Saturday, December 23, 2006

Holiday Life

Enjoy these holiday-cards I designed - click for hi-res versions!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Life Selling Something

With the ROBOEXOTICA going on and all, I didn't think much of it at all, but actually I received a modest artistic acknowledgment for my personal work of fine art: The 30x40cm print Ceci N'est Pas Une Pipe has been auctioned off at the presentation of Heidulf Gerngross's magazine Star's latest issue at MAK last Thursday!
Actually 2/3 of the price achieved goes to Star - but my own costs are covered and I got plenty positive feedback.

Sleepy Life

Our guest Kal Spelletich, one of the few who had actually built a cocktailrobot before ROBOEXOTICA even existed (Martini-maker mid-1990s), was quite struck with jetlag all through his stay ...
The symposium Dreams of Regulation obvy seemed an appropriate place to try to catch some sleep.

I am not suggesting the symposium was somniferous or anything - with participants like V. Vale, Eddie Codel and among others Kal Spelletich himself, it was far from that!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bug Life

This is the first in a series of magnetic "bugs" based on a spoon-full of latex.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Eery Life

This footage donated by Pjotr Riedelsperger was shot at Vienna Zentralfriedhof's children's section.
Those toys and teddybears seem so out of place that the weirdness of the view doesn't pass all through the clip.
Wien's Central Cemetary is one of the largest in Europe, so it didn't surprise me that they have their own children's section - although I must say these pictures did surprise me ... on one hand a lot of the graves don't seem to have proper gravestones which contrasts oddly with the colorful toys placed upon the dirt, on the other hand the contrast of this kid-stuff and the grave-candles and crosses etc. in itself is strange enough.
There's this one grave so overloaded with toys! And other graves that look like kids are taking care of them (I figure a lot of kids DO visit siblings' or friends' graves and bring stuff).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Office Life

This sign is on David Calkins' office-door at SFU!
Robots ... Don't be fooled by their friendly attempts to make you a cocktail!


Monday, November 13, 2006

Robots, Celebrating Life

Russian robots get ready to party ...
... maybe because we have two guests from Russia at ROBOEXOTICA this year?

Besides Sergey Teterin from Perm, who has already arrived in town, Michael a Crest from Petersburg is anticipated to show an installation which includes his Bragofon - the Okku.pator.

( picture via)

Cardboard coming to Life

When a board-game is turning into a game of cardboard robots!
Vienna resident eSeL will stage a life-sized version of the game Ricochet Robot at the opening eve of this year's ROBOEXOTICA, Dec. 5th.

This here is the first prototype he built, together with his pal KaCe - in the end the robot-players will be brightly colored ... and instead of paper-icons they will be moving around hot drinks on the field in Museumsquartier's courtyard.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Life-sized Photography

In Museumsquartier's Freiraum, the current exhibit consists of a giant walk-in camera, which takes life-sized pictures of people!
The monstrous apparatus had been collecting dust stored away for some thirty years and this is the first exhibit since it's been recovered.
The IMAGO 1:1 produces black and white images, 200cm high and 60cm (25in) wide and can be ued to make a self-portrait by any visitor willing (and able) to pay €190,- thru November 19th. (Freiraum - MQ, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Life as an Odontological Guinea Pig

My dead-but-hurting 3-6 tooth is getting a last chance.
For cost-reasons laser-treatment hadn't been suggested so far, but today I was the human guinea pig in a workshop at the University clinic and had the root-channels of my problem-tooth lasered by a student. Another session is scheduled for next week and this just might save my tooth from having to be pulled.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Life Under Construction

Grinding action at WerkzeugH, where since my last visit quite a few things have been accomplished.
The kitchen looks quite done, the bar as well.
Today I showed Sergey the location of our SMS-bot presentation next Thursday (Nov 9th). And met with Oskar Fischer who will play live at our presentation, to figure out what sound-equipment has to be taken.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Life Taken by Robot Arm

Unrelated to this fine picture, which comes via slava robotam and can be ordered on shirts on cafepress,
TheDetroit News reports of a robot arm pulling a man to his death at an industrial plant:
"He (McGirr) was cleaning a robotic arm and it clicked on for some reason, grabbed him by the back and shoved him into a press," a police Sgt. is quoted.

Eva Hatt from Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) said fatal accidents with robots are rare, but not unheard of in Michigan, which was the first in the nation to report a robot-related death in 1984 when a 34-year-old victim, working with automated die-cast machinery, was pinned between a robot and a steel pole and suffered a heart attack.

