Deal! Buy Your Own Drivable Giant Robot That Shoots People in the Face When You Smile

Kuratas-WonderFest2012-16Be they Gundams, Vital Suits, Battlemechs, Labors, Wanzers, or even Tachikomas, we’ve all wanted to pilot our own giant robot through the neighborhood. The problem? They didn’t exist. Today, that changes. Get your checkbooks out!

This is the Suidobashi Heavy Industries Kuratas-001. This is a real-life, 13-foot tall, 4.4 ton, physical embodiment of your every power fantasy. The Kuratas rolls along in either high- or low-profile mode at a casual 6mph. Should any motorist be dumb enough to sound his horn at your Sunday driving, the Kuratas can unleash a number of mountable weapon systems ranging from non-lethal, water bottle launching Lohas Launcher to the twin-barreled, 6,000 RPM, smile activated, BB loaded KH Gun.

Yeah, let’s go over that last part again: The Smile Shot system built into Kuratas’ Bushido OS uses touch-screen targeting and facial recognition to unleash a hail of BBs at your intended victim when you smile. No, I can’t make this kind of stuff up. I’m too $#%*ing old and American to have EVER thought of smile activated twin Gatling guns.

Kuratas-001 can also be operated via remote. An on-board 3G connection keeps Kuratas in connection with a small action figure version of your new big buddy. Dubbed the Master Slave System, the big guy will move his arms to mimic gestures made with the figure. Find yourself out and about without your mini-mech and need a little remote control action? You will be happy to know that, yes, there is an app for that. Like Batman. With a Japanese Battlemech.

The Kuratas-001is bargain priced starting at around $1.4 million and available from Suidobashi Heavy Industries (whose web site has collapsed due to excessive traffic) in your choice of colors and loadouts. GIigazine’s YouTube channel also has a number of clips from the unveiling.

So… Um… Yeah. That happened… and… OMFGWTFBBQ!!!!1oneonezero!1!

Now I have to convince The Mrs. I need one for an unboxing video. Any ideas?

Clouds Blow Away. EA to Remove Rock Band and DLC from App Store July 31

RBiOSJust a reminder from the leaders in digital tyranny, Electronic Arts (EA): We don’t owe you squat.

EA is slated to remove the iOS version of Rock Band, Rock Band Reloaded, and all DLC from the Apple’s App Store effective July 31st. Users of the app were greeted with the pictured warning earlier this month. Local copies stored in the owner’s device or iTunes should remain operable, but customers will never again be allowed to download either game or DLC purchases from the App Store. EA has posted a FAQ regarding this change of availability and cites the reason for removal as “the expiration of the licensing agreement between EA and Harmonix”.

EA previously made a similar announcement back in May via an in-app message stating that the program would be “no longer playable on your device” (ie. killed via remote lockout) on May 31st. The outrage and questionable legality at the thought of this occurring caused EA to back off on the Rock Band iOS issue. Until now.

Rock Band ($5) and Rock Band Reloaded ($10) are, of course, still being sold by EA on Apple’s App Store as of this writing (July 30). Big surprise…

Welcome to the era of The Cloud. Ain’t it grand!

Comic: Upgrader's Remorse


Launching Fish Into Space | Out Of This World Weekly

The last Japanese re-supply mission to the I.S.S. carried an interesting item to be part of the Japanese Experiment Module. This is known as the Aquatic Habitat and it will house 32 Medaka fish, also known as Zebrafish. These fish will be flown into space in October as part of the next crew cycle for the I.S.S. These fish were picked for their transparent bodies and because they have shown the ability to reproduce in space in 3 previous short duration space shuttle missions (STS-47, STS-65, and STS-90). This fishy experiment is designed to study the effects on the bones and muscles of the fish. As we have noted before, humans lose bone density and muscle strength on long duration space flights.

