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Thursday
Aug132009

Tanked Ep.66 for Tuesday August 11 2009

ANNOUNCEMENTS

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- chris is in europe. is spoiled fuck. will return some day.


TECH


Amazon Confirms Leaked Zune HD Pricing


Yesterday, a Best-Buy-based-tipster revealed that Zune HD pricing would be $220 (16GB) and $290 (32GB). Now,
Amazon's pre-order page is confirming the price. For Best Buy and Amazon to get pricing wrong seems highly unlikely.
[Amazon via Zunespring]

Some loyal Giz readers and Best Buy employees sent us a couple shots of the much-anticipated Zune HD's packaging, and they clearly state that the gorgeous PMP will be available on September 15th. Break out the wallets, people.

 

It's a little later than we thought (we had guessed a week earlier) but we suppose we'll wait. Anxiously. There's still no official price, but we're pretty confident in our $220/$280 for 16GB/32GB target. So mark your calendars and check your bank accounts if you want some of that gorgeous OLED media goodness. [Thanks, Anonymous Tipsters!]


Gizmodo

Robots to get their own operating system



http://www.joblo.com/newsimages1/irobot.jpg

Each robot is individually manufactured to meet a specific need and more than likely built in isolation.

This sorry state of affairs is set to change. Roboticists have begun to think about what robots have in common and what aspects of their construction can be standardised, hopefully resulting in a basic operating system everyone can use. This would let roboticists focus their attention on taking the technology forward.

One of the main sticking points is that robots are typically quite unlike one another.

On top of all this, each robot has its own unique hardware and software, so capabilities like balance implemented on one robot cannot easily be transferred to others.

Anne-Marie Bourcier of Aldebaran Robotics in Paris, France sees this changing if robotics advances in a manner similar to personal computing. For computers, the widespread adoption of Microsoft's nbvcZxc vnbm,Disk Operating System (DOS), and later Windows, allowed programmers without detailed knowledge of the underlying hardware and file systems to build new applications and build on the work of others.

The challenge of building a robot OS for widespread adoption is greater than that for computers. "The problems that a computer solves are fairly well defined. There is a very clear mathematical notion of computation," says Brian Gerkey of the robotics research firm Willow Garage in Menlo Park, California. "There's not the same kind of clear abstraction about interacting with the physical world."

Nevertheless, roboticists are starting to make some headway.The Robot Operating System or ROS is an open-source set of programs meant to serve as a common platform for a wide range of robotics research. It is being developed and used by teams at Stanford University in California, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Technical University of Munich, Germany, among others.

ROS has software commands that, for instance, provide ways of controlling a robot's navigation, and its arms, grippers and sensors, without needing details of how the hardware functions. The system also includes high-level commands for actions like image recognition and even opening doors. When ROS boots up on a robot's computer, it asks for a description of the robot that includes things like the length of its arm segments and how the joints rotate. It then makes this information available to the higher-level algorithms.

ROS is not the only robotic operating system vying to be the standard. Microsoft, for example, is trying to create a "Windows for robots" with its Robotics Developer Studio, a product that has been available since 2007.

Gerkey hopes to one day see a robot "app store" where a person could download a program for their robot and have it work as easily as an iPhone app. "That will mean that we have solved a lot of difficult problems," he says.



New Scientist

VIDEO GAMES

Batman: Arkham Asylum demo sells game, characters feel fresh

Batman: Arkham Asylum demo sells game, characters feel fresh

 

Batman has been doing a good job of delivering what seems to be an adult experience in Teen-level ratings these days. The Dark Knight was a sometimes-disturbing look into the world of Batman, with a now-iconic take on the sociopathic joker... that came with a PG-13 rating. Batman: Arkham Asylum likewise delivers a brutal fighting system and mature themes in a game that comes complete with a Teen rating. The demo for the title is out now—for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC—and it's pretty much your duty as a gamer to give it a go.

Batman has rarely been treated well in the gaming world, but Arkham Asylum strikes the player as a game that understands its characters. The Joker is never really locked up in Arkham, not really. It's simply a place where he is able to safely plan and scheme; what better place for the clown prince of crime than one where he is surrounded by his fellow criminals and mad men? Arkham Asylum points out that this is one of the few places that the Joker feels at home, and even in the introductory scenes Batman seems out of place and even somewhat awkward. The point is made: Batman is comfortable stopping the Joker's plots, but once he's apprehended there is no clear idea of what to do with him.

The characters are ably voiced by Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, the men who brought both Batman and the Joker to life in the animated series, and the character design is a mix between what we're used to in the comics and what we've seen in the movies. Arkham Asylum shows an incredible amount of confidence; this is a game that isn't tied into any one version of the characters, but instead creates its own take. One look at Killer Croc will let you know that there may be some surprises ahead.

