I gave a presentation on robotics today and it went very well. The presentation was supposed to be 45 minutes but the other presenter could not make it so I talked for 70 minutes including answering quite a few questions.  Japan is well known for their robotics so it was a great honor to be able to talk about Robotics here.  I really enjoyed speaking with others on the topic at Kansai Gaidai University. You can view the presentation here: https://www.slideshare.net/secret/K7IOX99KfYRp30  
A few years ago Dell started selling only machines with Intel processors. I have been a fan of AMD processors so this bothered me. From everything I have read, the Athlon 64 is superior to the latest Pentium 4 Prescott. There is more word that Dell is reconsidering their decision to go exclusively with Intel. This isn't the first time Dell has talked about selling machines with AMD processors. On prior occasions, these statements have been used primarily to get concessions from Intel. Hopefully this time it will be different.…

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Late in the summer, Microsoft released the second service pack for Windows XP. This service pack primarily included security fixes. The funny thing is, recently a security group found 10 problems in the service pack. There will always be new flaws to find but this is an exceptionally high number of flaws to find. Also of note is the finding of NSA backdoors included in all NT-based Windows operating systems including Windows 2000, XP, and 2003. Microsoft people have denied it but some people working for Microsoft did not even…

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I visited the Matsushita (Panasonic) technology center in Osaka today with some friends.  At Matsushita, I got to see a number of new technologies that are either my right now or will soon be released. Home automation Quite a few of them work with a 3g cell phone. One example is their intercom system. A person rings the bell at your house and if you do not answer it in a certain amount of time, your phone rings and you can see and hear the person you are talking to.…

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Ian, Chris, and I have all been waiting for a game called Dungeon Siege 2 to be released. The game was created by a company called Gas Powered Games and then acquired by Microsoft. It was slated to be released back in August but the release date was pushed back and the latest news lists the release date as Spring 2005. The game is an RPG similar to many Diablo clones with a more 3d look. Where Dungeon Siege majorly differentiates itself is in the way you develop a character.…

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I was using Gmail the other day and I noticed that the ads kicked in. I did not have ads on my account for a long time. They are not annoying or anything. They sit on the right side of the screen and they are related to the content of your emails. This caused some controversy when Google first said they would target ads based on email content because people did not want their messages scanned. It does not bother me. I certainly want to protect my privacy but email…

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Robot pets are the latest thing in Japan.  Take, for example, the Robosapien.  This robot is making the average person more comfortable with robots in the home. Now companies are starting to make robots that look, feel, and act like household pets such as cats, dogs, and gerbils. Opposition to robotic pets However, some organizations are not very excited about the prospect of robotic pets.  "The turn toward having robotic animals in place of real animals is a step in the right direction," says PETA spokeswoman Lisa Lange. "It shows…

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I see that Apple iPods are getting popular in Japan. It makes me wonder if iPods will eventually supplant the Sony MiniDisc in Japan.  The most popular music device in Japan is still the MiniDisc. I see everyone carrying a MiniDisc and listening to them on the train but following MiniDisc in far second is the iPod. I went to the Apple store in Osaka over the weekend and it was really nice. It is a large metal building that looks like one of their machines with a large glowing…

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This is the new Apple iMac. Everything is built into the monitor. It has a slot-loading DVD burner, a large widescreen display, and the G5 processor. Very sleek and an efficient design. One misleading thing about it is that while it is a G5, all the desktop machines are Dual G5's so this one will not perform at the same level as the standard desktop companions.   Despite all the rave reviews of the last iMac, I did not like it but this one is a completely different animal. The…

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It is really interesting to see how many people have Apple computers here. Apple Macintosh computers are really popular among the foreign ex-patriots, students, and teachers in Japan. I figured after I met the first one that I would not meet many more but there are actually a number of people living in my apartment complex who brought Macs with them rather than PCs. One of my students saw that I had a Mac and asked me if Macs were more popular than PCs in the US because he noticed so…

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