Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A non-running computer produces fewer errors

New Scientist has an article about how a quantum computer program has reached an answer without actually being turned on.

This one is too weird to even comment on. That's quantum physics for you.


EvokeTV is a recently launched service that will be replacing TVGuide in my bookmarks. It offers quick listings, show details and RSS feeds so you never miss a show. The RSS feeds can also be easily incorporated into a website or blog to let other people know what shows you like and what you are currently watching.

My favorite features are the speed and the absence of ads. TVGuide uses Flash, banners, pop-ups and every other scummy web design in the book, and it is often so slow that the show is off before you can find the listing. EvokeTV serves up listing instantly and with the RSS feeds you don't even need to visit the site.

This makes me think that a recent article I read about short selling the stock of companies competing with other companies that give away the same service for free might not be a bad idea. Too bad TVGuide isn't publicly owned.

Genetic Programming in use at NASA

NASA has announced that in March it will launch three small Space Technology (ST5) satellites into orbit. Each will be carrying a small antenna that was evolved by a network of computers using Genetic Programming. This will be the first artificially evolved object to have flown in space.

The GP software is running on 80 personal computers, and has since been used to evolve other designs including microscopic gyroscopes.

Update: Here is a new article from Popular Science about John Koza, the father of Genetic Programming. It mentions that the antenna was created by one of his students and gives a nice account of the history of GP.

A Scanner Darkly

Here is a link to the new trailer for the screen adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel A Scanner Darkly. It looks like the film is an interesting type of animation called Digital Rotoscoping, similar to what is used in the latest Charles Schwab commercials. The March 2006 issue of Wired magazine also has a nice story about the movie.

A Scanner Darkly will open in theaters on July 7th, and stars Keanu Reeves, Robert Downy Jr. and Winona Ryder.

Wikipedia on the iPod

If you have an iPod from generations 1-4 you can now carry a copy of Wikipedia around with you at all times. Encyclopodia uses iPodLinux to dual boot between the iPod operating system and Linux, where you can access a local copy of Wikipedia in English, German or Italian. Installation looks very simple, but unfortunately iPodLinux isn't supported on my 5th generation video iPod.

The Encyclopodia project is hosted on SourceForge, the world's largest open source software development website

Friday, February 17, 2006

Fat Cat video test

Google Video has a new feature that lets you embed one of their videos into a website with a minimum of hassle. I saw this video of a fat cat come across my RSS feed and thought it would be a good test. I have a cat that is about half this size that the vet says is obese. After seeing this I think he's skinny and has a lot of catching up to do.

That works nicely. Teh Google does it again.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ironing clothes is so 2005

The BBC is reporting on the invention of a machine that can wash, dry and iron your clothes, oddly enough called WashDryIron. Oliver Blackwell, a 23 year old student at the University of Plymouth developed the machine as part of a final project. It can handle up to 16 items at a time, including king size sheets. The inventor estimates that the machine will retail for £800-£900 ($1387 - $1561) and save on the order of 10 days a year in ironing time.

"A friend's father said he wouldn't have got married if I'd come up with this sooner," Blackwell said.

Optimus Prime it's not

YouTube.com has some fascinating video of a transforming robot. I'm not sure how much of the behavior is programmed, but it is an nice proof of concept.

Any bets if this is an Autobot or a Decepticon?

Here is another link to a video of a car tossing robot. Those crazy Japanese. Next they'll be inventing a salad tossing robot.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

GAs on Raccoon Mountain

I've cleaned up my Master's thesis and posted it to the Internet Archive. It contains some good information about Genetic Algorithms and how they can be applied to solve real-world problems.