut a long story short, I had this rather sleek black media keyboard that was a bit of a favourite of mine. I know it is kind of weird and geeky to have a favourite keyboard, still, I had one. It has a soft click to the keys and was real nice to type on and it was black & cool looking. Then on Monday the ‘m’ key stopped working! So being a geeky expert on dismantling computer type things, I took the keyboard to pieces, literally.

Every key was popped off and put through the dishwasher in the cutlery basket, the rest of the guts all wiped down and dusted carefully. the casing washed thoroughly inside and out. Like new it was, sparkling and shiny, just waiting to be reassembled and poked lovingly by my two index fingers for the next year or so. And it was reassembled and lo, it worked like a dream, like new! I cooed and sighed as my two index fingers thumped at it with a satisfied relish. Woohoo at last something went right this week.

Until about 3 hours later the ‘m’ key stopped working again. This time right in the middle of a very delicate software operation. I was changing a 400GB external hard drive from Fat32 to NTFS. This drive was chock full of films and downloads. I think some of the other keys started playing up also, because as I typed commands into the computer and hit return the oddest looking words were appearing. Oh my god.. I swapped out the keyboard and checked the drive with 400GB of downloads on it..

Gone.. kaput.. A black hole rushed up and enveloped me… 400GB of stuff gone!

Suddenly that black keyboard didn’t look so sexy, it also immediately ceased being my favourite keyboard. In fact it became the devil’s keyboard, the keyboard that Satan had discarded, it was evil and had to be stopped from doing its evil work ever again. As you can probably guess, this is the point my bubble of ‘chilled-out-persona’ got well and truly popped.

The keyboard took a quick slam dunk to the lounge floor and a quick covering of my eyes as again every key was popped out, this time peppering the whole room and me with bits of black key plastic. Now I had a mess to sweep up as well! Talk about pouring gasoline on a fire! I tried jumping up and down on the keyboard but nearly broke my neck falling over on the third jump as it skidded out across the wooden floor!

“Oh no… you don’t get away that easily!” I growled and scooped it up from under the couch and marched it to the kitchen. I kid you not, I was actually scolding and threatening the flipping thing, saying it out loud. And.. I meant it! I threw open the yard door in the kitchen and reached behind the fridge where I keep my intruder piece of wood, a big old heavy table leg.

I then tossed the keyboard out the door into the yard and proceeded to chase it around the yard, hitting it as hard as I could with the table leg weapon. After a few minutes I was puffing and panting like a marathon runner and the bloody keyboard was still kinda in one piece, albeit minus the keys, tough little fecker!

I was bent over double and breathing heavily and staring at the evil thing when I suddenly realised how good it felt. I mean how good I felt. The blood was coursing through my veins and man it felt (thwacck) good (thwaccckk) hitting (thwack thwack thwack) this piece of (thwaceeekwack) crap keyboard. I distinctly recall myself giggling in a slightly insane way as I merrily bashed away at the black plastic, a bit of dribble may even have hung from my bottom lip. If it didn’t hang there it should have, because I was totally insane for a couple of minutes and it felt sooOoo good. If you have ever seen that TV show Fawlty Towers in the episode where John Cleese beats his car with a bush/branch because it won’t start, you know where I am coming from. I understand now John..

After 10 minutes of cleansing my tortured soul upon the evil keyboard I calmly replaced the intruder stick behind the fridge and cleaned up the mess everywhere and life was good again.. I felt freakin great. I am almost looking forward to my next computer mishap. I think though that all the mice and monitors and keyboards heard the commotion and I am not expecting any trouble any time soon.

Keyboards Beware Mwahaha

Keyboards Beware Mwahaha

Till the next time..

yours slightly insanely

Blagz….

What The Frog!

Ok so.. Stumbled out of bed, headed for the bathroom, looked down
and just before I let it go and this was floating there! What? Eh?
Jaysus.. I don’t remember eating that?

What the Frog?

Someone please tell me how it got there? The possibilities running through my head are very worrying!

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New Photoshop Painting

Catherine Prom2

Just thought I’d try out the “blog this” widget in flickr. You find you picture click blog it and it sends the picture to your blog with some text, as you can see here 🙂

Kinda cool eh.. Clicking on the pic takes you to the full size pic

Dragan effects

Just seeing what it looks like on a webpage..

Dragan-isdBlagger

Hmm I look a bit miserably mean there..

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Catherine Prom1

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To Be Continued

So what’s been happening?

Anne Marie (Gotmewrong, that’s her pic there on the top left of the left sidebar) visited for a way too short week. Sat to Fri. Her day of arrival was wiped out by cancellations heaped upon delays, so that she finally arrived 9pm-ish. Not much time left in the day to do anything but eat and sleep. Which is what we did.

