Additional profile information on Alfred Thompson at Google+
How does Blake Handler always see these announcements before I do? The man is amazing. Good thing I read his blog or the presentation I am giving next week at the CS & IT Symposium would have stale data. OK what am I rambling about now?
Windows SteadyState is the 2.0 version of what used to be called the Shared Computer Toolkit. This is a tool for managing and protecting computers that are shared my many people. Things like libraries, school classrooms and computer labs and even Internet Cafés. it lets you protect your C drive, limit activities that users can do and otherwise simplify managing a shared or public computer.
The handbook with installation and setup instructions can be found here. Summer time is just the time to think about how to manage computers in a lab next school year. I'd love to hear from people who have used this or otherwise looked at it seriously.
Over at the Microsoft Robotics Studio Blog Joseph Fernando has a couple of interesting posts.
The first one is about a new robot that lets people take a virtual tour of the palace at Versailles. Robotsoft has created a robot that is allowed into the private areas of the palace. Orange Telecom fiber customers will be able to view what the robot "sees" in high definition from home. They will also be able to control the robot from their PCs. Pretty cool really. This allows people to visit, at least virtually, a lot more of the palace but without the security concerns of letting people actually physically wander around. Could this be a way to open more currently private spaces with broad public interest? Maybe.
Joseph also provides a bunch of links to the recent Sumo Robot competition that Microsoft sponsored at MEDC 2007. I really enjoyed the pictures he posted of the behind the scenes set-up operation as well. They assembled 40 sumo bots for the event. I can't imagine how much more work it would have been if they hadn't been using standard parts like the fully assembled Create robots from iRobot that were the robot bases.
(BTW it appears that Tom's Hardware is running a Create robot contest.) I'm not sure if that is the same or different from the one at http://www.instructables.com/group/iRobot but there look like oppertunities to do fun robotic stuff over the summer and win cash as well.
A major project called Rome Reborn is a virtual tour of ancient Rome. According to this article an international team of team of archaeologists, architects and computer specialists from Italy, the United States, Britain and Germany have created the most complete virtual reality simulation off Ancient Rome yet. This ten year project was started at UCLA and not resides at the University of Virginia. This is a pretty cool example of the sort of technology that is being used in computer games to provide three dimensional movement in a more academic educational context.
The technology being used allows for relatively easy updates as new discoveries are made. I would expect that models like this would themselves be a way to try out theories and verify that they are in fact practical and correct. Pretty cool stuff if you ask me.