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In the News
Week of March 23, 2002
Maid2Help and Casper reach pre-production; X-mail beta going out this weekend; LaBrea servers shut down.
Maid2Help is made to help
Researchers in Santa Clara might finally have come up with a way to bring robotics into the home. A prototype of Maid2Help differs from earlier attempts in a number of significant ways.
Maid2Help is, as the name implies, FEMALE. Earlier home robots were male - and invariably clumsy. This cutie lacks the burly manners of her ancestors and exhibits typical feminine intuition and charm.
She's still a robot, and she still runs on wheels, but she's damned cute. You can use her for everything from sending things across the room ('take this to Michelle please') to hoovering your rug. And as long as you use the word 'please' - she's very adamant about that - she will do as you wish.
Maid2Help will also react to your tone of voice. If you get hostile and bellow at her, she will promptly shut down. No temper tantrums, please! If you use a soft voice, she will perform her duties faster than otherwise. And if you regularly compliment her or pet her, she will purr and show her delight.
The Maid2Help company plans to have their darling ready for Comdex.
Casper comes back to life
Remember Casper? Not the friendly ghost, but the amazing product at Moscone so many years back when Sculley was still running the show?
He's come back to life. Apple will now begin testing Casper for use on their Macintosh line of computers. Casper will use a new system, not originally seen in the Sculley demonstration, to authenticate a user for login. And once you've been let into the system, only your voice will be able to activate Casper, making inadvertent commands, such as overheard voices in your vicinity, a thing of the past.
And Casper will again take dictation. You will not only hear Casper read your e-mail, you will not only be able to get him to open your reply window as is the case today, you will be able to dictate your reply and have Casper type it in.
Apple plans to license their Casper technology to other OEMs once a functioning model has been established.
LaBrea servers down
Tom Liston of the Hackbusters announced today that the Hackbusters, legendary for their teergrubing application LaBrea, have taken down their own tarpitting servers. 'The worms are gone,' he reported.
The radsoft.net joint venture to develop cross-platform safe e-mail has now been completed. Copies of the new beta are to reach testers later this week.
Yes, you've been had. Nearly everything above was made up. But note the positive tone throughout.
Note as well that there was not a single mention of Microsoft.