New Type of Lift (Elevator)

From Seth Godin comes news of an amazing lift innovation that is dramatically more efficient because you enter your floor into a console in the lobby, not into the lift itself. It doesn’t even HAVE buttons inside the cab, yet it increases speed to destination by 30% (less time to stare at your feet) and what’s more, it can be retrofitted into existing buildings.

The lift in question is made by Schindler Elevator and you can read all about it here. If you’re in the market for a new lift, check it out!


Back to the Sony SDR-4X

I’ve mentioned Sony’s new prototype SDR-4X humanoid walking robot before on these pages. News comes today, that version II has now had its sensors and software upgraded to make it less likely to topple over, a common problem with bipedal robots. Simulating human movement has been one of the biggest hurdles for robot makers. Unlike their human counterparts, bipedal machines find it extremely difficult to get back on their feet after a fall. But now apparently, when it senses that it’s about to fall, the SDR-4X II will attempt to correct itself. Failing that, it will attempt to curl up so as to protect its more delicate components from damage! I look forward to seeing the real thing, but, at a price Sony state will equate roughly to “that of a luxury car”, it may be a while before I buy one! The whole story is here if you wish to read it.

A Mirror for Raed

Dear Raed / Where is Raed? is back after two days without an internet connection in Baghdad. It seems thousands of people all over the world have discovered this web log. There are now some new updates to read, so go back and pay it another visit. The folks at Google/Blogger have also stepped in to re-host the pictures and create a high capacity mirror for the site. Good for them. It’s great to see Free Speech being practised as well as preached, even if some of the things Salam Pax is writing about are unpalettable to us people who are part of the Coalition forces – and isn’t that part of what the Iraq conflict is all about?

Meanwhile . . .

. . . last night in Tesco in Poole, shoppers wandered around the full shelves as usual, and the little boy found the best toy was the shelf-filler’s stool on wheels; much to the amusement of his Dad, who just stood and watched, and let him play for a while . . . It just seemed a little unreal to me.

Since Lunchtime Today, has lost the entire last month’s postings. The latest post on the site is currently 19th February, but hitting the February Archive page brings back posts up to 28th February. Furthermore, one of the servers Raed’s pictures were hosted on has disappeared, and the pictures themselves have disappeared from the other. (Hence the pic I linked to below has vanished – I’ll leave it linked as below so we know if and when it returns). It’s difficult to know why the last posts have disappeared, because the host is which is not only alive and well and living in the USA, but is now also part of the Google stable. Is this an Iraqi action or an American one? Maybe someone can tell me what’s wrong with reading an unbiased, non-political diary of what it feels like to be a citizen in Bagdhad right now. Keep trying the link folks, hopefully it will return soon.

Where is Raed?

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Where is Raed? By the time you read this, and almost certainly in less than 24 hours from now, the USA and UK will be at war with Iraq. With all the incredible methods of Electronic News Gathering in use today, we’ll be seeing pictures of the whole thing in our living rooms, 24 hours a day, if we so wish.

The one thing we won’t be seeing or hearing much of however, is how it feels to the man or woman in the Iraqi street. Here is a link that has started doing the rounds recently. It’s a Blog, written in Baghdad, in English, by someone who’s staying put and going to be living through it. The writing style is pretty factual. Part of today’s post reads, “It is even too late for last minute things to buy, there are too few shops open. We went again for a drive thru Baghdad’s main streets. Too depressing. I have never seen Baghdad like this.” The picture on the left is one he snapped off his own TV showing the demonstrations in Iraqi streets today, on Iraqi TV. I’ve never talked about political matters here, neither do I intend to as there are many better places to find far more informed views than mine. I will however be reading this Blog as the next few days and weeks progress. You may like to as well. Click the picture or Here.