(via Suicide Bots)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Life with a Smart Bag

The LadyBag was developed by six students from Simon Fraser University in Canada, in a project that mixed students from the university's interactive arts degree and the information technology degree.
It is a purse with a built-in RFID reader - the bag displays an according icon with LEDs on the outside if any of a set of objects equipped with RFID-tags misses from it, like your cellphone or keys.

On top of that, the bag has force- and motion-sensors which help detect the owner's mood,
"For example, if the person fiddles frantically with the bag, the face with a worried look will light up. If the owner hugs the bag, a happy face emoticon will light up."

(via artfuture, thx Expertina!)

Life at War, Battling Plants

This one comes from Afghanistan via a Reuters article on CNN's offbeat-news ...
"... One soldier told him later: "Sir, three years ago before I joined the army, I never thought I'd say 'That damn marijuana'.""

Obviously Canadian troops have their troubles combatting "almost impenetrable forests of marijuana plants 10 feet tall":
"We tried burning them with white phosphorous -- it didn't work. We tried burning them with diesel -- it didn't work. The plants are so full of water right now ... that we simply couldn't burn them," complains General Rick Hillier.
The problem seems to be the weed-forests are hard to penetrate with thermal detectors, so that it's easy for Taliban fighters to appear and disappear in and out again.

A truly evil herb, evil, evil, evil.
But we would have thought the Canadians were much better prepared for confronting the plant's terrorist powers than that -
When on one rare occasion one of the cannabis-forests caught on fire "a section of soldiers that was downwind from that had some ill effects and decided that was probably not the right course of action," Hiller said dryly."

Our eyes certainly don't stay dry imagining the troopers experiencing those "ill effects" ...

P.S. An afterthought - maybe the fire-resistance of the plant could be used to prevent Southern California from those wild-fires.
Imagine belts of hemp forests placed strategically in the affected areas saving lives and property. Possible ill effects could be countered with medical marijuana.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Life, Coffee and Laptops

Yesterday, when I was decorating a window inside MQ's Electric Avenue with ROBOEXOTICA propaganda, I gave a demonstration why one should never, ever allow a cup of coffee to stand by itself next to a laptop ... in a chain-reaction that involved my hand, the cup and Stefan's mac-book.

The relief today when the dried laptop resumed function is almost indescribable.
Right after the incident we turned the mac-book upside down and used paper-towels to get liquid out of between the keys. We also removed the battery, there was coffee in the battery-compartment too, which had to be dried with towels.
Then we let it rest upside down and dry over night - voila.

Although in deep concern, I was being reassured yesterday night, when I googled "kaffee im laptop" and found reports of similar settings (coffee with sugar and milk) where drying was all that was required to restore functionality. One guy wrote he had his laptop in the oven for 8hrs - a procedure which was not chosen to repeat on Stefans mac-book.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Dream Life

A sheep for robots to dream of ...

This electric sheep has motion sensors in it's eyes and can turn it's head towards where the action is.

"Basically, it looks like any other stuffed animal, except that if you sit in the same place for a while, you will notice that it seems to be looking at you."
Here's the builders log.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Life, borrowing a cup ...

... of robots.

Brought to you via Borrowed from the irresistible Suicide Bots blog.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Life in West Vienna

When I walked home from Oskar's place on H├╝tteldorferstrasse yesterday evening, I had this nice view onto Sch├Ânbrunn's Gloriette, a building a bit uphill from the palace which is nicely lit during night.

Enjoy the view ...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Life in Pink

Pink is the new pink!
Or so ...

Yesterday I got new and high-res photos of the pink Popelismus shot by Expertina with her elegant Sony - previously I only had shot photos of it with the lower resolution video-cam.

I started painting Popelismi 1997 and spent about five years with the first one, measuring 120cmX120cm.
When the painting was finished I sealed the surface with a standard colorless coating.
The smaller Popelismi which followed I also furnished with a layer of paint.
The pink one was first, black, blue and white followed, also one multi-colored white/pink/red.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tormented Life

One of my teeth, the 3-6 in dento-lingo, or Wunderzahn as my current dentist at the University Clinic dubbed it has been a pain in the mouth since February ... when it received the first root canal treatment.
After the first two weeks in agony - despite around 8 visits to my now-ex-dentist/clinic, which it took before I received a medication that took away the immediate acute pain - weeks and months followed during which the tooth was in turn allowed to calm and would then be opened again just to hurt again when the root canals were probed. Which shouldn't have been so, legions of denitsts have attested since then.
Today after about 4 month at the new clinic it was finally examined under microscope, but no 4th canal has been detected, the source of the recurring pain (which has set in dramatically again yesterday, after the tooth had been opened again) is still a mistery ... which might make extraction the unavoidable final answer to this b*tch of a grinding tool.
Only about two years back extraction was the fate of it's symmetrical counterpart in my right lower cheek - which crumbled after month of opening and closing the root canals again as it still hurt during and after the canal treatment when it should have been dead - just like this one.