Click image for full size

Eldruphenge

Was a nice week the weather was glorious first few days and we actually managed to do some stuff. Like visit Stonehenge, checked out some of the local views and hit the ‘Designer Outlet Village” for those cheap but classy buys, lol..

Anyone remember this video? It is so cool still…

All Quiet On The Western Front

Yup, very quiet!

Not having seen a decent one since Clint’s Unforgiven and that was back in 1992, that is 16 years ago! Man, does that make you sit up and blink or what?

Oh tell a lie! I recently watched a HD version of “The 3:10 to Yuma” not a bad movie at all. Russell Crowe does a good job of being a badass. For some reason or other I find people either love or hate this guy, no in-betweens. I am nuetral on the issue but he can definitely act he has played in some great films over the past few years.

The football season is finished in the UK and the only thing left to us this summer, is the Euro Championships, in which England rather spectacularly managed to fail to qualify. So I will probably be calling the cable company Monday and cancelling my sports package until the start of the next football season later in the year.

There is no way I am spending my summer sitting indoors watching some German diving asshole con a referee into yet another penalty or some spitting Italian cheat goad a player into getting booked.

Sure if we (England) were there I could handle the indignation, but like I care if Hans Bakflip dives over the flying drool of Gissepe Flob and causes the referee’s head to implode in the resulting conundrum of who gets booked.

Actually the referee’s head imploding would be worth a YouTube watch.

Maybe this summer I’ll think about digging out the fishing gear from the attic and get my arse out to the river or lake and catch me some rays. Yeah I don’t mean the fish when I say ‘rays’ I mean the ultraviolet kinda rays. Except I won’t of course, as I have not done so for the last few years…

Hooking a fish and dragging it up out of the water to watch it gasp for breath as I weigh and photograph its discomfort has kinda lost its appeal.

I don’t know what happened but sometime over the last year or two I have gone soft. I mean, I have no problem with catching a fish and eating it (cooked of course, sushi eeeew) that to me is a natural thing to do. But hmm it feels sort of wrong to just hook it through the lip and let it struggle half to death before lifting it out of its natural environment and then subject it to some friendly suffocation.

I read somewhere; “If a fish could scream, would you still fish for fun?”. Ouch… Can you imagine hooking a fish and having to listen to its squeals and screams of pain as you ‘played’ it on your rod and line, only then have to listen to it gasp and cough and splutter almost dying of no breath as you held it up for your buddy to photograph?

Ok that was a bit surreal, but you know where I am coming from. Right?

See I told you I was going soft.

What really appeals to me more, is to go hunting with my camera. I’d still catch the rays, see the wildlife and get my arse out of the house and away from the computer keyboard.

……Eek! It’s Saturday
It is 4:20pm and it is exactly a week to the hour before Anne Marie (Gotmewrong) arrives from Denmark and I still haven’t started tidying or cleaning the house.

Hmm well it does feel a little bit late to start now, so maybe I’ll start tomorrow instead. That sounds like my kind of plan, yup. I expect this will continue until about …

Thursday by then I should be starting to panic a little about starting the cleaning and tidying, and hopefully panicking enough to actually do some. Yeah fat chance, next it’ll be..

Friday and I’ll be scanning the telephone directory for cleaning agencies that can immediately send around an army of dwarf Filipino women.

Saturday arrives..

So… having managed to put off the cleaning and tidying every day until it was too late to do and after a screaming argument with the cleaning agency over the price per hour of a dwarf Filipino cleaner (my argument was they are so small I should get a 2 for 1 deal) and just as I rather cleverly pointed out that shorter arms means less coverage by the duster and cleaning cloths.. the agency receptionist put the phone down on me.. I find I am left gripping the steering wheel a little tighter than normal as I drive to the airport to pick up Anne Marie..

My eyes are on the road and for all intents and purposes i am concentrating on my driving but inside my head… “sorry about the mess but..” and “I was right in the middle of sorting that out when..” .. “Nope those are not my socks have no idea how they got there..” … “Maybe the cat dragged it in? It isn’t mine!“.. (I don’t have a cat by the way)

Then of course during the period of the ‘visit‘ the constant monitoring of where she is allowed to wander and peek, lest she find my hurriedly pushed pile of of junk lurking, or maybe that pile of trash that got kicked under the couch out of sight, or worse ever.. the spiderman underpants stuffed under the cushion, etc.

Oh man, it would be easier to just tidy and clean up now, whilst I have still got a week to go?

Except.. I am hungry now, perhaps I will eat first then start cleaning after the meal? Yes that works, I’ll do that, I’ll clean and tidy later, or maybe tomorrow because by the time I have eaten and then had a cup of tea and……