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Comment: Great News (Score 3, Interesting) 82

by chroma (#42050647) Attached to: Syfy Reality Show Will Feature Giant Boxing Robots

The best thing I've heard about this is that Mark Setrakian is involved. Competitors and real fans of robot fighting know him as one of the great geniuses of the sport.

He won the first Robot Wars with The Master. His later machines, Mechadon and Snake, were far less competitive, but were much more interesting.

Here's a video of Mechadon in action:

Comment: Re:You don't get to design your robot (Score 5, Interesting) 82

by chroma (#42050599) Attached to: Syfy Reality Show Will Feature Giant Boxing Robots

I've been involved with robot fighting for over 15 years.

You're incorrect. Autonomous robots aren't as fun to watch as human controlled ones for at least 2 reasons:

1. The current state of the art just isn't good enough.
2. It's hard to root for a soulless lump of metal, whereas you can vicariously experience the competition through the human competitors.

Also, every robot fighting competition I've ever competed in has allowed autonomous competitors, as long as they have fail-safe remote control. So you're welcome to build your own autonomous fighting robot.

Comment: Inevitable, but more illegal stuff on the way? (Score 2) 343

by chroma (#38807651) Attached to: Pirate Bay To Offer Physical Item Downloads

Copyright and trademark infringement are common and this sort of thing has been a source of controversy for a while now.

But the next big blowup will be over things that are illegal in themselves just by their shape and arrangement of parts. I'm talking about things like weapons, drug paraphernalia, and pathogens. It's likely we'll see a crackdown or at least a panic resulting in calls for licensure of many of the most useful creation tools ever designed.

Take the humble AK-47 rifle, for example. It's designed for ease of manufacture, making it a likely target for replication. This makes enforcing highly restrictive gun laws very difficult in a world full of machines that can build them from simple raw materials.

Comment: I've got one arriving Wednesday (Score 3, Interesting) 199

by chroma (#38649924) Attached to: Google Giving Google TV Another Shot

Over the holidays, I got a chance to give Google TV a serious tryout at my parents' house. They bought the Sony Blu Ray player with Google TV built in.

I liked it so much that I ordered one for my living room. It arrives tomorrow.

The Netflix/Amazon/web integration works very well and there's even an app store. I'm planning to use it for all my TV viewing and getting rid of cable.

Comment: Generating and remembering passwords (Score 5, Interesting) 340

by chroma (#36806126) Attached to: The Science of Password Selection

I've become a recent convert to the idea of using a password card or
password chart to remember my passwords for me. There's not nearly as much to remember, as you use a code to look up the password on a printed card. But if you lose the card, anybody finding it will only see a random sequence of letters and numbers.

Comment: Sony's implementation (Score 1) 535

by chroma (#33894804) Attached to: Huge Shocker — 3D TVs Not Selling

I saw Sony's setup at one of their stores. If you're at all interested, I suggest you go check it out, but please lower your expectations.

The 3D effect is OK and the glasses aren't too awful to deal with, but the image is very flickery, especially if you move your head. It's also not quite as good if you're viewing from an angle; you really need to see it straight on.

Comment: Goldtouch Keyboard (Score 4, Insightful) 586

by chroma (#28509463) Attached to: Lenovo Tinkers With Larger Delete and Escape Keys

I've got a couple Goldtouch keyboards that have a great improvement: extra Delete and Backspace keys on the left hand side of the keyboard. It's very helpful when you've got your right hand on the mouse.

Also, Goldtouch moved the Windows and Right Click/Context Menu keys off of the main area into a separate space. Both of these are great improvements.

Comment: The term "gracious professionalism" (Score 2, Insightful) 110

by chroma (#27951991) Attached to: Dean Kamen Awarded Patent For Robot Competition Rules

I've volunteered with FIRST every now and then when I'm able to.

The phrase "gracious professionalism" always struck me as both condescending to the contestants and unnecessary.

We have the perfectly good term "sportsmanship" which means pretty much the same thing. At various other robotics competitions (BattleBots, Robot Battles, etc.) nearly everyone I've met has been a good sport, and likeable too. Going on and on about "gracious professionalism" at the various official functions implies that the contestants are unable to figure it out on their own and thus need to have it drilled into their heads.

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein