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Newsletter November 12, 2001

o Editorial
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o Technologies


I play therefore I am?

Video games are still one of the hottest sectors of the computer industry. With sales forecasts showing constant growth, the market is attracting a lot of attention. Microsoft don't want to miss out: the industry giant fully intends to take a significant share of the market with the forthcoming X-Box console. Meanwhile, games publishers are preparing for the battle, creating game scenarios that look like Hollywood movies, and graphics that keep pushing back the boundaries of 3-D animation…

On the Internet, excitement is high. Games portals are among the most popular sites on the Web. AOL's games site is one of the ISP's three most-visited. But above all… Internet is a wonderful playground. What could be better than playing an enchanting game? Playing it with other people. Publishers have understood this, and today it is rare that a new game doesn't have an on-line version.

What they have realized is that the profile of video gamers has changed. Once reserved for adolescents, more and more adults are getting bitten by the electronic games bug. Faced with this more demanding audience, the games are obliged to evolve too… to the point to becoming intelligent! Players now want the feelings of immersion, of reality, of "real-play" that can only be found by using the principles of artificial intelligence.

The Sims, Black & White and RoboForge are based on this idea. In The Sims, you are responsible for virtual humans that lead their life under your watchful gaze, make friends, get married, have kids and even die… Rather than being a passive spectator, you are an actor in the scenario; a scenario whose evolution depends on the characters taking part. In Black & White, you can be a "God": it's up to you whether to do Good or Evil. What's important is that the inhabitants believe in you. The entire world unfolds before you, for your pleasure only. As for RoboForge, it gives you the opportunity to build a robot from A to Z, and then train it for combat. From the armor to the electronic brain, you must design it to be a fighting machine able to overcome any opponent.

The games industry has always been quick to integrate the latest advances in technology to keep improving its products, making them more and more realistic for our entertainment.

The video games on Agentland :


> Window Washer: clean up your footprints!
Did you know that your computer can be washed clean? Most software stores information about your computer activity: the documents you opened, the sites you visited and many other things. Anybody can know what you have been doing. What's more, storing this information takes up a great deal of hard disk space that will keep growing if you don't do something about it! There's nothing better than a bit of spring-cleaning to make your computer seem brand new!


>> File sharing <<

> Limewire
Limewire, the file-sharing software based on the Gnutella protocol, has been updated. Easier to use, the 1.8 version has got lots of new features like a built-in MP3 player and the possibility to chat on-line with other users.

>> Off-line browser <<

> WebWhacker Educators Edition
WebWhacker Educators Edition is great for educators and parents who wish to safeguard their kids by creating approved directories of Web sites for browsing! When you use WebWhacker you have 100% control over Web content viewed by children, because it is you who chooses the sites they can see.

> Grab a Site
Grab a Site is an offline browser that combines speed, stability, and powerful filtering capabilities. If you need an "industrial-strength" tool that can download an entire web site while retaining the original filenames and directory structure and making the web pages themselves accessible, Grab-a-Site is for you!

>> Search agents <<

> Intelliseek and PlanetFeedback join forces
Intelliseek and have joined forces to provide intelligence and feedback tools to help businesses strengthen consumer relations and deepen corporate intelligence. The merger combines Intelliseek's expertise in business intelligence and enterprise search technology and PlanetFeedback's prowess at creating easy-to-use tools for consumer-to-company communication and interaction on the Internet.
All of Intelliseek's other properties will continue to exist, including ESS™(Enterprise Search Server), BullsEye®, ProFusion™ and™

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> TeeCee
TeeCee DeskMate is an interactive cartoon character who lives on the Windows desktop. TeeCee reacts if you touch him or move him around the screen with the mouse. If you leave him alone, he will amuse himself and entertain you in the process.


> Aibo: beware of the dog
Complaints from Sony have led to the removal from the web of unauthorised computer programs that teach the Aibo robot dog to perform new tricks. However, the move has upset many Aibo enthusiasts. The company says these programs used proprietary Sony Aibo code that was acquired by breaking the encryption protecting this software.
The author of these programs was warned to remove them, along with information about the Aibo software protection system, from the web site

> AIBO: another new dog
Entertainment Robot America (ERA), a division of Sony Electronics Inc., has developed a new robot dog. This new AIBO [ERS-220] model is visually differentiated from its predecessors by its aggressive, more futuristic look. The new AIBO will include several innovative software-enabled features, such as a 75-word vocabulary and advanced photo-taking options including Surveillance Mode (AIBO Explorer only).
The Dog will be available in late November for US$1500.

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