Japan has all the awesome robots. ASIMO is a walking, bipedal, humanoid robot designed by Honda as a way of showing the world just how cool they are. ASIMO is going on an international tour, and he stopped by in Penang at Queensbay Mall. I managed to catch the show on the last day (the 30th of November), and here is a video clip I mashed together of footage I took of the robot.
ASIMO himself "talks" with the human host, but it is most probably a scripted pre-recorded presentation as we can't actually talk to machines in natural language reliably yet. The kids in the audience (that includes me I suppose) were enthralled by the robot as it demonstrated walking, ball-kicking, drink-serving, painting and dancing.
A rock pigeon walks around with some of those myna birds, looking for food.
Crows tend to flock around urban centres and places with lots of garbage and litter. Crows are kind of boring since they are so commonplace, but there are so many species of crow (and I know there are at least two different types in Malaysia).
This is a black-naped oriole sitting on a wire. It was dark and cloudy day, thus this isn't a very cheerful picture.
A creepy crawly is a victim to this white-breasted waterhen's breakfast hunt.
First off, Sally's a boy cat. I thought he was a girl before, hence the name. But I have retconned his name to be a short nickname for "Henry Salvatore". "Sally" can be short for "Salvatore", and "Henry" because "Indiana" is a dog's name.
Anyway, I had to take Sal to the vet today. He wasn't moving much, and coughing. I was afraid something might be lodged in his throat. This was the first time I've taken any animal to the vet, so I had to buy a cat carrier for Sally. He was a good lad, and stayed calm throughout the whole process. It turns out his throat is clear, but he is sick and needs antibiotics for 20 days. The vet taught me how to feed pills to a cat (here is a quick online guide).
It was hard to put Sally in the carrier, not because he put up a fight but because it's upsetting for me to cage an animal, even temporarily. Sally is a brave little cat though. What a trooper.
I just returned from FOSS.my 2008, a Free/Open Source conference in Kuala Lumpur. This is the first open source conference I've attended after many years since FOSSCON in '03, which MIMOS gave up on afterwards (epic fail there, MIMOS).
It's great to attend a tech conference again after a long absence from conferences in general. I met some awesome folks, listened to some talks, and ate some good food. Fun times. Here are some pictures.
Yoon Kit gives his keynote speech, which describes the wicked web of drama around ISO voting for ODF vs OOXML.
Colin Charles of Sun/MySQL and Daniel CerVentus of Earth247.tv.
Pia Waugh giving a talk on the OLPC XO. She's a consultant from Australia, and knows kung fu (seriously).
This is the first time I've seen an OLPC XO in real life. Pia dropped these a few times, demonstrating its toughness to a shocked audience.
Here I am, posing with an OLPC XO. Some of my friends on IRC joke that whenever I get disconnected (which happens a lot on the lousy internet connection I used to have at USM), it's because I needed to crank the power on my OLPC to charge it up again (very funny, guys).
This was taken at the speakers' dinner. From left is Yoon Kit, Han and Pamela Fox. Pamela is from Google (how cool is that?).
Here's James Morris, a Linux kernel hacker from Australia.
I've been looking for the white-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) for ages now. I see one occasionally near Queensbay Mall, but I never have my camera handy when I spot it. It taunts me by flying all majestically when I don't have my camera with me.
For a long time, the only raptors I seem to be able to take pictures of is the brahminy kite. When I first saw this bird I thought it was yet another brahminy kite, but upon closer inspection it turned out to be that elusive white-bellied sea eagle! I am very pleased with these photos (taken at Gurney Drive).
Migrant birds are a fun sight to see in the tropics during winter in the north, when they all come down here to enjoy the sun. Egrets can be seen along the shoreline lazing about. These photos were taken at Gurney Drive.
These are great white egrets (I think).
Here's another of those egrets.
I have no ideas what these are. They look like sandpipers or plovers. I can't really tell at this resolution.
The collared kingfisher is a coastal bird. Here it is waiting to prey on crabs.