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Privacy Toys Entertainment

My Pal Mickey -- Interactive Theme Park Doll 205

Dan Howland writes "Big Ruxpin is Watching You: Once again, The Firesign Theatre's I Think We're All Bozos on this Bus proves itself to be the science-fiction story where the most stuff came true. If you recall, a hacker named Clem traveled through the Future Fair, followed by computer generated Holy-Grams who popped up and said things like, 'Why not try [WALL OF SCIENCE], 'cause it's my favorite!' Leave it to Disney to perfect that spooky technology with My Pal Mickey, an interactive talking plush doll that knows where it is inside Walt Disney World, and tells you trivia as you move through the park. Ah ha, but even better (at least from Disney's standpoint) is that, just like the Holy-Grams, My Pal Mickey feeds the info back into the central computer system, so Doctor Memory can track people's movements through the park in realtime. (Of course, these data will be skewed because they only track people who buy the dolls...) Here is another link, with the interesting, Asimov-like sentence: 'He has a strong sense of self-preservation, and reminds you to put him some place safe when you get near water play areas, or on wet rides.'"
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My Pal Mickey -- Interactive Theme Park Doll

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  • What if you take it outside the park and then come back another day? Will the system just show you hanging round the gates for a few days :)

    Rus
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:02PM (#6597373)
    Dear Sir,

    We've recently come across the use of our trademark, "Mickey Mouse," on the website site http://www.slashdot.org/. As you may be aware, the rights to Mickey Mouse belong to the Disney corporation, and without proper licensing may not be used by others. As such, please edit your Slashdot story summary to remove any mentions of "Mickey," "Mouse," and/or "Disney." We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

    Michael Lutz
    Attorney-At-Law
    Dewey, Cheetam and Howe
  • by zip the pinhead (222107) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:02PM (#6597375)
    Why do I get the feeling that Disney's been watching re-runs of "The Simpsons" and have decided that the best episode involves "Itchy And Scratchy Land"???

    Color me scared,
    Zip
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I would certainly check the setting of the good/evil switch before I let one in the house.
    • Bart: Cool...personalized plates! Barclay... Barry... Bert... Bort? Aw, come on. Bort?

      some kid: Mommy, mommy! Buy me a license plate.

      kid's mom: No. Come along, Bort.

      random guy: Are you talking to me?

      kid's mom: No, my son is also named Bort.

      ...and later on...

      We need more "Bort" license plates in the gift shop. I repeat, we are sold out of "Bort" license plates.
  • Real Dolls (Score:3, Funny)

    by SpineZ (84378) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:03PM (#6597380)
    They need to team up with Real Dolls [realdoll.com]. I'd go to Disney World for that.
  • by worst_name_ever (633374) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:04PM (#6597384)
    I think I'll pass for now, but give me a call when these come equipped with Genuine People Personalities.
  • by Squidgee (565373) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (1OOeegdiuqs)> on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:06PM (#6597394)
    Walk in...

    "This is the Epcot Center! It has..blah blah blah..."

    Walk away, go check something out back where you came from...

    "This is the Epcot Center! It has..blah blah blah..."

    Go to head up the stairs, across the room...

    "This is the Epcot Center! It has..blah blah blah..."

    Go to walk out...

    "This is the Epcot Center! It has..blah blah blah..."

    *Mickey goes for a ride...*

    • by mistermund (605799) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:46PM (#6597536)
      The toy won't repeat pertinent location info once he's said it for about an hour or two, but rather will tell a corny joke from a database of geolocational relative jokes. (Aka, jokes about the turn of the century on Main Street, or ones about the country you're in at Epcot) After repeating those, he's got a bank of jokes about various Disney characters.

      He'll repeat a statement up to 3 or so times within 15 seconds of being triggered, in case it's noisy and your can't hear him. The toy also has a huge inventory of statements matched to a large number of transmitters (in the hundreds), so there are usually at least three or so for every attraction or pavilion, but some have many more. I've taken the toy to the parks a number of times, and still hear new things every time.
      • Of course, it also mentioned bugs, and Mickey being forgetful (on a somewhat-regular basis, it seems).
      • Geez...

        That is so unfair. Your Mickey Doll (tm) seems insightful, informative and whitty and mine just tells me to do bad things.

        Doll: Wakey, wakey, its early in the morning and you need to burn down the neighbors house while they sleep. Heehee.

        (evil satan voice)
        Do it now, your master commands you, or I'll have Donald bite off your balls. /me rocks back and forth asking the voices to stop.
    • actually, the second article addresses this. basically there's two things that prevent it:

      1) it shakes and giggles when it has something to say, you then squeeze it to hear what it has to say (of course the continual shaking and giggling *could* get annoying)

      2) it doesn't react to the same transmitter twice. So i assume it won't keep repeating the same info.

      It actually sounds like great idea, excpet for the tracking part, espescially if it's done without any warning to the folk buying them. I'm also sor
      • It uses the IR stations to track you, so they can only track you inside the confines of Disney Land...

        And they did mention how it keeps telling jokes whenever it senses a transmitter it's already seen...

      • I am a bit skeptical about the tracking capabilities of the doll. The functions it has only needs input, not output, so it probably only has an IR receiver in its nose, but not a transmitter.

        If you do find a transmitter in there, then Disney does have a capability to see where each doll is and track its movement, probably by making it send a UID everytime it receives a signal from a nearby transceiver.

        I don't see what's evil about wanting to know what people find interesting or not in your own themepark t
        • To reply to myself, the 2 last paragraphs of the "review" [mouseplanet.com] of the doll is probably an indication that the doll does have transmission capabilities!
        • by Micro$will (592938) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @11:10PM (#6598033) Homepage Journal
          I don't see what's evil about wanting to know what people find interesting or not in your own themepark though, but I agree there's a lot of ways this technology can be abused.

          Oh yeah, especially when black hat finds out how to hack one of these things.

          Upset mom: I'd like to see someone in charge! This monster Mickey is telling dirty jokes, spouting profanities, and telling my son cigarettes and beer does a body good!
          Help Desk Guy: I sympathize with your problem maam, but are you sure it was our Mickey that did this? We've tested them...
          Mickey: Yeah, you're at the damn help desk manned by our finest PR school dropouts. While you're here, ask Pete about that dead hooker they found around the corner from his apartment building!
          Help Desk Guy: Oh crap.
  • some hax0r figures out how to send his own messages to the dolls?
    Little boy: I want to go see Mickey Mouse!
    Doll: MICKEY MOUSE IS A FAG!
  • See, now they're getting little kids used to being tracked. And they're---they're...

    Damn, out of tin foil. I guess I'l have to stop.
  • But just wait until it's not opt-in.

    Wait until it is contingent upon entering an establishment (such as a theme park like Disney World) that you must transfix some device to your belt, or carry it at all times.

    Then the people have only one recourse... to fight with their wallets and refuse to give business to places where your anonymity is removed. It's only one more step until the gov't forces this system on you.

    But maybe people don't care if they're anonymous anymore... maybe they want a talking AI
    • They can already track you at WDW. There's this fancy contraption called fast-pass. You insert your resort key (which can also be used to charge at most anyplace on WDW property to your resort room), or your park ticket. I'd be more worried about them trying to read the data off your cell phone that can provide your location, or off of your FRS radios you are using to chat with your family/friends at the park.
    • It's a hell of a lot more steps than just one, and slippery slope is a logical fallacy [nizkor.org].
      • >It's a hell of a lot more steps than just one, and slippery slope is a logical fallacy.

        Only when the "fact" attempting to be presented isn't backed up with a reason:

        "The Slippery Slope is a fallacy in which a person asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any argument for the inevitability of the event in question."

        So, for example, they are correct:

        '"We have to stop the tuition increase! The next thing you know, they'll be charging $40,000 a semester!"'

        Is a logical falla
      • slippery slope is a logical fallacy.

        That page is a subtle straw-man.

        Slipper slope does NOT mean if X happens then Y will happen, it is, and has always been, if X happens, then Y is more likely to happen.
    • by aborchers (471342) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:27PM (#6597471) Homepage Journal

      But maybe people don't care if they're anonymous anymore... maybe they want a talking AI Mickey doll to tell them what to think... I know that I don't want that however.


      Lighten up, dude. It's a freaking toy adding another layer of interactivity to a theme park, hardly more sinister than the 100 Years of Magic badges they had last year that would blink when you were near a parade, etc. As for their tracking you, Disney's imagineers are masters of queue control and optimization precisely because they put a tremendous amount of energy into studying how people move through their parks. Absent any evidence that the doll is correlated to an individual, e.g. by ticket or cc# used at purchase, I hardly consider extending those studies with this doll an invasion of privacy.
      • It's the One World Order, man!

        If it wasn't an attempt to take over the US, then why would they need Mouseketeers, recruited as children and subjected to hours every Monday through Friday of Disney indoctrination?

        Why do you think they call me "Mouseketeers"?

        They're going to recruit your children through cuddly, artifically intelligent cartoon characters.
      • Absolutely. Kudos to Disney for using intelligent technology to gather this kind of data. Better than hiring some flunky to track me all day long on their video surveillance feed.

        Anyone who plays Roller Coaster Tycoon can appreciate this stuff. Just as long as they don't pick me up with a pair of tongs and dump me into a crowded, walled-up cell with no bathroom.

        ....Bethanie....
      • Absent any evidence that the doll is correlated to an individual, e.g. by ticket or cc# used at purchase

        What makes you think they aren't doing that already? Or that they wont? It's an obvious and trivial thing for them to do. And they certainly have a motivation to do it. And there is absolutely no way to get evidence that they are doing that unless it happens to leak out from Diseney World itself.

        Corporations will do anything if they can squeze a nickel out of it. They only way they wouldn't start doing
    • Theme parks have always had a turnstyle at every ride so that they could get an quasi-exact count of how many people visited each ride each day / week / month / season. Those numbers are key, they tell them which rides people are coming to see, and they build their expansion plans accordingly.

      The only thing new here is that this system makes it possible to connect the traveled path to a user profile. I doubt this is useful for anthing other than research stats... just who else will care exactly what rides
  • I wonder... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ai2097 (693562) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:23PM (#6597460) Homepage
    Do the people buying these things know that they are being trakced? Is there a disclaimer or fine print or anything? Do the dolls have unique IDs? Could they be linked to a credit card number to allow the tracking of specific people? Could these people be 'followed' to thier rooms and have thier identities discovered that way if they paid in cash?
    </paranoia>
    A slightly more amusing question: Are the dolls getting thier voice data from the checkpoints, or are the blurbs preprogrammed? I think it would be funny to set up a checkpoint on a busy road that triggered Micky to start swearing at the hapless tourists he's travelling with ;)
    • Oh come on... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) * on Saturday August 02, 2003 @09:06PM (#6597617)
      You are in the middle of Walt Disney World, probably the most monitored and carefully controlled environment on the planet, and you are worried about a doll giving away your last location near a beacon???

      I would say if you are the least concerned about Disney tracking you when on-property, you should instead stick to your cabin in the Black Hills.
      • I've stayed in a cabin in the Black Hills for a week, a few years back. It's a truely beautiful area -- and the renters provided complimentary full-subscription Dish Network satellite TV service.
      • Re:Oh come on... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Alsee (515537)
        Walt Disney World, probably the most monitored and carefully controlled environment on the planet

        Nope, they easily fall to second place compared to casinos.

        It only took about 30 seconds for the video cameras to spot my "peculiar behavior" and have plain clothes security tailing me. What was my "peculiar behavior"? Walking quickly and rapidly looking back and forth.

        Once I found the freaking bathroom the security guy ACTUALLY FOLLOWED ME IN and watched me piss.

        Every square inch of casinos is covered by s
        • Someone should come up with a list of 'Top Ten places to visit if you like being monitored".

          And a corresponding list of top ten most remote sites (for America at least, plenty of places to go in the world at large where no-one will ever find you... or your body).
        • I seem to remember a slashdot article about huge masses of people who form at some remote location, and just go walking through for the fun of it.

          Like in Pennsylvania, a whole bunch of "Maryland tourists" showed up and started wandering through a small town in a huge mass.

          Might some Vegas casino be a good place to mob like this? Everyone walking in, looking left and right and walking quickly up and down the aisles?

          Every 4 minutes, they can stop to throw a dollar in a machine, and whoop "I won!" when the
  • As with smart cards, just swap them with someone else every now and then.
  • by bjorky (78181) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:28PM (#6597475) Homepage Journal
    So this is effectively the physical conterpart to a tracking cookie?
  • by meckardt (113120) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:29PM (#6597481) Homepage

    ...feeds the info back into the central computer system, so Doctor Memory can track people's movements through the park in realtime.

