Pranking Robots Go Both Ways: Prizes + Doom Assured for All

 

Given that we’re merrily spinning into the abyss thanks to too many tech innovations getting out of hand once the wrong people get their paws on assorted digital keys to the kingdom, the robot apocalypse is rushing ahead full steam and right on schedule with the assistance of some humans who should know better. Still, it’s nice when one is rewarded for one’s curiosity about our future metal and plastic overlords.

Video call service Oovoo dropped off a few interesting robots around NYC a little while back as a test to see if people would react to them correctly and as you an see, only a few nailed the proper responses and were rewarded handsomely for their bravery. Nice. Be kind to that not so immobile human-shaped mechanical being and you get some nifty prizes. I kind of wish I was around Manhattan when this happened as I know the robot playbook to a T at this point and would have won something fun while realizing we’re one step closer to that technical takeover.

 

 

On the other hand, Boston Dynamics? You’re starting to scare me more than ever. BigDog was bad enough, but your new and improved Atlas robot is speeding up the nightmares of many on a few fronts. As you can see from this video, it can walk across uneven terrain with little trouble other than looking like a drunken sailor on leave which will fool and lure some fat cop right up to it in time for a disarming surprise. I bet it’s somewhat bullet resistant and has an unhealthy craving for a phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range.

I’m also betting it remembers stuff like some jerk knocking it around with a freakin’ hockey stick while it’s just trying to do the job of a soon to be out of work American (who’ll no doubt mistakenly blame Mexico for all this job-stealing technology hen they should blame who they work for for saving money by ending those jobs over the border). I’m also betting that jerk with the hockey stick sleeps in a home with quintuple locks on the doors and a laser fence around his property. You know how that abusing your workers stuff ends up, right?

Ah, Robots… you just kill me sometimes. Um, wait – that came out wrong. Eeep.

Random Films: Robo Vampire Makes My Monday More Tolerable…

(thanks, andybluefox!) 

Well, the plasterer is at lunch for an hour (yes, he left before noon!), so there’s a pause in today’s nightmare. In the meantime, after taking some more pinup photos of the wreckage in the kitchen, to keep my sanity level somewhere close to normal I’ve been catching up on some bad movies. Godfrey Ho’s 1988 howler Robo Vampire made my morning thanks to it being even worse (and much funnier) than its title suggests. Swiping badly from Paul Verhoeven’s stellar Robocop is bad enough to dismiss this without even watching it. But toss in hopping ghosts (wait, how does a cyborg fight ghosts outside of some seven-year old kid’s notebook scribbles?), mercenaries, long water torture scenes and slow, dull “chases” and editing that makes the film seem like three or four movies spliced together and you get an instant classic. Well, “classic” in that “How the hell did this ever get made?” manner. Seriously. I’ve seen student films with better quality EVERYTHING than this clunker.

Ah well. Everything exists for a reason, I suppose. This crazy flick just kept me laughing through the continuing (and seemingly never ending) mess that is my apartment. I suppose I should thank Mill Creek Entertainment somewhere in all this because I’m too lazy and busy to seek out and download all those public domain flicks I paid ten bucks for and still consider that a steal because that’s time and bandwidth money I didn’t need to waste. Back in a bit…

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Have a SUPER Monday With These Heroic Gift Ideas…

gift_guide_2014Like it or not, you just can’t get away from superhero-themed gifts anymore. Most of us creaky adults who grew up with a TV in the house can probably recall those holidays and other special occasions where we got our favorite caped or non-caped hero (or villain!) in a box as an action figure or printed on some sort of common object that was now even more special.
This has pretty much always been a successful business for companies jumping on the licensing bandwagon, but the sheer amount of retailers stocking these goods today is staggering. This of course is good for you as a consumer because loads of choice means plenty of retailers socking it out for your hard earned shekels.  Anyway, here are another bunch of cool items to spend your loot on and sure, you can get me something if you feel like it!
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AUTOMATA: Will This Rise of the Robots Flick Be Any Good (or is My Post Title the Tell*)?

