October 22, 2003

Robotics

The Robots are coming!

Here's a report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe that says robot orders in first half of 2003 were up by 26% to the highest level ever recorded; worldwide growth in the period 2003-2006 will reach an average annual rate of 7.4%; and household robots are starting to take off. It is projected that sales of all types of domestic robots (vacuum cleaning, lawn-mowing, window cleaning and other types) in the period 2003-2006 can reach some 638,000 units.

Posted by randy at 08:31 AM

October 08, 2003

Robotics

One more for the wish list

Here's another item for under the tree this year: an UAV (unmanned
autonomous vehicle). This picture is from an article in Wired magazine.

Wired_UAV_01.jpg

A picture of more vehicles like this is here.

Posted by randy at 11:48 AM

Miscellaneous

Quote of the day

Found this quote today:

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

- Robert A. Heinlein -

Posted by randy at 11:40 AM

October 07, 2003

Politics

Black Box Voting

The folks at blackboxvoting.com have made their excellent book available for free download at their site. If you haven't heard of them, they did an extensive study on the electronic voting machines and came to some very scary conclusions. They show in detail how easy it is to 'edit' the votes, then edit the log that shows you edited the votes. There is no paper trail, no way of auditing or doing a re-count. The entire system was designed so poorly in terms of security and traceability that it is truly depressing.

They will be tracking live trouble reports during the California recall election, starting at 6pm pacific time, at the BBV Report site. It should be interesting to see what problems crop up, and what impact they have.

Posted by randy at 05:28 PM

Robotics

New robots

Hey, here's an item for my Christmas wish-list: A new robot, available from Neiman-Marcus, for only $400,000 each! They are made by Robotics International. Details here.

rcom_iri3000w.jpg

Well, I have to be honest, as much of a robot freak that I am, I think I would spend $400K on lots of other things before I bought one of those puppies.

Posted by randy at 05:10 PM

Humor

Nigerian saga

Well, the e-mails continue, but they're not so exciting, so I won't be posting every one here. Basically he is now asking me to come to Nigeria, send a lawyer to Nigeria, or, Option C, pay his lawyer to represent me! So I just sent an e-mail, suppposedly to his lawyer, to find out how much he wants. I can't believe anyone would actually fall for this scam.

Posted by randy at 07:54 AM

October 06, 2003

Humor

Again with Nigeria...

Here's the latest message from Nigeria:

Hello MR. Randy,
How are you today? I will send you the Authorisation letter from the court and a copy of the deposite Certificate of the fund, first thing tomorrow morning , i am not in the office right now, so expect it tomorrow and immediatly you get it, call me on this number +234-80235-50613,so that my lawyer can go ahead with the proceedure, hope hear from you soon,


Rgegards,
Mr. Shola Martins

==============================================

And my reply this time:

Hello Mr. Shola,
Okay! I gave your phone number to my lawyer, so now we get going! My lawyer will call you! Should my lawyer call your lawyer, or call you direct?

Randy

Posted by randy at 09:50 AM

Humor

Nigeria cont'd

Here's my latest message to my buddy Shola (I've edited out my actual info for this blog, to keep the spam to a minimum):

mr. shola,
sorry for no reply long time! this is my email at work, so didn't see your meesag until today monday mornign. I hope i didn't delay to long and miss the ship! Here is the informations you are looking:

Personal e-mail: (my throwaway e-mail)@yahoo.com
Full name: Randy A. Yahuie
Fax Number: (my e-fax number)

Can you send me a fax of your documents to show you are real thing? then I send my bank account informations!

Randy

Posted by randy at 08:49 AM

Humor

News from Nigeria

Well, since I was away from work on the weekend, my Nigerian friend has been missing me. Here are the messages I found in my box this morning, in chronological order:

Subject: can't underestinate the confidentality and urgency,so back back to me immediatly for the next step

Hello Randy,
How are you today? sorry I have long meeting yesterday, so I could not reply your email, I am giving you my words, there is nothing to be afraid about, it won't take much to conclude this transaction, when you get to know me better, you will understand who is dealing with you, I have contacted my lawyer, all I need is your co-operation your confidentiality because of the risk involve in such hug amount and this information is needed from you by my lawyer to know how serious you are, like,

(I ) Full names and personal email address, phone and fax number, for easy communication,
(Ii) Personal Bank A/c in formations, to prepare you as the only Beneficiary, for transfer reason.
(iii) Photocopy of passport page of your international passport for identification means or photocopy of your drivers license.
However, immediately this in formations reach me today, my lawyer will contact you, pls, remember that it is confidential and urgent, yes your money is 6.8 million dollars, i want the safety of this fund ,ok?