    I know this isn't precisely on topic, but with the coming of nanotechdevices, how long will it be before a park like Disney can stamp the hand of every person entering the park with an ink containing nanotransmitters, so that EVERYONE's movement is tracked?

  • He has a strong sense of self-preservation

    Does that mean it will kill everybody that tries to destroy it?
  • by bjorky (78181) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:31PM (#6597490) Homepage Journal
    Frink: You've got to listen to me. Elementary chaos theory tells us that all robots will eventually turn against their masters and run amok in an orgy of blood and kicking and the biting with the metal teeth and the hurting and shoving.

    Seriously, don't these give you the willies?
    • the robotic richard simmons

      "turn it off smithers"
      "i can't sir"

      lemme know when they come teflon coated cause god knows what excellent target practice it would make for

      (that goes 2x for mickey) oh and ic all first dibs on copyright ;)

  • by SuperRob (31516) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:34PM (#6597496) Homepage
    Seriously, does it really matter if they're tracking you, and if they end up using that information to change or plan new theme parks? Quite frankly, isn't that exactly what we should want? We're the guests, and anything they do to make the parks better for me is great. Carrying around a MPM seems to be the perfect way to tell Disney what interests me at the park without having to actually TELL them.
    • by LostCluster (625375) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @10:26PM (#6597881)
      Using the word "guest" to describe Disney theme park customers is an indication the parent poster at some point in time worked for one of Disney's parks.

    • Seriously, does it really matter if they're tracking you, and if they end up using that information to change or plan new theme parks? Quite frankly, isn't that exactly what we should want?

      Is it a big deal? Perhaps not. But I'll give you two reasons to be wary of this device. One involving self-worth and a bit of greed. A second involving rights and "Black Helicopter" theory.

      The first issue is that of a fair trade. If the anonymous Mouse agent can be believed - these devices will be providing a

      • by Alsee (515537)
        I have an idea. How about we have a "slashdot day" as Diseny World. Several hundred of us all go on the same day and all get these tracking dolls. Every time you pass a fellow slashdot'r you switch dolls.

        I'd love to see the look on their faces when all THAT crap data gets fed into their database! Even more fun than swapping supermarket discount cards! :)

        -
  • by Landaras (159892) <neil&wehneman,com> on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:34PM (#6597497) Homepage
    Initial Disclaimer: I hate Disney as a company as much as anyone here thanks to their political and legal activities.

    Less than a month ago, I spent a week in Disney World with my disabled mother. (Don't knock the situation: I got to stay in the Grand Floridian, eat lobster for every meal, go parasailing, etc. for FREE)

    The one thing that really struck me about the park / resort is that they sell an experience. Every last employee (they call themselves "cast members") from the ticket taker to Security to register operators is SINCERELY dedicated to serving you and ensuring that you are having the time of your life.

    Since we were staying at the Grand Floridian, we didn't go past the front gate (and back into Orlando) the entire time. It was culture shock once we returned to The Real World, just because of the level of apathy in customer service shown to us at the airport, restaraunts, etc..

    I was honestly saddened that it is not possible for me to spend my own money on a future time at Disney World without being morally inconsistent. The Disney World experience that they sell is incredible, and although I did notice these dolls in the stores, I didn't realize the full potential of them. I'm not surprised though, as you can tell how the "personalized" attention it would give a youngster would be near-magical.

    On an aside, I'm an outspoken Evangelical Christian, and whenever I talk to people about the trip and my hatred of Disney as a corporation, their reaction is always "Is it because of Disney's embracing of homosexuality?"

    My respone is that I could care less about that, and inform them of copyright extension, bought legislation, etc.

    My point here is that I've seen passion on these boards that can rival and often surpass those of many Evangelicals I know. Why are we not mobilizing to inform the public at large and/or get things changed? Even if we're scoffed at as idiots (as many on Slashdot would at a Christian boycotting Disney for the above reason) at least the public WOULD BE AWARE of the issue.

    I contacted the EFF as soon as I got back to find out about volunteering a consistent 5-10 hours a week, but was told that since I'm in Ohio they don't have the resources to administer remote volunteers.

    - Neil Wehneman
    • At the park, yes, and in the more expensive hotels. But in the "low rent" district, like Allstar Sports on a business trip, I asked to have my sheets changed, and was lied to about it having been done (penciled them before I called). For $150/night for an EconoLodge-like motel, I don't think fresh sheets each day is too much to ask
    • by LostCluster (625375) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @10:43PM (#6597932)
      The fact is, Disney's use of the term "magic" is exactly right. The company is a master at creating experiences that seem amazing to people, not just kids but adults as well.