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automata_ver2_xlgSure, it’s got that distressed Neil Blomkamp look going for it, a shaved head on Antonio Banderas (along with what looks like an inflatable trenchcoat, ha and ha) and that trailer above looks interesting yet derivative in a few ways. But I’m guessing that October 10 limited US release of AUTOMATA will be the true fortune teller. My own sensors detect a bit of Blade Runner (good), I Robot (bad) and a bunch of other films (which could get ugly if critics and sci-fi fans get picky). Eh, always trust the director, I say. Granted, I’d not heard of Gabe Ibáñez until today when someone asked if I’d seen the trailer, so I don’t know much about him a few seconds on a good search engine would cure. The again, I didn’t know who Alejandro Jodorowsky, Alfonso Cuarón, or Guillermo Del Toro were until I saw films they’d directed.

Still, as usual, I’ll more than save that ticket money and very likely wait around a bit and perhaps see this on cable in oh, about seven or eight months if it disappears from theaters in a hurry. Sometimes you get a hidden and under-appreciated gem in these types of films and sometimes it’s just an expensive clunker. But once in a while it’s a middle ground film that should have gotten more love but rolled over at the box office because of a film or films that were better and more widely advertised. Then again, after being burned by other sci-fi flicks too big for their britches, I prefer to roll the dice at home these days than be stuck in a theater wishing I could change the channel…

*(feel free to Google or whatever Rise of the Robots if you haven’t a clue as to what I meant. Oh wait, I did that for you – you’re welcome)…

ThinkGeek Wants You To Think “ROBOTS!” For Your Next Gifting Project…

f3af_luggo_in_useWhile this year’s National Robotics Week has already passed, you have until April 2, 2015 to snag something if you’re one of those people who celebrates these oddball non-holidays religiously (there’s a joke in there somewhere). ThinkGeek is of course, there for you and all your odd robotic or non-robotic gift wants and needs, so below the jump is a gander at a few items that caught my eye from the company’s latest email blast…

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BUY THIS! mimoco & Lucasfilm Say “May the 4th Be With You” With An R2-A6 Drive

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OK, so I’m a wee bit slow. It took me a while to figure out this whole May 4th thing and the Star Wars connection. All this time I thought it was because George Lucas had a speech impediment. There’s nothing wrong with a little lisp, mind you, but there’s probably something up with YOU if you miss out on this cool SUPER limited edition R2-A6 MIMOBOT, available NOW at mimoco’s online shop.
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Like other MIMOBOT USB drives, this one comes in a few storage sizes (this one’s available in 8 to 128GB models) and also comes LOADED with cool bonuses such as desktop icons, avatars, wallpapers and more. The only thing you won’t get are any Imperial battle station plans, as those are in another droid entirely. Um, I WOULD say “this isn’t the droid you’re looking for”, but mimoco’s really nice PR person would probably beat me up (or hire a bounty hunter to do the deed). I’ll stay on her good side, as I have a “No Blasters!” rule around here that’s strictly enforced by me staying out of trouble. Anyway, go get yourself a new (and VERY useful) droid. You look as if you could use a bit more organization in your life, I say…

Oh, Romo! You’re SO Cute And All, But I Only Have An N-Gage QD!

Hey, Keller Rinaudo? Your Romo is an interesting device and all, but my phone isn’t as “smart” as yours at all (or anything made after 2007) and I don’t plan to change that much. Hey, I only use it for getting calls (and almost no one calls me) and playing games. Sure, I can probably grab a nice used iPhone and be hip like the rest of you cool kids…. but NO iOS or Android device will play the awesome RIFTS: Promise of Power, Pathway to Glory and some other really great N-Gage games that never got released on other mobile platforms or handheld gaming systems.

Hmmm… if you can teach Romo to program games and pull some legal strings so these games popped up on devices and tablets, MAYBE I’ll reconsider. Or maybe not. I like my contract-less freedom and app-less lifestyle…

GE’s “Robots on the Move” TV Spot: Electric Nostalgia (With A Few Missing Parts)…

Nice. I usually hate these well-funded evil corporate spots, but GE has done two nicely nostalgic ones featuring classic cartoon characters (I think that was last year) and now this wonderful spot featuring too many classic to current robots from a few too many films, TV shows and other places. I hope there’s a “making of” video out there that has longer looks at some of my favorites. Of course, a few (well, more than a few) are missing (no Star Wars droids? And hey, a Twonky would have been too FANTASTIC, but oh well). Hmmm, now that I think about it, a longer version with some not so good ‘bots (HAL 9000, Roy Batty, perhaps David from Prometheus) would make for a nice in-joke in Ridley Scott’s upcoming Blade Runner follow-up…