Sunday, July 29, 2007

Tux is Alive

Tara has lusted after a Sony Aibo, a discontinued collectors item, about which many owners are still passionate. I never felt I had the discretionary funds to responsibly break into that market, encouraged the robot fascination, promised more affordable yet still interesting models were in the pipeline.

This week at OSCON, for just $89, I was able to score this big box with a robot penguin (aka tux droid) inside. We already have it talking. The English female voice "Heather" welcomed Tara's friend Liana and her mom Deb to Portland (they're swinging through from Seattle for Body Worlds 3 @ OMSI) and Carol back from Bolivia.

Tux (Heather, Ryan... other namespace binding), is program- mable in Python, though we haven't quite gotten to that part yet, other than by using the little Pythonic UI. She's controlled from Linux (Ubuntu in our case), and her evolving software is a community effort. He (or she) was also in demo mode at EuroPython in Vilnius.

I was telling Tara about one of the geeks I'd met at OSCON: he'd hacked a Pong chip such that the televised paddles were controlled by squeezing some tall leather boots -- one of Nat's closing keynoters actually, a Tony Blair type, though more of a bulldog (a compliment by his standards).