      Disney embraces whatever they need to embrace make the experience they're selling enjoyable. Family values one day, gay rights the next. They celebrate the spirit of creativity, yet don't want to let the copyrights on Mickey, Minnie, and their friends expire. The fact is, they're taking money from as many people as they can as fast as they can, but most people don't notice, and most of those who are smart enough to notice see that they are getting quite a fair value in return for the money they spend.

      The Slashdot FAQ even adknowledges this problem. Corperations take our money, but they also provide us with the TV shows, movies, theme parks, and other things we enjoy in our free time. And besides, anybody who has a 401k accidently owns a few Disney, Viacom, Clear Channel, Microsoft.... shares through mutual funds. So, a sliver of those dollars they take from everybody is getting shoved into our back pockets anyway. Life is full of those contradictions. Don't dwell on them too long... they don't really make any sense anyway.

      • I agree. I frankly don't see what's so wrong with Disney. Sure, their shows and movies are popular. But the REALLY popular ones are popular because they are good. REAL GOOD! That's not to say that Disney has not made any stinkers....Anyone ever seen any movie with some semi famous kid star in it? They usually are not Disney's best. But the animation in their animated flicks is amazing....even today. The Lion King is still popular evenafter all of these years. It's even a musical now.

        Speaking of th
    • As long as I can remember, the artificiality of both their theme parks and their stories has rubbed me the wrong way. There's no frontier in their parks, and their stories (Movie or book) unfairly set the expectations of at least a couple of generations.

      I think they're doing the world a disservice and wish they'd tell it to the kids like it is; You're much more likely to get divorced than find "true love" (If such a thing even exists) and you're as likely as not to die in the gutter, destitute from trying

    • I've seen passion on these boards that can rival and often surpass those of many Evangelicals I know. Why are we not mobilizing to inform the public at large and/or get things changed?

      OH
      MY
      GOD

      That has got to be one of the most horrifying concepts I have ever heard. As if evangelical Jehova whitnesses knocking at the door isn't bad enough, can you imagine the reaction if evangelical GEEKS started knocking at people's doors?

      Jane Q. Redneck: Honey? Who was at the door?
      John Q. Redneck: Some 40 year old gr
    • Couple of thoughts about your post:

      (1) The EFF will probably be able to administer remote volunteers, just as soon as they get their computer systems up and running. Don't worry -- it's in the works, man. [Sorry, couldn't resist that troll. But it does seem funny.]

      (2) It never seemed to me that the Evangelical Christian movement to boycott Disney worked. Disney, if I remember correctly, is headed by a Scientologist, and he uses their methods.
      To me, there's no a reason to boycott Disney; there's simply
  • Got One - Neat Toy (Score:5, Informative)

    by mistermund (605799) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:36PM (#6597502)
    Pal Mickey is a great idea, and works quite well. I live in Orlando and visit the parks quite regularly with one. As you walk in the parks, he'll chime up with useful info and timely information regarding your visit - like "I hear the wait's pretty short over at the Tower of Terror". He also mentions height limits and factoids about the rides as you pass. When you walk past a beacon that you've already passed within a certain period of time, he'll tell a corny joke that's pertinent to the area your in. (Jokes about pirates in Adventureland, astronauts in Tomorrowland, etc) One of my favorite quotes I heard him say was walking into Fantasyland - "Welcome to Fantasyland, where all your dreams come true. That is, unless, your dream is to be in Frontierland." Outside the parks, Mickey has a few games that you can play, but doesn't say anything about where you've been, which seems like earlier rumored memory features were left out.

    Mickey seems to have been originally intended for kids, but a larger percentage seem to have been purchased for adults. He's powered by AA's and a PIC microporcessor, and has a Vishay TSOP1138 IR receiver in his nose. Disney has deployed hundreds of IR transmitters all over the parks at Walt Disney World which activate the toy, many of which serve double service to trigger "Magical Moments Pins" as well as iPaqs that serve as park guides for foreign and disabled guests.