This new aquatic habitat has the ability to filter out wastes, while providing oxygen that the fish need to breathe. The first thing that the astronauts need to do is to inject oxygen into the tanks with a syringe. LED lights will be switched on and off to simulate daylight and nighttime conditions. Automatic feeding will take care of the regular dietary needs of the fish. The astronauts will then check on the fish regularly, taking notes on the bones, muscles, and internal organs of the fish. Another task to is track the laying of eggs, hatching, and growth of up to three generations of medaka fish. As the experiment is only designed to last 90 days, this will not be a permanent space fish outpost. It is also possible that successful breeding of space fish could result in long term space missions including fresh fish on their astronauts menus, which is good because fish are high in protein and long duration spaceflight may require astronauts to grow their own food.

While this isn’t the first space fish experiment, it is the longest. The fish will have about 700cc of water to live in, which is not much water but more than enough for these small fish. These are Japanese fish that live in gently flowing streams, ponds, and rice fields and have been studied by Japanese schoolchildren for years. Fish don’t seem to suffer from as much bone and muscle loss in space and we need to find out why. Hopefully, studying these fish will not only help understand biological effects of weightlessness on humans but also find cures for muscle and bone disease like osteoporosis that occur on Earth as well as in space.

Google’s New Nexus 7 Tablet Dropped, Disassembled, and Destroyed| Weekend Watchlist

I love it when a new gadget becomes popular. Sure, there’s the usual stuff like empty promises to change your life forever, but there’s also new YouTube videos of said gadget meeting an untimely fate. In this Weekend Watchlist, we take a look at the Google’s latest little darling, the Asus produced, pint-sized powerhouse Nexus 7 tablet used in some very warranty voiding ways.

Let’s kick things off a with a little professionalism. PowerbookMedic tore apart the the hot new 7” tablet and found most of the device to be shockingly repairable. Especially compared to the glued together tragedy of the iPad.

Now Thunderstorms Are Contributing To Ozone Loss?

In a recent study funded by NASA, Dr. James G. Anderson reports that super thunderstorms are now contributing to ozone loss. These thunderstorms, which were thought to only be able to rise to about 40,000ft have been recorded to rise to 60,000ft carrying with them warm, moist air. This air allows CFC’s that are already present in the stratosphere to become significantly more reactive with ozone. Even though CFC’s were banned in the 1980’s in an international treaty, it may take many decades before the molecules disintegrate or leave the upper atmosphere.

These super thunderstorms are being fueled by warmer than average summer temperatures. While this study focused on the Midwest to Eastern U.S., this could also be affecting countries at mid-latitudes across the globe. It was only thought that ozone loss was occurring mostly in the Antarctic and recently, the Arctic polar regions. This loss of ozone increases skin cancer risks through an increase of the ultraviolet rays from the sun that are able to penetrate the atmosphere. Ozone has the ability to reflect harmful ultraviolet rays away from Earth while these rays are still in the stratosphere and is considered to be a contributing factor for the stability of life on Earth.

Due to the increased loss of ozone, the recovery of the protective ozone layer may be further off than expected. We can be sure that banning CFC’s 30 years ago is definitely helping curb the ozone loss but as we consider more sources of ozone loss, we will have to re-evaluate models of the atmosphere. Atmospheric scientists are calling for more research into the phenomenon, including more direct testing through field work. I live in the “lightning capital of the world” because of the frequent, powerful thunderstorms, so I hope these effects are not as bad as thought. Now I and millions of others have to consider increased ultraviolet radiation along with the lightning, tornadoes, water spouts, powerful winds, rain, flash flooding, and occasionally hail that comes along with these powerful storms.

When Good Tech Videos Go Bad

Growing Up Otaku’s own video producer ryte2byte-

Wait… Didn’t we fire that guy? Works for ramen, huh. Still more than we give the blind guy who writes our weekly space column. Hmm. After this one, I think its safe to say we can save a buck on noodles this month.

Even wonder how much work goes into all those reviews and tutorials posted on YouTube? Yeah, me neither, but after this latest production showcasing former GUO producer ryte2byte trying to cover the recently announced Big Fish Universal cloud gaming service, you’ll be looking to give a big hug, or at least a few share button clicks, to your favorite YouTube producer.

‘Cause this crap ain’t easy!