... Since February ... !!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

N.K. Life under Surveillance

Dear U.S. Dept. of State,
in my habitual spy missions along the North Korean embassy in my neighbourhood, I checked their showcase for updates on the supposed nuclear test yesterday - and you guessed it: no sign whatsoever of any atomic activities there!

However some of the trees on the property have been choppedy-chopped, someone seems to have had an urge to impose control onto the creatures of nature.

Alas, my crappy mobile-phone wasn't good at capturing the cars parked inside, but maybe you can send me a proper spy-cam?

Your's sincerely, I

Life Assimilated

Another occurrence of a robot eating a human kid has been brought to our attention by Make:blog - this time with a shockingly detailed coverage of the assimilation process.
Fig. 1 shows the assailant before the attack, Fig.2 depicts the endresult - the robot-shell inhabited by the eaten-alive child.

This is especially sad as the attacks had decreased a bit lately (despite alarming signs of a higher level of organization among the robot-insurgents) - we're curious to hear from Human Resistance Headquarters (formerly known as Boingboing) on this! (x)

Previous robots vs. humans-coverage:
[8],[7], [6], [5], [4], [3], [2], [1]

(x)Update: Xeni sez: "Ohnoez! Robots return to to recruit more earth-children for dastardly Halloween fun and destruction."

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Documented Life

I was visited by eSeL last week, who shot some photos of my still-in-progress latex-man(-alien?) and some of the Popelismus-paintings.
Lorenz managed to capture when I posed with the (magnetic) latex-sculpture picking up a magnet from my hand - I also love the one where I can see myself in the reflection on the TV in the background, especially in the original sized picture.

Talking of the original sized pictures, I am wow'd by how on the Popelismi you can see every pore of the canvas magnifyed ... booger bigger than life!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Old Age Life

This week Boinboing made me aware of author Robert Anton Wilson's condition, which is: he has no money, has a few months left to live, and was facing eviction from his apartment.
Gladly a few days were enough to collect about 68.000,- from well-meaning people on this planet, which gives this sad story a happy turn.
It's a shame the author of works like Cosmic Trigger or Illuminatus should die in poverty! Is this the 16th century, people?

I have to admit I'm not in a situation where I could notably contribute financially to Bob's final days, but you all should be buying a few of his books quickly, so the royalties get to him in time!!

P.S.: When you browse Bob Wilson's webpage, DO check the "jokes"-page! You'll find gems like this one:
"Three Texas surgeons were playing golf together and discussing surgeries they had performed. One of them said, "I'm the best surgeon in Texas. A concert pianist lost 7 fingers in an accident. I reattached them, and 8 months later he perfomed a private concert for the Queen of England." One of the others said, "That's nothing. A young man lost both arms and legs in an accident. I reattached them, and 2 years later he won a gold medal in field events at the olympics."
The third surgeon said, "You guys are amateurs. Several years ago, a cowboy, who was high on cocaine and alcohol, rode a horse head-on into a train traveling 80 miles an hour. All I had left to work with was the horse's ass and a cowboy hat. Now, he's president of the United States."

Life, Breaded

When at Tacheles extern last weekend, I had the opportunity to admire (and photograph) Pjotr Riedelsperger's Breaded art - various objects breaded in the tradional "Wiener Schnitzel" crumb, a series called History Breaded (german page -> translation).

Among the objects: cross, crescent, mousetrap, books and a VHS-video-tape.

Poisonous Life

Makes you wonder!
In Austria a rather unusual contamination of 1-kilo-packs of millet already in retail has been noticed in routine tests - with thornapple-(Datura-)seeds, on average 17 pcs. per kilo.

The highly hallucinogenic seeds don't look like millet at all, so they should be easy to spot, but experts are left wondering how the contamination could occur, thorn apple usually not being part of farming.