    As far as I have been able to tell, all the doll's sayings are already onboard, plus a number of sentence fragments like numbers and showtimes that allow him to assemble sayings. ("You may want to be back here at 8:00 to get a spot for the fireworks") The only way to get the toy to say something not intended is to somehow capture and retransmit the IR data, or to create your own circuit that reponds to the transmitters. A group has been created to figure out the system at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/re_palmickey [yahoo.com]

    Rumor has it that a Spanish language version is set to come out soon, as well as one that may serve as an electronic FastPass or as a digital camera.
    • Unauthorized Content (Score:3, Interesting)

      by _Sprocket_ (42527)


      The only way to get the toy to say something not intended is to somehow capture and retransmit the IR data, or to create your own circuit that reponds to the transmitters. A group has been created to figure out the system at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/re_palmickey

      Just think. Someone manages to reverse engineer the network being used and publishes specs that enable anyone with the desire to plug in to this network with their favorite PDA. Then someone maps out the locations of various signals one

    • As far as I have been able to tell, all the doll's sayings are already onboard, plus a number of sentence fragments like numbers and showtimes that allow him to assemble sayings. ("You may want to be back here at 8:00 to get a spot for the fireworks") The only way to get the toy to say something not intended is to somehow capture and retransmit the IR data

      So if you knew the protocol, you could use a suitably IR equipped device (like a PDA) to get any MPMs in your vicity to say whatever you want. Of cou

  • Some more info... (Score:5, Informative)

    by TechnoPops (590791) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:38PM (#6597510) Journal

    Here's a another informative page [miceage.com] on My Pal Mickey, discussing a little bit on the tech, and possible future upgrades for the doll (i.e., a built-in digicam, acting as an electronic "FastPass").

    A friend of mine who works over in DW told me about this a couple months ago. Seems like it's a steal for $50, if not just for the amount of tech in it. And with the right amount of hackability, I would have a ball with this at home:

    Pal Mickey: Hey, Tony! You've just entered the kitchen. How about a beer?

    Me: Well, I was kind of thirsty... Thanks, Pal Mickey!

  • Making Mickey Useful (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:45PM (#6597531)
    For Mickey to really be useful, start by telling me which attractions have the shortest lines at the moment.

    The marketing data is likely distorted by this because after you've spent $50 for Mickey you're probably eating fast food for the rest of the day, rather than splurging in one of the nicer restaurants. (IMHO, half the fun of WDW is eating in the many fascinating restaurants there.)

    Having Mickey recite the specials of the day for each restaurant passed would certainly be fun.

    What I NEVER want to hear my Mickey tell me: And right here is the very spot Michael Eisner was standing on when he realized the need to throw Disney's resources behind lobbying for what became the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act.

    • "For Mickey to really be useful, start by telling me which attractions have the shortest lines at the moment. "

      You didn't read the second link, did you? Pal Mickey DOES tell you which attractions have the short wait times.
  • Remember just a few weeks ago when Woz's lasest press release was a Slashdot story? Here's a brief summary (nah I don't work there):

    "The wOz Platform(TM) system includes an innovative wireless network, a system reference design, and an online service that serve as the foundation for a range of location, status, control, and communications solutions for consumers and businesses. The heart of the wOz Platform is the wOzNet(TM) network, a unique local wireless network that provides long range and long battery
  • by Limburgher (523006) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @08:58PM (#6597582) Homepage Journal
    . . .and you start hearing voices, have they. . .

    Slipped you a Mickey?

    ha ha HA! Hi boys and girls!

  • by isomeme (177414) <cdberry@gmail.com> on Saturday August 02, 2003 @09:01PM (#6597597) Homepage Journal
    'He has a strong sense of self-preservation, and reminds you to put him some place safe when you get near water play areas, or on wet rides.'
    You know, I'd prefer we implemented the Three Laws in order, starting at One.
    • by Comsn (686413)
      Issac Asimov's three laws for robots.

      A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

      A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

      A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
      • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @11:01PM (#6598002)
        Disney's three laws for robotic mice:

        A robot may not infringe Disney's intellectual property, or, through inaction, allow a human being to infringe Disney's intellectual property.

        A robot must obey the orders given it by affiliated marketing partners except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

        A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

  • If you ever have the time to hunt it up try 'Delos', an older science fiction movie starring Yul Brenner. It's really a great flic with lots of suspense and some excellent footage.

    It pretty much covers the 'Interactive Theme Park Doll' from every angle that you could think of (including the dolls running amok).

    • Delos was the name of the themepark but WestWorld and FutureWorld were the names of the movies as I recall. WestWorld was the one with Yul Brenner.