Big Fish Launches Unlimited: A Cloud Based Streaming Service With Free Games

big cloud fishWe’ve been following the emerging technology of cloud gaming for a few years now. Heck, we were even so enamored with the concept we pronounced the traditional video game console dead (probably more than once if I felt like searching the archives). Today we have a new titan entering the ring of this truly next-generation gaming technology: Big Fish Games.

Whaa? You mean the guys who make all those point-n-click and match-3 games? That’s right! Founder and CEO Paul Thelen announced the casual gaming giant’s first live foray into the Azure, Big Fish Unlimited, at Casual Connect 2012. Big Fish Unlimited will bring a device independent, instant on gaming experience to those that prefer their entertainment a little more seeky-findy than shooty-killy (although there still seems to be a whole lotta horror and murder involvedWinking smile).

Wow, Even the Fail Whale Has Failed

Twitter_fail_whaleNormally I would Tweet something small like this rather than writing up a blog post, but its kinda hard to do when you want to talk about Twitter being down. Anyway, when Twitter goes belly-up we are usually greeted by the reassuring face of the Fail Whale.

Today… Not so much. Twitter is currently generating a… less reassuring error screen:

Twitter is currently down for <%= reason %>.

We expect to be back in <%= deadline %>. For more information, check out Twitter Status. Thanks for your patience!

  • © 2012 Twitter

Thanks! Specific enough to have been a Windows error message Winking smile

Iranian Nuke Plant Rocks Out Thanks to AC/DC Malware

ac dc thunderstruck recordYeah, yeah, yeah, Thunderstruck!!!

It looks like Iran’s nuclear power program has once again come under attack from malware. An email for antivirus producer F-Secure states that the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran was given some a surprise pick-me-up in the middle of the night when several computers began blasting out AC/DC’s legendary rock anthem Thunderstruck.

To ensure employees would have the maximum amount of time to enjoy the impromptu concert, the virus attack also shut down several computer systems.

Source: Tecca via Mashable

Top 5 Annoyances of Google’s Nexus 7 Tablet and How to Fix Them

front_nexus_7_transparent-300-100The Mrs. has been gushing over Google’s new $200 7” tablet all week now. While this pint size powerhouse is truly a wonder to behold, there are a number annoyances to work around as well. Today we outline some of the device’s superficial failings and discuss how to fix ‘em.

1) My God, It’s Full of Ads – One of the first things that you're sure to notice about the Nexus 7 is the attractive, Kindle Fire-esque colorful mosaic of images that dominates the first two pages of your home screen showcasing all manner of media available for the device. The second thing you’re likely to notice is the space hogging Kindle Fire-esque display wasting the first two pages of your home screen hocking wares from Google Play in a random clutter of marketing posters.

Fortunately, these widgets are simplicity itself to remove. Tap and hold on the top of the offending widget and drag it off the top of the screen where the word “Remove” appears.

He’s in Spaaaaaaace! Portal 2’s Space Sphere Stows Away to ISS

The recently launched Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-3) resupply craft carried with it one spectacularly nerdy Easter egg. An anonymous insider tipped off Valve software that the Japanese made International Space Station module carried a laser engraved picture of gamers’ favorite malfunctioning space-obsessed AI.Portal 2 Space Sphere on ISS

…And there he goes!

Due to Rampant Piracy of $1 Android Game, Devs Give Up and Release Dead Trigger for Free

ceeb2_app_Android_pirate-630x342MadFinger Games, developers of the Android and IOS zombie shooter Dead Trigger, made a shocking statement about the state of piracy on the Android platform and how they intend to respond to this problem. From the Dead Trigger Facebook page:

“Regarding price drop. HERE is our statement. The main reason: piracy rate on Android devices, that was unbelievably high. At first we intend to make this game available for as many people as possible - that's why it was for as little as buck. - It was much less than 8$ for SHADOWGUN but on the other hand we didn't dare to provide it for free, since we hadn't got XP with free-to-play format so far. - However, even for one buck, the piracy rate is soooo giant, that we finally decided to provide DEAD TRIGGER for free.”