==========================================

Subject: you can cal me: +234-80235-50613

(no body for this e-mail)

==========================================

Subject: WHAT IS HAPPENING? EVERYTHING IS SET AND PREPARED

Hello Mr. Randy,
How are you? Hope you are in good health, I have passed all necessary instruction to the right authorities for arrangement, you are now the delay, fund is ready for transfer, but the absence of your information and attention is needed,

===========================================

So now I just need to come up with another e-mail to find out how hard he wants to work for this...

Posted by randy at 08:01 AM

October 03, 2003

Humor

My Reply

OK, so here is my reply to the Nigerian scam e-mail I received today. Just for the hell of it, I'm pretending to be a limited-english speaker:

Mr. martins,
..- thanks you many for this oportunity! I hope I understand you rightly- I get 6.8 million dollars?? whoopee! please sned to my acount right now! I can send you me account numbers address and things but first i want to be careful. sometimes offers in the mail are not the real thing!! i find address of nigeria trade union on the internet, and send my informations asap! please let me know when you receive my accounts infomation!

sorry for my english!
randy

Posted by randy at 11:48 AM

Humor

My Nigerian Friend

I got an e-mail from the head of the Nigerian Trade Union today! I feel honored that he picked me to receive $6.8 million dollars - what a deal. Here's the actual e-mail I received:

Subject: URGENT; INVESTMENT PROPOSAL AND ENQUIRY
Dear Friend,

How are you? Hope fine. My name is Mr. Shola Martins, The head of trade union of My Country. I am writing to seek for assistance to help set up an investment with the sum of usd.27.5 m, (twenty million five hundred thousand united states dollars) form Account #14-255-2004/utb/t in the Central Bank Of Nigeria, as the trade union as decided to create a measure of Investment in a suitable Country like yours.

However, because of the risk involved in transferring a huge amount of this nature, the Union as reach a decision to share with any honest person, who will successful help in this transaction 25%, because the person will be involved in all aspect, as it involves his or her cooperation.

So, if you are interested I will need you to send me your private phone number and fax, photocopy of passport, and your bank account. So we can send to you the documents relating to this transfer immediately you receive this email for confirmation and approval reason.

Hope to hear from you soon,

Best Regards,
Mr. Shola martins,
Head of Trade union

pls, also rply to: mr_shola_marttins@yahoo.com

Now I'm trying to think of a good reply, just to have a little fun with my new friend. Stay tuned.

Posted by randy at 07:44 AM

October 02, 2003

Politics

Leaky reporters

This CIA leak story is getting a lot of press. Is it me, or does it seem that everyone is ignoring Robert Novak, the one who actually published the name to the world? I know about the freedom of the press, but given that there is a law explicitly forbidding revealing names of agents, why is no one getting angry at Novak? And why does it take a huge investigation to try to find the "leak" when they could just ask the reporter where he got the information? Given the wide powers of the patriot act when it comes to national security - holding people for over a year with no outside contact, no lawyer, and no trial, why is it so hard to force Novak to reveal his source?

Posted by randy at 08:55 AM

Humor

Euro screws the Dollar

I love this picture - it's apparently a Moscow ad campaign gone bad. It shows the Euro.. er.. having its way with the Dollar. There's more info in the article.

euroscrew.jpg

Posted by randy at 08:30 AM

October 01, 2003

Humor

Stealth Disco

Here's a website that made me laugh out loud at work. Stealth Disco is the art of disco dancing behind an unsuspecting co-worker, while an accomplice films the attack. Start by looking at the "Best Of" section. Turn up the sound. I can't wait to try this in my office. If I do, I'll post the video!

Posted by randy at 11:36 AM

Computers

Anti-Spam Link

Here's a cool link that is supposed to trap spam-bots in a death-spiral. "Spam-bots" are programs that surf the web, looking for e-mail addresses to "harvest," and add them to their database. This link looks like a list of e-mail addresses, and at the bottom is a link to go to the next page, but it really just generates a new list of bogus e-mails. I'll give it a try by putting it on my links list.

Posted by randy at 11:29 AM