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Newsletter April 17, 2001
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o Editorial
o Article of the week
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Virtual pets: Man's best friends

You're crazy about pets: you love playing with them, talking them for walks, looking after them and watching them grow. Cute and obedient, some of them protect you and others amuse you. Unfortunately, you move around a lot and can't always take your goldfish with you (not easy in a bowl); it's raining and you don't want to walk your dog; the cat won't stop tearing up your carpet, or you just don't have the time to look after a pet and so have decided not to have one.

However, some companions exist which can follow you wherever you go. Very discreet, they will never disturb your guests, be tortured by your children or make a mess of your house. These new companions are part of the family of Virtual Pets.

Virtual Pets are companions that you can adopt on the Internet or on your own computer. Dogs, cats, fish…. They get on well together so you can adopt as many as you want!
But be careful, having a virtual pet doesn't mean taking caring for it virtually. If you don't look after them, you will lose them. You need to brush them, feed them, play with them etc. And just like real animals, they will return your kindness.

Discover our virtual animal house and all the Virtual Pets available on AgentLand:


> MP3 Agents
Imagine getting practically any song, anytime, from anywhere in the world. MP3 Agents are very good at this, and they make it very easy to get the music that you want.


N E W   A G E N T S

>> Shopbots <<

> PillBid
PillBid is a site for prescription drugs that acts as an intermediary between the consumer and online pharmacies. Whether you take one or more prescription drugs, enables you to submit the names of your prescription drug(s) and receive a bid from online pharmacies for your business.

> @BOOKu
@BOOKu is a book shopbot that helps you find the lowest price on any book. You can search by book title, keywords and author. @BOOKu searches on, Barnes and Noble, Borders,, Powells, & FatBrain. The results include price and the merchants that offer the title.

> MarketBoy
Use MarketBoy to find the best price on audio devices, DVD players, gadget & stuff, etc. When you choose a product to compare prices, MarketBoy will show you the prices from a variety of stores, including shipping and tax. The Marketview displays the entire marketplace for your product.

> Techbooksearch provides price comparison for technical books. You can search by title, author, ISBN and by keywords. Once you decide to purchase a book you are redirected to the vendor web page for that book

>> Development tool <<

> agentTool
The agentTool Project is a development tool that allows agent system designers to formally specify the required structure and behavior of a multiagent system and semi-automatically synthesize multiagent systems that meet those requirements.

>> Browsing accelerators <<

> LinkFox
LinkFox is a web accelerator for both Netscape and Internet Explorer. This program will load only the links you want to look at, and place them directly into your favorite browser's cache, so they will load instantly the moment you are ready to view them.

> WebEarly
WebEarly accelerates Web access by anticipating the downloading of pages that you will be accessing. It temporarily store files to be accessed. WebEarly takes into account the terms entered into search engines and the pages visited in order to determine your favorite themes, and it will anticipate on these first.

>> Downloading <<

> NetAnts
NetAnts allows you to easily perform batch downloads from the Internet, either totally unattended, or while you're surfing with your favorite web browser. To select which files to download, you can manually add file names to the queue, activate a clipboard monitor that automatically grabs the file names that you've copied, or let NetAnts capture clicks from your browser. You can even create a "drop basket" on your desktop, and drag and drop files from your Web browser.

>> File sharing <<

> LimeWire
LimeWire is a software package which enables individuals to search for and share computer files with anyone on the Internet. LimeWire is compatible with the Gnutella file-sharing protocol and can connect with anyone else running Gnutella-compatible software. At startup, the LimeWire program will connect, via the Internet, to the LimeWire Gateway, a specialized intelligent Gnutella router, to maximize the user's viewable network space.

> WinMX
WinMX is a file-sharing program like no other. It allows you to simultaneously connect to many established networks based on the Opennap and Napster protocols. This means more users and more search results. WinMX also supports any file type, allowing you access to a diverse assortment of shared video and picture files as well as the usual MP3 audio files.

> Hotline
Hotline Connect is a suite of two applications – a client and a server - that enables Internet users to communicate and share files and information. It enables you to easily create a personal interactive Internet community on your own terms.

A G E N T  U P D A T E S

>> Virtual Pets <<

> Virtual Kitty is running again!
Virtual Kitty, a Virtual Pet on the Internet, has returned. You can adopt your own Virtual Kitty and come back every day to play with him/her. It's easy but beware: neglect or strain can kill your cat, so take good care of it. You can also get your very own e-mail address

>> Chatterbots <<

> Dr. Abuse
Dr Abuse, the Spanish chatterbot, has been updated. Now, the Doctor remembers more data about the user and other subjects. The knowledge base has been increased with new words and phrases. Dr Abuse has been trained in hundreds of conversations with humans and computers through the Internet. When using this program you will be surprised by the sharpness of its answers and will begin to doubt is he real or not?