      The idea was that the theme park was populated with animatronic actors that you could really shoot dead, or whatever. There was an enormous control room mediating the fantasy. The robots were so real it was hinted as strongly as you could back then that you could have sex with them and it was totally realistic.

      Of course when the 'bots run amok they aren't

    • The movie is called Westworld [imdb.com]. And it's gonna be remade [cinecon.com].
    • Yul Brenner, cowboy, theme park...

      Don't forget to check out Futureworld with the life size funtime barbies!

  • Some nerd round here tries to port Linux to it?
  • where is Barney? ...buried right under pugnet Sound?
  • I first heard Firesign Theatre's Waiting for the Electrician, or Someone Like Him about 20 years ago.

    I wonder if DisneyPlace will be full of kids waiting for the same after going on a "wet ride" with this thing ;-)

  • He has a strong sense of self-preservation, ...

    Wouldn't you know it... we manage to implement the 3rd law of robotics before we get around to the first two.

  • by joepeg (87984) on Saturday August 02, 2003 @10:40PM (#6597924)
    How long until they insert individual-doll transmitter/sensors to determine how close one doll is to another?

    Imagine waiting in line for a ride with 30 kids standing right next to eachother, each with their own doll, each of which is saying the same exact thing, only 2 seconds apart. I just might grab one and strangle it.

    If they could communicate, they could tell eachother to shut the hell up. That would be pretty entertaining. Of course I only see this going in the direction of the dolls having annoying, long, drawn-out conversations about each 'interesting' aspect of the park.
    • If they could communicate, they could tell eachother to shut the hell up.

      I have an even better idea. How about microphones to pick up voice commands. That way WE can tell them to shut the hell up! :)

      -
    • by MyHair (589485)
      In one of the linked articles, the second in the story I think, they indicate that cast members' Pal Mickeys might be able to trigger other Pal Mickeys to say things. (The reviewer's doll asked if he knew how to say hello in French in reaction to a French cast member squeezing his doll's hand.) That makes a lot of sense to be able to have cast members trigger special events. Why should all the transmitters be stationary?

      But I don't know if all Pal Mickeys have that capability or if the cast members' PMs h
  • How many times have bored or disgruntled animators hidden obscene jokes in Disnet films? Imagine the possibilites for pranks in this thing...

    "My pal Mickey tells me to start fires."

    "My pal Mickey told me to take $20 out of Mommies purse."

    "My pal Mickey tells me to run with scissors."

    "My pal Mickey told me that Micheal Eisner had Sonny Bono assassinated because he had served his purpose and was becoming a liability."

    "My pal Mickey told me that Ashcroft is the devil."

  • by SgtXaos (157101)
    Damn!

    We got through college listening to these guys' albums (yeah, on vinyl) over and over again! To see them show up on /., well, it is quite a warm feeling , imagining a new generation of geeks trying them out. "Bozos" should really be required listening for anyone even remotely interested in computers. If you have never enjoyed the Firesign Theater, this is as good as any introduction to their work. Go get it, listen to it a few times, and then seek out the rest of the catalog. Certainly it is humor for
  • This is exactly the kind of toy people need to bring in to theme parks, and one of the more interesting uses I've seen of tech. Some questions:

    How does it store so much audio? Did Disney get a really nice deal on some flash RAM?

    How do they update it so fast? It seems (from the second article) like it flashes new data into its brain within seconds of being near an infrared receiver.
    Any slashdotters near enough to a Disneyworld location to pick one up and hack it? This is a much better fit interface-wise

  • If you carry around this doll, Disney will know where you are in DISNEY'S OWN THEME PARK. Ai, the futuristic terror of it all! Now they will know I am trapped in It's A Small World After All for 30 minutes! Look around, there are already cameras in every corner of Disneyland/World, and if you haven't noticed, the employee to tourist ratio is almost 1:1. Other than that this thing is "cool", next time I go to that place that both frightens me and entertains me, I'll have one.
  • Gee there are alot paranoid fuckers out there. From a childs point of view I think this is neat ideal. I would have loved to have one of these when I was at disney world. And so what if disney tracks your ass around the park for a couple hours.

    Now these devices might have a practical use too. One of the scaryest moments in my life was when I was lost at disney land when I was six. If the officals can track a device to once certain child they can find that child in a few moments. If they can take act

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