I… I don’t know who to mock on this one. The people who bothered to go through the hassle of illegally downloading a ONE DOLLAR app? MadFinger Games for giving up on capitalism due to piracy concerns? People who chose to play yet another zombie shooter? Head… gonna… asplode…

Okay, okay. Deep breath… I’m going to take the high road and make fun of UbiSoft.

Geez, I sure wish UbiSoft would take this response to their concerns over software piracy rather than burdening paying customers with draconian levels of always online DRM that fail every time there’s a Steam sale!

Whew! Close one!

Anywho, if you’re in the mood for yet another zombie FPS and have yet to download it, Dead Trigger for Android is now available via Google Play for free. Dead Trigger for IOS is also available, but will set those caviar scarfing Apple snobs back a whole buck.

Australian Text Message Scam Threatens to Kill You

BNOnews is reporting that “Tens of thousands of Australians” have received the following SMS message on cell phones across the country:

"Sum1 paid me to kill you. get spared, 48hrs to pay $5000. If you inform the police or anybody, death is promised. E-mail me now: killerking247@yahoo.com"

katekyo-hitman-reborn-episode-164The police have been flooded with reports of this message showing up on mobile phones all across Australia. An investigation is already underway. Detective Superintendent Brian Hay of the Queensland Police Service reassured the public that these threats are toothless, pleading with the public to "understand that this is a scam, a very ugly attempt by fraudsters overseas to get your money.’

Surprisingly, this is not the first widespread “hitman” scam to spread across the land down under. In 2008 the ACCC issued a public warning regarding a similar attempt to swindle people via email.

Mozilla’s New Smartphone Firefox OS Available for Public Beta Testing

Firefox OS betaWhile many consider the smartphone/tablet market to be a two horse race between IOS and Android, the simple truth of the matter is that these devices are still in their technological infancy and the sky is the limit. Heck, IOS’ cut and paste features still seem new and the modern incarnation of the tablet is less than three years old.

Enter Mozilla, the plucky contender that unleashed a new world of choice and competition to the web browser market with Firefox. Now Mozilla has turned it’s engineers loose on the realm of your favorite touchscreen device with Firefox OS, currently codenamed “Boot 2 Gecko” (B2G).

It may not look like it at first glance, but B2G is a revolutionary take on operating systems. Build to conform to open Web standards, Mozilla’s system will allow developers to access all of the devices capabilities using HTML5 and CSS. Yep, under Firefox OS web developers will achieve parity with traditional programmers.

Device specific versions for phones and tablets are not currently available as they are, in Mozilla’s words, “limited to our distribution of builds due to legal contracts.” However, Mozilla is releasing device emulating desktop builds for Windows, Mac, and Linux. These beta builds are being updated daily and available to everyone be they aspiring developers or curious techies looking to get their feet wet in the new OS.

Information and links for downloading and installing the desktop builds of this new OS can be found at the announcement post. More general information on the B2G “Firefox” OS is available on The Mozilla Blog.

Oldest Spiral Galaxy Found | Out Of This World Weekly

The Hubble Space Telescope is still finding unique astronomical objects. The latest is BX442, an ancient spiral galaxy that is about 10.7 billion years old. Spiral galaxies are not usually found this far back in time as it was thought that it took a larger amount of time for a galaxy to transform itself into such an ordered state. Other galaxies from this time period don’t have refined shapes due to the fact that most of the universe was still so hot and chaotic. It’s thought that a small dwarf galaxy that orbits BX442 may be responsible for the formation of the spiral arms so early in it’s development.

While there is a small chance that the beautiful spiral arms aren’t actually spiral arms but rather some random assemblage of stars that will simply fly apart, most scientists do think that this is the real deal. Understanding the development of galaxy structures allows us a greater understanding of the universe and our own spiral armed galaxy. The Milky Way (shown on right) also has a few small dwarf galaxies orbiting it like the Large Magelleanic Cloud, Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal, and Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy. These galaxies were never thought to have much influence on the structure of the Milky Way, though that may have to be rethought considering this new information about galaxy formation.