We've discussed the fighting system at length in the past, but in the context of the game itself, out of the Challenge Mode, it works just as well. It's not button-mashing, not exactly, but you'll have to pay attention to context and spacing much more than which button lands what attack. The demo gives you just enough time to try out the fighting, and then some of the swooping and hunting action, before booting you out. It's worth playing more than once simply to see more of the fighting animations—and they do look painful—or to take a few different approaches to hunting the Joker's henchmen in the one room where you're given more freedom to move. There are some downsides to the demo. The environment seems sterile and somewhat unconnected to the characters inside it; there is very little environmental interaction other than the gargoyles that allow you to swing around near the ceiling. The voice actor who plays Commissioner Gordon is passable at best, and the difficulty level is pretty light. The camera can also be dizzying in places. That being said, it does exactly what it's supposed to do: introduce you to the game, get you comfortable with some of the mechanics, and leave you wanting more.


ars technica

SCIENCE




MOVIES

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Review

So is it "Yo, Joe!" or "Oh, no! "?

http://dietrichthrall.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/gi_joe.jpg

by Christopher Monfette


The movie was better than expected, as long as you remember what you are going to see and don't take it too seriously. You might be able to enjoy it. The cartoon was goofy, so why shouldn't the film be? It is almost NON STOP action. Go in looking to see a masterpiece of cinematic arts and you might as well put your money in the toilet and flush.


IGN Movies Rates it a 3.5 of 5

IGN Movies

AUTO





ODD NEWS


Bride spends first night with crate of vodka




Tue Aug 11, 3:27 pm ET

BERLIN (Reuters) – A bride in Germany spent her wedding night

passed out next to a crate of vodka in the back seat of a car

and had to be rescued by police when the BMW began to overheat in the sun.

Police in the western city of Cologne said Monday

the inebriated 30-year-old remained unconscious

even after they smashed the car window to get her out.

"Only after being shaken several times did she eventually regain consciousness,"

Still clad in her wedding dress,

the dazed woman had to scramble through the broken window

because she had no idea where the car keys or her husband were, police said.






Nude drunk loses way in New Zealand hotel





Tue Aug 11, 1:29 am ET

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – An extremely drunk, naked man

lost his way at a New Zealand hotel and ended up sleeping in the wrong room,

forcing its female occupant to hide in the bathroom, local media reported.

The 29 year-old Australian man had gone back to the hotel in the resort town of Queenstown

with a woman, but got up in the night and wandered into a bedroom where a couple were sleeping.

"He was a bit surprised that there were two people in his room and he was butt naked,

As the intruder slept, the startled woman took refuge in the bathroom as her husband summoned hotel staff.

The man, who could not remember whom he had been with nor what room he had been in,

and had no clothes or wallet.

Police gave him a ride home clad in a hotel bathrobe,

but let him off after the guests and hotel decided not to press charges.

"It was far too funny," said Watt.





Shark hitches ride on boat




Aug. 10, 2009 at 2:05 PM
HAULOVER BEACH, Fla., Aug. 10 (UPI) -- A group of Florida boaters
spear fishing and lobster diving said they received the shock of their lives.
a bull shark jumped up on the deck of their vessel.

Michael Powers said he and his friends were boating on a 21-foot vessel

off Haulover Beach, Fla., Saturday when the 5 1/2 foot bull shark

jumped onto the vessel, WSVN-TV, Miami, reported Monday.

"One minute it was in the air, the next minute it was in the boat

just beating everything in God's creation," Powers said.

"It hit one of the crew members.

It hit Patricia, then it went between Paul's legs and my legs in the back.

We're all scattering for cover trying to get up on the deck

and out of anywhere we could, just to be safe."

"We waited for her to calm down after 30 minutes and bleeding all over the deck

and busting everything up," he said.

"We tail roped her and we tried to lift her out with a pole and a net

we used to get the lobster in. The thing probably weighed 100 to 125 pounds,

so there was no doing that. We were able to get the rope underneath it,

then we went ahead and pulled it up between the live-well here,

got it up on the deck, and we man handled it,

grabbed it by its fins and threw it in the water."

Powers said the boat sustained minor damage as a result of the shark incursion

and none of his passengers were injured.






Man towed after sign moved


new york post

NEW YORK, Aug. 10 (UPI) --
A New York man said he was hit with a $95 ticket
and a $185 tow fee after he parked
and a city crew later moved a diplomat-only parking sign to his space.

Shavit Mekeiten said he parked his car on East 41st Street near Second Avenue

at 3:30 a.m. Thursday and saw no signs indicating that his car

could not remain in the spot until Friday, the New York Post reported Monday.

However, six hours after Mekeiten parked, a Department of Transportation crew arrived

on the scene and moved a sign stating the spot was for diplomats only

from the rear of the car to the front of the vehicle.

The car was quickly towed, despite protests from residents

who had seen the signs put in place after the car had been parked,

The sign was apparently moved to ad extra parking to the New Zealand Consulate,

"They don't care anymore. They just have to tow a certain number of cars per driver,

and they do it at any cost," Mekeiten said.

"They didn't put up any signs saying they would change the rules."

Mekeiten said he plans to fight the ticket and towing fee,

but he conceded the legal battle would likely cost him additional time and money.

"They treated me like I shot someone. This is really, really unfair.

I didn't do anything wrong," he said.

City officials admitted to moving the signs

and the police department had no comment on the matter.