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Robots, MMORPGs, and the usual suspects

Archeage Waiting

The MMORPG I play (sort-of, for now, that’s one of my alts above), ArcheAge, is offline for a couple days while they perform server balancing. If all goes well, on Saturday the game will return and I’ll log on to find my avatars moved to a new server with approximately double the population of the old one. This isn’t necessarily a good thing for a solo player like me. The NA/EU distributor of ArcheAge makes large, frequent errors when porting over the Korean content to us. It would be comical if those errors didn’t often cost players lots of time and/or money. Some players didn’t follow the instructions for packing up their homes and farms and may be stunned to find months of work erased because of their own mistakes, too. I signed on to watch the last minutes of my server’s life yesterday. A player pasted the lyrics to REM’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” into faction chat and it was an appropriate send-off. I’m waiting for the restart with hope but low expectations.

Robots! Two mining robots from different companies encounter each other on a rocky planet. Their skills complement each other. Can they work together?

 

On to a couple of personal updates. Jakob remains in the hospital but is conscious, mostly coherent, and able to swallow soft foods like custard. I wish his whole ordeal was over but I don’t wish for him to be gone. As for me, I’m hobbling quite well but still restricted to putting only 50% of normal weight on the leg I broke. Cross your fingers that the surgeon clears me for normal walking when I see him next week. Large sections of my shin remain numb and the scar where he inserted the metal plate is grody to the max, but except for some stiffness in my knee I feel ready to go. Besides that, physical therapy is tedious and I’d rather get back to yoga classes.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

 

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John Oliver on surveillance, with Edward Snowden

While I’m working on a detailed essay about online identity, I’ll move up my usual Wednesday video post. John Oliver did a long segment on government surveillance on his HBO show last night. There are some slow bits, but stick with it, and the Snowden guest segment is very good.

It’s sad that government surveillance has to be simplified down to the issue of “dick pics” to matter to the people on the street that Oliver’s team interviewed.  Sad, but not surprising.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in Privacy and Security, Video

 

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Wednesday films: NOVA ScienceNow on humanoid robots

I was thinking about robots this morning, but I couldn’t choose just one video to share.  So, below are two videos from NOVA ScienceNow: a documentary from last year about the future of humanoid robots, and a program segment that profiles Cynthia Breazeal — founder of JIBO — and her work to develop friendly robots at MIT.  Careful clicking away the overlay ads on the first video (ugh! sorry) and the second video should start at the 28:13 mark; you might need to sit through a few seconds of another segment before the player gets there.

 

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2015 in Our Robot Overlords

 

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Monday music: Mr. Roboto

I got the Kilroy Was Here LP for my 13th birthday and I have to give my parents credit: they somehow survived hearing a teenaged soprano screeching prog rock while doing her chores until I got Duran Duran’s Seven and the Ragged Tiger for Christmas. Ah, the ’80s were fun!

So, when I stumbled across a YouTube video of Paul Rudd Jimmy Fallon lipsynching to “Mr. Roboto” over the weekend, I had to share. Need this to fit my blog theme better? Ok then. Dennis DeYoung sings, “The problem’s plain to see: too much technology. Machines to save our lives. Machines dehumanize.” True or false? Discuss among yourselves.



Bonus video of the Paul Rudd lip synch sing-off I confused with the one above!

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2015 in Our Robot Overlords, Side Topics

 

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US net neutrality protests tomorrow

If you’re reading this, net neutrality matters to you. If you don’t think Internet speed matters, do you remember the mid-90s when a 50k gif would render line by line? How about the days when your video would buffer longer than the length of the video itself? Fight for the Future explains the current issue in the US this way:

Under the proposed rules, cable and phone giants like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon would be able to create a two-tiered Internet, with slow lanes (for most of us) and fast lanes (for wealthy corporations that are willing pay fees in exchange for fast service). They would be able to strike “exclusive” deals for priority on their networks, picking winners and losers in different industries based on contracts not on consumer demand. This would impact the vast majority of web companies—not just the largest companies that use the most bandwidth.

Or, enjoy John Oliver’s explanation:

The FCC was swamped with comments and calls, many spurred by Oliver’s video above. You would think they would have the idea that this is an important issue for Americans, yet now, they are proposing a hybrid solution that still leaves “paid prioritization” as an option.

Emergency protest vigils are being held Thursday evening across the country. Take along a candle, mobile phone, or flashlight if you go.

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2014 in In the News

 

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