Comic-Con 2012 Video Roundup | Weekend Watchlist

The grand gala of geekery.known as the San Diego Comic-con has wrapped up and, thanks to the wonders of the World Wide Web, most of it is available to you no matter if you’re on a laptop in Lebanon or a smartphone in Siam. Here are a few of our favorite bits from the show you might have missed.

Firefly’s 10th Anniversary Panel – It’s been 10 years since Joss Whedon’s sci-fi wild west TV show hit the airwaves. And was promptly canceled before finishing it’s first season.

 

Productivity Crashes and Burns with Codemasters’ Free Browser Based F1 Racer

F1 OnlineDon’t feel like working today? Well, Codemasters, creators of the long running Dirt/Colin McRae and Grid/TOCA driving games, has just the ticket for burning those dull working hours away while you wait to punch the clock.

F1 Online: The Game smuggles itself onto the PC of your choice via an innocuous looking browser window courtesy of the Unity 3D plug in. Once inside you’ll be taking your customized F1 racer out on to the track against up to 24 other work desk warriors in either single, quick races or full championship tournaments. A time trail is also available for each of the game’s 15 tracks from 5 different countries.

F1 Online presents its racing action from a top-down, 3D perspective. The game handles elegantly for a bit of work time fun by using the mouse to control steering and left/right buttons (or W and S keys) for the throttle and brake. Spacebar lays on the boost, while the D key engages the car’s DRS wing. Races run 3 laps and offer a perfect coffee break’s worth of fun. In spite of the game’s simple sounding presentation, F1 Online is still a challenge to drive thanks to the some surprisingly well implemented physics and notoriously tricky tracks.

F1 Online CarOff the asphalt you’ll find a world of RPG style carrots to sped your race winnings on in the form of HQ upgrades, new car parts, and achievements. Real-world timers slow down your progress through the tech tree, but the on-track action is never limited or closed off.

Supporting full-screen resolutions, adjustable detail options, and a low entry price of free, F1 Online is an attractive, affordable, and accessible offering from one of the unsung masters of the racing game genre. You can check out F1 Online: The Game.

Sony Online Staffing Up for MMORPG Everquest Next Following Hiring of Original Everquest Producer

Everquest NextOld school MMORPG fans have a good deal to get excited about. In a post on their Facebook page, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) put out the cattle call for for talented individuals looks to:

“BRING EVERQUEST NEXT TO LIFE! If your passion for online worlds and your software engineering skills are second to none, join our brilliant team NOW! Sr. Graphics Engineer, Sr. AI Engineer, Sr. Tools Engineer, Sr. Gameplay Engineer.”

This announcement comes less than a month after news that Brad McQuaid, producer of the original Everquest, had rejoined SOE after leaving the company in 2002 to form Sigil Games and produce the MMORPG Vanguard. Vanguard has also made a home at Sony and is in the process of transitioning to the free-to-play business model.

Information about Everquest Next itself is scarce. An SOE Developer posted to the Everquest II forums that:

“EQ Next is still being built within a black box. The *earliest* we are currently considering that we *might* reveal info is late this year. We're being very particular about what needs to be in the game before revealing it to folks, so until that stuff is ready, we won't be showing anything. (Screens you saw from a couple years ago are completely obsolete now and are not pertinent to the current game at all.)”

As SOE has cozied up to the free-to-play system in a big way, it’s probably safe to say that EQ Next will follow suit. We do know that the game will be built using Sony’s the new Forge Light engine on display in the upcoming MMO shooter Planetside 2.

Image from the EverQuest: The 10th Anniversary book

PSA: It’s Hot! Clean Your Computer!

It’s hot out there! As I write this, Google has the GUO homestead pegged at 93 degrees! You know where it’s even hotter? Inside your dusty ol’ computer. This is a great time to break out your favorite buster of dust and an ice cool can of compressed air and do a little cleaning.

Dirty-Computer-2

Need some guidance? Lifehacker has a guide to cleaning your peripherals and desktops (spoiler alert! Unplug and stick a vacuum hose on open spots). Laptop owners not afraid of opening the case up can check out Instructable’s gude. Pro tip: Keep a coffee mug handy for all those little screws!

