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The Coolest Job On The Planet? 20 March 2002 Edition
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Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
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Robots seem to be big news these days, especially in Japan where several huge corporations are busy developing some great new examples of machines that were once strictly the domain of sci-fi.

The two most notable examples of Japanese robotics in recent times have been Sony's cute little dog Aibo and Honda's incredibly human-like walking robot.

And now both companies have taken another step towards making such machines an every-day item.

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Sony's dog has been usurped by the new SDR-4X, a robotic doll-like machine that has a 60,000 word vocabulary, can recognise people's faces, and even sings and dances.

For its part, Honda has upgraded its incredible Asimo walking robot with a view to eventually turning it into a practical tool that could replace human beings in many roles.

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  • SKy tv... - bede
  • Set-top box options... - Robert
  • E-mails to MPs... - Simon
  • PC in your rack... - Chris
  • tivo... - bede
  • SKY PVR box... - Craig
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    Of course, none of this technology comes cheap. The price of Sony's little robotic man has yet to be set but indications are that it will cost at least as much as a luxury car.

    Honda doesn't seem ready to sell its Asimo man, but you can lease him for around NZ$360,000 a year if you're that rich.

    Now, while all this technology is really impressive, perhaps the coolest thing about it is that there are people being paid extremely good money to develop these things.

    This would have to be one of the best jobs in the world wouldn't it? Perhaps second only to being a Formula 1 or WRC racing driver where you get paid millions of dollars to thrash the guts out of some of the world's fastest and most expensive cars.

    Please don't dwell on this as you sit at your desk cranking out more code or laying up yet another brochureware website. I suspect that now the "cool factor" has worn off many things Internet, we're going to see some in the industry looking for more thrilling employment.

    Is the IT/Internet industry still providing you with all the job satisfaction you're seeking -- or are you contemplating a change of vocation?

    Have your say.

    Aardvark's Garage Sale
    It's time to clear out the closet here at Aardvark's country residence so I'm having a bit of a garage sale. I need to spend a whole lot more time and money on my jet engine R&D activities (now that the defense industry has shown a very real interest) -- so I'm trying to scrape up some more cash.

    First up -- I'm selling my pulsejet manufacturing business. This would be perfect for either a semi-retired engineer/machinist who wants to earn some pretty good money building these things and exporting them to the world -- or an established engineering shop who want to break into a new (very export oriented) market. I can provide an ongoing stream of orders through my website and since I've run out of time to meet the demand, the sale will include a growing "waiting list" of new customers ready to place their orders.

    Second up -- I've still got 300,000 7am.com shares (representing about 30% of the company) that I'm looking to unload. I'm afraid I can't offer much information on the state of the company -- they haven't spoken with me for ages so it's a bit of a pig in a poke. However, they survived the most critical part of the dot-com crash and are now claiming to have nearly 250,000 websites in their ticker network so that's got to be worth something. Any sale would be subject to other shareholders exercising their preferential rights -- but all offers will be considered.

    Thirdly -- I have an RC model helicopter here that I have built but never flown. It's a Robbe Mosquito Basic with a JR X-3810 radio, JR piezo gyro, OS46FSH engine and a Dave Brown flight simulator. Everything was purchased brand-new a couple of years ago and is in pristine condition (having spent all that time in a box in the storeroom). Since I haven't had any time to fly it in the past two years I figure there's little chance I'll find time to fly it in the next two years, so out it goes.

    Anyone interested in any of these things should drop me a line.

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    Security Alerts
    Microsoft offers patch for Java software (CNet - 06/03/2002)

    CERT Warns of Flaws In RADIUS Implementations (InternetNews - 6/03/2002)

    Webmasters Urged To Plug PHP Security Hole NewsBytes - 27/02/2002)

    MP3 Files Not Always Safe With Top Media Players (NewsBytes - 25/02/2002)

    MS server bugs open the door to hackers (ZDNet - 12/02/2002)

    Virus Alerts
    Gibe worm poses as a Microsoft update (ZDNet - 6/03/2002)

    German worm makes PCs kaput (The Reg - 20/02/2002)

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