>> Shopbots <<

> Kelkoo
Kelkoo, the international shopping guide that helps you find the best offer for products and services has stopped its services for Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. On the other hand, it is available for four new countries: Denmark, Holland, Norway and Sweden.

________________/ COMMUNITY \__________________
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> Webtop
Webtop is an engine that extracts the concepts of a user's enquiry, so that it can understand the meaning of what the user really wants to find. It's this concept-driven approach to finding the right information that's moves towards a completely new way of searching.


> InHand and Conversay Partner to Deliver Voice-Enabled Handheld Devices
InHand Electronics, Inc, a leader in creating ultra-portable handheld devices for OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), and Conversay, a specialist in speech technology for mobile and traditional Internet access devices, have announced a strategic partnership to offer speech recognition on InHand's devices. Significant applications for this technology exist in the military, instrumentation and telematics industries.
Beginning in the third quarter of 2001, InHand's Fingertip and Elf boards will be shipped with Conversay's voice recognition technology embedded within them.

> Carrier, IBM to provide the first Web-enabled air conditioner
Carrier and IBM will produce the first Web-enabled air conditioner that wirelessly communicates in real time with other devices such as mobile phones and personal computers.
Named "," the new service will be built on an infrastructure supported by IBM services, software and hardware.
Carrier plans to launch the 'smart air conditioner', controllable via Wireless Application Protocol phones, this summer to several hundred commercial and residential customers in selected European locations. Plans call for the program to be extended throughout Europe and North America and eventually support other devices, such as personal digital assistants.

> Small Planet and Lumo launch a virtual pet that "lives" in your mobile phone
Small Planet Ltd and Lumo Media Oy ( have together designed a virtual pet that "lives" in your mobile phone. The virtual life links SMS, the WAP phone and the Internet in a new way. The pet lives in its own virtual world, with its own virtual past, present and future.
"The virtual pet is proof that a great deal can be achieved with excellent co-operation and in an innovative environment. It has completely humane characteristics: when treated well it develops its knowledge, skills and capabilities. It even gains and looses weight according to the nutrition given to it," describes Tapio Löfman from Lumo Media.
The user brings up and takes care of the virtual pet by satisfying its basic needs, as well as by taking care of its emotional welfare.

> The Mindpixel Digital Mind Modeling Project
GAC (pronounced 'Jack') is a first step toward true artificial consciousness. By talking to GAC in clear and unambiguous Mindpixels, you teach what it is to be human. In doing so, you help create the Mindpixel Corpus, which is the largest database of validated human common sense ever attempted to be collected. When complete in 2010 it will have more than one billion individual facts, entered by over two million individual people.

> Digital hormones for robots
As in a growing child, a flood of hormones will make robots bigger, stronger and more independent. By including hormone-like messaging in a robotic control system, a team at the University of Southern California's Information Science Institute (ISI) in Marina del Rey has managed to overcome a problem that has been dogging robotics.
Behnam Salemi and his colleagues at the ISI have found a way to make such resourceful robots. These include walking creations that will adapt their gait if you break a leg off, and others that inch along like a caterpillar regardless of what length they have become. Both use software inspired by biological hormones. The team will report on their work at a conference on robotics and automation in Seoul next month.

> the latest Aibo rival
GAC (pronounced 'Jack') is a first step toward true artificial consciousness. By talking to GAC in clear and unambiguous Mindpixels, you teach what it is to be human. In doing so, you help create the Mindpixel Corpus, which is the largest database of validated human common sense ever attempted to be collected. When complete in 2010 it will have more than one billion individual facts, entered by over two million individual people.


> Laval Virtual
The third international virtual reality exhibition "Laval Virtual" will be held on 16-20 May 2001 in Laval, France. It aims to show how Virtual Reality offers concrete solutions for research and for business development. The exhibition comprises several spaces such as "Virtual Animations" that presents discoveries and developments of Virtual Reality ; or "The Ingenierium" to discover the latest innovations. The program includes many shows: artistic, 3D Internet games and festive events.

> Workshop on agents and Internet learning
The Fifth International Conference on Autonomous Agents (Agents 2001)wil be held on May 28th 2001 in Montreal. Canada. The aim of the Agents 2001 conference is to bring together researchers and developers from industry and academia to report on the latest scientific and technical advances, discuss and debate the major issues, and showcase the latest systems. Exciting robot demos will also be presented as part of the Agents 2001 Robot Program, providing an exceptional opportunity to demonstrate state-of-the-art research, to share ideas and technology from the very broad research perspectives addressed by the Agents scientific community, and to increase awareness of the key challenges in designing autonomous robotic agents.

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