Fujitsu introduces new HOAP

Tokyo-based Fujitsu Ltd. began selling a two-legged humanoid robot last month, which was developed by the company’s R&D arm, Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. The HOAP-1 robot will serve as a test bed for research into more advanced robotic technologies, and was designed for use by universities. The robot stands at 48 centimetres tall, and weighs 6 kilograms, making it small enough to be portable. The robot is controlled by PC via a USB cable. Priced at approximately 5 million yen (US$41,400), HOAP-1 joins other companies making their mark on the robotic scene, such as Honda Motor Co. The company has its own humanoid robot as well, called Asimo, which is not yet for sale.

Mafiaboy gets sentenced

Canadian hacker Mafiaboy – who was responsible for attacks against such sites as Amazon and Yahoo – was finally sentenced in Youth Court last month in Montreal. The 17-year-old, who can’t be identified due to his age, was sentenced to eight months in a detention facility, and was ordered to make a $250 contribution to a local charity. Mafiaboy was also put on probation for a year. He pleaded guilty at the beginning of the year to 58 charges related to attacks and security breaches across North America and in Korea and Denmark.

Online and interactive

Touting it as Canada’s first interactive quiz show, Sympatico-Lycos and Tele-Quebec last month launched an interactive element to the television show Tous Contre Un (All Against One). According to a press release issued by the companies, online participants will be able to participate by logging on to register before the show. Once the television element begins, online users will be able to play online and follow along on their televisions. The Web-based interface will allow visitors to answer current affair questions in real-time, concurrent with the television contestants, according to the release. The online players will be able to vie with each other for daily and weekly prizes. Tous Contre Un airs on Tele-Quebec Monday to Friday at 7 p.m. ET. People wishing to participate in the online version can register at

Get the message? It’s all about the money

While Short Message Service (SMS) messaging via the Internet is becoming an economic and handy means of keeping in touch with people across the world, it appears as if some international phone operators are seeing it more as an opportunity to cash in. Tow Dutch mobile phone operators have blocked any incoming SMS text messages sent via several Web sites and ICQ software, according to one report. KPN Mobile NV and Dutchtone NV say they need to allocate space on their network to carry the large numbers of messages sent to their customers, and they are not seeing a single penny for it. There are other operators jumping on the blockade bandwagon. Swisscom, another international operator, reports that it is blocked by at least 20 other operators. An estimated 500 million Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) subscribers around the world will send more than 200 billion SMS messages this year, according to the GSM Association.

The Internet: there’s more to come

According to Guilford, England-based ARC Group, the second Internet revolution is on its way, and applications that are currently in use will be the drivers. According to Tony Crabtree, ARC Group Consultancy manager, users are readily acquiring digital content on a mass scale for free vial the Internet.

“Once again, users are calling the shots…only this time it’s expensive video content, not just music,” he said. What appears to be a threat to the industry could be the “very thing that re-ignites the Internet and drives us to the broadband revolution that we have all been talking about. I firmly believe that applications like SMS and MP3 (that capture the user’s imagination), will drive the next phase of Internet development. While movie studios seem to be making an effort to show support of the “video-on-demand” movement, they may have already allowed a grass roots movement to be established, according to a report from the ARC Group titled “Content and Applications for Broadband and Digital TV.”

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