Last week, I mentioned the Goodwins Sanity Detector, a curious device of my own construction that sits buried under strata of old press releases on my desk, remaining quiescent for years on end. A sensible report from the US about online porn and children made it twitch for the first time in ages, but now it seems to be getting a thorough workout.
First, Sony has come to its corporate senses over open dogs. Its robo-mutt, the Aibo, has been the source of much conflict in the past, with Sony threatening owners who do just that bit too much with their plastic pals. Their crime is to try and work out how to program it: something Sony didn't like the sound of. However, following some mutterings, the company backed down and let the Aibo's most fervent propagator of reverse engineering do his stuff online -- and now Sony has caved in completely. It's produced a toolkit for C++ programmers that throws open the doors to the doggy's digital doings. Each limb, each light, even the noises that the muitt makes is available for individual tweakage, and Sony will even set up a Web site where roboteers can exchange their best bits.
And then, a mere decade or so after IEEE 1394 came out, the trade association behind it has decided to call it FireWire -- thus abandoning a long tradition of each company calling it something different, just to terminally confuse the marketplace and ensure that nobody knew what was going on. So farewell then, the "Will my i.link camera work with my 1394 adaptor in my PC or the FireWire in my Apple" question. It's not as if this has only just come to people's attention -- at a Sony bash some four years ago, the assembled bigwigs asked for questions from the floor and the first one was why such a silly state of affairs existed. Much nervous throat-clearing and "We hear you". And, in that very Sony way, we ignore you too.
No longer. I may have to buy new batteries for the Detector at this rate.