Haruhi Suzumiya has had an assortment of Manga and two seasons of Anime created for and about her, and now she finally has her own Apps. They are simple Apps that allow you some dialog access, a clock, and an alarm function, at least as far as I can tell. While I currently have a small Nihongo (Japanese) vocabulary, I haven’t learned how to read Kanji yet, so I may be missing some functions because I can’t read the instructions. At the moment Haruhi’s AniPoke is free, and until the end of August Mikuru’s AniPoke and Nagato’s AniPoke will each run at $0.99. Once we hit September the other two go back up to their normal $3.99 each. I could not find any difference between the paid and free variations, beyond who the character you were poking was (and no, this series isn’t ANYTHING like Pokeman; shame on you for not knowing that!). The alarm function gives you the voice of the character telling you to pay attention, over and over; it doesn’t stop until you tell it to. Thanks to the folks at Crunchyroll for the heads up on this one.
Again with the Nerdcore music; this time, it’s Computer Friends [Stack the Memory] by the Sniper Twins, the ultimate old-school gamer classic It Is Pitch Dark from M.C. Frontalot, and I Kissed a Nerd from the Damsels of Dorkington.
Now that we have virtual Idols, between Vocaloid and the 3D RL holographic projection process that displays them live on stage, it is time to get creative with our live concerts. Mikunopolis is coming on July 2nd to the stage in LA as part of Anime Expo. Besides being Virtual Idol Hatsune Miku’s first performance in the US, she will be the first ever Virtual Guest of Honor at an American Con. In case you were wondering, her back-up band on stage with her will be non-virtual, but there is always the chance some of the other Virtual Idols will be joining her on stage. SEGA is doing the 3D imaging tech work for the show with Crypton Future Media, the creators of Hatsune Miku, supervising. The videos here were taken at the Miku’s Day Thanksgiving live show in Tokyo on March 9th 2010, and the reports are the 3D tech for the on stage presentation has gotten even better since then.
If you are interested in creating your own Virtual Idol, it was announced today, or yesterday depending on which side of the date line you are on, that Vocaloid is finally being updated (the last new version was released 4 years ago). The program itself has come down in price, and version 3 will be retailing at around $125, but they have not announced what the voice packages are going to run yet. This is supposed to be the most realistic singing voice engine to date, and comes with multi-language support. That means your English language songs can be built from English phonemes now; I am sure anyone who programmed the previous versions to sing in English when it only came with Japanese phonemes is going to be quite excited about that. I think I will save the resources to create your 3D Idol for another post; enjoy the music from the old version of Vocaloid.
Over at NaClBox they are hosting a port of DOSBox to Google’s Native Client playground with one goal in mind: allowing you to play classic DOS games in Chrome. He currently has a limited number of titles set up in demo mode for you to try it out, including Alone in the Dark, the Secret of Monkey Island, and SimCity 2000. All of them play just like the originals, which tells me this VM implementation works great. I was able to play them on a 32 bit XP box, a 64 bit Windows 7 box, a 32 bit Xubuntu box, and just cause I could I then did it on my 64 bit box booting a Knoppix LiveDVD. Not that I recommend that, since all my settings evaporated when I took the disk back out, and Knoppix has its own DOSBox implementation bootable from the xStart GUI or command line menus anyways. I did not have a MAC box to test it on, but it claims to work on them as well.
I am unsure if the goal is to host a bunch of games at that site, but I suspect not. I believe he is trying to develop ports of open source projects like DOSBox for Chrome (the browser and the OS), and that belief is supported by the fact that his source code patch is available for download since this Tuesday so you can figure out how to compile and run your own. My project for this weekend is to see if I can get it built and working here. If I can, I have a few of my own favorite DOS games I look forward to playing again; Gibson’s Neuromancer, Zelazny’s 9 Princes in Amber, and Adam’s Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Thank Ghod I copied the original 5.25′ floppy’s to 3.5′ floppy’s in the early 90s, and then to CD in the late 90s, because I sure don’t have a working floppy drive of any flavor now. I even still have the original packaging on a few of them, although Leather Goddesses of Phobos looks a lot more sedate than my earlier self remembered.
How does this stuff work? The Google browser Chrome has some built in functionality called Native Client, which basically allows you to embed C or C++ code into your web app. This is currently in Beta, and one of the things that will determine whether it gets widely used or abandoned is how it will overcome the obvious security problems you generate by letting random remote people run programs on your machine. Java already solved that issue with the sandbox and restricted code subset approach to running C online, so there is a good chance Google will get there as well. While having DOSBox in the Chrome browser is an easy fix for windows and apple folks looking to run classic DOS programs in those environments, the real power of this port will be realized by people running those programs on their tablets and smart phones.
The person in the video below was built, not grown. He is the Geminoid DK, and he was assembled at the Intelligent Robotics Lab at Osaka University, the next in a long line of androids they have been developing there. Also called the Ishiguro Lab after the chief scientist, Hiroshi Ishiguro, their first realistic android was modeled after its creator, and the latest one was built for and modeled after Associate Professor Henrik Scharfe of Aalborg University in Denmark. Not all of them were a success; in the final clip,the adult woman android now has a job answering questions for the IEEE, but the little girl android modeled on Ishiguro’s daughter has been retired because she thought it was creepy in the extreme. So cheer up, when it comes to our new Evil Robot Overlords, we may be living in the middle of my favorite Pogo quote: We have met the enemy, and he is us!
Kudos to Andrew Tait, who created a virtual machine and used it to install every version of windows*, and then used it to upgrade to the next version. Even better, he screen captured the entire process, and presented it with commentary. This one is just silly geek fun, with the only science fiction aspect being the use of the Doom II game engine to test compatibility from OS to OS.
*: Or at least every version he could find that could be upgraded in sequence. He skipped ME because it could not upgrade to 2000, but only to XP. I agree with his decision, because out of the two OS’s 2000 was real, and ME was a brutal mistake that even Microsoft abandoned as soon as they were able to do so.