Driveless taxi, soon in Japan

Japan’s cabinet office, Kanagawa prefecture and Robot Taxi Inc. on Thursday said they will start experimenting with unmanned taxi service beginning in 2016. The service will be offered for approximately 50 people in Kanagawa prefecture, just south of Tokyo, with the auto-driving car carrying them from their homes to local grocery stores.

According to the project organizers, the cabs will drive a distance of about three kilometers (two miles), and part of the course will be on major avenues in the city. Crew members will be aboard the car during the experiment in case there is a need to avoid accidents.

Source: RoboCab: Driverless Taxi Experiment to Start in Japan – Japan Real Time – WSJ

In 1996, Larry Page made this post

This is posted in 1996:

From: Lawrence Page

I have a web robot which is a Java app. I need to be able to set the User-Agent field in the HTTP header in order to be a good net citizen (so people know who is accessing their server). Anyone have any ideas?

Right now, Java sends a request that includes something like:

User-Agent: Java/1.0beta2

I’d rather not rewrite all the HTTP stuff myself. I tried just searching in the JDK for the Java/1.0beta2 figuring I could just change the string, but I couldn’t find it. Perhaps it is stored as a unicode string?

An easy method of setting the User-Agent field should probably be added to Java, so people can properly identify their programs.

Thanks, Larry Page

A web robot? Guess what is it?

[via Guyro]

Review: The Machine Girl

Just watched Kataude mashin gâru. It is disgusting to the max. Sadistic humor. The whole film is sadistic. Even the gore is sadistic. Oh… Gore supposed to be sadistic anyway.

The Machine Girl poster

If you totally dig pure bloody fun. Go ahead to watch this film. Rated NC-17 in US. I had to skip several parts before I puke out my food. Here’s the trailer:

I sort of laugh a little at the English dialogues actually. For the crazy sadistic bloody humor and the ridiculous amount the gore… Well, I think I’d give this 6/10.

How does IKEA design their products

Well, if you have the time, you can read the following. It’s very interesting to me – the way IKEA place effort in their design process and tweaking their designs to achieve greater cost savings.

“When we decide about a product, we always start with the price,” Deboehmler said. “Then, what is the consumer need?”

“When we start in the development process, we say we’d like to have a cabinet to hold a large screen TV that’s 42 inches, and priced out to come in at X dollars,” Marston said. “OK, now we’ve said we want it to retail at $500, arbitrarily. What can you make, what can you design, to make it at that price?”

From the beginning of the process, a variety of people get involved. Those include field technicians who are able to see what’s needed in the creation of a new product and determine if Ikea has already designed something similar that can be mined for parts or design inspiration.

Another example is a packaging technician.

“They’re always part of the team from way at the beginning, when the product is designed,” Deboehmler said. “We always have to find the smartest way to do something so that it can be flat-packed and minimize waste of space when transporting.”

With the Lillberg chair, the idea was to build a prototype at the factory–which the team did–and then to see what they had on their hands.

“After many, many days of trials, we thought we had it right,” Deboehmler said. “‘OK, this is the product.’ Our designer was on his hands and knees. Then we got it back to (Ikea headquarters in) Sweden and started taking it apart again, and decided we can make it better because we can fit more in the package if we changed the arm direction.”

By making a small tweak in the angle of the chair’s arm, she elaborated, the designers and packaging technician figured out they could get more of the chairs in a single shipping container, and that, in the end, meant a lower cost to the consumer.

“The arm (change) meant huge savings,” she said. Continue reading “How does IKEA design their products”