While you’re in the mood, Don’t forget about all your other overheating electronic buddies that could use a sprucing up. Televisions, A/V receivers and especially cable set-top boxes all generate heat and need their vents cleaned out.

World’s First Hello Kitty Themed Spa Opens in Dubai

hello kitty spaProving once again that no place is safe from Sanrio’s marketing might, the world’s first Hello Kitty themed beauty spa opened in Dubai’s Town Centre Jumeirah.

Offering services such as Kitty-cure, Kitty Glam facials, and Toe-Tally Perfect (Really? They passed on the Purrfect pun?) the pampering palace sports “unique formulas created with excellent quality and only for Hello Kitty Beauty Spa.” The Hello Kitty Spa only uses organic products in their children’s services to protect your pretty princesses.

Check it out outline at hellokittybeautyspa.com or click the video below for Dubai in a Frame.com’s opening day walkthrough.

Amazon Launches Free-to-Play Game Hub with Free Goodies and Exclusive Offers

amazon_launchFree-to-play has blossomed from a curious experiment into a viable and popular business model. It’s little wonder that e-commerce giant Amazon is getting in on the action.

The publishers of beloved hardcore JRPG franchises Persona and Shin Megami Tensei, Atlus, is offering free items for connecting through the new Amazon portal and additional items for anyone spending $5 on micro-transaction funny money.Titles include Shin Megami Tensei Imagine, Knights of the Sky, and the newly released 4X space strategy game BattleSpace . Offer is good thru July 26.

F2P juggernaut World of Tanks rumbles into the Amazon webspace with 3 exclusive bundles ranging from $10 to $20 packed with a titular vehicle and both gold and sliver coins.

Pteroglyph’s MOBA Rise of Immortals is giving players who create a new account or link an existing one before October 6th a free character bundle(!) featuring Karapyss and two alternate skins.

Steampunk 3D turn-based strategy game Iron Grip: Marauders is handing out a booster pack with 3 extra units and a bucket of cash just for signing up. This offer lasts until October 7th.

For the more traditional MMO fan, Allods Online is issuing a free starter package valued at $15 containing a purse of “Premium Crystal Chips” (Crunchy!) and an… “Enchanted Saddle”?  Sounds like a fun night for newcomers to Allods! Or, in fact, any gPotato game as they are all giving out $15 starter packs for the low, low price of gratis thru October 6.

There are other special offers to be found, both free and paid, so check out the full list on Amazon.com. Because the only thing better than a free game is a free game that’s giving out free stuff!

Comic: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Steam Sale!


Good, Bad, I'm the Boy with the Blog

672px-SMPTE_Color_Bars.svgApologies for the decrease in posts lately. The GUO homestead has been plagued by all manner of personal, health, and even technical problems. Regular updates will now resume.

Growing Up Otaku did, in fact, have a fail-safe in place for just such emergencies. A small cadre of autonomous robots were to take over regular posting duties should the site fall silent for more than 72 hours. Pieced together with Legos and bits of old Gundam models, these “Blogger Bots™” run on a sophisticated neural net AI fed directly from GUO's blog roll in order for them to emulate my writing style. Our initial test run during my vacation last Christmas proved a rousing success with articles such as Hot Cup of JoCo, Garden Gnome Carnage, and The 12 Geeks of Christmas being generated by the little blighters. Such success was not to be repeated.

Upon checking the system logs from last month while attempting to isolate some BSoD problems on my primary rig, I noticed that the Blogger Bot™ system had not been producing content. On the contrary, the bloody ‘bots had become rampant content consumers rather than the content creators they had been designed as. It seems that they have spent a great deal of time (and money!) downloading episodes of Naruto from iTunes. And not even Shippuden! Classic orange jumpsuit Naruto! “Believe it!” Maybe plugging their brains directly into Growing Up Otaku wasn't such a good idea after all.

So… Blogger Bots™ are going into the backlog of busted crap on the workbench while I think up excuses as to why I'm not fixing them. In the meantime, we look forward to sharing with you again.

Thanks for reading!