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Newsletter February 04, 2002

o Editorial
o Agent News
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o Technologies


Do you think you are anonymous on the Web?

You are logged on at your workplace, or perhaps comfortably settled into an armchair at home. You have a great feeling of freedom as you connect to web sites scattered across the world. You can't see anybody, and no-one can see you. Don't be so sure! When you visit a Web site or take part in a newsgroup, you are not anonymous even if you are careful not to reveal any information about your true identity.

There are many different identification techniques. Cookies are the most widespread method. They contain information about your visits to a particular site (pages seen, number of visits etc.) Some cookies are useful (for remembering your name, direct access to your favorite page on the site, virtual shopping trolleys that memorize your selection of products on a merchant site etc.). Others are merely there to track you. IP address, browsing history, contents of your browser's cache, registry, among others, are common identification techniques.

How can you protect yourself? There are intelligent agents that look after your private life and clean up the footsteps you leave behind you. Window Washer for example automatically wipes clean your browser's cache, browsing history, cookies, registry and recently consulted files. You can even decide which "useful" cookies to keep. For e-mails and newsgroups, there is Internet Privacy that prevents advanced users from knowing about e-mails you "deleted", newsgroups you read, "chat" conversations you had as well as files you downloaded. "SpyWare" (those little programmes that enter you hard disk and send out personal information), can sometimes be hard to detect. However, some "anti-SpyWare" agents are quite efficient. Xcleaner is one that detects their presence. It even hunts out AdWare (software that launches advertising windows).

Tracking techniques do not mean that you are being closely spied upon. They are essentially used for marketing reasons. If anonymity is not a rule on the Internet, surveillance isn't either.

Window Washer :
Internet Privacy :
Xcleaner :

Other intelligent agents are available at:

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>> AIGames <<

> Mission Risk
The object of the game of risk is to either capture every territory on the board and wipe out all of your opponents, or to complete your secret mission before any one else does. Careful planning and a cunning strategy play a big part in the outcome of a game.

> Robocode
Build the best. Destroy the rest. In Robocode, you'll program a robotic battletank in Java for a fight to the finish. The game is designed to help you learn Java, and have fun doing it.

> Arenas of destruction
Join the game based on the hugely popular TV phenomenon 'Robot Wars'. Fight against robots that only have one goal in life: to be the last one left standing after the battle! It's up to you to show that your robot is the best!

> ALife GameStation
ALife GameStation allows to create rival colonies of virtual life and to real-time intervene in their growth. Simple rules of evolution generate very complex and unpredictable behavior of the colonies. The goal of player is to capture control over this chaos.

> Splotch
Splotch is a captivating game of logic and intuition with very simple rules. You set red dots on the playing board, and the computer sets blue dots. The goal of the game is to enclose as many of your opponent's dots as possible, thereby 'capturing' territory.

>> Desktop Agents <<

> Kahli
Kahli DeskMate is an interactive cartoon character who lives on your Windows desktop. She reacts if you touch her or move her around the screen with your mouse. If you leave her alone, she will amuse herself and entertain you in the process.

>> Chatterbot <<

> Answerpad
Answerpad is a program that will memorize any statement that is entered into it. A user may then ask it questions in plain English and Answerpad will try to answer by processing the information within its memory.

>> Email Extractors<<

> Email Extractor
Advertising costs too much. What you want is a cheap way to reach people... lots of people. You can collect email addresses for yourself. Email Extractor It runs on its server (no need to install!) and you use it over the Internet from a browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape.


> Talk 2Desktop
Talk 2Desktop enables you to control your PC using your own voice. An animated character will provide feedback and guide you as you go along. You can launch programs, go to your favorite web sites or open any document on your PC without touching the keyboard or mouse. All you need to do is simply talk to your PC using a standard microphone.


> Hitachi unveils wearable PC
Hitachi has announced plans to roll out a wearable PC with head-mounted display by the end of March 2002. The WIA-100NB Wearable Internet Appliance will allow users to access the Internet and to browse data. The head-mounted display gives the user an illusion of a 13in display about 60cm in front of their eyes, Hitachi said. The WIA-100NB will be available before the end of March 2002 at a price of $1499.

> A Glove That Speaks Volumes,1282,49716,00.html
Eighteen-year-old Ryan Patterson has designed a sign language translator glove that works by sensing the hand movements of the sign language alphabet, then wirelessly transmitting the data to a portable device that displays the text on-screen.
Like voice recognition software, the user has to train the glove before using it. A person loads the software into a computer, trains the program, then downloads the data to the portable receiver (about the size of a cell phone).


> Creation : Life and How to Make It
This book by Steve Grand, developer of the Creatures series of artificial-life software, ranges from deep ruminations on the nature of life and mind (artificial and biological) to fairly concrete advice for future creators. Sometimes his cleverness gets the best of him, but for the most part, his wordplay is used to serve his ideas, which are thought-provoking even for readers who have no intention of creating life.

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