(Source: DerStandard)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Robotic Life is Sexy

I just realized that a snip from the article on a japanese beer-pouring bot in New Scientist I was interviewed for in January, made it onto Suicide Girls' geek-news ...

How cool is that!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Blorg Life

From the web-comic Brewster Rockit:


The Blorg-episodes:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Life Extern

After what turned into a long 2nd night in Berlin, the ROBOEXOTICA delegation has settled at Tacheles extern, where Cockbot One is mixing a drink for our currently sole visitor as I write this.
Defunct Gesundheit is decorating the window and Robomoji is showing signs of deterioration.
Alan happily films and projects and Bic-o-mat, the smoking robot is hazardously placed on a full barrel of oil.
What shall I say, Life is good and Cockbot One's daiquiris are delicious.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Drowsy Life

After a short, early, early morning flight, Chris, Stefan and I arrived in Berlin, where we first checked in at Kunsthaus Tacheles, where our basecamp is.
After that we met with Robert who drove all the robots up here - Adrian will follow tonight, Tom Heike who is coming from Munich will be with us tomorrow.

In the afternoon we brought the stuff to Technikmuseum where the show will be tomorrow ...
I still don't know too much about the whole event we'll be part of - but we heard something of cooking with nytrogen on the same floor, something I've wanted to witness (and taste) firsthand for a while anyway.

Fotos: Link

Monday, September 25, 2006

Life getting ready for a Journey

If you were the International Electrotechnical Commission and were celebrating your 100th birthday ...
You'd have a couple cocktailrobots getting ready to join your birthday party!

The Technology Night at Berlin's Technikmuseum on friday 29th, celebrating 100 years IEC, which was founded 1906 by British Lord Kelvin, is a private party, so don't try to sneak in ...
... rather come visit the cocktailrobots and the people travelling with them at 30th or Oct. 1st at Tacheles extern, where they will be "researching" with their friends of nurschrec!.

Today I was instructed how to power up Gesundheit by Fra Ablinger, who will be in a plane to Japan when Gesundheit mixes at Technikmuseum, and together we wrapped it for a safe journey in Robert Martin's hanger, who is bringing his Robomoji.

Update: I don't even want to start describing what a bizarre series of steps I had to undertake to get these two 320KB and 215KB mobile 3gp-video-files into ONE clip WITH sound ... of about 2MB.
It demonstrates the fine arts aspect of cocktailrobotics, showing Fra "adjusting" something on Gesundheit's wooden mechanism with a chisel, adding sculpting to engineering: Link.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Life, Having a Lobby

The Wiener Mietervereinigung saved my day! After several months of exhausting correspondence with the property management company that manages the house I live in, the weight of having to deal with those people has been taken off my shoulders by a cigar-smoking gentleman of the Vienniese Mietervereinung ("tenant association") ... a lobby for people troubled by their landlord.
And I am. It starts with the fact that in the little over three years I live in this apartment, the company I have/had to deal with is the THIRD property management to run business for the same owner here.
And the trouble begins, where the second of them, the one that took over from the management I originally rented from, seemed to have virtually no information on anything, but soon thought they had found out I had to pay more money.

Along with my modest apartment on first (american 2nd) floor I am renting a tiny basement which was in quite a bad shape when I moved in and still has some structural deficiencies and was offered to me for 30,- all inclusive on top of the rent of the apartment.
So I disagreed with the manager who thought he read in my contract I would actually have to pay way more, referring to how I remembered the arrangement should be about what I have and have not to pay, but visiting me at home and kind of telling me the other tenants had to pay for me, he got me to agreeing to paying a fraction of the originally demanded amount.

Now the current management think they found out something new, ignoring the fact that I already pay a certain sum in accordance to an agreement to their predecessor and want to add €€€ on top again ...
And these people have been annoying by not sending me papers I requested to be able to speak with Mietervereinigung in the first place, by replying to my 4 letters and a fax with messages that indicate, they're either morons or not reading my letters or - and by now I have to suspect it's this - they know I don't really have to pay more and want to prevent me from finding out.

So I had a whole lot of paper with me when I showed up at Mietervereinigung and somehow I think it helped that my new guardian was smoking a cigar as he pondered my case (Columbo-effect) ... concluding that after clearing out those mysterious shifts in squaremeters taking place in the house in the end the will of the parties was manifest in the contract as follows: Magnus shall not have to pay an obscene amount of money like was never the deal!

Columbo my new guardian will now be fighting this out with the bad guys for me ...
Ah, those suits are going to regret this!